The Grace of God, Life-Study of Titus, Message Four, pp. 32-35
II. THE GRACE OF GOD
Verse 11 begins with the little word for, indicating that what is to follow explains how it is possible for slaves to have a human living according to God's standard. Verses 11 through 14 give us a remarkable summary of the economy of God's salvation. The apostle uses this as a reason for his exhortations in verses 1 through 10.
Verse 11 says, "For the grace of God has appeared, bringing salvation to all men." The grace of God is actually God Himself in Christ as everything to us for our enjoyment. This grace plays the most important role in the economy of God's salvation. Grace came through Christ (John 1:17). It was given to us in eternity (2 Tim. 1:9), but was hidden in the Old Testament. It appeared in the New Testament through the first appearing of Christ (2 Tim. 1:10), bringing salvation to all men, both Jews and Gentiles.
The eternal grace of God, the saving grace, was destined in Christ to bring to us His salvation, the complete salvation which includes forgiveness, justification, reconciliation, redemption, regeneration, sanctification, transformation, and conformation. The eternal grace of God was also destined to redeem us back to God, to impart His life to us, and to bring us into an organic union with Him for the fulfillment of His eternal purpose.
In verse 12 Paul says that the grace of God is training us that, "denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly and righteously and godly in the present age." Worldly lusts are lusts that find their gratification in this world. Ungodliness is the failure to express God; worldly lusts are the expression of our flesh. Both of these should be denied that we may live a God-expressing and flesh restricting life. To live soberly is to live discreetly, in a way of self-restriction. Soberly is in regard to ourselves; righteously, to others; and godly, to God.
By the grace of God we are being trained to live soberly, righteously, and godly. This requires that we deny ungodliness and worldly lusts. Ungodliness is a living which does not express God. We should not have anything to do with the life that fails to express God. Furthermore, we should abandon whatever attracts us to earthly things or draws us to them. Forsaking ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live a life which is sober toward ourselves, righteous toward others, and godly toward God.
In verse 13 Paul continues, "Awaiting the blessed hope, even the appearing of the glory of the great God and our Savior, Christ Jesus." We are to await expectantly what is accepted in faith. According to verse 13, we are awaiting the blessed hope, which is the appearing of Christ in His glory. The appearing of Christ will bring us into full sonship, that is, the redemption of our body, that we may enjoy the freedom of the glory of the children of God for which we have been saved (Rom. 8:21-25). This is the hope of eternal life (Titus 1:2), a hope of eternal blessing, a blessed hope in the eternal life of the Triune God, based upon which Paul became an apostle.
In verse 13 Paul speaks of the glory of the great God; that is the glory of the Father (Matt. 16:27) which has been given to the Son (John 17:24) and into which we, as the many sons of God, will be brought (Heb. 2:10). Unto this glory God by His wisdom has ordained us before the ages (1 Cor. 2:7), and into this eternal glory the God of all grace has called us and saved us (1 Pet. 5:10; 2 Tim. 2:10). The weight of this glory is eternal (2 Cor. 4:17), and with it we shall be glorified (Rom. 8:17, 30). The appearing of this glory of Christ, our great God and Savior, is the blessed hope which we are awaiting.
In verse 13 Paul speaks of "the great God and our Savior, Christ Jesus." Through the centuries there have been two schools of interpretation regarding this remarkable, marvelous, and excellent sacred and divine title. According to one school, two Persons are indicated, God and Christ. According to the other school, there is but one Person, Christ Jesus being the great God and our Savior, thus asserting the deity of Christ. We prefer the second, with a comma after Savior. This corresponds to the two sacred titles revealed at the birth of Christ: Jesus, Jehovah the Savior, and Emmanuel, God with us (Matt. 1:21-23). Our Lord is not only our Savior, but also God, and not merely God, but the great God, the God who is great in nature, in glory, in authority, in power, in deed, in love, in grace, and in every divine attribute. In 1 Timothy 2:5 our Lord is revealed as a man; here, as the great God. He is both man and God. His appearing in His divine glory will be not only for saving His people into the kingdom age, but also for the judgment of the entire world, that He may bring the kingdom of God to this earth. Hence, His appearing in His glory is the blessed hope.