Tuesday, January 04, 2011

The Promise of His Coming (35)

Appearances can be deceptive, but not in Paul's letter to Titus. Here, within the relatively short letter, various forms of the word appear are used.

Speaking of our blessed hope, Paul writes of 'the appearing of the glory of our great God and Saviour Jesus Christ.' (2:14) This is the future appearing, what we would normally call the 'second coming' of Jesus. But even as Paul looks forward, twice he looks back to the Christmas message, to the appearing of grace, goodness and living kindness:

For the grace of God has appeared, bringing salvation for all people... (Titus 2:11)

But when the goodness and loving kindness of God our Saviour appeared, he saved us, not because of works done by us in righteousness, but according to his own mercy... (Titus 3:4-5)

In each of these instances, the grace of God and the goodness and loving kindness of God our Saviour, he is speaking of the Lord Jesus, appearing at Christmas. And why did Jesus come?

In order to save us, yes, but more than that, 'to redeem us from all lawlessness and to purify for himself a people for his own possession who are zealous for good works.' (Titus 2:14) Believing leads to behaving (if I can put it like that); or in other words, the gospel leads to godliness / good works.

The Christmas message must change us - by saving us, and by turning our life around to live for God by doing good. We can't have the second if we haven't had the first change of salvation. The order must be correct. But once we're saved, we must see change, by the power of God through the Holy Spirit as we become more like Jesus.

The grace of God has appeared for salvation - we see this grace as we look on Jesus.

No comments:

Post a Comment