Editor’s note: The purpose of this series is to walk through the book of Titus and learn what the Lord would have to teach us through this great book.

titusheader2Titus 2:11-14, “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.”

God’s grace is His active favor bestowing the greatest gift upon those who have deserved the greatest punishment. This grace has penetrated our moral and spiritual darkness. It “has appeared.” The verb used in the original is related to the noun epiphany, that is, appearing or manifestation. Upon those sitting in the in the darkness and in the shadow of death the grace of God had suddenly dawned. It has arisen when Jesus was born, when words of life and beauty issued from his lips, when he healed the sick, cleansed the lepers, cast out our demons, raised the dead, suffered for man’s sins, and laid down his life for the sheep in order to take it again on resurrection-morning. Thus, grace had “shed on the world Christ’s holy light” and had “Chased the dark night of sin away.” The sun of righteousness had arisen “with healing in its wings.” The grace of God had appeared “bringing salvation for all people.” Everywhere else in the new Testament this word saving, when preceded by the article and used as a noun means salvation (Luke 2:30; 3:6; Acts 28:28; Eph. 6:17), in the spiritual sense of the term. Hence, also here in Titus 2:11 the meaning is: God’s grace made its appearance “salvation-bringing.” Grace came to rescue man from the greatest possible evil, namely, the curse of God upon sin; and to bestow upon him the greatest possible boon, namely, the blessing of God for soul and body throughout all eternity.

It brought salvation to “All men”. Here in Titus 2:11 the context makes the meaning clear. Male or female, old or young, rich or poor: all are guilty before God, and from them God gathers His people. Seasoned men, and women, young women, younger men, and even slaves should live consecrated lives, for the grace of God has appeared bringing salvation to men of all these various groups. “All men” here in verse 11 equals us in verse 12. Grace did not bypass the aged because they are aged, nor women because they are women, nor slaves because they are merely slaves, etc. It dawned upon all, regardless of age, sex, or social standing. Hence, no one can derive, from the particular group or caste to which he belongs, a reason for not living a Christian life.

Grace trains. The verb used in the original comes from the same stem as in the noun pedagogue. A pedagogue leads children step by step. Thus, grace, too, gently leads and guides. It does not throw things into confusion. It does not suddenly and forcefully upset the social order. For example, it does not abruptly order masters to free their slaves; now it doesn’t unwisely command slaves to rebel forthwith against their masters. On the contrary, it gradually causes master to see that the encroachment upon the liberty of their fellows is a great wrong, and convinces slaves that the resort to force and vengeance is not the solution to every problem. Grace trains by teaching (Acts 7:22; 22:3); chastening (I Tim. 1:20; II Tim. 2:25; Luke 23:16, 22; 1 Cor. 11:32; II Cor. 6:9; Heb. 12:6-11; Rev. 3:19), counseling, comforting, encouraging, admonishing, guiding, convicting, rewarding, restraining, etc.

The purpose of all this is stated first negatively, then positively. Negatively, it induces us to renounce or reject ungodliness, impiety, and wickedness. When grace takes over, the sinner repudiates ungodliness. This repudiation is a definite act, a decision to give up that which is displeasing to God. No one sleeps his way into heaven. According to Scriptural usage, such worldly or sinful desires include the following: inordinate sexual desire, liquor-mania, excessive yearning for material possessions, quarrelsomeness, vanity, the lust to dominate, etc. It refers to inordinate longings for pleasure, power, and possessions.

Positively, grace trains us in order that “in the present age” we may live lives which display a changed relation:

  1. To oneself: By making the proper use of such desires or drives as are not sinful in themselves, and overcoming those that are sinful;
  2. To Neighbor: by being fair, honest, loving justice, and having integrity in dealing with others;
  3. To God: By having devotion, godliness, true piety and reverence with respect to him who alone is the proper Object of worship.

Titus 2:13, “waiting for our blessed hope, the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ.”

The grace of God trains us in order that we may live consecrated lives while we “wait for our blessed hope”. This hope is called blessed. It imparts bliss, happiness, delight, and glory. The adjective blessed is used in connection with God in I Tim. 1:11; 6:15. Now, even the possession of the hopeful spirit and the exercise of hope is blessed, because of hopes:

  • Immoveable foundation (I Tim. 1:1-2; Rom. 5:5; 15:4; Phil. 1:20; Heb. 6:19; I Peter 1:3, 21);
  • Glorious Author (Rom. 15:13; II Thess. 2:16);
  • Wonderful Object (everlasting life, salvation, glory (Titus 1:2; 3:7; 1 Thess. 5:8; Romans 5:2; Col. 1:27);
  • Precious effects (Endurance, 1 Thess. 1:3; “boldness of speech,” II Cor. 3:13; and purification of life, 1 John 3:3).
  • Now the realization of the blessed hope is “the appearing of glory” there had been one appearing in the incarnation, sinless life, death, burial, resurrection, and ascension of Jesus. Now there is going to be another when Jesus returns for His people.

The real point of this passage in connection with all that has preceded, is that our joyful expectation of the appearing in glory of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ effectively prepares us for life with him. The Second Coming will be so altogether glorious that believers will not want to miss out on it, but will want to be “manifested with him in glory” (Col. 3:4). Finally, because the blissful expectation fills believers with gratitude, and gratitude produces preparedness, by God’s grace.

Titus 2:14, “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.”

Our great God and Savior Jesus Christ whose appearing in glory believers look forward with such hope and joy is the One 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.”

Jesus gave nothing less than Himself, and this is for us, that is, in our interest and in our stead. The contemplation of this sublime thought should result in a life lived to His honor. Furthermore, by His sacrificial death He merited for us the work of the Holy Spirit in our hearts. Apart from that Spirit it would be impossible for us to live the sanctified life.

Christ gave Himself for us with a twofold purpose. He gave Himself for us in order to redeem us that is, in order to ransom us from an evil power. The ransom-price was His own precious blood (1 Peter 1:18-19), that is, indwelling disobedience to God’s holy law, in whatever form that disobedience makes itself manifest (“all lawlessness”).

He gave himself for us “to purify for himself a people for his own possession” that is, in order by means of His blood and Spirit to purify us (Eph. 5:26; Heb. 9:12; 1 John 1:7, 9), so that, thus purified, we are fit to be a people, His very own. Christ’s purifies His own people so they will be a people for His own possession and be “zealous for good works”. “Zeal for good works” are deeds which proceed from faith, and are done according to God’s law and unto His glory.

Titus 2:11-14 teaches us that the reason why every member of the family of God should live a life of self-mastery, fairness, and devotion is that the grace of God in Christ has penetrated our moral and spiritual darkness and has brought salvation to all men; that this grace is also our Great Pedagogue who leads us away from ungodliness and worldly passions and guides us along the path of holiness; that is the Effective Preparer who causes us to look forward with eagerness to the Appearing in glory of our great God and Savior Christ Jesus; and, finally, that is to the through-going Purifier, so that, redeemed from all disobedience to God’s law, we become Christ’s peculiar treasure, filled with a zest for excellent deeds.