For the grace of God that brings salvation has appeared to all men, teaching us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly in the present age (Titus 2:11-12)
There is hardly a more wonderful theme in the Bible than the grace of God. The truth that God freely gives His favor and approval in Jesus Christ to the believer, and He does this without measuring whether or not that believer deserves such blessing – this is a profound truth, one that sets many free with its power and glory.
I think that it is impossible to take grace too far. The Bible teaches us that there are two principles upon which we can relate to God: the principle of law and the principle of grace. We don’t need to “balance” law and grace; God deals with the believer on the basis of grace, and we must respond back to Him the same way.
If it is impossible to take grace too far, it is possible to take grace wrongly. One wrong way to teach grace is to ignore what Titus 2:11-12 says about grace.
Said plainly, grace teaches us to live godly lives. Those who seem to abuse grace don’t take grace too far; they refuse to listen to what grace teaches. According to one commentator, the idea in this passage is that grace is presented as a person, someone who teaches the believer how to live the Christian life, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts.
Grace puts ungodliness and worldly lusts in our past. Now grace teaches us to renounce those things, not only to avoid them. One may say that in a world where we are tempted to say “Yes” to every desire and feeling, that the reality of our faith can be demonstrated by what we say no to, by what we are willing to deny.
Grace also teaches us how to live in the present age. We must live soberly (self-controlled) in regard to ourselves. We must live righteously in regard to the people around us. And we must live godly (“to take God seriously”) in regard to our God.
Taken together, we see that the fear of the legalist – that preaching grace produces Christians who don’t care about obedience – is unfounded. Grace teaches us obedience.
We need more of God’s grace, not less. You can’t take grace too far, but you can take it wrongly. God’s grace is teaching. Are you listening?