Sunday, 17 June 2018
…teaching us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly in the present age, Titus 2:12
Paul now takes the exhortations of the previous verses, and he explains the reason for them. The last thing he relayed was that “the grace of God that brings salvation has appeared to all men.” Jesus is that grace of God which is offered. In response, we are to act in a manner which is appropriate to the grace we have received. This then is what is intended. It is “teaching us.” The word signifies discipline, even punishment. It is the kind of chastening that is intended to train up a child. Charles Ellicott states the intent. He says it is “educating us by life’s sad experiences. God’s grace is in truth a stern discipline of self-denial and training for higher things.”
Understanding the context, Paul says this process is “teaching us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts” is for a specific purpose. In our lives, we are to refuse to affirm any actions which would be ungodly. That includes a life of irreverence, wickedness, and refusing to give honor to God. We are also to refuse to participate in any worldly lusts. This speaks of inordinate desires, passions, and urges. We are to deny such things which are contrary to lives of holiness, and we are to “live soberly.”
Here Paul uses the adverbial form of another word that is found in the pastoral epistles. It signifies acting sensibly and with a sound mind. Thus it speaks of living moderately and in a manner which is true to our calling.
He then says we are to live “righteously.” This speaks of being judicially approved. It was first used in comparison to Jesus on the cross in Luke 23 –
Then one of the criminals who were hanged blasphemed Him, saying, “If You are the Christ, save Yourself and us.”
40 But the other, answering, rebuked him, saying, “Do you not even fear God, seeing you are under the same condemnation? 41 And we indeed justly, for we receive the due reward of our deeds; but this Man has done nothing wrong.” 42 Then he said to Jesus, “Lord, remember me when You come into Your kingdom.”
In other words, just as Jesus had done nothing unjust and yet was sentenced, the criminals had received their punishment justly. So we are to walk in a manner like that of Christ Jesus.
Paul then continues with, “and godly.” It is an adverb found only here and in 2 Timothy 3:12. It signifies living piously. Our inward actions are to be exhibited in godly outward conduct.
Finally, Paul says that all of these are to be continued in us “in the present age.” This signifies during our entire time in this earthly walk. We have a time ahead where there will be a different order of things. But now, we are stuck in these fallen bodies and in a fallen world. We are to rise above these things though, and we are to conduct our lives in a manner which is appropriate to our calling based on the grace of God found in Christ Jesus.
Life application: There can be no doubt that the words of this verse are difficult to apply to our lives at times. We face many stresses such as hunger, lack of sleep, noisy neighbors, or whatever. They can cause us to get unhinged and off track. But Paul exhorts us to do our utmost to live in a manner worthy of our calling at all times. This is what is good and honorable, and so let us pursue this to the greatest extent possible.
Lord God, we can sure face our limitations at any given time. We get hungry, we tire from a lack of sleep, or we might stub our toe and lose our cool. Help us to continue on in a manner which is right and proper in such times. Help us to think on Your word, and to be ready to keep from failing to act in a way which is right, godly, and proper. Amen.