October 2, 2012
THE GEORGIA CAPITOL DEVOTIONAL - 2 OCTOBER 2012
If you remember your youth, chances are that you heard the immortal answer to the question, “Mom—Dad—why do I have to do that?” The immortal answer, of course, is, “Because I said so!” The reply is one of the great answers of all time, and most have heard it at some point in life; and, it is a very good answer, at times! When young people, obey in response to that answer—“Because I said so”—they are pleasing God, because He told us in the Fifth Commandment that we are glorifying Him when we honor our father and our mother. Sometimes, even though young people may not like the answer, and even though they would like to have a more complete rationale given to them by their parents, as to the particulars reasons for the request to do something; yet, responding in obedience to “Because I said so” is a good thing.
In Titus 2:1-10, one may have expected the Apostle Paul to give a “Because I said so” reason for why the Christians in Crete ought to obey the commands and the exhortations that he had just given in those verses. Why should I, as an older man or as an older woman, or as a younger man or as a younger woman, obey Paul’s commands in those verses with regard to my character and conduct? Well, “Because I said so” might have been a good answer from Paul. He could have said, “I am an apostle of the Lord Jesus Christ; I have been vested with Jesus’ authority to shepherd and to teach, and even to command and exhort His church. My word is the very inspired Word of the Holy Spirit for these people, and you ought to do these things just because I said so.” However, the Apostle Paul provided a fairly amazing answer as to the reason why the Cretan Christians, and why we as Christians in Georgia (or in other places), ought to obey the exhortations of Titus 2:1-10, and you can discern that reason in verse 11.
For the grace of God has appeared, bringing salvation to all men,
“The grace of God” teaches us “to deny ungodliness and worldly desires [passions] and to live sensibly [self-controlled], righteously [upright] and godly [lives] in the present age.” Scripture is communicating to us that there is an aspect of the dynamic of God’s grace in which our cognizance of God’s kindness to believers in salvation leads us naturally into the desire to deny the normal lusts of the present age. After this desire has been created sovereignly by grace, the enablement is subsequently by grace. All Christian “denial” (opposition) to the wickedness of this present age is energized by grace, that is, the inward activity of the Holy Spirit. In other words, Paul says the reason these Christians ought to obey is as a consequence of God’s grace. The reason for hearing and heeding Scripture is because God’s grace has been manifest in Jesus Christ to those who believe/trust in Him. God’s grace has been manifest to whosoever believes/trusts in Christ Jesus, and those who are Christians may be from every type and class of man and woman—they may be from every tribe and tongue and people and nation, and from every social class and situation in life. God’s grace has been manifest to them, and because God’s grace has been manifest to them, they ought to respond with a resolute, “Yes, I will, Yes, I will delight to hear and heed the commands of God’s holy and inspired Word.”
Grace transforms! Titus 2 reminds us that the grace of God, which results in the believer’s salvation, has been manifested to all kinds of people who are Christians in Georgia and throughout the world, and that the grace of God that accomplishes that salvation has not only brought them reconciliation with the Creator, but it has brought them a transformation. God’s grace has appeared to all, which is why Christians ought to live in such a manner that reflects their transformation. The receiving of God’s grace is also reason to conduct ourselves in accordance with the commands and precepts of Holy Scripture. Furthermore, this is why those who believe/trust in Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior ought to pursue godliness.
Looking for the blessed hope and the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior, Christ Jesus, who gave Himself for us, to redeem us from every lawless deed, and to purify for Himself a people for His own possession, zealous for good deeds (Titus 2:13-14).
Amazed by Grace,