Saturday, 5 December 2015

Daily Reading: Titus 2v11-14 'Grace creates community'

"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."

After calling Titus to teach different groups in the church in Crete how to live gospel centred lives Paul provides the motivation for doing so in v11-14.  Because the grace God has appeared and it saves and teaches and trains us to live by grace.  But I want to just pause to think about something else that has struck me in this passage as I've prepared for preaching it on Sunday.

Grace saves and trains us to live in community, grace creates a new family that is united and relates by grace.  We see that in the language Paul uses.  We are very individualistic because that is how our society teaches us to be.  Independence good, dependence bad.  But the gospel turns that on it's head. Grace calls together a new people (14) purified by Jesus for Jesus.  It does not call individuals to be individuals, it calls all people (v11) to salvation by grace for community wherein grace teaches us how to live.

I can't help wondering if future generations will look back and be amazed that we allowed technology to so isolates us as humans, and if future generations of believers will look back and marvel at how the proliferation of great preaching available on line led people to abandon grace filled relationship in the flesh in Christ's church.  Paul by contrast calls Titus to teach the church that grace creates community, its the "us... we... our... us... us... people..." of the passage.  The church is Christ's treasured possession, is that how we think of it?  How does that show itself?

Is grace at work teaching and training me to live a holy life in community with my church family?  Is it causing me to be quick to show grace and swift to forgive?  Am I concerned for us to be becoming a pure people rather than just me a pure person?

Paul writes this even though he is well aware of the imperfections of churches - just think about the letters he had to write to Corinth and Galatia.  The church is not perfect but it is the place where we train in grace, where we put the lessons learnt by grace into action.  If church is Jesus treasured possession ought it not to be ours too?

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