Walt Lampi | The Voice of Zion June 2018 --
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
It is easier to understand what grace teaches us than what it means, and how we are taught by it. It teaches us that “denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly, in this present world.” Grace opens to us the meaning of the righteousness of faith and righteousness of life.
What Is God’s Grace?
Since God’s grace is so great it cannot be measured, humanly understood, nor perfectly described in human words. Although grace is a major theological concept, it is not academic or theoretical to those whose burden of sin has been forgiven.
Grace and faith are not the same. Rather, by God’s unmeriting grace and through His Spirit, we have been called into His kingdom to live by faith. We have received as a free gift the strength to believe the gospel message, the core of which is the forgiveness of sins in Jesus’ name and blood.
How might we describe grace? Both the Hebrew and Greek words for grace refers to favor, good will, and compassion. Those who have found favor with God have found His acceptance through Jesus Christ. No one is acceptable to Him outside the fellowship of His kingdom and without faith on the redemptive work of His Son. A believer has the righteousness of Christ through faith and is heaven acceptable for that reason. Through grace God receives us, forgives our sins and justifies us freely through Christ.
How Does Grace Come to Us?
One is saved by grace through faith without works (Eph. 2:8,9). But by what means does grace come to someone outside of living faith? God calls whom He has chosen through His Spirit-empowered Word from His kingdom here on earth. It is completely God’s work and incomprehensible as to why He calls one person but not another.
What does it mean to live by grace in God’s kingdom? Does the means of grace change? Then it is still by His favor and loving kindness that we remain in faith through His help and the fellowship of His children. We want to walk in the light of His living Word. When we fall into sin and carry its burden, we then hasten to the throne of grace where we can speak of that which has beset us and made the journey slow and be reassured through the gospel of the forgiveness of sins.
Do We Need to Hear about the Righteousness of Life?
Grace and truth came by Jesus Christ (John 1:16). Jesus is the “way, the truth, and the life” (John 14:6). Truth therefore is not the same as the law, for the “law was given by Moses” (John 1:17).
Are teachings about the righteousness of life truth or the law? Does a believer even need reminders about the righteousness of life? Because of our complete corruption we need to be reminded of that which may hurt us. Such teachings are not the law. Following exhortations and instructions regarding the walk of faith will not save one, but they exist for the purpose that no one would lose living faith. (The Righteousness of Faith,Haho, A., 2004)
Grace and Truth Are Inseparable
Can a person live in grace without truth or truth without grace? God’s children must live in both grace and truth, for without one both are lost. They must not be separated. The law cannot impart truth to the heart or change it. Rather, it can only reveal what God demands and awaken the conscience to receive Christ. (Grace and Truth, Leonard Typpö, 1904)
How Does Grace Teach?
Finally, how does grace teach? Certainly, through the Holy Spirit as the “home teacher” in one’s heart (John 14:26) and in God’s kingdom through the Spirit-empowered Word of preaching and teaching. We are taught through our believing friends, too. Grace is an active and hardworking teacher through the Holy Spirit, which is with us at all times teaching and warning us through our consciences as a gentle calm voice (1 Kings 19:12). Therefore, it is necessary to keep faith and a good conscience in order to hear Him. God’s grace and Spirit create unity.