We are to live our lives from the inside out.
When Paul wrote to Titus, he didn’t provide him with a mere manual for how to teach people to live properly in their various roles in society. The book of Titus does contain numerous commands for how Christians are to live—and that is why, if we are not careful, we can easily read it as a moralistic how-to book. Indeed, when reading God’s word as a whole it is possible to slip into reading it as a list of commands that we are to keep in order to gain or maintain God’s favor. We need reminding, again and again, that all the Scriptures, including this letter of Paul’s, show us the grace of God, and then they show those who have understood the grace of God how to live from the inside out.
The Bible’s story is the story of God, who created humans and put them in His company in the Garden of Eden. They were privileged to enjoy His presence and everything He had made. But they rebelled against God, and we too, following those ancestors, have rejected His rule, have adopted a skewed view of the world, and don’t seek after Him. Because of our sinful nature, we live life upside down. But when we believe in Christ, our upside-down lives are rectified. We begin to stand the right way up, and we are put back together by the power of Jesus. We are then to live our lives from the inside out, so that what God has accomplished in us by His grace is the driving force for what He is now going to accomplish through us for His glory.
Paul tells us that “the grace of God has appeared, bringing salvation.” In Titus 3:7, he reminds those of us who have trusted in Christ that we have been “justified by his grace,” becoming “heirs according to the hope of eternal life.” And in 3:8, Paul teaches that these gospel truths are trustworthy things that must be insisted on, “so that those who have believed in God may be careful to devote themselves to good works” (emphasis added). This progression is absolutely crucial to grasp. It’s not that we are to devote ourselves to doing good works so that we might be accepted by God; it is that because we have believed in God and are accepted through the person and work of His Son, we devote ourselves to doing good works. The good works flow from His grace, inspired by that grace. The grace of God is what trains us to live for the God of grace.
Do you desire to be distinct from the world? Do you hope to live a life worthy of God—one that honors Him in all you do? That is a mark of His grace at work in you. Remember that what you do is never what saves you; in Christ, His grace appeared and was poured out on you. Focus not on what you are to do for God but on what He has done to transform you by His grace. As you do so, you will find your heart and mind trained to live in the way that pleases Him.
11For the grace of God has appeared, bringing salvation for all people, 12training us to renounce ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright, and godly lives in the present age, 13waiting for our blessed hope, the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ, 14who 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.
15Declare these things; exhort and rebuke with all authority. Let no one disregard you.
Be Ready for Every Good Work
1Remind them to be submissive to rulers and authorities, to be obedient, to be ready for every good work, 2to speak evil of no one, to avoid quarreling, to be gentle, and to show perfect courtesy toward all people.
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