“For the grace of God has appeared, bringing salvation to all men, instructing us to deny ungodliness and worldly desires and to live sensibly, righteously and godly in the present age.” – Vs 11-12
The grace of God has appeared in the form of Jesus Christ. He is the ultimate manifestation of God’s grace – His undeserved, unmerited favor. God poured out His grace on mankind, instead of pouring out His well-deserved wrath. He offered salvation in place of condemnation and eternal separation. He provided a way out when we were down and out, dead in our trespasses and sins. What an incredible gift we have been given. But His grace doesn’t stop at salvation. It includes our ongoing sanctification. God not only provided His grace in the form of His Son so that we might have life everlasting, but life more abundantly – here and now. This grace not only brings salvation, it provides instruction. It teaches us to deny ungodly ways. To “say ‘No’ to ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright and godly lives in this present age” (NIV). But grace doesn’t burden us with a list of do’s and don’ts. It doesn’t turn our sanctification into some kind of works-based, human-dependent attempt at godliness. No, grace shows us that it is not about us at all. It is ALL about God and His provision of everything we need to live the life He has called us to live.
“His divine power has given us everything we need for life and godliness through our knowledge of him who called us by his own glory and goodness.” – 2 Peter 1:3
Yet many of us as Christians still struggle with living the Christian life. We just can’t seem to say no to ungodliness and worldly passions. We have a hard time living self-controlled, upright and godly lives in this present age. We seem to say, “No” only to say, “Yes” the next time around. We attempt to practice self-control, only to lose control a few minutes later. So what’s wrong with this picture? It is that we are failing to learn the lesson grace has to teach us. We can no more transform ourselves than we can save ourselves. Yet we try repeatedly and exhaustively to do just that. We freely accept the notion that God saved us in spite of us. He rescued and redeemed us out of sin and made us His own. But something happened. Listen to what the authors of the book, TrueFaced have to say about this situation:
“But, something happened to many of us in the intervening years. We lost confidence that his delight of us and new life in us would be a strong enought impetus for a growth that would glorify God and fix our junk. So, we gradually bought the slick sales pitch that told us we would need to find something more, something others seemed to have that we could never quite get our hands around. Something magical and mystical that we would receive if we tried hard enough and proved good enough, often enough. And so we began learning to prop things up. We went back to trying to impress God and others — back to posturing, positioning, manipulating, trying to appear better than who we were. Our two-faced life has severely stunted our growth. And broken our hearts. And left us gasping.”
Wow! Isn’t that where some of us find ourselves? Worn out and gasping for air. We have turned the walk of the Christian life into a laborious, energy-sapping, joy-robbing journey of disappointment. All because we have failed to learn the lessons grace has to offer. Verses 13-14 tell us that our journey toward godliness is not up to us, but it is up to the grace of God in the form of Jesus Christ.
“…we wait for the blessed hope—the glorious appearing of our great God and Saviour, Jesus Christ, who gave himself for us to redeem us from all wickedness and to purify for himself a people that are his very own, eager to do what is good.”
It is Jesus who redeemed us from a life of wickedness and ungodliness. It is Jesus who purified us with His death on the cross. It is by His power that we are able to stand in the presence of God as righteous. It is because of His grace that we are able to be called children of God and fellow heirs with Him. We are a people of grace from start to finish. We are saved by grace, and able to live godly lives because of grace. In spite of an active sin nature, a powerful enemy, and a world that hates us and longs to see us fail.God’s grace is sufficient. God’s grace is all we need. Which takes the burden off of me.
“So too, at the present time there is a remnant chosen by grace. And if by grace, then it is no longer by works; if it were, grace would no longer be grace.” – Romans 11:5-6
Father, thank You for Your grace. Without it I would still be dead in my sins. But I would also be unable to live the life You’ve called me to live. Thank You for making a life of godliness possible because Your grace is always available. Never let me forget that I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me. Amen
Grow Pastor & Minister to Men