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.
We have seen that God’s grace is a SAVING grace (v. 11). It is also a TEACHING grace (v. 12) that helps us learn what to deny and what to affirm. We have also seen that God’s grace is a WAITING grace (v. 13), assisting us to wait for God the Son to return for us. In thinking about the Son, we have seen that He is the One who gave himself for us (v. 14).
But why did He give Himself for us? The text is quite clear: to redeem us from all wickedness and to purify for himself a people that are his very own . . . (v. 14). We needed REDEMPTION! The term λυτρώσηται is from a word group that means “to release by paying a ransom, to redeem.” It is used three times in the New Testament:
(1) In Lk. 24:21 we read of Jesus meeting the two disciples on the road to Emmaus. They were devastated because their Rabbi had been executed. They say to the risen Jesus (not knowing that He had conquered death): “we had hoped that he was the one who was going to redeem Israel . . .”
(2) In I Pe. 1:18-19 we read: “For you know that it was not with perishable things such as silver or gold that you were redeemed from the empty way of life handed down to you from your ancestors, but with the precious blood of Christ, a lamb without blemish or defect.”
Slaves get redeemed. Those who don’t see themselves as slaves don’t need redemption. Jesus declared in John 8- “Very truly I tell you, everyone who sins is a slave to sin.” (v. 34). That includes everyone. Everyone is a slave to sin — and needs to be redeemed out of that slavery.
Notice: He redeems us from all wickedness.
The term ἀνομίας is a simple word meaning “no law.” It can be translated as “lawlessness” or “iniquity” and describes the condition of one without law, either because ignorant of it, or because violating it. The term is used 15 times in the New Testament. Here are a few of those uses:
Mt. 7:23- Then I will tell them plainly, ‘I never knew you. Away from me, you evildoers!’ οἱ ἐργαζόμενοι τὴν ἀνομίαν (literally, “the ones practicing the lawlessness”).
13:41- The Son of Man will send out his angels, and they will weed out of his kingdom everything that causes sin and all who do evil. καὶ τοὺς ποιοῦντας τὴν ἀνομίαν (literally, “the ones doing the lawlessness”).
Rom. 4:7- “Blessed are those whose transgressions are forgiven,
whose sins are covered. Μακάριοι ὧν ἀφέθησαν αἱ ἀνομίαι καὶ ὧν ἐπεκαλύφθησαν αἱ ἁμαρτίαι, (“transgressions” [literally, “lawlessnesses”] can be forgiven!
2 Cor. 6:14- Do not be yoked together with unbelievers. For what do righteousness and wickedness have in common? Or what fellowship can light have with darkness? Μὴ γίνεσθε ἑτεροζυγοῦντες ἀπίστοις· τίς γὰρ μετοχὴ δικαιοσύνῃ καὶ ἀνομίᾳ, ἢ τίς κοινωνία φωτὶ πρὸς σκότος; (here the term is translated as “wickedness”).
Heb. 10:17- Then he adds: “Their sins and lawless acts I will remember no more.” καὶ τῶν ἁμαρτιῶν αὐτῶν καὶ τῶν ἀνομιῶν αὐτῶν οὐ μὴ μνησθήσομαι ἔτι· (here the term is translated as “lawless acts”).
I Jn. 3:4- Everyone who sins breaks the law; in fact, sin is lawlessness. Πᾶς ὁ ποιῶν τὴν ἁμαρτίαν καὶ τὴν ἀνομίαν ποιεῖ, καὶ ἡ ἁμαρτία ἐστὶν ἡ ἀνομία. (literally, here we are told that everyone doing sin is “also doing lawlessness, and sin is lawlessness.”).
In our text, the expression is ἀπὸ πάσης ἀνομίας and can be translated as “from every lawless deed . . .”
One of the questions that occurs to me is this: Is Jesus redeeming us from the wickedness of the world — or the wickedness in ourselves? (to be continued)