Training Grace

by PastorErick | 7/25/17, 9:17 AM

[11] For the grace of God has appeared, bringing salvation for all people, [12] training us to renounce ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright, and godly lives in the present age, [13] waiting for our 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 lawlessness and to purify for himself a people for his own possession who are zealous for good works.

- Titus 2:11-14

If you’ve ever sat under my preaching, you know I love talking about salvation. I love talking about being forgiven. I love talking about what Jesus accomplished to declare us righteous, entirely apart from our works. I love God’s grace!

But I don’t just love God’s grace for its forgiving, saving, justifying power. I love God’s grace because it is also the fuel for our lives as Christians. In spite of our fears that too much grace will lead to “licentious” living (in other words, people will think to themselves, “Since I’m saved completely apart from anything I do, now I can do whatever evil thing I want right?!”), our text says just the opposite! In fact, we’re told in our passage that it is the grace of God that trains us. The idea being conveyed is that the more and more we recognize how much God has done for us, the more we’ll want to serve him. What does God’s grace train us in?

  1. Renounce Ungodliness and Worldly Passions- By His grace, He will give us consciences that no longer feel at ease or justify ourselves when we’re in the wrong. By His grace we will be given strength to resist that which tempts us and the ability to say “NO”.
  2. Live self-controlled, upright and Godly lives- On the flip side of the same coin, as we say “No” to ungodliness and worldly passions, a positive “yes” to godliness and godly passions is produced in us. In other words, we find ourselves wanting to obey His will for our lives.
  3. Cause us to long more for Him- As we reflect more on His grace, we can’t help but want more of Him. We look more and more with eager expectation for His coming.
  4. Make us zealous for good works- Yes indeed, contrary to those who say too much grace will produce zeal for evil, this verse makes clear it is marinating in God’s grace (the reality that you’re forgiven by Christ no matter what you’ve done and that He loves you more than you can possibly imagine) that produces zeal for good works!

Some of you are familiar with the story Les Miserables. The story is set in France around the time of the revolution and centers around a hardened ex-con named Jean Valjean. At the beginning of the story, Valjean has just gotten out of prison. He has just spent nineteen years in jail performing grueling hard labor day in and day out for trying to steal some food because he was hungry. The years in prison have made him something of an awful man. He sees no love in the world and has no love for the world. Getting out of prison, Valjean has nowhere to go to spend the night so he knocks at a pastor’s door in hopes that the pastor will feed him and let him spend the night. And indeed this happens. He is fed a warm meal and is given a bed to sleep on. But Valjean being the hardened criminal that he was couldn’t help but notice while he was eating that there was some rather valuable silverware and china next to the table. So after the pastor and his wife went to sleep, he snuck out, took a bag and began to steal as much silverware as he possibly could. The pastor who had opened up his home to this man heard the noise and went to check on it, when Valjean snuck up, hit him over the head and left with the silverware. Sure enough the next day, Valjean was caught with the silverware by the police. The police found out where he got the silverware from and hauled Jean Valjean over to the pastor’s house to ask if indeed the silverware was his. The pastor looked at the police and Valjean and confirmed that indeed the silverware was his, but then he did something totally unexpected. The Priest pulled out a beautiful candlestick holder, and said “Not only did I give this silverware to Valjean, but he forgot to take the candlestick holder that I gave him as well.” Then the pastor looked at Jean Valjean and said, “Did you forget to take the candlestick holder as well?” The police said, “You mean he didn’t steal this, but you gave it to him?” “I most certainly did” replied the pastor. Then he looked at Jean Valjean and said, “Jean Valjean with this candlestick holder I have ransomed your soul back to God.”

Jean Valjean could have gone to prison for the rest of his life, but instead he was freed completely by grace. From this point on he is changed and lives out the rest of his days seeking to serve others with all of his life.

That’s how grace trains you…..

Soli Deo Gloria,

Pastor Erick

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