I have been spending some time in Titus lately. I am pleasantly surprised by what I have found there. I am encouraged by Paul’s straightforward expression of the transforming reality of God’s grace and gospel in Jesus. Here’s the passage that stands out to me as the central catalyst of everything else in this little letter:
For the grace of God has appeared, bringing salvation for all people, training us to renounce ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright, and godly lives in the present age, waiting for our blessed hope, the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ, who gave himself for us to redeem us from all lawlessness and to purify for himself a people for his own possession who are zealous for good works. — Titus 2:11-14 (ESV)
I think it reflects a growing desire in me, perhaps for 2010. To be trained by grace. By Jesus. By the gospel. There are three actions grace trains us to have. To RENOUNCE, to LIVE, and to WAIT. Here are the nuggets I have pulled out so far.
RENOUNCE, in the Greek there is a sense of “refusing something offered.” It is clear that my flesh (the part of me use to living without dependence upon or relationship with God), the world, and the Enemy offer me alternatives to God’s way of life. While I have an inclination towards sin, that is not the end of the story. I can stand firm in resisting, rejecting, refusing anything that is offered to me apart from God.
LIVE, in the Greek there is a sense of “to enjoy life” and “be full of vigor.” What a gift it is to live! To really be alive. I was reading 10 Resolutions for Mental Health from the Desiring God blog, Kilby’s suggestions seemed to express exactly what this word is saying about enjoying life with God. His reflections on God, creation, and men are not contingent on circumstances, they reflect an eternal perspective on the gift of life.
WAIT, in the Greek is pretty unique. It reflects the opening to companionship and intimacy, while also the idea of expecting a promise to be fulfilled. This is a pretty amazing word. I do not want to think I know all I can about what Paul is trying to express. Since I am living in a unique, to me, state of waiting I am very excited about this. In the waiting there is an invitation to more relationship than has been experienced. It is the kind of waiting used for a man and wife becoming one. In waiting there is also a confidence in promises being fulfilled. So, as relationship and circumstance have not yet arrived at what is ultimately desired, there is great joy in the anticipation.
Lord, train me by your grace through Jesus to refuse any offer that is not from you, to enjoy the fullness of life today, and to joyfully anticipate the consummation of your will in my life and the world.