(Originally published in January 9, 1964 issue of the Timely Messenger.)

“For the grace of God that bringeth salvation hath appeared to all men, teaching us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly, in this present world; looking for that blessed hope, and the glorious appearing of the great God and our Saviour Jesus Christ.” (Titus 2:11-13)

It would take a lifetime of study to begin to explore the fathomless riches of the grace of God. To grace is ascribed, among other blessings, salvation (Titus 2:11), sanctification (Romans 6:13), security (Romans 5:2), service (1 Corinthians 15:10), strength (2 Timothy 2:1; 2 Corinthians 12:9), selfless giving (2 Corinthians 8:1,6,7), and solace (2 Thessalonians 2:16). Grace is contrasted with works (Ephesians 2:8-9); it is the opposite of Law (John 1:17); it is the antithesis of sin (Romans 5:20); and it is the counterpart of debt (Romans 4:4).

The offer of salvation by grace is universal—”whosoever will, let him come.” There is, however, a restricted (and all too often neglected) ministry of grace—a ministry that is not offered to the world, but only to those who receive the salvation that grace offers. It is a teaching ministry. “The grace of God that bringeth salvation hath appeared to all men (universal), teaching us (limited to believers) …” What does grace teach us? Let us read further in Titus 2:12.

Grace Teaches that I am a Selfish Creature—
I must live soberly.


“Let us search and try our ways,” implores the prophet Jeremiah (Lam. 3:40); “Cast the beam out of thine own eye;” demands our Lord (Matt. 7:5); “Examine yourselves,” exhorts the Apostle Paul (1 Cor. 11:28; 2 Cor. 13:5). These spiritual exercises require that in our self-evaluation the standard be Christ. If we compare ourselves with others, it is rather easy to delude ourselves into a pseudo-spirituality. But when the criterion is Christ, we are mindful of our shortcomings (2 Cor. 12:10-18).


Self-examination in the school of grace will invariably lead to self-denial. Remember the words of our Lord, “If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me” (Matt. 16:24). Both the apostles Peter and Paul urge us to practice self-denial (1 Pet. 2:11; 4:2; 2 Cor. 9:27; Rom. 6:6,11; 13:14; Gal. 5:16; Col. 3:5). This is not to be confused with a legalistic asceticism, but it is a “none of self and all for Thee” attitude.


Grace teaches us that self-examination, leading to self-denial, will prepare us for self-control. In fact, the word translated “soberly” actually means “with self-control.” It was the wise old King Solomon who said, “He that ruleth his spirit is better than he that taketh a city” (Prov. 16:32). Other Scriptures that urge self-control are: James 3:2 and 2 Peter 1:5.

Grace Teaches that I am a Social Creature—
I must live righteously.

To live righteously means that I have a responsibility to live in right relationship with my fellow man. “None of us liveth to himself and no man dieth to himself,” says the Apostle Paul in Romans 14:7. The early chapters of the epistle to the Romans deal with man in his relationship to God; the closing chapters describe the new man and his responsibilities to his fellow man. The late W. H. Griffith-Thomas outlines Romans as follows:

  • Chapters 1-2 …………….. Righteousness Required
  • Chapter 3 …………………. Righteousness Revealed
  • Chapter 4 …………………. Righteousness Reckoned
  • Chapter 5 …………………. Righteousness Received
  • Chapters 6-8 ……………… Righteousness Realized
  • Chapters 9-11 ……………. Righteousness Rejected
  • Chapters 12-16 …………… Righteousness Reproduced

It is the reproduction of righteousness in our lives, as taught in Romans 12-16, that we are now considering. This reproduced righteousness will influence our fellow man. This includes the social requirements listed in Romans 12:3-21; the civic responsibility of Romans 13; and the ethical regulations of Romans 14.

Grace teaches me that my life is not my own; I have a responsibility to my fellow man. I must live a gracious life before him. I have the responsibility of witnessing to him, walking worthily before him, and working as unto the Lord for his spiritual needs.

Grace Teaches Me that I am a Spiritual Creature—
I must live godly.

This means that I, as a new creature in Christ Jesus, am capable of communion with God; that I am accountable to Him for the maintenance of fellowship. I must live in right relationship to my God and Father.

A check of some of the occurrences of the word “godly” in the Scriptures may be the means of being taught by grace. For example, we are taught to:

  • Pray for a Godly Environment (1 Tim. 2:1-2).
  • Practice Godly Exercises (1 Tim. 4:7).
  • Pursue Godly Enterprises (1 Tim. 6:11).
  • Plan a Godly Existence, with eternities values in view (2 Pet. 3:11).

It was C. S. Lewis, former British agnostic, now a defender of historic Christianity, who said, “Morality, then, seems to be concerned with three things. Firstly, with fair play and harmony between individuals (living righteously). Secondly, with what might be called tidying up or harmonising the things inside each individual (living soberly). Thirdly, with the general purpose of human life as a whole: what man was made for: what course the whole fleet ought to be on: what tune the conductor of the band wants it to play (living godly).”

In summarizing Titus 2:11-13, someone has said it is “Living Life with a capital L;” namely:

  • Leaving the old life (vs. 11)
  • Living the new life (vs. 12)
  • Looking for that blessed appearing of Christ, who is our life (vs. 13).