1 But as for you, teach what accords with sound doctrine. 2 Older men are to be sober-minded, dignified, self-controlled, sound in faith, in love, and in steadfastness. 3 Older women likewise are to be reverent in behavior, not slanderers or slaves to much wine. They are to teach what is good, 4 and so train the young women to love their husbands and children, 5 to be self-controlled, pure, working at home, kind, and submissive to their own husbands, that the word of God may not be reviled. 6 Likewise, urge the younger men to be self-controlled. 7 Show yourself in all respects to be a model of good works, and in your teaching show integrity, dignity, 8 and sound speech that cannot be condemned, so that an opponent may be put to shame, having nothing evil to say about us. 9 Bondservants are to be submissive to their own masters in everything; they are to be well-pleasing, not argumentative, 10 not pilfering, but showing all good faith, so that in everything they may adorn the doctrine of God our Savior. 11 For the grace of God has appeared, bringing salvation for all people, 12 training us to renounce ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright, and godly lives in the present age, 13 waiting for our blessed hope, the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ, 14 who gave himself for us to redeem us from all lawlessness and to purify for himself a people for his own possession who are zealous for good works. 15 Declare these things; exhort and rebuke with all authority. Let no one disregard you. (Titus 2:1-15 ESV)
Saved by Grace, Trained by Grace (Titus 1-2, Part 4)
Grace is the wonderful attribute and demonstration of God in which he bestows upon us something we do not deserve, seen most clearly in our salvation. We can discuss, write, preach, and even sing about it for hours. But have you ever thought about how grace not only saves us but trains us as well?
Let us look at Titus 2. Paul tells Titus, “Now you, unlike the false teachers (that we discussed in the previous post), teach about what behavior corresponds with the truth.” Paul goes on to list what saved people behave like, whether young or old, at home with the family or at work with the boss.
Paul anticipates from Titus the questions of why and how. He explains in v. 11-14 that redeemed people will behave in a holy manner because of the grace of God that is with them. It is important to know that God’s grace does not just show up like an impressive fireworks display, brilliant one second and then nothing but a trail of smoke the next. The grace of God is not a cherished, but distant and fading memory. Rather it fills our day-to-day lives and trains us to be the holy people God wants us to be.
But how does grace train? Verse 1 reveals the simple answer: sound doctrine.
I do not imagine that those living on the island of Crete in Titus’ day were much different then many of us today. Many of us cringe when we hear words like “doctrine” and “theology.” They are weighty words that trigger a serious and solemn look about our faces. Yet Paul says that sound doctrine is the vehicle that drives our sanctification. Doctrine is a matter of collecting all of what God has said about a certain subject and organizing it in a systematic way. It is a formidable assignment, but we only need to take it little by little, line upon line.
It is much like training at the gym (which, by the way, also causes me to cringe). You would not show up, run around the entire building like a maniac and then call it a work out. Instead you organize your schedule to exercise certain groups of muscles on specific days and other muscles on other days; and of course, this is all aided by nutritious eating. After a while you start to ask yourself how you ever were able to physically function.
That’s how it is with doctrine. The goal is not necessarily to become a scholar, it is to become more and more Christ-like and that is what Paul maps out for us in v. 1-10. Is it hard work? Of course! Are we left to fend for ourselves? Absolutely not. God’s grace trains us.
Paul says it best when he writes: “…by the grace of God I am what I am, and his grace toward me was not in vain. On the contrary, I worked harder than any of them, though it was not I, but the grace of God that is with me.” -1 Corinthians 15:10
(This was originally posted on the Biblearc blog by Josh Reyna on May 22, 2015.)