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. Titus 2:11-12
Most of us agree that God’s grace is the key to becoming a Christian, but a lot of arguments have been made over just how that happens. Today’s verse begins by telling us that what we need is a grace that brings salvation. Just like the huddle before a football game, Paul is saying to Titus, “Huddle up! Focus on what I am about to say.” Following that football analogy, Paul gives this young pastor a strategy to not only play, but also to win the game. He starts by saying that everyone knows about God’s grace, but that for this grace to be effective, it has to go beyond simply filling people’s ears. The kind of grace that brings salvation must accomplish two things. First, in the same way that players line up to play according to the coach’s game plan and not their own, we must begin by giving up our old way of life and accepting God’s new one. Next, this grace that brings salvation also prepares us to spring into action when ball is snapped. Paul summarizes our part in the play as “Living soberly, righteously and godly in this present world.” Does that mean we have to be perfect? Of course not. No one would be on the team if that were true! So when we mess up God’s game plan, it is just like the receiver dropping the ball or the running back fumbling. Stuff happens in this life and we mess up. But when the whistle blows, we don’t change our uniforms and line up on the other side of the ball. Instead, we just say “Sorry coach, It was my fault.” Then get back to the line of scrimmage because God’s game plan of grace is still in effect. Get ready for the next snap of the ball!