Day 107: April 17, 2014

Today's Reading(s)

Titus 2:11-14
11 For the grace of God has appeared with salvation for all people, 12 instructing us to deny godlessness and worldly lusts and to live in a sensible, righteous, and godly way in the present age, 13 while we wait for the blessed hope and appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior, Jesus Christ. 14 He gave Himself for us to redeem us from all lawlessness and to cleanse for Himself a people for His own possession, eager to do good works.

Unless otherwise noted, all Scripture quotations are taken from the Holman Christian Standard Bible®, Copyright © 1999, 2000, 2002, 2003, 2009 by Holman Bible Publishers. Used by permission. Holman Christian Standard Bible®, Holman CSB®, and HCSB® are federally registered trademarks of Holman Bible Publishers.



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God's Grace Empowers Us To Be Holy
by Lauren O'Neill, Senior Adult and Congregational Care Assistant, Brentwood Campus

Scripture makes clear that we are saved by grace (Eph. 2:8). Grace is a gift offered to us by God, made available through the death of His Son, Jesus Christ, who died for our sins. Christians accept the role of grace in salvation as part of our basic, foundational belief-system. But many Christians still seem to be unclear on what role grace plays in our lives as Christ-followers, after salvation has occurred.

As Paul explained to Titus, it’s important to understand that grace has a very distinct role in the daily life of Christ-followers after we have received our salvation. Many refer to this as “sanctification,” which is the process of being made holy. But how exactly does this work? How does grace specifically sanctify us, or make us holy?

First, these verses in Titus tell us that grace teaches us how to live a holy life (v.11). It instructs us to deny certain things from being a part of our life, which the world might try to tempt us with. It instructs us how to live sensibly, in ways that God will recognize as righteous and godly.

Then, grace empowers us to live the holy life it has instructed us to! (v.13) It reaches to that place we could always hope for, but could never hope to reach - the place where we are found righteous, and as such, are made able to contribute glory to God and good works for His kingdom (14).

How does it empower us? Think about it this way. Have you ever tried and succeeded at being anyone other than yourself? You might have succeeded temporarily in looking more like another person, or sounding more like them - but have you ever truly changed your identity? Of course not! Even if you were to put on a disguise and fool a lot of people, the reality is you would still be you.

The one exception to this is the work of grace. When we receive salvation through grace, by faith, Scripture tells us we’re actually made into a new person (2 Cor. 5:17). Christ gives us a new identity. But once we’ve been saved, made into a new person, there still is a lot we have to learn!

We have to learn how this new person should talk, act, and pray. We sometimes have to know whom this new person needs to hang out with, or where they should no longer go on Friday nights. If anything is supposed to be different from the old person we were, we may need help knowing what those differences should be.

This is exactly what grace does, through the Holy Spirit. It not only instructs us how to be different than we were before, but it also empowers us to do what we couldn’t do before! Whether you’re a new Christian or someone who’s been a Christian 50 years, grace continues its work every single day by showing us how to live a life that’s pleasing to God.

Like Paul explained to Titus, the purpose of all of this sanctification—this being made holy, by grace—is to purify us and make us a people Jesus can call His own. Grace is not only given to save us, but to instruct, empower, and enable us to demonstrate through our lives all that Christ has done. The transformation of our identity is enough to show the world that something has changed inside us – but it’s the transformation of our lives that’s meant to demonstrate the full power of a living God, working to make all things new.

Praxis

  1. Grace empowers us to be more like Christ. In my own life, grace often empowers me to love other people better! Other times, it empowers me to be faithful in reading God’s Word even though I feel busy. What are some ways grace empowers you?
  2. Sometimes grace instructs us to deny certain things from entering our lives, to keep our life focused on Christ. One of the things I’ve been instructed to deny in my personal life is scary movies or television shows—they’re no good for me! What are some things God has instructed you to stay away from, to keep you focused on Him?
  3. When we allow grace to work in our lives, God keeps us close to Him and allows us to be a part of His story. We are able to take part in building His kingdom on earth. Think about ways He has let you be a part of His story. What are they? If you know what they are, thank God for them!

About JourneyOn Today

Today's devotional series accompanies the Spiritual Practices Foundations Curriculum which deals with 24 different spiritual disciplines. We will break for an Advent series in December and continue the second half of Spiritual Practices during the first quarter of 2015.