Titus Series: Marks of Saving Grace (Tit 2:11-15)



Marks of Saving Grace


For the grace of God has appeared, bringing salvation to all people. It trains us to reject godless ways and worldly desires and to live self-controlled, upright, and godly lives in the present age, as we wait for the happy fulfillment of our hope in the glorious appearing of our great God and Savior, Jesus Christ. He gave himself for us to set us free from every kind of lawlessness and to purify for himself a people who are truly his, who are eager to do good. So communicate these things with the sort of exhortation or rebuke that carries full authority. Don’t let anyone look down on you.

Titus 2:11-15 (NET)



What are the marks of saving grace on the lives of true believers?


Grace simply refers to God’s unmerited favor on wretched sinners. The gospel teaches that all people are under God’s wrath because of sin (John 3:36, Rom 6:23). People sin against God by rejecting him and his righteous laws and living as though he doesn’t exist. They sin by hurting or neglecting others, and they sin against themselves by harming themselves in various ways. Because God is a just God, he will judge all people eternally for their sins in a place of fire called hell. However, since God is also loving, merciful, and gracious, he offers a way for people to be saved from his just wrath and have eternal life through his Son, Jesus Christ (John 3:16). God’s Son came to this earth as a man and died for our sins and in that death was separated from God for us. God accepted his death for our sins and raised him from the dead. As followers of Christ, we have all experienced God’s grace in salvation.


With that said, many have a misunderstanding of God’s saving grace in two ways. For some, they say to themselves, “God has saved me, and now I can live how I want.” Grace frees them to indulge in sin. Others distort grace by believing they are good enough to, at least in part, contribute to God’s salvation. This is what happens in every religion in the world—they believe they can work and be good enough to earn salvation. This is what happens in the Catholic church as they merge faith and works as a requirement for salvation, instead of working because of faith. Both of these are misunderstandings of God’s grace. One is called licentiousness (license to sin) or antinomianism (living without law) and the other is called legalism (the rigid practice of works to earn salvation or favor with God).


However, neither of these is a correct understanding of God’s grace. (1) God’s grace can only save those who realize they cannot save themselves. It can’t be earned. It is the unmerited favor of God on sinners. Ephesians 2:8-9 says, “For by grace you are saved through faith, and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God; it is not from works, so that no one can boast.” Romans 4:5 says, “But to the one who does not work, but believes in the one who declares the ungodly righteous, his faith is credited as righteousness.” In fact, in Luke 5:32, Christ said this, “I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance.” Those who think they can be justified before God because of some good work—their giving, baptism, attendance at church, etc.—cannot be saved. Unless we see ourselves as sinners, under God’s wrath, and unable to save ourselves, we cannot be saved. We cannot save ourselves, nor participate in salvation. Christ came to save sinners, not those who think they are righteous. (2) However, God’s grace also changes us. It doesn’t simply change our eternal destination; it changes our life. Second Corinthians 5:17, “So then, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; what is old has passed away—look, what is new has come!” It makes believers who are “eager [or zealous] to do good,” as Titus 2:14 says.


This seemed to be one of the major issues in the Cretan churches. They were claiming Christ but living like the world; their lives had not changed. Therefore, the necessity of believers doing good works is one of the major themes in the letter. Culturally, Cretans were known for being an unruly people. In Titus 1:12, Paul affirmed this quote about them, saying: “Cretans are always liars, evil beasts, lazy gluttons.” They had an unruly culture which made it easy to continue or fall back into old patterns after professing Christ. But, also the church was saturated with false teachers and teaching which increased their licentiousness instead of allowing God’s Word to change them. In Titus 1:10 and 16, Paul said this about them:


For there are many rebellious people, idle talkers, and deceivers, especially those with Jewish connections … They profess to know God but with their deeds they deny him, since they are detestable, disobedient, and unfit for any good deed.


Therefore, Paul seeks to transform them through teaching sound doctrine about the grace of God in salvation—helping them to understand what Christ actually did for them and how they should live because of it. In Titus 2:1, Paul said this to Titus about how to teach the Cretans: “But as for you, communicate the behavior that goes with sound teaching.” Healthy teaching leads to healthy living which is our necessary response to God’s grace. Surely, we need to hear this today as well. Following Christ must radically affect and change our lives. If there are no changes in our lives, then maybe we have never truly received God’s grace.


In this study, we will consider the marks of saving grace on those who are truly born again. As we consider the effects of God’s saving grace, we must confirm that they are in our lives which proves our salvation. In 2 Corinthians 13:5, Paul said this: “Put yourselves to the test to see if you are in the faith; examine yourselves! Or do you not recognize regarding yourselves that Jesus Christ is in you—unless, indeed, you fail the test!” Certainly, we must test ourselves as well by seeing if the marks of saving grace are in our lives. If they are not, we must truly repent and put our faith in Christ as Lord. And if they are, we must thank God and seek to grow in them, since this is part of the reason God saved us in the first place, to look like him.


Big Question: According to Titus 2:11-16, what marks of saving grace should be seen in the lives of true believers?


A Mark of Saving Grace Is a Growing Heart for Evangelism


For the grace of God has appeared, bringing salvation to all people.

Titus 2:11


The word “for” in verse 11, points back to verse 10 and the verses before it. In verses 1-10, Paul gave instructions about doing works that accord with sound doctrine (v. 1). There he spoke to the old men, old women, young women, young men, and even the slaves in the Cretan churches. He continually mentioned the need to practice obedience to sound doctrine “so that the message of God may not be discredited” (v. 5), “criticized” (v. 8), and finally when addressing slaves about obedience to their masters in verse 10, he adds, “so that in every way they will make the teaching about God our Savior attractive.” The reality is God is evaluated based on the obedience of his followers. When believers have conflict in their marriages, when pastors don’t live what they teach, and when Christian workers are not diligent and honest, instead of making God’s Word attractive, it repels people from it. Therefore, the “for” in verse 11 points these believers back to their need to be evangelistic and sensitive to unbelievers. He says, “For the grace of God has appeared, bringing salvation to all people.” Consequently, we should be good spouses, faithful teachers, and hard workers, in part, because God wants to save people. Second Peter 3:9 says that God, “does not wish for any to perish but for all to come to repentance.” First Timothy 4:10 says, “In fact this is why we work hard and struggle, because we have set our hope on the living God, who is the Savior of all people, especially of believers.” God is the savior of all people in the sense that we all deserve automatic judgment now, for one sin (Rom 6:23). One sin deserves eternal damnation; however, God holds back his wrath in hopes that people might hear and respond to the gospel so they can be saved. It’s in this sense that he is “especially” the Savior of believers. They have received his offer of saving grace, repented of their sins, and accepted Christ as their Lord, so that they will live eternally with God.


Therefore, one of the marks of saving grace is that we want others to experience it. We should live with a reverence in our daily lives because we know other people are watching. For many people, we are the only Bible that they will ever read, and if they like what they see in our lives, many will be attracted to the faith we profess (Tit 2:10). Now, certainly, this doesn’t mean we don’t have to share the gospel with our lips. We do! Romans 10:14 says, “… And how are they to believe in one they have not heard of? And how are they to hear without someone preaching to them?” We must teach the life, death, burial, and resurrection of God’s Son for our sins, and the need for people to respond to this reality with repentance and faith in Jesus Christ to be saved. We must proclaim it to all people. However, even when we are not saying it or when people have rejected our words, we must make our life a witness of these truths to make God’s message “attractive” (Tit 2:10).


Are we still being evangelistic? It’s the most natural response to something amazing. If we go to a great restaurant or watch a great movie, the first thing we do is tell others about it, so they can partake in our enjoyment. And as people listen to and watch our enthusiasm over our experience, they start to desire it as well. Can people still see and hear the gospel coming from our lives? If not, maybe, we’ve stopped thinking the gospel is amazing and started to think we, including our passions, are amazing instead. We can tell that this is true because we stop caring about others. We will fight with them over nonessential issues, instead of demonstrating the cross in our humility. We will fight to get our way even if it means hurting others in the process, though Christ gave up everything for us. We will even defend our rights to do and enjoy sinful things, even though Christ died to redeem us from sinful deeds. This is how we know when “self” has become more amazing than God’s “grace.” When “self” is amazing, “grace” is demeaned amongst the world, because we look just like them. We fight and argue just like them. We focus on ourselves just like them.


Are we still being evangelistic—sharing the gospel with others and seeking to live out the tenants of God’s Word to make the message attractive (Titus 2:10)? That’s a proof that we experienced God’s grace in salvation.


Interpretation Question: In what way has the grace of God appeared, bringing salvation to all people?


As mentioned, grace refers to God’s unmerited favor, but in this context, it seems to specifically refer to Christ at his first coming as the embodiment of grace. Christ has always eternally existed, but 2,000 years ago, he came to the earth as a baby, lived a sinless life, died for our sins, and rose from the dead, as God accepted his sacrifice. Christ was the personification of grace. In fact, John 1:16-17 (ESV) says this about Christ, “For from his fullness we have all received, grace upon grace. For the law was given through Moses; grace and truth came through Jesus Christ.” Christ presented grace to everyone in the sense that he offered salvation to all through belief in him. The law of Moses revealed our need for a savior because it brought condemnation for sin and provided no ability to obey God’s laws. However, Christ provided grace to be saved and grace to obey God’s commands.


Some versions translate Titus 2:10 to as “For the grace of God that brings salvation has appeared to all men” such as in the NKJV. This translation is not preferred because it makes it seem like all have heard the gospel, which they have not. Some studies say about 1.6 billion people have never heard the gospel which is about twenty percent of the world population. When Paul says, “the grace of God has appeared, bringing salvation to all people,” he seems to be referring to how salvation has been made universally available to all people and not that all people have seen it or heard it. Also, in the context of verse 10 when it says, “all people,” it may be referring to all types or classes of people. Paul had just given exhortations to old men and women, young men and women, and slaves in the church. The gospel message is not just for men or women, the poor or the rich, the slaves or the free, the Jew or the Gentile, the educated or the uneducated. It is for all people. Christ appeared in history 2,000 years ago to offer the gospel to all people. John 3:16 says, “For this is the way God loved the world: He gave his one and only Son, so that everyone who believes in him will not perish but have eternal life.”


Are we still sharing the message of God’s grace—his unmerited favor to people, so they can be saved? It’s proof that we’ve experience God’s saving grace. A lack of sharing maybe proof that we have never experienced or that we’ve lost the wonder of God’s great work in our life. Like David, we may need to pray, “Restore to me the joy of your salvation” (Ps 51:12 NIV).


Application Question: What is the gospel message in simple form? How did you initially hear it and come to accept it? How can believers be more effective at sharing the gospel and demonstrating its attractiveness to the lost? What makes this message so difficult to share?


A Mark of Saving Grace Is Growing in Holiness


It trains us to reject godless ways and worldly desires and to live self-controlled, upright, and godly lives in the present age,

Titus 2:12


Paul says that not only does grace save us from God’s judgment and therefore make us evangelistic but it also trains us to be holy. The word “train” is often used of how parents train a child, which includes teaching, correcting, and discipline. God’s grace trains us to be holy in two ways as reflected in verse 12: Negatively, it includes rejecting sin and positively it includes becoming righteous. In considering rejecting sin, Spurgeon said this: “The most difficult part of the training of young men is not to put the right thing into them, but to get the wrong thing out of them.” The reality of our faith in Christ is not only seen in what we accept but also what we reject—what we say no to.


Observation Question: In what ways does God’s grace train us to reject sin?


1. God’s grace trains us to reject godless ways or ungodliness (ESV).


Before following Christ, we lived apart from an awareness of God’s presence and his Word. Romans 1:21-23 says this about the pagan world:


For although they knew God, they did not glorify him as God or give him thanks, but they became futile in their thoughts and their senseless hearts were darkened. Although they claimed to be wise, they became fools and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for an image resembling mortal human beings or birds or four-footed animals or reptiles.


The unbelieving world is godless because they reject the knowledge of God. Even though unbelievers may be religious, their religion is a way to veil or ignore the true God. Some essentially worship themselves by making their pleasure and success the chief goal of their existence. This is exactly what saving grace teaches us to deny. We are not the chief end of our existence—our pleasure and comfort are not our main purpose in life. We are meant to glorify God with our thoughts, words, and actions. Therefore, God’s grace in salvation teaches us to reject godless ways, living as though there is no God or that he does not care about how we live.


2. God’s grace trains us to reject worldly desires.


Worldly desires refer to desires that are common in the world system—an evil system that is antagonistic to God and seeks to keep people away from him. First John 2:15-17 says,


Do not love the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him, because all that is in the world (the desire of the flesh and the desire of the eyes and the arrogance produced by material possessions) is not from the Father, but is from the world. And the world is passing away with all its desires, but the person who does the will of God remains forever.


Since the world system is antagonistic to God and seeks to satisfy people apart from him, we can’t love both. As mentioned by John, worldly desires include the “desire of our flesh,” which refers to natural desires which have been perverted. Instead of getting appropriate rest so we can serve the Lord and others with our best ability, we oversleep or don’t get enough sleep which often makes us spiritually lazy and hinders our effectiveness for the kingdom. Instead of eating to build our temple and give us energy to serve God and others, we overeat or eat unhealthily leading to gluttony and disease. Instead of enjoying sex within the marriage of a man and woman, it is fantasized about, promoted on television and within music, and indulged in outside the boundaries of marriage. The desires of the flesh must be rejected which include the abuse of natural desires God put within us, but we also must learn to reject the desires of the eyes which are typically focused on things outside of us. Instead of being content with what God has given us, the world system teaches us to lust for more and to never be content. We are discontent with our marriages, our children, our jobs, our houses, our clothing, our electronics, our salaries, etc. In 1 Timothy 6:6-8, Paul said this:


Now godliness combined with contentment brings great profit. For we have brought nothing into this world and so we cannot take a single thing out either. But if we have food and shelter, we will be satisfied with that.


Unlike what Scripture commands of us, the world is in a continual rat race for more, seeking to fulfill the lust of their eyes. Certainly, God’s grace teaches us to reject this lifestyle that often leads to various unhealthy things including depression, anxiety, mental disorders, conflict, and every other evil thing. Finally, John describes “the arrogance produced by material possessions” or other versions translate it “the pride of life” (NIV). This pride causes us to look down on others who don’t have the educational, socio-economic, ethnic, or even athletic background as us, and sometimes even to look down on ourselves. It’s a pride that divides people and separates them from God. All these worldly desires are temporary, part of this decaying world. God’s grace trains believers to be different by rejecting these desires to focus on eternal things.


This rejection starts at salvation. That is why throughout the New Testament “repentance” is a common word associated with salvation. In Acts 20:20-21, Paul said: “… teaching you publicly and from house to house, testifying to both Jews and Greeks about repentance toward God and faith in our Lord Jesus.” Likewise, in Acts 2:38, Peter calls people to repent so they can receive the Holy Spirit. Repentance is a turning away from sin (living for self and the world) to God by putting our faith in Jesus’ work on the cross to save us. Repentance starts at salvation as we commit to turning away from our sin and the ways of the world, and it continues daily as we fight to get rid of godless ways and worldly desires to follow Christ.


This again is one of the ways we can know if we’ve experienced God’s saving grace. God’s saving grace changes our relationship to sin. First John 3:9 (NIV) says this: “No one who is born of God will continue to sin, because God’s seed remains in them; they cannot go on sinning, because they have been born of God.” Those who are born of God can’t continue in sin. This doesn’t mean we don’t fall, because we do and often. However, we can’t continue the lifestyle we previously lived because God has changed us by giving us his Spirit. Now, sin causes mourning and lack of joy instead of excitement and laughter (cf. Matt 5:4). We are different now. If we’re not different, maybe we have not experienced saving grace.


Observation Question: In what ways does God’s grace train us to be righteous?


We considered the negative aspect of becoming holy, rejecting sin, but it also includes a positive aspect which is becoming righteous, as we develop many virtues.


1. God’s grace trains us to be self-controlled.


This is the same word Paul used to describe how church elders (1:8), older men (2:2), younger women (2:5), and younger men (2:6) should act. It means to be disciplined with our thoughts, appetites, actions. It includes practicing spiritual disciplines like reading the Word of God, prayer, church attendance, fellowship, and service. It also includes restraining our thoughts, emotions, and actions from sin, so that they are pleasing to God. Self-control or discipline is the way we train ourselves to be righteous. First Timothy 4:7 says, “train yourself for godliness” or “exercise yourself toward godliness” (NKJV). In 1 Corinthians 9:27, Paul said: “Instead I subdue my body and make it my slave, so that after preaching to others I myself will not be disqualified.” Instead of our body controlling us—drawing us to oversleep, overeat, lust, and indulge in various sinful behaviors, we control our bodies by rigorously disciplining them so we can glorify God with them.


Are we growing in self-control?


2. God’s grace trains us to be upright.


Being “upright” or living “righteously” as in (NASB) starts at the heart level, teaching ourselves to think on righteous things. Philippians 4:8-9 says this:


Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is worthy of respect, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if something is excellent or praiseworthy, think about these things. And what you learned and received and heard and saw in me, do these things. And the God of peace will be with you.


And as we think on what is right in our reading, entertainment, and conversations, it transforms our behavior. Proverbs 23:7 (NKJV) says, “For as he thinks in his heart, so is he.” Whatever we continually think on, we become. Therefore, by continually thinking on God’s Word and things that reflect its values, we become more like God. However, the more filth we put in, especially through media, the less godly we become.


Living uprightly starts with a change of mind and what we continually think on and then begins to be lived out practically. It doesn’t mean being perfect, but it does mean confessing our sins and continually repenting of them to be in a right relationship with God and others. It means walking in integrity where our private life matches with our outward life, and therefore we are free from hypocrisy. It means putting others and God before ourselves. God’s grace trains us to live upright and righteously.


3. God’s grace trains us to live godly lives.


This refers to living with an acute awareness of God in our daily endeavors, in such a way that we guard our thoughts, speech, and actions. In everything we do, we want to please God and not dishonor him. First Corinthians 10:31 says, “So whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do everything for the glory of God.” Also, Colossians 3:23-24 says, “Whatever you are doing, work at it with enthusiasm, as to the Lord and not for people, because you know that you will receive your inheritance from the Lord as the reward. Serve the Lord Christ.”


Are we living in a godly manner—developing an awareness of God by constantly worshiping him and seeking to please him throughout the day? In salvation, God’s grace awakens us from living for self to living for God.


To summarize these virtues, it’s commonly been said that self-control focuses on our relationship with ourselves, as we practice discipline with our appetites, thoughts, emotions, and actions. Being upright or righteous focuses on our relationship with others, loving them even as we would ourselves. And finally, godliness focuses on our relationship with God. Saving grace trains us to be holy, as we reject sin and embrace righteousness.


Interpretation Question: How does God’s saving grace specifically train us to be holy?


God’s grace trains us in many ways: (1) God’s grace trains us through the Holy Spirit. Through God’s Spirit, he empowers us to be holy. He gives us desires for righteousness and the ability to conquer sin. Galatians 5:16 says, “But I say, live by the Spirit and you will not carry out the desires of the flesh.” (2) God trains us through our personal and corporate study of God’s Word. In John 17:17 (NIV), Christ prayed, “Sanctify them by the truth; your word is truth.” To “sanctify” has the sense of “to make holy.” As we study God’s Word and obey it, God makes us into his image. If we are unfaithful in God’s Word, we will lack holiness. (3) God trains us through the discipleship and example of others. Here in this text, Paul is mentoring Titus, so he could mentor the Cretan churches and their leaders. God, likewise, puts godly people around us who we must interact with, seek wisdom from, and at times obey to grow in holiness. (4) God also trains us through his sovereign discipline, which includes various trials we go through. Consider Hebrews 12:7-8 and 11 says this:


Endure your suffering as discipline; God is treating you as sons. For what son is there that a father does not discipline? But if you do not experience discipline, something all sons have shared in, then you are illegitimate and are not sons … Now all discipline seems painful at the time, not joyful. But later it produces the fruit of peace and righteousness for those trained by it.


The writer of Hebrews essentially says if we are living in sin and do not experience discipline, we are not true believers—we are illegitimate and have never experienced God’s saving grace. Like any good parent, God will not allow us to live in sin, including not serving him and others. Therefore, God uses various trials, including sickness, conflict with others, a loss of a job, etc., to train us. Trials show us our weakness and help us rely on God more. Sometimes, they show us the dangers of sin, including its consequences, to help us repent and run back to our Father and his ways.


God’s grace trains believers in holiness, including rejecting sin and becoming holy. Are we allowing him to continually train us, including trusting in his sanctifying work through trials (cf. Jam 1:4)? It’s a special work of God’s saving grace.


Application Question: What have been some of the most effective ways God has trained you to be holy, including through various spiritual disciplines? How has God especially used trials in your life as a discipline meant to make you holy (Heb 12:7-8, 11)?


A Mark of Saving Grace Is Earnestly Hoping and Waiting for Christ’s Second Coming


as we wait for the happy fulfillment of our hope in the glorious appearing of our great God and Savior, Jesus

Titus 2:13


God’s saving grace not only makes us evangelistic and trains us on how to live a holy life, it also teaches us to “wait for the happy fulfillment of our hope” which is the “glorious appearing of our great God and Savior, Jesus.” “Our great God and Savior” is one of the clearest declarations of Christ’s deity in Scripture. It joins many others such as John 20:28 when Thomas called Christ, “My Lord and my God!” In Romans 9:5, Paul called Christ “God over all.” In Hebrews 1:8, the writer quotes Psalms 45:6-7 where God says to Christ “Your throne, O God, is forever and ever.” In addition, Peter calls Christ “God and Savior” as well in 2 Peter 1:1. Christ is truly our great God and Savior.


With that said, though Christ is innately glorious as fully God, at his first coming, his glory was veiled in his human body and low position on the earth. Certainly, there were aspects of his glory that were revealed as he turned water into wine, multiplied bread, healed the sick, and preached the good news. It clearly manifested one time in Matthew 17 at his transfiguration on a mountain where three of his disciples saw his glory as his face shined like the sun and his clothes became white as light. There, God declared, “This is my one dear Son, in whom I take great delight. Listen to him!” (Matt 17:5). However, the full display of Christ’s glory to everyone awaits his second coming where all will humble themselves before him as our “great God and Savior.” Unbelievers will do so in their judgment, while believers will do so as Christ completes their salvation.


In verse 13, the word “wait” can be translated as “looking” (NASB). It has the sense of us having an eager expectation of Christ’s coming. “Hope” does not refer to wishful thinking but of a confident certainty in this soon coming event. “Happy” or “blessed” refers to how wonderful, exciting, and precious Christ’s coming will be to believers because of all the glorious benefits which will come with it.


Interpretation Question: What makes Christ’s second coming such a glorious, happy, hope that believers should continually long for?


As adapted from the Teacher’s Outline and Study Bible :


1. The second coming means a glorious union as we will see Christ for the first time and will be united with him forever. John 14:3 says, “And if I go and make ready a place for you, I will come again and take you to be with me, so that where I am you may be too.”


2. The second coming means a glorious reunion as the dead in Christ will rise first, and we will meet them in the air. We will be reunited with past friends, family, and loved ones. First Thessalonians 4:17 says, “Then we who are alive, who are left, will be suddenly caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And so we will always be with the Lord.”


3. The second coming means a glorious transformation of our bodies, as our corruptible bodies will become eternal and incorruptible. First Corinthians 15:42-44 says,


It is the same with the resurrection of the dead. What is sown is perishable, what is raised is imperishable. It is sown in dishonor, it is raised in glory; it is sown in weakness, it is raised in power; it is sown a natural body, it is raised a spiritual body. If there is a natural body, there is also a spiritual body.


4. The second coming means a glorious remaking of the heavens and the earth, as we will inhabit a perfect world and dwell with God. Revelation 21:1-3 says,


Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and earth had ceased to exist, and the sea existed no more. And I saw the holy city—the new Jerusalem—descending out of heaven from God, made ready like a bride adorned for her husband. And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying: “Look! The residence of God is among human beings. He will live among them, and they will be his people, and God himself will be with them.


5. The second coming of Christ means a glorious reward for the faithful. In 2 Timothy 4:8, Paul said this:


Finally the crown of righteousness is reserved for me. The Lord, the righteous Judge, will award it to me in that day—and not to me only, but also to all who have set their affection on his appearing.


6. The second coming means the commencement of a glorious, benevolent rule of Christ with believers over the heavens and earth. Isaiah 9:7 says,


His dominion will be vast and he will bring immeasurable prosperity. He will rule on David’s throne and over David’s kingdom, establishing it and strengthening it by promoting justice and fairness, from this time forward and forevermore. The Lord’s intense devotion to his people will accomplish this.


Romans 8:17 says believers are “fellow heirs” with Christ and therefore will rule with him.


The second coming is the happy hope of believers. It is for all these reasons that believers must eagerly wait for it and urgently pray for it. When we pray the Lord’s Prayer, “Thy kingdom come, thy will be done” (Matt 6:10 KJV), we are praying for not only Christ’s spiritual rule in the hearts of people now but also his eternal rule on the earth at his coming. Where before we were saved, we knew nothing about and cared nothing for Christ and his coming, saving grace changed us. As Philippians 3:20-21 says,


But our citizenship is in heaven—and we also await a savior from there, the Lord Jesus Christ, who will transform these humble bodies of ours into the likeness of his glorious body by means of that power by which he is able to subject all things to himself.


Are we still eagerly awaiting Christ’s coming? In 1 John 3:2-3, John said those who have this hope purify themselves, in the sense of continually striving to grow in holiness so that we may be pleasing to him at his coming. This implies that the practice and enjoyment of sin will dull our desire for Christ’s coming (cf. Ps 66:18). Also, a love for the temporary things of this world will also dull it. In 1 John 2:15, John taught that if we love this world, and all that is in it, the love of the Father is not in us. And in Matthew 6:19-21, Christ taught to not store up earthly treasures because it would negatively affect our hearts (1 John 2:15, Matt 6:19-21). We must always guard and stoke our passion for Christ and his coming kingdom. Longing and praying for Christ to make all things right on this earth and in our lives is a proof that we have experienced saving grace, and it is also an indicator of our spiritual health. Those who don’t long for Christ’s coming, may not be saved or they may not be spiritually unhealthy because of practicing sin or overfocusing on the temporary things of this life (cf. Col 3:1-4). Lord, help us to long for your coming! Lord, come! Lord, come!


Application Question: Do you long for Christ’s second coming? Why or why not? What are some things that dull our desire for his coming? How can we grow in our desire for the second coming and what are the benefits of this desire?


A Mark of Saving Grace Is Continually Remembering Christ’s First Coming


He gave himself for us to set us free from every kind of lawlessness and to purify for himself a people who are truly his, who are eager to do good.

Titus 2:14


Just as believers must continually look forward to Christ’s second coming to encourage and motivate them in this sin-filled world, we must at the same time look backward to remember Christ’s first coming, so we can live in light of that. In fact, it has been said that the Christian life can be summarized as living in the tension of these two realities—the first and second coming. John Stott said it this way:


That is, the best way to live now, in this present age, is to learn to do spiritually what is impossible physically, namely to look in opposite directions at the same time. We need both to look back and remember the epiphany of grace (whose purpose was to redeem us from all evil and to purify for God a people of his own), and also to look forward and anticipate the epiphany of glory (whose purpose will be to perfect at his second coming the salvation he began at his first). This deliberate orientation of ourselves, this looking back and looking forward, this determination to live in the light of Christ’s two comings, to live today in the light of yesterday and tomorrow—this should be an essential part of our daily discipline. We need to say to ourselves regularly the great acclamation, ‘Christ has died; Christ is risen; Christ will come again.’ For then our present duties in the home will be inspired by the past and future epiphanies of Christ.


With that said, we are not just remembering the first coming as a distant event but remembering specifically what Christ accomplished for us in his death, so we can live out those realities.


Observation Question: According to Titus 2:14, why did Christ die for us?


1. Christ died to set us free from every kind of lawlessness.


“Set us free” can also be translated as “redeem” in the ESV, and it means “to set free by paying a price.” It was a word used of paying the ransom for a slave, so he could now be a free man. Mark 10:45 says this about Christ, “For even the Son of Man did not come to be served but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.” Therefore, by teaching Christ died to “redeem us” or “set us free,” Paul teaches that every believer before they were saved was a slave of sin. Paul says this more directly in Titus 3:3 in referring to the believer’s past: “For we too were once foolish, disobedient, misled, enslaved to various passions and desires, spending our lives in evil and envy, hateful and hating one another.” We were once enslaved by sin. That does not mean that everything we did was rotten to the core, but it does mean that before salvation, we were unable to please God because of our sin nature. This is in part true because God views sin as not only acts but also heart-motives, and God’s chief commands for us are to “love God with our whole heart and mind and our neighbor as ourselves.” Unfortunately, before salvation, our motives were void of worshiping and glorifying the true God and were mostly focused on doing good for ourselves with little regard for others. Even now, we still struggle with having the right motives, but because of saving grace, we can in fact live for God and others through the Holy Spirit, though imperfectly because of our sinful bodies.


Therefore, what Christ did by dying on the cross was twofold. (1) He paid the ransom by paying the penalty for our sins. Romans 6:23 says, “For the payoff [or wages] of sin is death.” Likewise, John 3:36 says, “The one who believes in the Son has eternal life. The one who rejects the Son will not see life, but God’s wrath remains on him.” Because of the sins of not loving God with all our heart, mind, and soul and not loving others as ourselves, we are under God’s just wrath. The word “death” in Romans 6:23 just means separation. We were separated from God before salvation because of sin and those who do not accept Christ’s payment for our sins will be eternally separated from God under his wrath in a real place of judgment called hell. Though we were caught in the slave market of sin under God’s just judgment, Christ paid our ransom by bearing our sins on the cross and receiving God’s wrath for those sins, so we could be set free. Second Corinthians 5:21 says, “God made the one who did not know sin to be sin for us, so that in him we would become the righteousness of God.”


In Titus 2:14, when Paul says Christ “gave” himself for us, that means he did this freely. Sure, his sacrifice was in obedience to God as John 3:16 teaches, but he also voluntarily did it. When Paul says Christ gave “himself” that means he gave everything. There was nothing left for him to give, since he gave it all. He left heaven and the glory that came with it to become human and, not just human, a poor one. He bore our sins on the cross and the separation from God that we deserve. Christ gave everything. When Paul says for “us,” it means he was our substitute. He took what we deserved. Christ is our abolitionist! He set us free from the slave market of sin!


However, that’s not it. If Christ had only paid the penalty for our sins, it would only be a partial salvation. (2) He also delivered us from the power of sin, and one day will deliver us from the presence of sin at our death or the rapture, which ever happens first. In Romans 6:6-7 and 11, Paul said this:


We know that our old man was crucified with him so that the body of sin would no longer dominate us, so that we would no longer be enslaved to sin. (For someone who has died has been freed from sin.) … So you too consider yourselves dead to sin, but alive to God in Christ Jesus.


Because Christ delivered us from the power of sin, Paul says we must “consider” or think of ourselves differently. This means that even though we may have fallen yesterday to anger, lust, or dishonesty, we can start over right now because sin is no longer our master. We should never quit, give up, or lose hope in our struggle with sin, because the battle has already been won. Sin may be present in our physical bodies, but it should not be our master, in the sense of our believing and acting like victory is unattainable. The war was one 2,000 years ago on the cross and therefore ultimate victory is assured. Because of Christ’s death and his giving us the Holy Spirit, as we abide in Christ, we can have sustained daily victory over our flesh. As mentioned previously, Galatians 5:16-17 says,


But I say, live by the Spirit and you will not carry out the desires of the flesh. For the flesh has desires that are opposed to the Spirit, and the Spirit has desires that are opposed to the flesh, for these are in opposition to each other, so that you cannot do what you want.


There is a very real battle raging in us because of the presence of our sinful nature and the Holy Spirit, but we are promised that if we “live” or “walk” in the Spirit, we will not fulfill the desires of the flesh. This means as we constantly meditate on God’s Word, live in prayer and worship, fellowship with the saints, and obey God’s commands, we will start to gain sustained victory over our lust, anger, dishonesty, unforgiveness, and any other sin. The secret is learning how to “live” in the Spirit and not just being a visitor, where we sometimes read the Word, sometimes pray, sometimes confess our sins, sometimes obey God, etc.


But, this is not it, as mentioned, Christ’s redemption also means we will one day be delivered from the presence of our sin. Therefore, we should never lose hope in our battle against sin, sustained victory is possible because of the promised Holy Spirit whom we all have, and it is assured because of our coming resurrected bodies, which will be perfect—without the presence of our sin nature.


If Christ did all this for us, how can we continually go back to our slave master and enjoy his company from time to time instead of fighting to live in the freedom Christ purchased for us? In John 8:36, Christ said this: “So if the son sets you free, you will be really free.” Amen!


2. Christ died to make us his own possession.


With that said, when Christ died for us and paid our slave ransom, he did not free us in the sense of now we are free to live for ourselves. No, he purchased us for himself. We are still slaves, but now, we are slaves of God. In 1 Corinthians 6:19-20, Paul said this to Christians who apparently were still visiting temple prostitutes and living in sexual immorality (cf. 6:13-15):


Or do you not know that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have from God, and you are not your own? For you were bought at a price. Therefore glorify God with your body.


We are now God’s. Our bodies and minds are his and anything else we own. Because of this reality, he will one day hold us accountable for how we use everything he has given us including our families, friends, jobs, material things, and spiritual gifts (Matt 25:14-30). With that said, though we can rightly be called slaves of God (Tit 1:1), we are much more than slaves. In Ephesians 1:18, Paul prays that the eyes of our hearts would be awakened to know that we are his “glorious inheritance.” We are God’s treasure and delight. In Zephaniah 3:17 (NIV), the prophet said this about Israel which can rightly be applied to God’s church: “The Lord your God is with you, the Mighty Warrior who saves. He will take great delight in you; in his love he will no longer rebuke you, but will rejoice over you with singing.” We are God’s treasure, but not only that, in Scripture, we are also called his friends (John 15:15), his family (Mk 3:35), his coworkers (1 Cor 3:9), and as mentioned, even fellow heirs with Christ (Rom 8:17). Christ’s death purchased us not to oppress us as our previous master but to lay on us tremendous privileges which come with being his possession.


3. Christ died to cleanse us.


When Paul says Christ died to cleanse us, this seems to refer primarily to the process of our sanctification. After Christ broke the power of sin over our lives, he started the process of cleansing us—making us holy—which will be complete at the resurrection. As mentioned, he does this through many means, but the primary means he uses is God’s Word as applied by the Spirit. In John 17:17, Christ prayed to God, “sanctify them by your truth, your Word is truth.” In Ephesians 5:25-27, Paul said this:


Husbands, love your wives just as Christ loved the church and gave himself for her to sanctify her by cleansing her with the washing of the water by the word, so that he may present the church to himself as glorious—not having a stain or wrinkle, or any such blemish, but holy and blameless.


Christ washes us with the Word to make us holy and blameless. Now, this is not a work he does by himself since we daily participate in (or neglect) this process. As we read the Word daily in our devotions, meditate on it throughout the day, discuss it in small groups throughout the week, hear it preached on Sundays at church, and seek to obey in every way, Christ washes us and cleanses—setting us free from various sinful actions and attitudes.


When we experienced saving grace, God saved us by the hearing and receiving of the gospel and gave us a tremendous desire to continue to know and obey God’s Word. As we do so, God cleanses us. If we have no desire for God’s Word, we must wonder if God’s Word has ever saved us. It’s only natural to be enamored and consumed with the means of our salvation. James 1:18 says this: “By his sovereign plan he gave us birth through the message of truth, that we would be a kind of firstfruits of all he created.” First Peter 2:2 says, “And yearn like newborn infants for pure, spiritual milk, so that by it you may grow up to salvation.” Consider how other saints experienced this yearning for God’s Word in their salvation: Job said this in referring to God’s prophetic Word: “I have not departed from the commands of his lips; I have treasured the words of his mouth more than my allotted portion” (Job 23:12). David said this in Psalm 119:97, “O how I love your law! All day long I meditate on it.”


After a believer has been redeemed, purchased from sin, Christ begins the cleansing process and the primary agent is God’s Word, as applied by Christ and his Spirit.


Are we allowing Christ to cleanse us through his Word?


4. Christ died to make us passionate doers of good works.


This is one of the major themes of the book of Titus, as it’s mentioned six times throughout (1:16; 2:7, 14; 3:1, 8, 14). As mentioned earlier, apparently the Cretan Christians were still walking in sin, partly because of the influence of their unruly culture, but also because of the false teachers and teaching in their congregations. A wrong understanding of grace was leading to licentiousness in their congregations, and Paul aims to correct that. He says Christ died to make us “eager to do good” or “zealous for good works” (ESV)—zealous to worship God, zealous to get rid of sin in our lives and others, zealous to lead others to Christ, zealous to serve the most vulnerable in society, zealous to disciple other believers, zealous to free our societies from corruption, zealous to impact the younger generation for Christ. Christ saved us to make us eager for good works. Ephesians 2:8-10 says it this way:


For by grace you are saved through faith, and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God; it is not from works, so that no one can boast. For we are his workmanship, having been created in Christ Jesus for good works that God prepared beforehand so we may do them.


Though not saved by good works such as baptism, taking the Lord’s Supper, or giving to the poor as some errantly teach, we are saved for good works. In fact, God has given each of us spiritual gifts—specific ways we are equipped to encourage and build up the local church and reach the lost. He gives us specific desires for good things which are from him, whether that be to get married and serve the kingdom with one’s spouse, to have children and raise them to serve the Lord, to work in business, education, government, or other fields to the glory of God. These are all part of the ways that Christ makes us “eager” or “zealous” for good works. Philippians 3:12-13 (NIV) says, “for it is God who works in you to will and to act in order to fulfill his good purpose.”


As mentioned at the beginning of this section, one of the secrets to living the Christian life is keeping our gaze forward on Christ’s second coming but also continually looking backward at Christ’s death and its ramifications. By looking backward, we can live in the reality of all that he has done in redeeming us from sin, making us his possession, continually cleansing us through his Word, and working in us to do good works. One practical way, we continually look forward and backward at the same time is by regularly taking the Lord’s Supper. In it, we look back at Christ’s death while confessing our sins and looking forward to his second coming which helps our hearts grow eager for it. First Corinthians 11:26 says, “For every time you eat this bread and drink the cup, you proclaim the Lord’s death until he comes.” Thank you, Lord!


Application Question: How is God working in you to will and act of his good pleasure? What are your spiritual gifts and/or passions for good that God has put in your heart? How is God calling you to pursue various good works for his glory?


A Mark of Saving Grace Is Lovingly Holding Other Believers Accountable to God’s Word


So communicate these things with the sort of exhortation or rebuke that carries full authority. Don’t let anyone look down on you.

Titus 2:15


When Paul tells Titus to “communicate these things” (v. 15), in the immediate context, he is referring to the need for Christians to reflect the saving grace they profess—that they would practice good works which align with sound doctrine (Titus 2:1). Salvation is not just fire insurance that we take and then live the way we want, it changes us. It requires us to continually repent of sins as we follow God and seek to be holy. It causes us to remember Christ’s death for our sins and look forward to his coming. Grace changes us. It is not a cheap grace where we can live in whatever way we want. Titus was to continually hold the believers accountable to these biblical truths and so must we. This is especially important for those in leadership to do, but it is also important for all believers to participate in (cf. Matt 18:17). Since we are a church, a family of believers, we must hold one another accountable in our obedience to God and his Words?


Observation Question: How was Titus to hold the Cretan believers accountable in their walk with God, which we should also practice with other believers, especially ones in our local church?


1. To hold other believers accountable, we must continually exhort and encourage them.


With those seeking to be faithful to God, Titus was to specifically encourage them. People often get discouraged in faithfully following God—fighting sin, doing good, and helping others do so. Therefore, they need to be encouraged. In Galatians 6:9, Paul said this: “So we must not grow weary in doing good, for in due time we will reap, if we do not give up.” We must encourage parents in their discipleship of children. We must encourage married couples to be patient with one another, forgive one another, and to put Christ first in their marriage. With those who fall and make mistakes, we must encourage them to get up and keep fighting to be holy. Proverbs 24:16 says, a righteous person falls seven times but gets back up again (paraphrase). In the midst of their stumbles, they must be encouraged to not quit. What distinguishes the righteous is not that they never fall, get angry at someone, utter the wrong words, it’s that they are willing to confess their sins and get right back up to follow the Lord. To help others live out the saving grace they have received, we must often encourage them. This is especially important for older saints to do this ministry (cf. Titus 2:1-10). Spiritually older men and women need to encourage young believers in their parenting, their dating, their working with integrity, their persevering through trials, and their fighting sin. The Christian life is not easy, and therefore, we will always need to receive encouragement and offer it to others.


Are we seeking to encourage others within the church?


2. To hold other believers accountable, we must at times rebuke them.


Rebuke has the sense of convincing and correcting someone who does not yet recognize or admit they are doing something wrong. We must be willing to point out when someone is going the wrong direction. If they are lacking integrity at work or in daily affairs, we must humbly share that with them. If they are compromising in their dating life, we must in love speak the truth to them. Certainly, this will cause people to get angry with us; however, we must care more about them and their righteousness, more than our being shamed for lovingly correcting them. Proverbs 27:6 says, “Faithful are the wounds of a friend.” To truly be a friend to someone, we must be willing to them the truth, even if it hurts. This is extremely important in the church. In Ephesians 4:15 (NIV), Paul said this about the church, “Instead, speaking the truth in love, we will grow to become in every respect the mature body of him who is the head, that is, Christ.” As the church speaks the truth in love to another, the church grows into maturity, whether the truth comes from the pulpit or the pew. Certainly, we must understand that the manner of our sharing the truth matters just as much as telling the truth. It must be done lovingly. Raising our voice doesn’t change people and neither does stomping our feet, throwing things, or getting physical. Proverbs 15:1 says, “A gentle response turns away anger, but a harsh word stirs up wrath.” Oftentimes the best way to rebuke is with a gentle, controlled tone, and a calm, humble manner. We should be humble because we are not perfect either, and at times, we may need their loving rebuke as well.


3. To hold other believers accountable, we must do so with God’s authority.


Certainly, we must hear this. In doing the ministry of accountability, we are seeking to speak for God. Therefore, everything we share should be backed by Scripture. Paul is not telling Titus to rebuke people based on his personal preference, his likes or dislikes. That’s often the cause of much discord within the church. One person likes this style of worship music, another person likes this kind; one person likes the lights off during worship, and the other does not. Most areas that people fight over are not biblical. They are based on preferences, even if they might be wise preferences. To properly handle issues, we must first discern if it is a biblical or wisdom/preference issue. We shouldn’t treat the two the same. There is God’s authority in our instruction or rebuke only when it aligns with Scripture. When our issue doesn’t align with God’s Word because it’s primarily a preference or wisdom issue, there is no biblical authority with it. If we share it, it should be done gently and many times with a willingness for the change to not be implemented. However, if it is a biblical issue, we are then speaking for God and therefore representing him and his authority (cf. Matt 28:18). There is strong authority that comes with speaking God’s Word. This is the believer’s primary authority, and therefore, he or she, must know it well to properly apply it to our lives and others’.


Beware of False Authority


With all that said, there is a lot of false authority asserted over believers in the church. In some contexts, the pastor seeks to exercise personal authority over people’s lives, seeking to control temporal or insignificant details in their lives in an almost dictatorial way. Again, the pastor has little authority apart from saying or implementing what God’s Word says. John MacArthur said it this way:


Pastors have no personal spiritual authority at all. They speak authoritatively only when they speak the Word of God accurately. They may have insight into earthly matters, have an unusual measure of common sense, and be smart and wise—but none of those attributes make what they say spiritually authoritative. They cannot command as representatives of God except when they speak Scripture.


For this reason, pastors must know God’s Word well, so that they do not abuse those under their care, give them wrong directions, or step in between a person’s individual relationship with God. I’ve heard pastors say things like, “Oh, you can date an unbeliever as long as you’re strong enough to not be influenced by him or her.” In that area, the pastor has given unbiblical counsel, based on his opinion and not Scripture. There is no authority in that advice because it does not align with Scripture, and therefore should not be followed (cf. 2 Cor 6:14-18). At other times, pastors might dictate when, where, or who a person is to marry, even when they are Christians. When a potential marriage partner is a believer, which is the requirement in Scripture (cf. 1 Cor 7:39), all we can do is give sage advice, not authoritative commands from God.


Some in the church demonstrate false authority based on their experience or impressions. Sometimes, they might say, “God told me this!” or “I had this dream.” “And, therefore, you should do this.” We must be very careful with our emotions and impressions and also that of others’. Many people lift their experiences or impressions up as equivalent to God’s Word, as though if one went a different direction, he would have disobeyed God. In 1 John 4:1, we are explicitly told to not believe every spirit, but to test the spirits because there are many false ones (paraphrase). When something can’t be verified by God’s Word, it’s very difficult to determine if it is actually of God. Therefore, we must never act like our impressions or what might seem like inspired words of others carry the same weight as Scripture. In Deuteronomy 18:21-22, when teaching Israel how to test prophetic words, God actually told them one of the ways they will know if the words of are of God is if it happens. Sometimes, when it comes to our impressions or the declared inspired words of others, all we can do is wait and see if God does it. In a sense, we often will need to hold our impressions, including words and direction we think we received from God, with an open hand, trusting that God will make his will clear in his time. We need to be very careful of experiential authority, as it does not carry the same weight as Scripture. The primary authority a minister has is when speaking Scripture.


Certainly, we need to honor positional authority, since it ultimately reflects God’s authority (Rom 13:1). We should honor the elders when they make practical decisions for the congregation that do not contradict Scripture. We must honor and submit to our parents as long as we are under their care. Our call to honor them always remains; however, after we are no longer under their supervision and care, we do not need to obey them in everything. We must submit to governments in the areas of their authority. When submitting to our authorities, we must never disobey God’s Word in doing so.


With that said, when holding believers accountable to God’s Word, the primary authority that should be used is that of God’s Word. Therefore, we must always discern if the issue is a biblical or a wisdom/preference issue, and we should use God’s Word in our counseling of them.


4. In holding believers accountable, we must not let anyone look down on us by disregarding our ministry.


Interpretation Question: In Titus 2:15, what did Paul mean by telling Titus to not let anyone look down on him?


Paul’s command to not let anyone look down on Titus did not mean he should declare his authority as a pastor and therefore not let people push him around. Paul’s command to Titus is very similar to what he said to Timothy in 1 Timothy 4:12. He said: “Let no one look down on you because you are young, but set an example for the believers in your speech, conduct, love, faithfulness, and purity.” One of the primary ways that Titus and Timothy were to not let people look down on them was by their practice of godly character. Spiritual leadership is primarily based on our character and example. When we are walking right with God and loving others, it will allow us to lead and love people best, and it will leave few legit reasons for people to hate or be upset with us. In Titus 2:7-8, Paul said this to Titus:


showing yourself to be an example of good works in every way. In your teaching show integrity, dignity, and a sound message that cannot be criticized, so that any opponent will be at a loss, because he has nothing evil to say about us.


By having a sound message that properly interprets and applies the Bible and a lifestyle that backs it up, Titus would protect himself from much of the evil aimed at him. That’s the primary way that Titus was to not let anyone look down on him, which we must practice as well—right interpretation and application of Scripture and a godly lifestyle are tremendous protections for our ministry of accountability in the church.


Church Discipline


However, with that all said, there is another way Titus was to not let people look down on him and his ministry, which we must apply as well. There are times when a believer is living in clear rebellion towards God and will not repent when held accountable. In that case, we must go through the steps of church discipline with him, both for his spiritual health and that of the church. In Matthew 18:15-17, Christ teaches the steps for this: (1) The person should be approached one-on-one about his sin. (2) If he doesn’t repent, he should be approached with one or two others to urge him to repent but also to confirm his rebellion. Most likely, one of those people should be an elder or leader at the church. (3) If he still doesn’t repent, the entire church should be encouraged to reach out to him in love. (4) If he still doesn’t repent, he should be separated from, including being removed from the church. By going through this process with the person, the hope is that he will clearly see how he is rebelling against God’s Word and ultimately repent. First Corinthians 5:9-13 describes this final step:


I wrote you in my letter not to associate with sexually immoral people. In no way did I mean the immoral people of this world, or the greedy and swindlers and idolaters, since you would then have to go out of the world. But now I am writing to you not to associate with anyone who calls himself a Christian who is sexually immoral, or greedy, or an idolater, or verbally abusive, or a drunkard, or a swindler. Do not even eat with such a person. For what do I have to do with judging those outside? Are you not to judge those inside? But God will judge those outside. Remove the evil person from among you.


The holiness of the church is very important to God. Therefore, Titus was not to give up while people lived in open rebellion or act like nothing was happening, and neither should we. By demonstrating godly character and using the Bible correctly, God may use us to help fellow believers repent of their sins. However, at times, discipline will be needed. Paul will visit the need for discipline specifically in Titus 3:10-11. He says there: “Reject a divisive person after one or two warnings. You know that such a person is twisted by sin and is conscious of it himself.” Because of all God has done in our gracious salvation, we must faithfully hold one another accountable through exhorting, rebuking, and disciplining according to God’s Word.


Application Question: Why is important for church members to hold one another accountable with their walk with God (cf. 1 Cor 5:6)? How is false authority at times practiced within the church, especially amongst its leadership? In what ways have you seen or experienced church discipline?


Conclusion


What are marks of saving grace in a believer’s life? What are proofs that we have been born again—made into new creations in Christ (2 Cor 5:17)? It seems clear the Cretan believers were professing Christ but continuing in sin (Tit 1:10-16). Therefore, Paul commanded Titus to teach them to produce works that accorded with sound doctrine (Tit 2:1) and to live out the marks of the saving grace they professed to have experienced (Titus 2:11-15). Let us do the same!


1. A Mark of Saving Grace Is a Growing Heart for Evangelism

2. A Mark of Saving Grace Is Growing in Holiness

3. A Mark of Saving Grace Is Earnestly Hoping and Waiting for Christ’s Second Coming

4. A Mark of Saving Grace Is Continually Remembering Christ’s First Coming

5. A Mark of Saving Grace Is Lovingly Holding Other Believers Accountable to God’s Word


Application Question: What stood out most to you in the study and how will you apply this study to your life?



Prayer Prompts


• Pray for grace for the church to develop a greater sensitivity to unbelievers and excel in evangelism. Pray that by God’s grace our actions at home, church, work, and during recreation would make the gospel attractive. Also, pray for open doors, boldness to share the gospel, and that many would repent and put their faith in Christ.


• Pray for grace for the church to grow in holiness—that we would grow in hating sin and turning away from it and that we would be zealous for good works. Pray for God to especially use the church in mercy ministries caring for the poor, the sick, single mothers, widows, and the orphans for the glory of God.


• Pray for grace for the church to live in light of Christ’s to return. Pray to excel in praying for it and that Christ would be pleased with his church when he does. Pray that our Lord would come soon!


• Pray for grace for the church to wisely and lovingly hold one another accountable. Pray for special wisdom for its leaders and grace for each member to encourage those struggling, to rebuke those in sin, to speak and act in line with the authority of God’s Word, and to be willing to practice church discipline when needed. Pray for God to make his church pure, blameless, and pleasing to him!


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