Amazing Grace – December 31, 2023

Titus 2:11-14

11 For the grace of God that bringeth salvation hath appeared to all men, 12 Teaching us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly, in this present world; 13 Looking for that blessed hope, and the glorious appearing of the great God and our Saviour Jesus Christ; 14 Who gave himself for us, that he might redeem us from all iniquity, and purify unto himself a peculiar people, zealous of good works.

One of the greatest hymns of church history is one that we all know very well. Amazing Grace by John Newton is well known by those who are even outside of the faith or may have never set foot in church. It was written by a man who had lived a life of rebellion as a slave trader and came to experience God’s grace personally. The words of this hymn have been around for quite some time, perhaps because most, if not all, people recognize the inherent need we have of grace. What is grace? Grace is God’s undeserved favor. It is God giving to rebellious sinners that which they have not earned and do not deserve. Some have defined it by using the acronym God’s Riches At Christ’s Expense (G-R-A-C-E). The hymn is not just about grace in general, but it is about God’s amazing grace that He has shown toward us all in a multitude of ways and most ultimately in sending His Son Jesus Christ into the world as a sacrifice for sin. It is fitting as we conclude our series on God’s attributes titled, “How Great Is Our God,” that we do so talking about God’s amazing grace.

The book of Titus is the last of the pastoral epistles in our New Testament order. It is written by Paul to Titus, who was left by Paul in charge of pastoring the church at Crete. He writes the letter to address how the church was to be conducting themselves. In chapter 2, after addressing several groups and how they were to be living in verses 1-10, he reminds them all of why. The grace they have received is meant to be shared with those around them and they should live in such a way to not hinder that testimony. In Titus 2:11-14, we can learn three things about God’s grace.

We learn in verse 11 that we are saved by God’s grace. This is not talking about being saved from earthly danger, a physical sickness, or a bad relationship. This is talking about being saved from our sin through the grace God has given in the Lord Jesus Christ and His work on the cross. This grace is available to “all men” and it “bringeth salvation.” All people are in need of salvation from sin. We are in rebellion to God, not just with what we do, but in who we are. We are “dead in our trespasses and sins” (Ephesians 2:1). Because of this, we are deserving of “death,” both physical and eternal (Romans 6:23). The penalty for our sin was placed on Jesus who came as a substitute for us (2 Corinthians 5:21; Romans 3:25-26) so that we could be forgiven. Because God is a gracious God, He has done this for us.

The next verse tells us that God’s grace is a sanctifying grace. We are not just saved from sin’s penalty, but we are set free from its power. Jesus also came to set us free from the bondage of sin so that it would no longer rule our lives (Romans 6-8; John 8:31-36). God’s grace accomplishes this in our lives by “teaching” us. The word for “teaching” in verse 12 is a word that has to do with raising and disciplining a child. God does not just forgive us of our sins and then leave us to continue to wallow in them. Instead, He forgives us and then empowers us to walk in obedience to Him so that we are made into new people. Paul wrote in 2 Corinthians 5:17, “Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.” His grace teaches us to deny the world and sin and instead to live with self-control and righteousness. True saving grace always leads to repentance and a changed life. Any understanding we have of grace that leaves a sinner in their sin is not God’s grace.

Finally, verses 13-14 tell us about the security that God’s grace brings. The Bible is full of passages addressing the security of those who place their faith in Christ. 1 Peter 1:5 tells us that we are “kept by the power of God” and Philippians 1:6 promises, “he which hath begun a good work in you will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ.” Ephesians 1:13-14 tells us that we are “sealed with the Holy Spirit…until the redemption of the purchased possession” and Jesus tells us that no one is able to snatch us out of His or His Father’s hand (John 10:27-29). Jesus is coming again and we look forward to that “blessed hope.” “Hope” in Scripture is not wishful thinking. Instead, it is expectant waiting. God is working in our lives now, moving us and preparing us for that day when we will see Jesus face-to-face. His purpose is to “redeem us from all iniquity” and make us His “peculiar people.”

Have you received God’s amazing grace? It is available to all now through the Lord Jesus Christ. As a Christian, are you being set free from sin and looking forward to that day when Jesus returns for His church? May we be able to sing with Newton, “Amazing grace! How sweet the sound, that saved a wretch like me! I once was lost, but now am found; was blind, but now I see. When we’ve been there ten thousand years, bright shining as the sun, we’ve no less days to sing God’s praise than when we’d first begun.”