Titus 2 has some awesome practical instructions for Christian living. These instructions are broken down to older men and women, younger men and women, and slaves. It's easy for us to see practical commands for daily living and then run along and try to obey them. When will we learn that we are not able to obey any of God's commands? That is, unless he supplies power.
Sure, we understand this when dealing with what we call "big" things. Walking on water, for example. We get it that we simply cannot do that unless Christ says "Come," as he did to Peter (Mt 14:29). I guess we apply this to miracles and such. But this is also true for EVERY command God gives us! The 10 commandments? He gave those commands, but if anyone could keep them, Jesus would not have had to die. Repent and believe the gospel? Only by a miraculous work of God in regeneration can anyone do that. Daily living for Jesus? It applies here, too.
So in Titus 2 when we read the practical things, like taking care of our children, being self-controlled, not slanderers or slaves to much wine, we think we can do it. But we cannot! Every part of us is tainted with sin.
Then how are Sctiptures' teachings to be carried out? The same gospel that saves a sinner sanctifies a saint. The gospel is the POWER for us to daily obey God's instructions.
We see this in the current text. Notice what Paul says just after the practical instructions:
"For the grace of God has appeared, bringing salvation for all people, training us to renounce ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright, and godly lives in the present age, waiting for our blessed hope, the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ, 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." Titus 2:11-14, ESV
What glorious truth is taught in these verses! The grace of God has come, and God's grace TEACHES! It trains us to renounce sin and live in holiness. Anyone who claims to be saved by grace, must also be taught by grace to walk in holiness. Whoever claims to be under God's grace, but does not walk in holiness, does not have God's grace. God's grace trains us how to live.
But the text continues. God's grace trains us, while we wait for Jesus' appearing. If our minds and hearts are thinking about Jesus' return for us, it will affect the way we live. We want to be found serving Christ when he returns.
Then Paul reminds us that Christ "gave himself for us." That's the gospel! He gave himself for us to redeem us from sin (lawlessness) and to "purify for himself a people for his own possession who are zealous for good works." Through the gospel we have a double blessing. Our sins are removed (both the penalty of our sins, and the day-by-day power of our sins through sanctification). But God goes father. He gives us the righteousness of Christ! This is a declared righteousness in our standing before God in heaven; but it is also a practical righteousness that flows through us day by day. In other words, Because of Jesus we can obey God!
So with our minds set on Jesus' return and his giving of himself for us, we can be holy old men, victorious homemakers & self-controlled young men. We can obey these practical instructions, and all the teachings of Scripture, through the power of the gospel of Jesus Christ.
Don't try to obey God on your own. If you seem to succeed, you will be filled with self-righteousness. If you fail, you may give up in despair. What is the answer? Believe the gospel. We are crucified with Christ, and we no longer live! Christ lives through us! Count it to be so (Romans 6). Yield to God, believing the gospel. And Christ will live through us in victory.
Praise the Lord!