“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, looking for the blessed hope and the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior, Christ Jesus, who gave Himself for us to redeem us from every lawless deed, and to purify for Himself a people for His own possession, zealous for good deeds.” Titus 2:11-14
God has designed all of creation to bring glory to Himself. Considering His majesty and worthiness, this is only right. In His grace, we are part of “showing Him off” to the world. The work He does to turn us – rebellious and faulty raw material – into prized displays of His grace is nothing short of breathtaking!
Paul tells Titus that this process involves four actions with which we are to cooperate with our Master Restorer.
- We are to deny ungodliness and worldly desires. This is what he told the Ephesian church in a helpful metaphor of taking off old clothes and putting on new. “. . that, in reference to your former manner of life, you lay aside the old self, which is being corrupted in accordance with the lusts of deceit. . .” Ephesians 4:22
- Next, we are to appropriate the new, to receive and live the new, divine life that we could never produce in our own efforts. That we “be renewed in the spirit of your mind, and put on the new self, which in the likeness of God has been created in righteousness and holiness of the truth.” Ephesians 4:23-24 Addressing Titus, Paul urges that his Cretan church live sensibly, righteously and godly.
- Through this process, we are to keep our eyes upon the destination He has for us – looking for the blessed hope of Jesus’ second coming, when the process will be completed perfectly. Single-minded travelers are less likely to go astray and get lost. “If you have been raised up with Christ, keep seeking the things above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. Set your mind on the things above, not on the things that are on earth.” Colossians 3:1-2
- In this directed, intentional frame of mind, we are then to perform under His authority. We are to acknowledge that we “are not our own” (1Corinthians 6:19), but His possession.
The final product is something the Creator is very proud of. He wants to show us off to the world, that the world might know that He is mighty and good and wise. They look at us and, hopefully (if we have cooperated with His craftsmanship), see the good deeds that He intended us to produce. We have the honor to be a small part of His restoration of this broken world to what He intended it to be.
“For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand so that we would walk in them.” Ephesians 2:10
“Let your light shine before men in such a way that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father who is in heaven.” Matthew 5:16