Studies in the Pastoral Epistles and Philemon
12. Titus 2:11-14 - Grace-Based Behavior
Paul then gives a theological reason for teaching people to be well-behaved: “For the grace of God that brings salvation has appeared to all men” (v. 11). Or the Greek could also be translated, “The grace of God has appeared, bringing salvation to all” (NRSV). Not everyone has seen it yet, but salvation is available to everyone on the basis of grace.
And what does this grace do? “It teaches us to say ‘No’ to ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright and godly lives in this present age” (v. 12). Grace—if we understand it correctly— teaches us to reject sin and to do good. As children of God, we want to be like the Son of God, but we cannot do this on our own strength. It is only by God’s grace that we are enabled to do what he wants.
This is a good way to live “in this present age,” but the rewards are not necessarily seen in this age. Therefore, “we wait for the blessed hope—the glorious appearing of our great God and Savior, Jesus Christ” (v. 13). Here, Jesus is clearly called God, and Paul says that we await his return.
What did Jesus do? He “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” (v. 14). He redeemed us from sin. But Christ has a purpose for us beyond that: He wants to purify us, to eliminate the sin, and to create in us a desire for good behavior.
Something to think about
- Grace means that we are not penalized for sin; how then does it teach us to avoid sin? (v. 12)
Author: Michael Morrison, PhD