Peter Misselbrook's Blog
Oct 27 2013 - Titus 2:1-15 – The blessed hope

Yesterday we spoke of the power of the gospel to transform lives; it is "truth that leads to godliness" (Titus 1:1). Paul has more to say about this in the passage we are looking at this morning. He writes, "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" (2:11-14).

Grace is a powerful teacher, so much more effective than law. Grace is powerful because it has appeared in a person. When Paul writes that "the grace of God ... has appeared" he is speaking of Jesus Christ – it is Christ who has appeared. He appeared not only to show us the grace of God but to embody that grace by enduring the judgment our sin deserved. The grace of God has come to us in Jesus Christ. And this is why grace is such a powerful teacher for it is Jesus the gracious Saviour who comes to us in all his risen power and says, "Follow me. Learn of me." He is the one who "teaches us to say 'No' to ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright and godly lives in this present age." He came to save his people from their sins. He came to make us his very own possession, a people who are eager to do what is good.

The grace of God has appeared in Jesus. This same grace of God comes to us ever and afresh in Jesus – grace upon grace – coming to us day-by-day not only to forgive but to transform us into his likeness. And one day that work of grace will be complete when Christ appears in glory and we shall share that glory.

It's interesting that Paul can write in such an ambiguous fashion about "the glorious appearing of our great God and Saviour, Jesus Christ" (2:13). Is he speaking about the glorious appearing of our great God and also of our Saviour Jesus Christ, or is he saying that Jesus is our great God and Saviour?

It's worth remembering that the Jews had longed for the day when God would again visit his people and bring their long exile to an end; God himself would dwell among them and rule over them. Paul had discovered through his encounter with Christ on the Damascus road that Jesus was the one in whom these longings were satisfied. God had visited and redeemed his people in the person of Jesus Christ. Paul no longer waits for God to visit his people with salvation, but he does still wait for God to appear in glory. This also will be accomplished in Jesus Christ; his appearing will be "the glorious appearing of our great God and Saviour."

Lord Jesus, we thank you that for our sake you left the riches of glory and became poor; we marvel at your grace and love for us. Lord, we pray that you would teach us more of your grace and mould our lives into your own likeness. Teach us to say no to all that cannot live alongside you. Teach us to pursue those things that display your own holy and glorious character. Lord, we long for the day when you will return and when we will be fully transformed into your likeness at your appearing. May this hope shape the way we live this day and fill our every conversation with the grace of your presence.

Peter Misselbrook