“Look carefully then how you walk, not as unwise but as wise.” (Ephesians 5:15)
“For the grace of God has appeared, bringing salvation to all men, instructing us to deny ungodliness and worldly desires, and to live sensibly, righteously and godly, in the present age.” (Titus 2:11-12)
What does it mean, that “the grace of God has appeared” ? What is it exactly, that has appeared? “God’s grace” is another way of saying, “God’s kindness and favor”. But, in what “form” has God’s kindness and favor appeared?
I think Philippians 2, verses 5 thru 8 describe it very well, with these words; “Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus: Who, existing in the form of God, did not consider equality with God, something to be grasped, but emptied Himself, taking the form of a servant, being made in the likeness of men. And being found in “appearance” as a man, He humbled Himself, and became obedient to death, even death on a cross.”
That’s how God’s grace has “appeared” to all men. It “appeared”, in Jesus Christ! Jesus Christ is the embodiment, of God’s grace! Jesus Christ, was, God’s grace in the flesh.
“And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we have seen his glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father, full of GRACE and truth.” (John 1:14) God’s grace became flesh, and literally “appeared”.
John wrote in 1 John 1, verses 1 thru 3; “That which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we have looked upon, and our hands have handled, of the Word of life; (the Word of Life, is what really appeared, isn’t it?) (“In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God!” John 1:1)
“And the life was manifested, (It appeared) and we have seen and testify and proclaim to you, the ETERNAL life, which was with the Father and was manifested to us; that which we have seen and heard, we proclaim also to you, so that you too, may have fellowship with us, and indeed our fellowship is with the Father, and with his Son Jesus Christ.”
Yes, God’s grace has truly appeared! And our opening verses, Titus 2, verses 11 & 12, point out two things that this “appearance” of God’s grace, has accomplished. The first thing having been accomplished, (stated in verse 11) is.. “bringing salvation to all men.”
And the second thing accomplished, (stated in verse 12) is.. “instructing us to deny ungodliness and worldly desires, and to live sensibly, righteously and godly, in the present age.”
Concerning “bringing salvation to all men”; Many people take that to mean, that ALL men will be saved. But we know, that’s contrary to the rest of scripture. Everyone will not be saved. But yet God’s kindness has indeed “brought” salvation to everyone. But the sad part is that most people, won’t accept the salvation “brought” to them. The idea is that salvation has been “offered” to everyone; Because as we read in 1 Timothy 2, verse 4, God, “..desires all men to be saved, and to come to the knowledge of the truth.”
And so God brought salvation down from heaven, and He has offered it to all who will accept it. But the problem is, God doesn’t offer it to us “on a silver platter” so to speak. But rather, He offers it to us on a cross. And Jesus tells us, that if we would accept God’s offer, then we need to take up that cross daily, and follow Him. (Luke 9:23)
In order to live right, in a world gone wrong, we must take up that cross daily, and deny ourselves this world, so that we can gain a better world.
God indeed “desires” that everyone would be saved, but God has also indeed given each one of us the free choice, whether to obey His words, or to disobey His words. “Choose for yourselves” the scriptures say.. “Choose for yourselves this day, whom you will serve..” (Joshua 24:15)
God has brought salvation down from heaven, for everyone to take part in. When the scripture says that God “desires” all men to be saved, that word means.. “I am willing, I wish, I intend, I design.”
Acts 10:35 tells us; “But in every nation, whoever fears Him and works righteousness, is accepted by Him.” Just like God intended and designed, that Adam and Eve should live in the paradise of God, all the days of their lives; God also intended and designed, that EVERYONE should come to the knowledge of the truth, and thus be saved, and live in the paradise of God, in heaven, eternally.
But we all make choices, every day, and that’s also how God intended and designed it. And so, “the grace of God has appeared, bringing the offer of salvation to all men, INSTRUCTING US, to deny ungodliness and worldly desires, and to live sensibly, righteously and godly, in the present age.”
In other words.. No matter what “the world” does; No matter what “the people” of the world do, we as Christians, are to have live as God has instructed us to live. Christians, are to “deny ungodliness and worldly desires, (which are basically the same thing) and to live sensibly, righteously and godly, in the present age.”
We’d be wise to consider the words of Colossians 3:5 & 6; “Therefore consider the members of your earthly body as dead to immorality, impurity, passion, evil desire, and greed which amounts to idolatry, for it is because of these things that the wrath of God will come upon the sons of disobedience.”
And the word of Romans 12:1 & 2; “Therefore I urge you, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies a living sacrifice, acceptable to God, which is your spiritual service of worship and do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect.”
And all of this is what could be called.. “Living Right In A World So Wrong”
Let me read to you what a preacher recently wrote about the subject..
Considering our instructions from God, on how to live our lives, the evil, the wickedness and the gross immorality that surrounds us, and must be dealt with each day, serves as a reminder that it’s not going to be easy to follow these instructions. Living right, in a world gone so bad, is going to require great effort on our part, not to fall prey to the evil one.
For example, 1 Pet. 5:8-9 tells us; “Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom to devour: Which you must resist, steadfast in the faith, knowing that the same afflictions are accomplished in your brethren that are in the world.”
1 Pet. 2:10 thru 12 tells us; “Once you were not a people, but now you are the people of God; Once you had not received mercy, but now you have received mercy. Beloved, I urge you, as foreigners and exiles, to abstain from the desires of the flesh, which war against your soul. Keep your conduct among the Gentiles honorable, (Gentiles simply represent the unbelievers) so that when they speak against you as evildoers, they may see your good deeds, and glorify God on the day of visitation.”
And 1 Cor. 10:12 warns us; “Therefore let anyone who thinks that he stands take heed lest he fall.”
But James 4:7 thru 10 encourages us; “Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. Draw near to God, and he will draw near to you.” And it exhorts us saying; “Cleanse your hands, you sinners, and purify your hearts, you double-minded. Be afflicted, and mourn, and weep: Let your laughter be turned to mourning, and your joy to heaviness. Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will exalt you.”
Thanks be to God, we do not walk alone in this old world of sin and strife, one that is filled with so much unrest, socially, politically and spiritually; A world in which God is mocked, and his word is torn asunder, with doctrines of men.
O, how I love the words of 1 John 4:4; “You are from God little children and have overcome them; For greater is he who is in you than he who is in the world.”
I would think it’s an undeniable fact, that in order to deny ungodliness and worldly desires, and to live sensibly, righteously and godly in this present world, we must have an unwavering trust in God.
Psalm 62:8 tells us; “Trust in him at all times, O people; Pour out your heart before him; God is a refuge for us!”
Prov. 3:5 says; “Trust in the LORD with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding.”
And Psalm 56:3 simply puts it this way; “When I am afraid, I put my trust in You.”
When you trust in God, you are rising above the world. Listen to Colossians 3, verses 1 thru 4; “If then you have been raised with Christ, (that would be raised out of baptism) (Romans 6, verse 4 says; “Therefore we have been buried with Him through baptism into death, so that as Christ was raised from the dead, through the glory of the Father, so we too might walk in newness of life.”)
So then.. “If then you have been raised with Christ, seek the things that are above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. Set your minds on things that are above, not on things that are on earth. For you have died, and your life is hidden with Christ, in God. When Christ who is your life, appears, then you also will appear with Him in glory.”
Isn’t that how we live right, in a world gone so wrong? Here’s verses 5 thru 9; “Put to death therefore what is earthly in you: Sexual immorality, impurity, passion, evil desire, and covetousness, which is idolatry. Because of which things, the wrath of God is coming, on the sons of disobedience. In these you too once walked, when you were living in them. But now you must put them all away: Anger, wrath, malice, slander, and obscene talk from your mouth. Do not lie to one another, seeing that you have put off the old self, with its practices.”
How many people think lying, is no big deal? Everybody does it. But is that actually true? Does EVERYBODY lie? The truth is.. No they don’t. Not if they want to live right, in a world gone bad. If you’re happy just being a part of the world, then carry on any way you choose. But if you want to have a part in the resurrection unto life, then “put to death therefore what is earthly in you.”
James tells us about an attitude we should have, if we want to live right. He writes in James 1, verses 2 thru 4; “Consider it all joy, my brethren, when you encounter various trials, (you know, some of the “trials” that we encounter, tempt us to be a part of the world. To go ahead and join right in.) “Consider it all joy, my brethren, when you encounter various trials, because you know that the testing of your faith, develops perseverance. And let perseverance have its perfect result, so that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.
And then James goes on to say; “But if any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all generously and without reproach, and it will be given to him. But he must ask in faith without any doubting, for the one who doubts is like the surf of the sea, driven and tossed by the wind.”
And so to live right in this world, we must have the right attitude, and we must have faith! And we need to use that faith, by practicing what we say we believe in.
And here’s one last thing that will help us immensely to live right. And that is, to use, the privilege of prayer!
1 Peter 3:12 says; “For the eyes of the Lord are on the righteous, and his ears are open to their prayer. But the face of the Lord is against those who do evil.”
Philippians 4:6 & 7 tells us; “Be anxious for nothing, but in everything, by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God. (Pray) And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.”
And verse 8 tells us yet another way to separate ourselves from the world. By not even thinking the same thoughts as the world thinks. Verse 8 says; “Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things.”
Let’s think on all these things that I’ve spoken about this morning; And let’s all make sure we live right, in a world gone so wrong. Let’s be the “light of the world”, that God wants us to be.