Grace That Won’t Leave Us Struggling

By: Antipas Harris
Monday, July 26th, 2010

It seems that in contemporary times Christians limit grace to continuous opportunities to access God’s forgiveness. The previous chapters have explored the important and profound object lessons on grace as divine favor. This chapter introduces grace, the teacher, as particularly explained in the Pastoral Epistle of Titus. Titus 2:11-14 states:

For the grace of God has appeared, bringing salvation to all, training us to renounce impiety and worldly passions, and in the present age to live lives that are self-controlled, upright, and godly, while we wait for the blessed hope and the manifestation of the glory of our great God and Savior, Jesus Christ. He is is who gave himself for us that he might redeem us from all iniquity and purify himself a people of his own who are zealous for good deeds.

Emerging from this passage is a unique character of grace expressed in conjunction with the Greek word paideuousa (training). This term is related to a popular ancient Greek educational process called paideia, according to which education is culturing or training human beings in virtue.[1] Biblical Scholar Luke Timothy Johnson points out that “for Paul, the grace of God itself has an educative function as it trains or cultures Christians toward the goal of becoming human social Christians.[2] Johnson explains that in Titus, as in other Pauline passages, “the Christian life involves a transformation from the old life to the new… God’s grace actually becomes a pedagogue for the new believers, training them in civic and social duties.”[3]

Johnson further points out that in Titus, Christianity establishes its own distinctive “training,” revaling yet adapting the Greco-Roman emphases. The Christian household should represent the ideal lifestyle in society. Moreover, grace affords the greatest Christian life and witness and that is– lived behavior.[4] In short, while grace gives us opportunity after opportunity to get it right, grace is a teacher that insists that the Christian life must be different from that of the world!

What has grace taught you lately? Has grace changed your life? Of late, I discovered that grace will not leave us struggling to please God. Grace teaches us how! Let’s listen for the voice of grace as it teaches us important lessons this week.

[1] See, Edward Farley, Theologia: The Fragmentation and Unity of Theological Education (Eugene, OR: Wipf and Stock Publishers, 2001), 152-153; see also, Werner Jaeger, Paideia: The Ideals of Greek Culture, 3 vols. (New York Oxford University Press, 1945), vol. 1, 286.

[2] Luke Timothy Johnson, Writings of the New Testament: An Interpretation (Revised Edition) (Minneapolis: Augsburg Fortress Press, 1999), 448.

[3] Writings, 448.

[4] Writings, 448.

Antipas Harris
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