I wish to encourage you in God’s grace. In this self-righteous world, grace is given little consideration. Why? Because the world thinks it deserves every nice and good thing it gets. Self-righteousness blinds us to our need of grace. In its simplest form, grace speaks of undeserved kindness. It is the expression of God’s mercy as He interacts with mankind. It’s the motivating strength energising Christians to obedience of Christ. It always works powerfully to accomplish God’s will and purposes, even though we often fail to see or understand them (Ephesians 1:7-10). God’s grace cannot be outdone, for “where sin increased, grace increased all the more” (Romans 5:20), showing His tenacity in expressing love where love is not wanted.
Grace is God’s underserved loving mercy which motivated Him to speak “to us by his Son” Jesus Christ (Hebrews 1:2). Christ brought salvation to this world, and into our lives. We “are justified by his grace as a gift, through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus” (Romans 3:24). God never looked at this sinful world and felt overwhelmed by the world’s worthiness of salvation. No, gracious love, holy justice, and unequalled mercy, motivated Him to send His Son “to seek and to save the lost” (Luke 19:10). Consequently, the first priority of grace is to introduce the sinner to their Saviour, Jesus Christ, drawing them to repentance of their sin and to surrender under the Lordship of Christ (Romans 10:9-10).
Concluding his letter to Titus, the apostle Paul summarises the truths Titus was to teach, encourage and correct the church with. Every facet of spiritual living flows out from these truths; “For the grace of God that brings salvation has appeared to all men. It teaches us to say “No” to ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright and godly lives in this present age, while we wait for the blessed hope – the glorious appearing of our great God and Saviour, Jesus Christ, 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” (Titus 2:11-14).
Having redeemed the penitent sinner from all wickedness, having inputted Christ’s righteousness, having indwelt the new born saint with the Holy Spirit, they are pure and acceptable in God’s sight. Now, “ if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come” (2 Corinthians 5:17). The regenerated sinner no longer looks like the world. Rather, they look like Christ, although dimly at first, the Holy Spirit works sanctification enabling them to be “transformed into the same image from one degree of glory to another. For this comes from the Lord who is the Spirit” (2 Corinthians 3:18).
God’s grace continues with persevering and purifying purpose, steering the believer away from ungodly and worldly passions (ongoing repentance). Those desires which do not reflect the character of God, those passions with no boundaries, those unrighteous attitudes, thoughts and words which express worldly values, they must die under grace. In Christ, grace replaces our old way of thinking with the Lord’s new nature and values, new motives with new attitudes. Grace inspires the believer to “to put off your old self, which belongs to your former manner of life and is corrupt through deceitful desires, and to be renewed in the spirit of your minds, and to put on the new self, created after the likeness of God in true righteousness and holiness” (Ephesians 4:22-24).
I pray that today, in our lives “as grace extends to more and more people it may increase thanksgiving, to the glory of God” (2 Corinthians 4:15).
Together for Christ: Lincoln Forlong www.bbf.net.nz