Our Blessed Hope

Titus 213–14 [widescreen]

Titus 2:11–15 (NLT) For the grace of God has been revealed, bringing salvation to all people. 12 And we are instructed to turn from godless living and sinful pleasures. We should live in this evil world with wisdom, righteousness, and devotion to God, 13 while we look forward with hope to that wonderful day when the glory of our great God and Savior, Jesus Christ, will be revealed. 14 He gave his life to free us from every kind of sin, to cleanse us, and to make us his very own people, totally committed to doing good deeds.

15 You must teach these things and encourage the believers to do them. You have the authority to correct them when necessary, so don’t let anyone disregard what you say.

In Titus ch. 2, Paul provides Titus with instructions on relationships in the church.  How should older men, older women, younger men, and slaves live the Christian life in a pagan culture?  He commands older men to exercise self-control to be worthy of respect, and to live wisely.  (v. 2)  He tells Titus to teach older women to live in a way that honors God.  (v. 3)  In the same way, he tells Titus to encourage the youg men to live wisely, and to be an example to them by doing good works of every kind.  (vv. 6, 7)

Why should Christians live wisely, the kind of life that reflects wholesome teaching?  (v . 1)  The rationale for right living is in vv. 11-14.  “For the grace of God has been revealed bringing salvation to all people.”   (v. 11)  Paul literally says, the grace of God has appeared, meaning Jesus Christ.

And Paul summarizes the teaching of Christ as “to deny ungodliness and worldly desires and to live sensibly, righteously and godly in the present age.”  (v. 12)  Paul emphasizes the positive virtues:  wisdom, righteousness, and devotion to God.  In the Greco-Roman world, these three virtues represent virtuous conduct in general.  These virtues counter the vices of the Cretans.

The adverb translated “sensibly” or “wisely” is sophronos, meaning soberly.  It suggests the exercise of self-restraint of all types of passion and desire, which enables the believer to be conformed to the mind of Christ.  Dikaios is the adverb translated “righteously” or “justly,…in accordance with what is right.”  God is righteous, so righteous behavior is that kind of behavior that is in accord with God’s will, especially God’s will as it is revealed in the Scriptures.  Eusebos is an adverb meaning “piously, or godly.”  (Vine)  To live a godly life is to live in a holy manner (2 Tim. 3:12)  Righteous and godly living renders to God the reverence and worship that comes from a holy life.

Paul sensibly tells Titus to instruct the church to live in a way that pleases God and even ungodly people would approve of this kind of living.  These three virtues were the same virtues that the Greek and Roman philosophers praised for the person who would live a wise life.  Likewise, these virtues are also praised in the Hebrew wisdom literature.  (Psalms, Proverbs, Job, Eccles., and Song of Songs, also Book of Wisdom, and the Wisdom of Sirach)

For Christians, our blessed hope is “that wonderful day when the glory of our great God and Savior, Jesus Christ, will be revealed.”  (v. 13)  Christ’s epiphaneia, his appearing or manifestation, can refer to Christ’s first appearing, but Paul only uses this word to refer to Christ’s second and future appearance (2 Thes. 2:8; 1 Tim. 6:14; 2 Tim. 4:1).  (Zodhiates, Complete Word Study Dictionary)

We shouldn’t miss the fact that in this verse (v. 13), Jesus Christ is called God.  This is one of the few verses in the NT, where Christ is called God outrightly (John 1:1, 18; 20:28; Rom. 9:5; Heb. 1:8; 2 Peter 1:1).  Yet this claim is consistent with the roles and attributes of Christ and the worship that is given to him.

V. 14 summarizes the saving work of Christ:  “He gave his life to free us from every kind of sin, to cleanse us, and to make us his very own people, totally committed to doing good deeds.”  We are no longer our own.  We have been redeemed from sin, bought with the blood of Christ.  We no longer are slaves to sin, but now are slaves or servants of righteousness.  Paul’s whole argument here is that we should live up to our calling, our blessed hope.  We should not live as we used to live, doing the sinful things we used to do.  But as citizens of heaven, we should live into the hope of eternal life.

Salvation produces a people who have the desire and capacity for good works.   Those who follow Christ are now God’s people.  As God’s people, the Holy Spirit leads us into keeping God’s covenant.  And this covenant is no longer written on stones, but the new covenant is written on our hearts through the Holy Spirit.  If you want to live a holy life, you should live in the Spirit, walking in the Spirit day by day and moment by moment, following the Spirit’s leading and teaching.

Lord, help me to live a life of total commitment to you.  Help me to walk in the way that you have called us to walk, as Christians, as the wise, not as we formerly used to walk, but with wisdom, righteousness, and devotion to God.  Help me to live a wise, righteous and godly life through your Holy Spirit in me, the Spirit of Christ.  Amen.

 

 

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