Sunday, 6 December 2015

Daily Reading: Titus 2v11-14 'Entering the school of grace'

"11 For the grace of God has appeared that offers salvation to all people. 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, 13 while we wait for the blessed hope – the appearing of the glory of our great God and Saviour, Jesus Christ, 14 who gave himself for us to redeem us from all wickedness and to purify for himself a people that are his very own, eager to do what is good."

Paul tells Titus that what produces gospel change is grace.  Believers aren't just saved by grace they enrol in the school of grace.  It is not that we start off with grace but then move on from grace in order to change.  Grace is the ABC of faith, you never leave it, it is at work in every change and lesson we learn.  Grace becomes our teacher, our trainer.  It teaches us both positively and negatively, it teaches us to say 'No' to some things and 'Yes' to others, it does so as it changes and transforms our world view and our loves.

Grace changes our worldview in that it transforms the way we think of God.  We all instinctively think of God like Adam and Eve did once the snake had hissed his accusations against God in Genesis 3.  Is God loving?  Is God just restrictive?  Does he really know what is best for me?  You may have heard that hiss as you read verse 12 - how did you read it?  Did it seem restrictive and joyless to you?  If so that is Satan hissing in your ear.  

But grace transforms the way we think about God.  Instead of reading verse 12 as restrictive we read it as joy giving and life bringing.  Godliness becomes something positive to pursue because we know what God is like.  God is a God of grace, God the Father sent God the Son who, in love, leaves the splendour and worship he is due to come to earth, and then to the cross where by the Spirit he offers himself and experiences what we deserve so that we are reconciled to God and credited with his recorded and rewarded with what he deserves.  That is grace, it teaches us that God is for us, God is not a mean killjoy, God is not a harsh task master, he is a loving Father who has given the most precious thing to him to find lost humanity and bring us back into relationship with him.  And it makes godliness something we want to purse and ungodliness something we want to cut out.

Grace also makes us love Jesus, having seen what he did for us at Calvary how can we not?  It makes us long to know him and look forward to his return.  And that new affection drives out the old.  Grace makes us love and drives out our old loves, making us more like Jesus.  Grace changes us from the inside out.  

As we meditate on God's grace which appeared in Jesus our hearts are warmed, our thoughts transformed and our hope revolutionised.

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