Titus 2:11-14 NIV
“For the grace of God has appeared that offers salvation to all people. It teaches us to say ‘No’ to ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright and godly lives in this present age, while we wait for the 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 wickedness and to purify for himself a people that are his very own, eager to do what is good.”
We Call it “Cheap Grace”
Many people today are teaching the grace of God as free license to continue living in sin without guilt, and with no requirements for repentance, obedience, or submission to Christ as Lord. We call it “cheap grace,” because it is adulterating the true grace of God, and it is cheapening it.
Max Lucado, in his “Insurance Letter,” compared the grace of God to car insurance, the purpose of which, he said, was to pay for his reckless driving so that he could keep on driving recklessly. He was complaining because his insurance carrier had cancelled his insurance due to his reckless driving (1).
Lucado, a minister of the gospel and a well-respected author and writer of devotions, admitted that he tends “to get a bit heavy-footed and careless.” He stated, in fact, “that is the reason we have insurance.” He rationalized that the insurance industry was created for people like him.
He felt the insurance company should keep no record of his wrongs, which he justified with 1 Corinthians 13:5. And, he was implying, as well, that God should keep no record of his wrongs. He also felt that, as long as he confessed his faults, he was good to go. And he used 1 Jn 1:9 there.
He expects God to “cover” his “intentional rebellion.” And he sees God’s grace as a covering for all his sin – past, present and future – no matter how often he chooses to sin, and no matter if the sin is intentional and habitual. And he sees an acceptance of God’s grace as all that is required of him.
No repentance, no turning from his sinful lifestyle, no walk of obedience to the Lord and to his commands, and no submission to Christ as Lord of his life. Thus, he sees Jesus’ death on the cross for his sins as a “free pass” to keep on living recklessly, for Jesus paid it all.
Let’s Compare That to Scripture
But let’s compare that to what Scripture teaches. Are we to think of God’s gift of grace, and our salvation from sin, as “insurance” to keep us out of hell while we willfully, habitually, and deliberately keep on living in sin? God forbid! We died to sin! How can we live in it any longer?
When we believe in Jesus with God-given faith, we die with him to sin, and we are raised with him to newness of life in him to be lived to him and to his righteousness. We were crucified with Christ in death to sin so that we would no longer be enslaved to sin, but so we would be slaves to righteousness.
So, we are to count ourselves dead to sin but alive to God in Christ Jesus. We are to no longer let sin reign in our bodies so that we obey its evil desires. We are not to offer any part of ourselves to sin, but we are to offer our entire beings to God as instruments of his righteousness.
For, we are slaves to whomever we obey. If slaves to sin, it leads to death, but if slaves to obedience, it leads to righteousness, which then ends in eternal life with God. For, when we are slaves to sin, we are free from the control of righteousness, and the wages of sin is death (Rom 6:1-23).
The Grace of God
This passage in Titus makes it quite clear that God’s grace to us is not insurance so that we can keep on sinning without guilt. For, his grace trains us to say “NO!” to sin and “YES!” to God daily, as a matter of practice.
Jesus said that if anyone would come after him, he must deny self, take up his cross daily (daily die to sin) and follow (obey) him. For, he said if we hold on to our old lives of sin, we will lose them for eternity. But if we lose our lives (die to sin) for his sake, we will have eternal life (Lu 9:23-26).
Paul, in his various epistles, made it quite clear the true message of the gospel of God’s grace.
He said that the truth in Jesus, which we should have learned, is that we are to put off our old self, which belongs to our former manner of life, which is corrupt through deceitful desires. We are to be renewed in the spirit of our minds, and we are to put on the new self, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness (Eph 4:17-24).
He said that the righteous requirement of the law is fulfilled in us who walk (in practice) not according to the flesh but according to the Spirit. For, the mind that is set on the flesh is hostile to God, for it does not submit to God’s law, for those in the flesh cannot please God.
Then, he went on to say that we are debtors, not to the flesh, to live according to the flesh. For if we live according to the flesh, we will die in our sins. But if by the Spirit we are putting to death the deeds of the flesh, then we will live. For it is those who are led by the Spirit who are God’s children (Rom 8:1-17).
Then Paul taught that if we walk by the Spirit, we will not gratify the desires of the flesh. But if we make sin our practice, we will not inherit eternal life with God. For, he said, those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires (Gal 5:16-21; Eph 5:3-6; 1 Co 6:9-10).
Thus, we are not to be deceived by teachings such as what Max Lucado was teaching with regard to God’s grace. For, we are all going to reap what we sow. If we sow to please the flesh, from the flesh we will reap corruption (destruction, death). But if we sow to please the Spirit, from the Spirit we will reap eternal life (Gal 6:7-8; Rom 2:6-8; 2 Co 5:10).
For, God’s grace delivers us from our bondage to sin, and it empowers us to live godly and holy lives, pleasing to God (Rom 6:1-23; Rom 8:1-17; Eph 4:17-24; 1 Pet 2:24; 1 Co 6:19-20; 2 Co 5:15, 21; 1 Jn 1:5-9; Tit 2:11-14).
But “If we deliberately keep on sinning after we have received the knowledge of the truth, no sacrifice for sins is left, but only a fearful expectation of judgment and of raging fire that will consume the enemies of God.” Heb 10:26-27 NIV
Jesus, Rescue Me
An Original Work / September 18, 2011
Based off of Romans 7:7-8:39
Jesus, rescue me today.
Listen while I bow and pray.
I need Your help to obey You;
Live for You always.
Meet me in my hour of need, Lord,
As I pray to You.
Help me walk in fellowship, Lord,
Living in Your truth.
Jesus, how I long for You to
Change my heart anew.
Father, God, my heart’s desire
Is to live for You this hour
In Your Holy Spirit’s power
Living in me now.
Teach me to walk in Your love, Lord,
Guiding me each day.
Help me to show love and kindness
To the lost, I pray.
Father, teach me to love others
As You love always.
Holy Spirit come in pow’r.
Revive our hearts in this hour.
Change our hearts to be like You, Lord;
Live for You each day.
Help us to forsake our sins, Lord,
As we humbly pray.
Teach us how to live for You, Lord,
Obey You always.
Holy Spirit come in power,
Revive us today.