11For the grace of God that brings salvation has appeared to all men. 12It teaches us to say "No" to ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright and godly lives in this present age, 13while we wait for the blessed hope—the glorious appearing of our great God and Savior, Jesus Christ, 14who gave himself for us to redeem us fromall wickedness and to purify for himself a people that are his very own, eager to do what is good.
15These, then, are the things you should teach. Encourage and rebuke with all authority. Do not let anyone despise you.
1. Grace Motivates/Enables!!
The first thing the word teaches us is that grace transforms. In verse 10, Paul gives commands to various people in the Christiancongregation (to older men and women, to young men and women) and he tells them they should act in a certain way and to relate in a certain way towards one another. After in verses 11-15 he tells them why. And the reason that he tells them to relate that way to one another is because of God’s grace. God’s grace has appeared to you all, and that is why you ought to act in this way towards one another.That is why you ought to conduct yourself in this way. This is why you ought to pursue godliness. Grace transforms. The salvation-bringing grace of God has not only brought us forgiveness, but it has brought them a transformation.
Grace, as you know, is the sovereign favor of God. And since we are fallen and rebellious sinners, it is of necessity unmerited by us. It’s unearned by us, it’sundeserved by us. Nobody deserves God’s forgiving grace.
When Paul says that God’s grace has brought salvation to all men, what does he mean? Does he mean that all humanity has been saved in Jesus Christ? That every last person who ever lived has been redeemed and saved by Christ?
Paul, throughout the rest of his letters makes it clear that there are many people who do not embrace Jesus Christ forsalvation as He is offered in the gospel, and they are thus destined for God’s eternal punishment, not for eternal fellowship with God.
Paul is talking about God’s grace bringing salvation to all kinds, classes, and conditions of people, especially here amongst these Cretan Christians. This salvation has involved their rescue from sin, their forgiveness of sin, but it has also involved God’s rescuingthem from the power or the dominion of sin. And in the manifestation of God’s grace to all sorts and classes of people here in these churches, Paul is saying that God’s purpose is not only to forgive you, but to change you: to renovate you; to sanctify you; to transform you.
God’s grace has dawned on these Cretan Christians regardless of their age or their gender or their social standing, andGod’s grace always reigns in righteousness, Paul is saying. God’s grace not only forgives, God’s grace transforms.
2. Grace Teaches!
Read verse 12. “It teaches us to say "No" to ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright and godly lives in this present age.”
Teaches us what?
It teaches us to deny ungodliness and to embrace godliness.
A thing to remember and keep inyour prayers that you would deny ungodliness and worldly desires on the one hand (grace’s work in you, transforming you); and that you would live sensibly, righteously and godly lives in the present age.
You see, the salvation-bringing grace of God is a teacher of godliness. Where grace reigns, grace trains. And where grace is reigning it trains us to hate ungodliness and to love godliness.Denying ungodliness and worldly desires—that is, renouncing the sinful desires and urges and tendencies that our fleshly selves have—and then positively he speaks of God’s reigning in grace and training us in grace in three areas: self; our relation to others; and, our relation to God.
* Self: self-control, one of the fruits of the Spirit; self-mastery, in which we have control over ourselves...