Titus - Chapter 2
This past Sunday, we dug into chapter 2 of Titus. In the beginning, Paul gives instruction to older men, older women, younger men, & bondslaves. He instructs us in everything we do to be an example of good deeds so the opposition will have nothing bad to say about us who believe in the gospel of grace. I went into depth on this passage in my message, you can go back and check it out if you missed it.
I want to spend a little bit more time on verses 11 & 12.
“For the grace of God has appeared, bringing salvation to all men, instructing us to deny ungodliness and worldly desires and to live sensibly, righteously and godly in the present age.”
I pointed this out in the message, but notice what Paul DOESN’T say the grace of God instructs us to do…deny yourself.
The instruction to deny oneself is a popular teaching among a lot of evangelical communities. And it sounds super spiritual and humble. The problem is, it isn’t biblical. Now, I am well aware of the passages in Matthew, Mark & Luke where Jesus himself says, “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me.”
But is it not curious to you that if denying ourselves was such a vital component of our walk as believers, every one of the apostles who contributed to the New Testament writings on THIS SIDE OF THE CROSS would have repeated that command over and over?
Yet, they didn’t, and here is why.
Jesus took his cross to Calvary and died on it. He was instructing anyone who wants to follow Him to deny themselves as being in the world, and follow Him to be crucified.
Paul takes great pains in Romans 6 to dissect the truth of our identity in Christ’s death, burial, and resurrection. Verse 10 states that the death Jesus died, He died to sin once for all. In verse 5, he says we are united in the likeness of His death. This means our crucifixion was a once for all occurrence as well.
Galatians 2:20 gives us a beautiful picture of our life now. Paul says, “I have been crucified with Christ, it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me, and the life I now live, I live in the faith of the Son of God.”
In Colossians 3:3-4, Paul states that we have died and our life is hidden with Christ in God and that Christ IS our life.
So, IF I have been crucified with Christ, IF I no longer live, IF Christ lives in me, IF my life is hidden with Christ in God, IF the life I live is by the faith of Jesus, then what of that needs to be denied?
Short answer: NONE.
We need to know more about who Christ is, what He did, and what it means for me. Because that is MY LIFE. In that is the message of the gospel of grace. It’s why we harp on it so diligently at Heritage. Go through the letters of the Apostle Paul specifically, who received this great mystery of Christ in you, and what you’ll find is instruction that’s laid out with a consistent pattern of knowing what transpired in you at salvation, the encouragement to grow in the knowledge of Christ and His love for us, and to walk it out in our lives, which includes denying ungodliness and the desire for things of this world.
What you won’t find is instruction to deny the life of Christ that is in you. That needs to be cultivated and understood. What you should deny is any foolishness that tells you otherwise. Go BE who YOU are. Don’t deny it.