Titus 2:11-14 | God’s (Difficult) Gift of Purifying His People

Originally posted January 16, 2021 by Pastor Tyson Turner (Updated 20210708)

This coming Lord’s Day, we are scheduled to hear God’s Word preached from Titus 2:11-14.

“11 For the grace of God has appeared, bringing salvation to all men, 12 instructing us to deny ungodliness and worldly desires and to live sensibly, righteously and godly in the present age, 13 looking for the blessed hope and the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior, Christ Jesus, 14 who gave Himself for us to redeem us from every lawless deed, and to purify for Himself a people for His own possession, zealous for good deeds.”

In preparing for preaching, I read through, for the first time, Pastor John Calvin’s sermon from this passage. I’ve attached a copy for your benefit. As he reflects on the gift and obligation of God’s grace toward us, Calvin highlights some key points from Titus that I’ve been trying to communicate over the weeks we’ve spent together going through Titus.

For example, the following excerpt is particularly instructive to me and personally encouraging. I hope you will be equally encouraged and challenged.

“Next, it is said that, as we live pure and sober lives, we await the blessed hope and the appearance of the great God and of our Saviour Jesus Christ. God, that is, puts us to the test while we are here on earth. He desires to see what we are like. Hence this life is like a continual conflict in which God does not leave us idle, but tries us so as to have sure proof of the fear and honour which we bear him. Now this is most useful, since all of us, we know, complain that God does not give us what we wish but does the very opposite; we want him to lead us as we ourselves would like, and to let each of us be his own master.

Paul therefore declares that during this transitory life it is right that God should train us for his service, and should test our attitude toward him. With the passage of time, however, we grow weary. Thus we are taught to await the hope of the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. If we would be steadfast in serving God we ought not to concern ourselves with the present state of the world. Rather we should look to the hope which is given to us, that God’s Son will come to judge the world. Observe, then, in the first place, that God desires to test his faithful people by allowing them, throughout their life, to be troubled and harassed and to pass through many afflictions. When untoward events occur God seems to have forsaken them, and even to be their enemy. Be sure, however, that he acts with good reason, and that by these means we have to be tried.

When we are given gold or silver we need to know whether it is genuine, and when we are in doubt we do not hesitate to test it by fire. Is not our faith, as Peter says, more precious than all the perishable metals which are tested with such care (1 Pet. 1:7)?”