Some people have experienced God’s grace after years of flaunting their sin in God’s face, defying everything they know of his holiness, righteousness, and truth. To plumb the depths of sin, and discover the grace of God finding them us salvation, magnifies the grace of God before our eyes.
Others of us have experienced God’s grace after years of trying very hard to be good. The sudden discovery that, “None is righteous, no, not one; no one understands; no one seeks for God. All have turned aside; together they have become worthless; no one does good, not even one,” so shatters all good-boy self-esteem that God’s grace is magnified as much as ever.
This week, the grace of God has been put on display before me in this wonderful passage of God’s book:
11 For the grace of God has appeared, bringing salvation for all people, 12 training us to renounce ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright, and godly lives in the present age, 13 waiting for our blessed hope, the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ, 14 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.
What has blessed me so much is the affirmation from God that his grace covers both sides of our salvation. By that I mean, God’s salvation both saves us out of the sinful living he must condemn, and into the righteous living he delights to bless. His blessing is not waiting on us to be righteous. Rather he blesses us with the freedom from sin, and the righteousness of faith, so that he can continually bless us with the joy of righteousness, and fellowship with him in righteousness.
The two sides of salvation focus on what we are saved out of, and what we are saved into. On one side, the grace of God brings the salvation that trains us “to renounce ungodliness and worldly passions.” On the other side, the gracious salvation of God trains us, “to live self-controlled, upright, and godly lives in the present age.”
The reason we can live in this grace that trains us to cut ties with sin on one side, and to embrace a life of righteousness on the other, is because of what Jesus did when he laid down his life on our behalf. On one side, we have, “our great God and Savior Jesus Christ, who gave himself for us to redeem us from all lawlessness.” On the other side, our great God and Savior Jesus Christ gave himself “to purify for himself a people for his own possession who are zealous for good works.”
In other words, Jesus “gave himself for us to redeem us” for these two things: he redeemed us “from all lawlessness,” and he redeemed us “to purify for himself a people.” Since he had this dual work of redeeming us out of our lawlessness, and redeeming us into the purification of salvation, the grace of God would need to work both of these into our lives.
Because Jesus gave himself to redeem us from all lawlessness, the grace of God must train us “to renounce ungodliness and worldly passions.” And, because Jesus gave himself to “purify for himself a people for his own possession who are zealous for good works,” the grace of God must train us “to live self-controlled, upright, and godly lives in this present age.”
For me, this “good boy” continually discovering that he has never been righteous at all, causes me to appreciate the grace of God all the more. It is his grace that fixes even this people-pleasing-good-boy mindset so I experience his favor turning me from all unrighteousness, and leading me into the righteousness of faith I could not deserve or earn no matter how hard I tried to be good. God’s grace does it all, and I am so thankful this is true.
© 2015 Monte Vigh ~ Box 517, Merritt, BC, V1K 1B8 ~ firstname.lastname@example.org
Unless otherwise noted, Scriptures are from the English Standard Version (The Holy Bible, English Standard Version Copyright © 2001 by Crossway Bibles, a division of Good News Publishers.)