There’s a reason we’re supposed to stand out from the way the rest of the world thinks and behaves.
There’s something going on that’s much bigger than just your rights and wishes, your desires, or even your whole life—or mine. It’s bigger than politics, even bigger than who’s the president of the United States—“the most powerful man in the world.”
God is telling a story, a big one, that involves everyone who has ever lived, and that includes you and me, on the streets where we live, and on the social media pages where we hang out.
After Paul has laid out some guidelines about how specific groups of people are supposed to act (Titus 2.2-10), he takes a deep breath and starts a new paragraph.
And he starts it with a tiny little word, but a powerful one: it’s the little word “for”:
For the grace of God has appeared, bringing salvation for all people (Ti 2.11).
God is telling a story, you see; he has a plan. He is bringing salvation to all people.
To all people? To everybody? Nobody goes to hell?
Well, if that’s what Paul means, then he’s contradicting what he himself has already said in 2Thessalonians 2.12 and Romans 13.2. We can tell by reading Paul that he’s not that stupid.
No, he doesn’t mean that everyone will be saved.
So what does he mean?
Check the context. He’s been talking about different groups or kinds of people—old men, old women, young women, young men, slaves. Paul writes more than once about the fact that God is bringing together all different kinds of people into one body, the church:
In one Spirit we were all baptized into one body—Jews or Greeks, slaves or free (1Co 12.13).
There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is no male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus (Gal 3.28).
For a much lengthier exposition of that idea, see Ephesians 2.11-3.21.
So back to our passage. God is bringing salvation to all different kinds of people—people who should by all natural tendencies be enemies—and bringing them together in Christ.
In Christ, not in a political party or a tribe or a nation or a league of nations.
There’s no other person or idea or movement that could do that. If world history teaches us anything at all, it teaches us that bloody divisions come to all people, for all sorts of reasons, including the most trivial imaginable.
But in Christ, people who ought to be enemies—who have significant and reasonable reasons for hating one another—become one in Christ.
Only God could do that.
So how do we live that salvation out? How do we live in a way that convinces onlookers that something unusual, other-worldly, is going on?
Paul tells us:
12 training us to renounce ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright, and godly lives in the present age, 13 waiting for our 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 lawlessness and to purify for himself a people for his own possession who are zealous for good works (Ti 2.12-14).
This is what “Christian soldiers” look like.
How much of this do you see on social media? How much of this do you put out there?
Note that he’s not talking to specific groups anymore. This isn’t just for the old men, or the old women, or whomever. This is for everybody.
- Renounce any kind of thinking, speaking, or acting that God himself wouldn’t engage in.
- Don’t have the kind of emotional lack of control that typifies the unbeliever.
- Live in a way that’s self-controlled, upright, and godly.
- Be oriented toward the long future, the eternal
future, rather than the immediate.
- Look for Christ, not anybody else, to deliver you.
- Follow him away from lawlessness and toward purity.
- Be eager for good works.
I don’t see much of that from Christians these days. I see people who have heroes, champions, of one kind or another, and who ignore their champion’s faults while delighting over the flaws of The Enemy.
Interestingly, as I write it looks like the Jeffrey Epstein investigation is going to provide quite a list of pedophiles for public examination. Some will be Republicans, and some will be Democrats.
What do you think will happen then?
And how seamlessly is your online behavior going to blend in with that nonsense?
Or will it stand out?