11 For the grace of God has appeared that offers salvation to all people. 12 It teaches us to say “No” to ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright and godly lives in this present age, 13 while we wait for the 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 wickedness and to purify for himself a people that are his very own, eager to do what is good. 15 These, then, are the things you should teach. Encourage and rebuke with all authority. Do not let anyone despise you.
God’s grace is not only a SALVATION-OFFERING grace, but also a TEACHING grace. God’s grace teaches us from two perspectives (negative and positive) how to live the Christian life. We saw that we are to deny UNGODLINESS and WORLDLY PASSIONS. But God does not want us to be passionless people! The same word for “desires” can be translated “lusts” (depending on the context). We are to deny, to turn away from, ungodliness and the worldly passions. Some “worldly passions” that occur to me are (1) a sense of entitlement:; (2) an attitude of ownership; and (3) a spirit of minimalism: I will do only what is expected or required of me, especially in spiritual matters (church involvement, witnessing, social concern).
God’s grace also teaches us from a positive perspective how to live the Christian life. It instructs us what to affirm. We are to LIVE! We are not to simply exist or stagger about like religious zombies denying everything we see. We are to LIVE. How are we to live? Note that we are to (1) live soberly. The word used by Paul is σωφρόνως and is used only once in the New Testament (here in Titus 2:12) and may be translated “soberly,” “with moderation,” “prudently, or “with sound mind.”
When followers of Jesus make outrageous choices, live undisciplined lives, embarrass the body of Christ, we should not be surprised that a watching world stops watching us. And looks elsewhere for truth about God. (to be continued)