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God's Grace Teaches

by Jason E. Stringer

"For the grace of God that bringeth salvation hath appeared to all men, Teaching us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly, in this present world;" ~ Titus 2:11-12

Those who would teach that man has no part in his salvation ignore much clear teaching in the New Testament. While it is true that God's grace is a gift and the only thing that can save man (Eph. 2:8), it is also clear that man must do certain things to receive this gift.

A gift can be conditional or unconditional. Wills bequeath gifts to other parties, but often in wills there are conditions placed upon the gift. The recipient does nothing to "earn" the gift left in the will, simply they meet the conditions specified. When they fail to meet the conditions, they no longer are qualified to receive the gift.

Paul clearly teaches in the above passage to Titus that there are certain things God expects of us to receive His grace. Specifically he teaches that there is a certain way that we are to live. Those who believe that man has no part in receiving God's gift other than accepting it do not believe that man is required to live in a certain manner to receive God's grace; however Paul lays out what God expects.

Sober living means self-controlled living. Not giving into the things that Paul classifies in Galatians as "works of the flesh." The ability to control the passionate urges that man often has, a putting away of the appetites of the flesh, and donning a will to keep those things in check. Often times people refer to this quality as "will-power." To be fully accepting of God's grace one must adopt this quality in their lives, and live in this manner.

Righteously indicates that we live in a just manner. A manner that conforms to all the precepts that God has given to us, without partiality to some. This means keeping the whole of God's law (Jas. 2:10). Think about it for a moment. God gives His grace without partiality to those who meet His conditions, why should we not want to meet all the conditions or place more emphasis on one over another?

Living in a godly manner means that we honor God through reverence and devotion. Ungodly living is the first step that is taken on the road to apostasy (Rom. 1:21), as those who know longer have a reverent fear of God will be those who are not thankful for His gift.

These are things God requires of us to receive His grace. The word teaching in our text is significant, for it indicates that this is God's instruction. God expects us to follow His instructions. It is not mere lip-service that we give to God (Matt. 7:21; 15:8-9). Those who would make the grace of God something it is not by denying its conditions fall into the category of those who "draw nigh with their lips."

In accepting His grace, where is your heart? Part of living "soberly, righteously and godly" is complete submission of your will to His. His will is obedient faith through confession, repentance and baptism, then living a faithful life.

"...upon this rock I will build My church..." Matt.16:18

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