Monday, November 29, 2021

Advent Words Day 2 ~ Grace


Day 2:Grace

"The grace of God has appeared that brings salvation to all people. It teaches us to say "No" to ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright and godly lives in this present age, while we wait for the blessed hope - the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior, Jesus Christ " Titus 2:11-13


We saw yesterday that the appearing of the grace of God is the incarnation - the birth, life, ministry, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ.


"The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the one and only Son, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth." John 1:14

"Out of his fullness we have all received grace in place of grace already given. For the law was given through Moses; grace and truth came through Jesus Christ." John 1:16-17


It’s not that grace was not present before the appearing of Christ, but rather that God's grace was fully realized in and through Christ. The nature of God's grace was made manifest, it became visible, in Jesus Christ.


Grace, in its shortest definition, means the unmerited favor of God. It is an act of His loving kindness given to those who do not deserve it and who have not earned it. Paul reminds us of this in the book of Ephesians and then later in the book of Titus:

"For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God— not by works, so that no one can boast." Ephesians 2:8-9


"But when the kindness and love of God our Savior appeared, he saved us, not because of righteous things we had done, but because of his mercy. He saved us through the washing of rebirth and renewal by the Holy Spirit, whom he poured out on us generously through Jesus Christ our Savior, so that, having been justified by his grace, we might become heirs having the hope of eternal life." Titus 3:4-7


The gift of God is this: With the appearing of God's grace in the person of Jesus Christ, salvation has been made available to all people. Grace brings salvation. It's not that everyone is saved, but that grace makes the offer of salvation available to all. God gifts salvation to all who will accept His gift through faith in His Son.


"For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him." John 3:16-17


But God's gift does not end there. God's gift of salvation is not just an entry ticket into heaven, it is a gift that will transform our lives in this present age. Grace enables us and teaches us how to live a godly life.

"It teaches us to say "No" to ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright and godly lives in this present age…" Titus 2:12


The Greek word used here for "teach" is a word used in classical Greek for childrearing in all of its forms - teaching, correcting, loving, caring, raising to full maturity. Grace, then, is like a loving father in our lives. It teaches us, it disciplines us, it lovingly forms us into those who live lives that are pleasing to God. All of it, and all of our life in Christ, is grounded in God's grace. Author Jerry Bridges, says we are "disciplined by grace". In his book titled The Discipline of Grace (a favorite of mine!) he says,


"The grace that brings salvation to us also disciplines [trains, teaches, corrects, shapes] us. It does not do the one without the other. That is, God never saves people and leaves them alone to continue in their immaturity and sinful lifestyle. Those whom He saves, He disciplines. Paul said this another way in Philippians 1:6: "He who began a good work in you will carry it to completion until the day of Christ Jesus". "


"Until the day of Christ" is another term for His second Advent. In this present age while we wait for His return, grace is teaching us how to live for Christ, how to live in ways that please God. Grace teaches us by helping us say "No" to our former way of life. A life that was characterized by "ungodliness and worldly passion". And grace teaches us to say "Yes" to God's way of life, a life that is characterized by self-control, uprightness and godliness. Self-control is the Spirit-empowered ability to live in freedom from the control of sin in our life. Uprightness is living and acting in ways that are shaped by God's moral standards. And godliness is walking in the ways of Christ. These are all the gifts of God's grace!


But there is still another gift of God's grace expressed in Titus 2:11-14. That is the gift of the promised blessed hope when Christ appears in glory. We will look more at what this gift holds for us in upcoming words.

Share how you express today's word on social media using #adventwords2021. You can also share in the Words Challenge Fcebook Group.

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