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 salvation-bringing grace doesn’t stop at saving us. It teaches us — and it does so from two perspectives.
First, from a negative perspective, God’s grace shows us what to deny (ungodliness and worldly passions).
Second, from a positive perspective, God’s grace teaches us to live. We are live (a) soberly, with moderation,
Notice today that we are also instructed to live (b) “upright.” The word “upright” is δικαίως and is used five times in the New Testament. As an adverb, it can be translated “justly” or “righteously.” δικαιως is used in Luke 23:41 by the repentant thief on the cross when he says to the other thief being crucified with Jesus: “We are punished justly, for we are getting what our deeds deserve. But this man has done nothing wrong.” In I Cor. 15:34, Paul writes: “Come back to your senses as you ought, and stop sinning; for there are some who are ignorant of God—I say this to your shame.” The verb “come back” here has the idea of “return to soberness of mind” or “snap out of!” Literally, “be sober out of [righteousness].” (ἐκνήψατε δικαίως- awake up to righteousness!) In I Thes. 2:10, Paul says “You are witnesses, and so is God, of how holy, righteous and blameless we were among you who believed.” The term δικαιως is also used in I Peter 2:23 where we read “When they hurled their insults at him, he did not retaliate; when he suffered, he made no threats. Instead, he entrusted himself to him who judges justly.
We are to snap out of the stupor of the world and awake to righteousness! It is right and proper for us followers of Jesus to live righteously; to come back to our senses and stop sinning; to conduct ourselves in holiness, righteousness, and blamelessness; and to entrust ourselves to Him who judges justly.
That’s a tall order for the Jesus-follower. But that’s how we are to LIVE. And righteous living always has a double effect: it draws some (who want to live honorable lives before God) to the Savior and repels others (who want to live life on their terms) away. (to be continued)