Proof: Week 2 – Titus 2:11-14

In Week 1, we talked about John 1:14, 16 with emphasis on the following

  1. Grace came in the person of Jesus Christ
  2. He came full of grace and truth, not a balance between
  3. In His fullness, we have received the saving grace in place of grace already given

This week in the Victory Group resource, we are going to study verses from Titus 2

Titus 2:11-14

New International Version (NIV)

11 For the grace of God has appeared that offers salvation to all people. 12 It teaches us to say “No” to ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright and godly lives in this present age, 13 while we wait for the blessed hope—the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior, Jesus Christ, 14 who gave himself for us to redeem us from all wickedness and to purify for himself a people that are his very own, eager to do what is good.

Lord thank you for your word. Thank you for bestowing us an instruction manual we can live by. I pray for guidance in understanding and that only your intention will be heard. In Jesus name I pray. Amen.

To continue where we have left off from last week, Jesus, (the fulfillment of the
promise – Gen 3:15) “came”, Titus 2:11 put it as “appeared”.
It’s says here, “For the grace of God has appeared“. Also, because this verse starts with “For“, it also means that this verse is meant as a concluding statement of its preceding verses. (You can read that in your own time).

We had a lot of emphasis on the coming of grace already from last week, so we continue to the later parts of verse 12, “that offers salvation to all people“. Now, think about this – “For the grace of God” (Jesus, the embodiment of grace), “that offers“, examine the word that was used is “offers”; when you experience that word today, to some people, when you offer something, the common mindset is that “you offer because you probably expect something in return” doesn’t it. It seems sad but it’s a reality we live today.

The world made in itself a way to make the “performance driven” culture more evident than “love driven”. I’m not saying that performing is bad, in fact, that is good in a sense. But what is not good is people are more concerned what the world will see in us than what God is supposed to see in us.

Know this, the Bible talks about “salvation” (going back to the word), that is offered free. But listen – because it is offered, it is not automatically yours until you respond. Who should respond? Is says here “to all people”. There was no exception there. Not to a chosen few. Not to a specific denomination. Not to people who outperforms the other. Not just the rich. Not just the good. It will be to anyone who “responded”, to the one who “acted”, to the one who “received” it. Again, salvation is offered to all people, and those who responded, acted on receiving it, get it. Otherwise, to those who do not, it remains to be just an offer doesn’t it?

Unlike any other stuff offered though, like food, or drinks, or anything you can touch, these offer is one that is not something felt, or smelled, or ingest, this is something beyond. Receiving it is not the same as receiving all the other stuff, but this offer; you receive “by faith“. Galatians 3:14 …through Christ Jesus, so that by faith we might receive the promise of the Spirit.

What is more interesting is that, even though it was not something you get physically when you receive it, it manifests itself in the inside, which comes as a proof that you have it. Titus continued, 1st part of verse 12 “It teaches us“, who is being taught? Those who acted, received, and responded through faith. Believers are influenced by that of which they received… grace; it says here, it teaches – “to say ‘No’ to ungodliness“. What are these? Just taking a cue from the law handed down to Moses, those that although it says “thou shalt not” and we still do 🙂 .

Unloving (or hate), idolatry, dishonor, murder, adultery, robbing, lies, coveting – you name it, but my point is… “Rather than being a person who knows the law and trying to abide by it to stay out of trouble“… by being in the saving knowledge of grace, you are taught to say ‘No’… “‘No’ to ungodliness and worldly passions”. You are induced to the concept of eternal rather than temporal. It teaches you to be immune to worldly desires. It teaches you “to live self-controlled, upright and godly“. Our country is in crisis today because some officials are allegedly involved in corruption; it is demoralizing from a sense where the government is failing from watching over itself… what more to other people who it is supposed to be watching. The difference with grace is that it teaches self governance, to be under the authority of the Lord, and its fruit is righteous men and women.

Last part of verse 12, “in this present age,” well, if the Bible says present age, does it then described before? Is it in the timeline where the book of Titus was written? Let me ask you, in the world we live today, does hate exists? Does idolatry exists? In the world today, do we see dishonor, murder, adultery? Is there no more theft and is the world free of lies? In fact, come to think of it “in this present age,” is truer now than it’s ever been doesn’t it…

Verse 13 “while we wait for the blessed hope“. Let me circle back to the idea on verse 12 and back to verse 13 again to build on the point…

Grace teaches us self governance, influences us to live righteously, in this present age, WHILE we wait for the blessed hope.

Blessed hope by which John described in John 14:1-3 referring to Jesus promise:

John 14:1-3

New International Version (NIV)

1 “Do not let your hearts be troubled. You believe in God; believe also in me. 2 My Father’s house has many rooms; if that were not so, would I have told you that I am going there to prepare a place for you? 3 And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am.

Blessed hope, which is the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ.

To close, verse 14 “Jesus Christ, 14 who gave himself for us to redeem us from all wickedness and to purify for himself a people that are his very own, eager to do what is good.”

As we have concluded from the previous meeting, His presence from the beginning (John 1:1-3; Genesis 1:1,26), will give “14 who gave himself for us” a twofold story – (1) give up heaven for a time ‘and make his dwelling among us’ (John 1:14). Jesus, who is blameless, to live among us – Isaiah 64:6 put it this way “All of us have become like one who is unclean, and all our righteous acts are like filthy rags;” Can you just imagine if I ask you to go and live with beggars who are unable to change their clothes for a long time because of poverty? That doesn’t sound very appealing but that’s the picture here. And that is not all – (2) he came to us, live with us, so that he can die for us. How many times does he need to ‘give himself for us’? He gave himself, so that he can give himself for us, redundant enough? Here is more 🙂 : He gave himself to us, so that he can give himself for us, because he has not given up on us. Going back to the word, it says here “to redeem us”. Redeem us “from all wickedness”, you see, when Jesus gave himself for us, it was to redeem us from ALL wickedness. So if you are FREE from wickedness, you who are sinful; was made sinless before God; spotless; blameless. It adds here “and to purify“. It was a necessary sacrifice because he was establishing the church; the body of Christ – “to purify for himself a people that are his very own”.

Lastly, it concluded “eager to do what is good.” and I especially like this part. This last part here is also what made me say:

“What is more interesting is that, even though it was not something you get physically when you receive it, it manifests itself in the inside, which comes as a proof that you have it.”

back from the top.

This is a result of grace. Grace gives us, strengthens us, sustains us, transforms us, and makes us “eager to do what is good.” This is a proof of grace. “Eager (or wanting, longing, yearning) to do what is good.”

And I end with this verse:

For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God— not by works, so that no one can boast.

Ephesians 2:8-9

New International Version (NIV)

Praise be to God!

Proof: Week 1 – John 1:14,16

The Church is now moving to a series called Proof. You can read about that here: Victory Fort

This weeks study verse for the Victory Group is:

John 1:14, 16

New International Version (NIV)

14 The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the one and only Son, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth.

16 Out of his fullness we have all received grace in place of grace already given.

To begin, let me start by a word of prayer…

Lord thank you for this opportunity to study your word. Please guide me as I prepare for the sharing tonight. Guide me that what I am able to write and share will be your truth. I pray for open mind and a receptive heart. In Jesus name I pray. Amen.

1st part of verse 14 “The Word became flesh” and I’ll stop here for a moment. Let us go back to our Bible and read starting from verse 1 through 18 of Chapter 1 real quick to build on the reference on what was referred to as “The Word” here.

John 1:1-18 (NIV)

If you observed the same, John 1:1-3 seemed to be parallel to Genesis 1:1,26 in a sense of both “repetition” (both begins with In the beginning”) and “context” (God created the heavens and the earth … Let us make mankind in our image || He was with God in the beginning  … Through him all things were made). The words “us” seemed to have complemented to “with” and at the same time, a pattern was building up.

But since our study verse is on 14 and 16, we may have to talk through that observation in another meeting, but the point here as I build on the discussion is that, “The Word“, John referring to was either ‘the promise of fulfillment into the person of Jesusor ‘the God being present in the creation account and transformed into human’, however I may want to look at it fits Jesus especially when John concluded the sentence. Says here “and made his dwelling among us.”

So if I am to build from the statement above, its ‘the promise getting fulfilled’ to the person of Jesus Christ (Genesis 3:15 – offspring; or the seed) and made his living among us. What is also important in this verse is that we’d realize that being with us means that having to endure what mankind endure; in a world where the fallen man is living in. More than that, we are favored; we are favored to know that God have continued on His plan of redemption. We are favored that “dwelling among us” or living with us is Gods’ plan of salvation, Jesus. And John didn’t stop there…

John continued “We have seen his glory, the glory of the one and only Son, who came from the Father,” and here, he testifies that what he witness from Jesus is glory like no other, glory that you can only see from the Son of God. At this point, it should not be an argument that ‘we are all sons and daughters of God’ as that is in the spirit, after we have been “made” sons and daughters of God through Jesus, because the sentence continue to say “who came from the Father,”.

Now, as popular as the story is, we know that Jesus was born of a virgin, Mary. Conceived through the Holy Spirit; and this is what John was building on to as he said “the glory we witness from Gods’ only begotten Son“. Let us examine that for a moment, in Genesis 1:26, we reference this earlier, it say’s “Let us make mankind in our image, in our likeness”, so it was referring to Adam before he had sinned, then we jump to Genesis 5:3 (already after the fall) it wrote here “he (Adam) had a son in his own likeness, in his own image” and all sons and daughters were born with sinful nature. For this reason, mankind was in need of a savior, He who is not born of natural descent, nor in human decision, but the one who is born of God conceived through the Holy Spirit, back to God’s likeness and image, He who do not carry the sinful nature of man, He who is God. Jesus… who chose to be among us at His fathers will.

Last part of verse 14, listen to this, “full of grace and truth”. Again, “FULL of grace AND truth”; and there’s a tension there… I mentioned about it ‘a little bit’ when we were in the ‘Hotspot series’. But to some of us, we are torn between one or the other don’t we. We know what the difference is… Grace says you’re forgiven, while truth says “yeah, but you’re accountable”. Truth will show you’re broken, and grace chimes in and say “you’re fine”. And here, grace will keep saying “I love you, just the way you are” and truth just keeps creeping in saying you’re responsible doesn’t it. That is why some of us are torn – some of us are inclined to favor one over the other. We try to push Jesus into one direction. We like the verse that talks about truth when we lecture people what to do, and then we like the verses that talks about grace when its about us 🙂

But that is not what John is saying… he says he has seen Him live, he has seen his glory, they (the disciples) walked with Jesus, and he described Him full of grace and truth. There is the emphasis. Not a balance of grace and truth, but full.

Then we skipped over verse 16: “16 Out of his fullness we have all received grace in place of grace already given.” Out of his fullness – there’s the key, he continued – we have received grace in place of grace already given… And I paused as I think about this for a second as this can only mean we either ‘received grace after grace, after grace’ or this can also talked about a ‘new grace’ in place of ‘grace given’ because if I ponder upon the latter, I would be able to reference “the promise” as God’s mercy when the first of mankind fell is the “grace already given”, and Jesus coming as the embodiment of grace is the “grace we all received” in place of “grace already given”.

To close, this is why “no one can boast”, and “no good works” can ever match what came through Jesus. We are reminded that grace and truth came in the person of Jesus Christ. And it is only through Him we will be save as God’s greatest gift and expression of love to us. That we received it in full, not a balance between grace and truth (by faith).

God bless you!

Bible Rewind: A New Perspective in My Reading of the Scripture

A couple months back, our Bible study group went through a series of 2-hour monthly lectures in hermeneutics. Thank God for using Pastor Vic to mentor us in this journey. Our group truly appreciates his guidance and up to now that he continued teaching us to improve on our Bible reading comprehension.

I do not intend to cover what all I learned from that series, the more so I cannot cover them in one article, but what I intend to do in this post is to give readers a quick look at how this foundational principles are guiding me in my Bible reading today.

One important ingredient is to understand the necessity of Biblical interpretation. As you would with other forms of communication, a gap between the sender and receiver can occur; and that is no different in reading the Bible. A gap occurs in one or combination of History, Culture, Language and World View.

During the course of the lesson, we were eventually made to memorize GHIPA as a guide that expands to the following:

  1. G = Genre: the men who wrote the text as inspired by God used forms of literature that people of those time understood, which is why genre is important in our interpretation. Simply put, interpretation would require more than just words and grammar.

    For instance, one sentence from a literature says this way “Crocodile got away”:

    While you can understand its grammar with subject and verb agreements, if you are not going to consider its literary genre, you could be at lost in trying to determine its real meaning.

    If the sentence is found in children’s story book, it could literally mean the actual animal got away from its holding cell or from being captive. But if this sentence is found in the news paper with highlights on current political issues (you might not relate if you are not a Filipino), it is most likely that this is not pertaining to the actual crocodile.

    If this example doesn’t suit you, let’s take one from the Bible:

    Song of Songs 4
    New International Version (NIV)

    13 Your plants are an orchard of pomegranates
    with choice fruits,
    with henna and nard,
    14     nard and saffron,
    calamus and cinnamon,
    with every kind of incense tree,
    with myrrh and aloes
    and all the finest spices.
    15 You are a garden fountain,
    a well of flowing water
    streaming down from Lebanon.

    Surely you wouldn’t think of the wife to be a literal garden that produces plants.

  2. H = Historical Background: in the 1st example above, History can play a crucial role that eventually how the word “crocodile” can-or-have depicted into a different meaning from either just a wild animal to be a “corrupt individual”.
  3. I = Intention (or Authors Intention): going back to a verse in Songs of Songs 4, if the woman was not aware what the guys intention was in saying the following:

    Your neck is like the tower of David,
    built with courses of stone;

    The statement can possibly be taken as insult more than a praise which is the original intention.

  4. P = Principle (Timeless Principle): more than the unfolding story of our redemption, what would make a great Bible reading is extracting the timeless principle conveyed in one or combination of verses, chapters or a book.

    One topic we discussed in our OT Survey lecture was “The Fall” and it was a great discussion learning that it was not so much about the blame game between Adam, Eve and the serpent but a lesson on responsibility, accountability, obedience and much more.

  5. A = Application (Practical Application): lastly, it makes more sense to capture the message, the timeless principle, and bring it to use in our daily lives. Let’s just say, what would have happened if Adam have been a responsible husband and watch over his wife like God had commanded him to. Or Eve would have been more resistant to temptation and have been obedient to her husband and God.

To close, while above does not give an all descriptive and more detailed discussion for each of the points, I hope it would help you discern better on your next encounter of God’s Word. Of course, top it up with a word of prayer to be guided by the Holy Spirit.

Here is a post that may interest you. Have a great day and God bless!

NIV & Other Versions NOW available Offline in YouVersion

I received this exciting news in my inbox today. I was trying to see if there is an article or blog I can refer you to so I could paste a link here BUT I can’t find it.

But I found another interesting link which might inspire you: http://now.youversion.com/

 

Today in the Jesus Community

Today in the Jesus Community

I just love the animations that shows how busy God works J