December 3, 2023 | Doug Sauder
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“For the grace of God has appeared that offers salvation to all people. It teaches us to say ‘No’ to ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright and godly lives in this present age, while we wait for the blessed hope—the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior, Jesus Christ.”—Titus 2:11–13 (NIV)
What does it mean to make the teaching about God our Savior attractive, to make the gospel attractive? Well, let’s consider the entirety of what Paul is saying here in the whole context of his letter to Titus.
In Titus 3:4–7, Paul lays out the gospel in all its glory. It encapsulates the entirety of God’s salvation of sinful man. But just a few paragraphs before that in chapter two, he tells us that God’s grace offers salvation to all people. You see, through the work of Jesus, we who believe have been saved from the penalty of sin and will one day be saved from the presence of sin. And today, in Him we can be saved daily from the perils and power of sin. In His grace and by His Spirit, we can say no to sin and live out the gospel until He returns.
So, the gospel is about salvation and sanctification. And the power of God in our salvation and sanctification is on full display when we live “self-controlled, upright and godly lives.” Because true gospel living also enables us to be faithful witnesses and effective examples to the watching world.
You see, the gospel of Jesus has a civilizing effect on all aspects of a Christian’s life. It teaches us to live like Jesus in a sinful society and produce healthy fruit in the world and culture we live in! And here’s the thing about producing good fruit: others can enjoy it!
Growing up, we had a mango tree in our yard that hung into our neighbor’s yard. When the tree produced mangos, my neighbor was the happiest person in the world because they were able to enjoy the benefits of the fruits being produced. The same principle applies to us. God has positioned us where we are to reach people!
Titus 2:11 (NIV) says, “For the grace of God has appeared that offers salvation to all people.” The Greek word for appeared is epephanē, which means “to bring light to, to make visible, to become clearly known.” It’s where we get our English word for epiphany . . . and friends, this is the heart of God for us. He wants to use us to help others have the same epiphany we had when the gospel took root in our hearts, remembering always that “at one time we too were foolish, disobedient, deceived and enslaved by all kinds of passions and pleasures. We lived in malice and envy, being hated and hating one another. But when the kindness and love of God our Savior appeared, he saved us” (Titus 3:3–5 NIV).
The gospel is the message of our justification, sanctification, and glorification. And when we walk in “sound doctrine” and live “self-controlled, upright and godly lives,” our lives will be the catalyst God uses to bring the light of Jesus into the lives of the people around us, to make the love of God through Christ visible to them, and to make the power of the gospel clearly known.
This is the heart of Paul’s instructions throughout this entire letter—that we live in such a way “that no one will malign the word of God . . . that those who oppose you may be ashamed because they have nothing bad to say about us . . . that in every way they will make the teaching about God our Savior attractive” (Titus 2:1–10 NIV).
Pause: What does it mean to make the gospel attractive? What are some ways Christians turn people off to the gospel?
Practice: In John 15:8 (NIV), Jesus says, “This is to my Father’s glory, that you bear much fruit, showing yourselves to be my disciples.” God ordained you to be an agent of transformation in our world, in our culture, in this present age. Not in isolation or seclusion away from the world, but in the places and spaces He has us. Not by fighting a war against culture, but by shining the light of Jesus into our culture! So, this season, be intentional in your workplace to let your good fruit fall onto your coworkers and supervisors. In your classrooms, let the fruit of your salvation drop into the hands of classmates and teachers. In your home, friend circles, gym, on your teams, and at the restaurants and coffee shops you frequent, let your good fruit and your good works be on display.
Pray: Father, teach me and help me to be more like Your Son, to live an upright, self-controlled, and godly life so I may draw people to You and not away from You. Present me with opportunities to walk in the fruit of the Spirit and produce good fruit so others may come to truly understand who You are and how much You love them. Amen.
Danny Saavedra is a licensed minister who has served on staff at Calvary since 2012, managing the Calvary Devotional and digital discipleship resources. He has a Master of Arts in Pastoral Counseling and Master of Divinity in Pastoral Ministry from Liberty Theological Seminary. His wife Stephanie, son Jude, and daughter Zoe share a love of Star Wars, good food, having friends over for dinner, and studying the Word together as a family.