The King Has Come
- December 25, 2018
- Jared Odenbeck
This is part one of a two-part series on Titus 2:11-14.
Many in the church discuss the grace of God that leads to the door that opens unto the secure pasture of saving faith, or salvation. In spite of this, I often fail to grasp and understand the significance of such grace, regardless of my understanding of immovable Gospel truths, such as my personal depravity, my need for propitiation for my sins, and my unwillingness to climb onto a cross.
Paul writes to Titus, his former partner in ministry – the one he entrusted the church in Crete unto, for the sake of doctrinal refinement and encouragement. With each line, I see Paul exhort Titus through a development of his understanding. Paul writes in an argumentative, “x, so that y” causal style which lends his audience, initially the local – but now the worldwide – church a clear lens to peer through so that we discover the reasoning and wisdom of God if we choose to stay and gaze a while longer.
When I read, “The grace of God appeared” (Titus 2:11), a thought immediately surfaces to ask, “why?” But Paul never hesitates when he texts back. Right away, he writes “salvation to all people” (Titus 2:11). Now, grace and salvation should create thankfulness in us so that worship and evangelism might come out of us. But, we often pass over these two doctrines without much regard for them, which invites stagnation in.
So then, what does this grace mean to accomplish in us through salvation? Paul raised his hand first, so I will call on him. He explains that it trains us to “renounce ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright, and godly lives in the present age” (Titus 2:12). If you receive the grace of salvation, it trains you by the Holy Spirit to renounce the world. Training refines us. Exercise damages muscle tissue so that the body reinforces itself to meet the next physical challenge. So, in the same way a child learns to keep his hands away from the hot stove after burning himself, so we turn away from the dead-end of worldly passions and grow in self-control and godliness, which Paul calls “great gain” (1 Timothy 6:6), by the leading of the Holy Spirit.
But why do we submit ourselves to the pain, humiliation, and challenge of this training? What might the purification and refinement of training create in us? An eager and expectant “waiting for our blessed hope, the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ” (Titus 2:13). As I train in the off-season, I wait for a team to offer me a contract. Sometimes I wonder if I train without purpose. Sometimes I wonder if I am done. But the training Paul speaks of never works in vanity, because “the glory of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ” (Titus 2:13) will appear. And the training of God through the Holy Spirit disciplines us to wait with patience and perseverance for that gain, the greatest gain of all.
The King has come. Let us go in and worship at his feet.