Grace Personified


Elder Mark D. Rowell

Titus 2:11 “For the grace of God that bringeth salvation hath appeared to all men”

While the teaching of the context of this verse, coupled with the conclusion of the sentence in verse 12, is more along the lines of what the grace of God teaches us, which undoubtedly is of the utmost importance in our efforts to live “soberly, righteously, and godly, in this present world”, let us not overlook the source of that teaching but rather come to a better understanding of what this grace is.

This grace both bringeth (salvation) and appeared (to all men). It is no accident that one verb is present-perfect tense while the other is past tense. As a quick reminder, present-perfect tense indicates an action that begins sometime in the past, continues in the present, and proceeds to some point in the future.  So, this grace has brought, is bringing, and continues to bring salvation. However, this grace appeared once, in the past.  While we might be able to identify when grace was delivered to us in a vital way in the New Birth, the text says grace appeared to all men, not just one.

If we look at corresponding scripture regarding the word appeared, one stands out the most in my mind:

“For then must he have suffered since the foundation of the world: but now once in the end of the world hath he appeared to put away sin by the sacrifice of himself.” (Hebrews 9:26) manifest through daily activities, tough times remind us of just how special our citizenship of heaven really is.  The truth makes us free, and there is great liberty in the Spirit of God.  Yet, fallen creatures as we are many times have to be reminded of this to re-focus and align priorities again.  The greatest commonality to this great spiritual dearth that grips so many of God's people goes back to a statement I heard often in my youth, "It's hard to comfort people who are too comfortable to be comforted."

The message that Paul preached is the only thing that can bring long lasting reconciliation to the child of God.  The ever-changing circumstances of this old world will never yield lasting peace.  Any faith and hope in the shifting sands of life's experiences will bring nothing but a life filled with disappointments.  Life changes.  Hope in changing things is easily dashed on the rocks of sorrow.  Hope in the eternal, unchanging God does not disappoint as it endures no matter the circumstances. (Romans 5:5) The message of Christ's work endures no matter what happens here below. 

The great comfort of the gospel to me is that the Lord is reconciled to us no matter what.  Nothing can change that.  Knowing the fallible man that I am, I rest in knowing His greatness supersedes my weakness.  When next we meet together with fellow pilgrims and strangers in this world, may we consider that we are standing on heaven's borderland.  It is the home soil of that country to which we are going.  When we hear the message come forth in power, may we receive it as though God Himself was speaking it.  As a minister, that phrase from our study verse (as though God did beseech you by us) is one of the most awesome and humbling to me in the work that I have been called into.  When I read the word of God, it is as though God said it personally to me, and when a gospel message is declared, it should be received as though God spoke it.  Awesome!  Truly awesome!  Friends, as a lifelong churchgoer, I freely confess that there are times that I do not frame this experience as I should.  I am meeting heaven's citizens on heaven's soil to hear a message from home as though the King Himself gave it.  As the closing line of an old hymn lovingly states, "My soul shall pray for Zion still, while life or breath remains; There my best friends my kindred dwell, there God my Saviour reigns!”