We continue our study of the Christian life as we look at Titus 2:
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 not only saves us; it teaches us how to live, which involves both denying (ungodliness and worldly passions) and affirming (living soberly, uprightly, and godly in this present world). We are to seek to influence our culture, not impose our values upon it.
But God’s grace is also a WAITING grace, as we saw in our last post: “while we wait for the blessed hope . . .” (v. 13). We are waiting for none other than God the Son, the Lord Jesus Christ, “our great God and Savior.”
This WAITING grace reminds us that Jesus “gave himself for us” (v. 14). The self-giving of the Son of God is a major theme of the New Testament.
Jesus makes it abundantly clear in John 10 that He will “lay down [His] life for the sheep” (v. 15). He clearly states two verses later that “I lay down my life, that I might take it again.” Then He says in the very next verse of John 10: “No one takes it from me, but I lay it down of my own accord. I have authority to lay it down and authority to take it up again. This command I received from my Father.”
It is one thing to give oneself to another; it is quite another to give oneself FOR another. Jesus gave Himself for us. This certainly is a strong argument for what theologians call the “vicarious penal view of the atonement.” “Vicarious,” of course, means as our substitute.
The vicarious penal view of the atonement is under much attack these days, specifically by Sharon Baker in her book Executing God. Biblical Christianity teaches that our sin put us under God’s wrath. And we can only be rescued from that wrath by the Son of God taking our place and bearing that righteous wrath for us. And that’s what the Lord Jesus did. (to be continued)