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 not only a SALVATION-OFFERING grace, but also a TEACHING grace. It is a grace that FORMS OUR TASTES for the things of God. God’s grace teaches us from two perspectives how to live the Christian life. First, we see that His grace teaches us to DENY.
Did you ever stop to think that what you deny as a believer is almost as important as what you affirm? For example, we deny that Jesus is God’s highest creation (as our Jehovah’s Witnesses friends say). We deny that all people will be saved whether they want to be or not (as our universalistic friends say). We deny that homosexual behavior (as well as heterosexual promiscuity) is an acceptable lifestyle. There are many ideas and beliefs that we Christians deny. In this text, God’s grace teaches us to deny two categories which lead the believer away from the life God intends: (1) ungodliness and (2) worldly lusts.
This word ἀσέβειαν can be translated as “impiety,” “irreverence,” “wickedness” or “ungodliness” and is used six times in the New Testament. In Romans 1:18 we read that “The wrath of God is being revealed from heaven against all the godlessness and wickedness of people, who suppress the truth by their wickedness . . .” In Romans 11:26 we read: “and in this way all Israel will be saved. As it is written: “The deliverer will come from Zion; he will turn godlessness away from Jacob.” The same term is used in 2 Timothy 2:16 where the believer is told: “Avoid godless chatter, because those who indulge in it will become more and more ungodly.” This same term is used two times in the little epistle of Jude. In verses 14-15 we read, 14 Enoch, the seventh from Adam, prophesied about them: “See, the Lord is coming with thousands upon thousands of his holy ones 15 to judge everyone, and to convict all of them of all the ungodly acts they have committed in their ungodliness, and of all the defiant words ungodly sinners have spoken against him.” The word is used three times in verse 15! In verse 18 of Jude 1 we read, “They said to you, “In the last times there will be scoffers who will follow their own ungodly desires.” Jude is referring to the predictions of the apostles about false teachers who would come, scoffers who will follow their own ungodly desires. We also have the word used in our text, Titus 2: “It teaches us to say “No” to ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright and godly lives in this present age . . .”
Do we recognize ungodliness when we see it? There was an ad for a cleaning lady in a newspaper that read: “Wanted. One person to clean my house. Must be able to recognize dirt.” Are we able to recognize dirt? (to be continued)