I don’t want this. But, it sometimes becomes cliche and cheap and meaningless to talk about grace in the contemporary church scene. Grace often means that sin will abound. Grace is often connected with a false view of religion. It means that I can sing in the praise band on Sunday and fool around with sin on Saturday night.
We need to take the hit and repent. The Devil loves our weird view of grace. He is the father of lies and he loves to deceive people into believing that grace is meaningless. Satan is a fool. I don’t want his lies about grace to steal my joy and my freedom in Christ.
God’s grace is an explosion of the light of Christ in the darkness of my sins. God takes all the sin and garbage in my life, straps it to a dump-truck full of dynamite, and throws a torch in. Grace is the love of Jesus Christ taking my life by storm and re-directing my loves away from sin and toward His holiness. I am a worthless sinner, but grace helps me take responsibility for my actions, and drives me to Christ.
In Titus 2:11-14, the Apostle Paul describes the grace of God this way to the young leader Titus who is standing in the breaches and fighting for the grace of God:
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.”
The grace of God is a training ground. He has saved us from our sins. We are being trained to cast off ungoldiness and wordly passions and to live godly lives. We look to Jesus who redeemed us from all lawlessness. The zeal for good works is often the end results, but the grace of God is bootcamp for righteousness. This world is bootcamp for righteousness. The Church is where we know the love and grace of the Triune God, revealed in Jesus Christ. When we know Christ, we start training.
This is why we are called to speak the truth and to speak it in love. This is why we are called to love what is good and abhor what is evil. We are in training. We love that training because it is a good life. This is why Titus rebukes trouble-makers in the Church and exhorts men and women to pursue gentleness and peace. It’s all training in the bootcamp of the goodness and kindness of God in the darkness of this world. The Church is called to be that explosion of grace in the darkness of this world.
Jesus is the center of it all. In Him and Him alone it is not moralism that is rotten to the core. When our hearts delight in the salvation that Jesus bought for us on the cross, it is all delight, it is pure joy. Paul goes on to show Titus in chapter 3:3-8 that we are caught up in a glorious story that gives our lives meaning. And it is all because of the goodness and kindness of God who redeemed us from the power of the Devil:
For we ourselves were once foolish, disobedient, led astray, slaves to various passions and pleasures, passing our days in malice and envy, hated by others and hating one another. But when the goodness and loving kindness of God our Savior appeared, he saved us, not because of works done by us in righteousness, but according to his own mercy, by the washing of regeneration and renewal of the Holy Spirit, whom he poured out on us richly through Jesus Christ our Savior, so that being justified by his grace we might become heirs according to the hope of eternal life. The saying is trustworthy, and I want you to insist on these things, so that those who have believed in God may be careful to devote themselves to good works. These things are excellent and profitable for people.