December 25, 2017
(All Scripture is from the New King James Version unless otherwise indicated)
Titus 2:11 through 14 is not usually thought to be a Christmas Scripture. But it certainly speaks of the first Advent, the birth of Christ as well as His return, the second Advent:
For the grace of God that brings salvation has appeared to all men, teach-
ing us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly,
righteously, and godly in the present age, looking for the blessed hope and
the glorious appearing of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ, who gave
Himself for us, that He might redeem us from every lawless deed and purify
for Himself His own special people, zealous for good works.
“…the grace of God that brings salvation has appeared to all men….” God’s grace, God’s salvation appeared in its fulness with Jesus being born being born in a manger! Actually, it arrived nine months earlier when, “The Holy Spirit…[came]upon [Mary], and the power of the Highest…[overshadowed her]…” (Luke 1:38).
We began to look at what it means that God’s “…salvation has appeared to all men…” by analyzing the first two verses of our featured Scripture – discussing limited antonement verses unlimited atonement (I definitely come down on the side of unlimited atonement!), and the kind of life we should be living as a result of receiving God’s salvation. Let’s continue with verses 13 and 14:
• Titus 2:13 – “…looking for the blessed hope and the glorious appearing of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ….” This refers to Christ’s second Advent!
✞ Consider the Old Testament prophecies concerning the two advents of the Lord:
▸ One website – practicaprophetica.com/prophecies-of-christs-first-advent/ – lists 124 Old Testament prophecies concerning the first Advent of Christ!
▸ Another – accordingtothescriptures.org/prophecy/353prophecies. – tells us there are 353 prophesies in the first 39 books of the Bible about both Advents! If that count is correct, there are 229 prophesies in the Old Testament that predict Jesus’ second Advent!
If God took care to record 353 prophesies in the Hebrew Scriptures dealing with the Advents of His Son, then “…the glorious appearing of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ…” is certainly important!
✞ Concerning His second Advent: The New Testament alludes to it over 300 times! And since Jesus perfectly fulfilled the multitude of prophecies about His first Advent, there is no reason to doubt the New Testament prophecies of the second are not just as accurate! As He Himself said in John 14:3, “…I will come again….”
✞ But why is the second Advent so important to us? It is…
▸ …the end of this age, and the devil’s dominion of it! (See Luke 4:5, 6; Revelation 11:15).
▸ …the time when God will lift the curse from the earth and return it to its pre-fall condition! (See Genesis 2:8, 9; Isaiah 11:1-10; Romans 8:19-21).
▸ …the beginning of the eternal reign of the Lord upon the earth (see Psalm 146:10; Isaiah 9:6, 7; Luke 1:33), of which we will be a part! (See Matthew 13:43; II Timothy 2:12; Revelation 20:6).
…and so much more! (See I Corinthians 2:9; Ephesians 3:20, 21).
• Titus 2:14 – “…who gave Himself for us, that He might redeem us from every lawless deed and purify for Himself His own special people, zealous for good works.” Here Paul states what are to be the results of Jesus’ first Advent!
✞ “…that He might redeem us from every lawless deed….” We may not be serious law-breakers by society’s standards, but we surely have done lawless deeds from God’s viewpoint! Which of His Ten Commandments have we broken?
▸ Considering Jesus’ interpretation of inner obedience as well as outward (see Matthew 5:27, 27 – also Colossians 3:5; I John 3:15), we have broken many of the Ten!
▸ Considering what James says in James 2:10: “For whoever shall keep the whole law and yet stumble in one point, he is guilty of all…,” we have broken them all!
▸ We have been redeemed from a multitude of lawless deeds!
✞ “…and purify for Himself His own special people….” This has to do with living a holy life! Remember what is written in Hebrews 12:14: “Pursue peace with all men, and holiness, without which no one will see the Lord.” A holy life is an absolute necessity for the true Christian!
▸ Keep in mind what a holy life is not! It is not as what some might define it: “You don’t drink, smoke, cuss, chew, spit on the sidewalk, or go with girls that do! ” – and then you are holy! Not true!
▸ Holiness is closely following the Lord Jesus (see Matthew 4:19)…in obedience to the Holy Spirit’s leading! (See John 14:15). And the best way to consistently obey Christ is to follow His own example as He prayed in the garden: “…nevertheless not My will, but Yours, be done.” (Luke 22:42).
✞ “…zealous for good works.” Paul tells us in Ephesians 2:10 that “…we are… created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them.” And what will these good works accomplish?
▸ Matthew 5:16 – “Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven.” People seeing your good works, and knowing why you are doing them, will glorify your Father in heaven!
▸ Titus 3:8 – “This is a faithful saying, and these things I want you to affirm constantly, that they who have believed in God should be careful to maintain good works. These things are good and profitable to men.” They are good and profitable both to you and others!
These last two blogs, based on Titus 2:11 through 14, may not sound very Christmas-like! But they truly do concern the first Advent – Christmas, as well as the second! May you have a blessed, Godly, and holy Christmas!