Page 10 - October 2017 - Truth & Tidings
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odern morality is founda-   epiphany of God’s grace in the incarnation,
                 tionless, floating in mid-air.   life, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ.
        MOne philosopher sarcastically         The greatness of this grace is seen in that
        summed up its ethical logic as, “Man   it brings “salvation for all people” (2:11,
        descended from apes, therefore we must   ESV), even for the worst of sinners (1Tim
        love one another.”  The world wants to   1:15). It was because of the inclusiveness
        hold on to the moral values it inherited   of God’s grace that Paul faced enormous
        from Christianity while renouncing their   opposition in his gospel ministry. And so,
        underlying theological foundations. The   Paul is quick to point out that this is a grace
        paragraph beginning in 2:11 is Paul’s way   that not only saves us for eternity, but also
        of telling Titus to keep them together: teach   trains us in how to live in the present.
        (2:1, 15) the ethics (2:1-10) and the theology   GRACE TRAINS US
        that undergirds them (2:11-14).        “The  grace  of  God  has  appeared  …
          Notice that word "grace." “For the grace   training us to renounce ungodliness
        of God has appeared” (2:11, ESV). Notice   and worldly passions, and to live self-
        that first word. In the OT Scriptures, mo-  controlled, upright, and godly lives in the
        rality is grounded not only in revelation   present age” (2:11-12, ESV). The grace that
        (“thus saith the LORD”) and creation (Gen   saves us is the grace that sanctifies us. On
        1:3, 9:6), but also in redemption (Exo 20:2).   the one hand, it trains us to say “No” to
        The phrase, “the grace of God,” makes   “ungodliness” (a deep disregard for God
        clear that Paul is appealing to the latter   and the life it produces) and “worldly pas-
        footing. It is here, at the foundational level,   sions.” On the other hand, grace teaches us
        that the false teachers in Crete have it all   to live lives that are holy in regard to self
        wrong. It’s because their false teaching is   (“self-controlled”), others (“upright”), and
        based on Jewish myths and man-made   God (“godly”).
        commands, instead of the grace of God   The gospel of the grace of God (Acts
        (1:10-15), that they are “detestable, disobe-  20:24) is both the basis of Christian moral-
        dient, unfit for any good work” (1:16, ESV).  ity (2:11) and the educating power that
          In contrast to the false teachers’ works-  enables us to live it out (2:12). The word
        based system, the grace of God “ap-  for “self-controlled” in 2:12 is part of a
        peared,” emphasizing again God’s initia-  word group that dominates all the other
        tive and action. The verb means to “show   virtues in 2:1-10. There we discovered that
        oneself, make an appearance,” and the   part of the motive for living rightly is that
        noun epiphaneia, used in verse 13, “refers   it promotes the gospel. The harmonic line
        to a visible and frequent sudden manifesta-  of Paul’s letter to Titus is this: beliefs shape
        tion of a hidden divinity.”  Using a cultur-  behavior and behavior spreads belief; only
        ally relevant term, Paul is saying that the   the gospel can empower the kind of living
        basis for how Christians are to live is the   that in turn adorns the gospel.
        1  Cited in Timothy Keller, Making Sense of   This leads to a natural question: how
        God, 42.                             does the gospel empower us? Or, in the
        2  BDAG lexicon.                     language of 2:11-12, how does God’s grace

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