Titus 2:11-14 For the grace of God has appeared, bringing salvation to all men, instructing us to deny ungodliness and worldly desires and to live sensibly, righteously and godly in the present age, looking for the blessed hope and the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior, Christ Jesus, who gave Himself for us to redeem us from every lawless deed, and to purify for Himself a people for His own possession, zealous for good deeds.
Paul makes a significant point that many evangelicals so often ignore: the grace of God instructs us not only to live sensibly, righteously, and godly, but also to deny ungodliness and worldly desires. Why is it, then, that so many who claim to be recipients of grace, and who even emphasize the doctrines of grace with great enthusiasm and zeal, are at the same time pursuing all manner of worldliness and ungodliness and who scoff at or dismiss as legalism any discussion about separation from the world and maintaining high standards of godliness and holiness?
Many abuse the teaching of salvation by grace alone through faith alone in that they go so far to live as though being "under grace" allows them to indulge in a life of sinning. They often exclaim, "We are not under the law" in an attempt to justify themselves when they are rebuked for sin or when the topic of obedience to God's commandments arises. According to the above passage, however, these people know nothing about grace! They would do well to consider 6 awful things God threatens to do to those who abuse His grace.
Grace leads us to deny ungodliness and worldliness, not to drink it down like water. Grace transforms us and drives us to live after the risen Lord Jesus Christ, hungering and thirsting after righteousness, and panting after holiness and godliness. Grace leads us to live sensibly and godly.
Those who claim to be all about grace and yet pursue lives of sin and worldliness demonstrate that they have never experienced the grace of God. What else are we to conclude—that the sovereign grace of God, which instructs us to deny ungodliness, has failed in its instruction? No! If the claims of these people are true, that is indeed the only possible conclusion to be drawn—and this would amount to blasphemy.
Paul dealt with such blasphemers in places like Romans 6, when he answered their objections rhetorically by the question, "Shall we sin because we are not under law but under grace?" His answer: "May it never be!" (Romans 6:15). Jude also warned of such in his epistle, describing them as "ungodly persons who turn the grace of our God into licentiousness and deny our only Master and Lord, Jesus Christ" (Jude 1:4). No, these people, who speak much of grace yet who are always walking contrary to the direction that grace would inevitably lead them, are mere hypocrites.
This article was revised and republished on 10/10/2020. It was originally published on 12/15/2012.
Scripture quotations taken from the NASB. Copyright by The Lockman Foundation