Chuck Hetzler, Ph.D., has a diverse background as a biblical scholar, worship leader, and pastor. He served as Christian Union’s first Teaching Fellow at Princeton University and later directed its ministry in New York City. Chuck earned his Ph.D. in New Testament from The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary and currently pastors Bethesda Grace Church in Manhattan.
God's grace is given to us to train us to become more like Christ, not to be an excuse to allow us to continue in sin. This is something that has become a bit of a concern for many Christian leaders in America, that as we've been preaching the gospel of God's grace—which is true and right from the Scriptures—that we are saved by grace and not according to our works. Yet this emphasis on the grace of God has confused many Christians and has led them to conceive of the grace of God as a license for us to sin. Because, after all, because of God's grace, He'll forgive us for our sins. So what need is there for me to live a godly life? Let me explain from Titus 2:11-12 what the grace of God is really meant for. It's really meant to not just save us, but to make us like Christ.
Here Paul says to Titus, "for the grace of God has appeared, bringing salvation for all people, training us to renounce ungodliness and worldly passions and to live self-controlled, upright and godly lives in the present age." So you see those two things that Paul says to Titus here in Titus 2:11-12. The first thing he says is "the grace of God has appeared, bringing salvation for all people." Amen. We cannot save ourselves, no matter how good we are. Our sins cannot be forgiven by our good works—only by the grace of God and the finished work of Jesus Christ for us. Amen. The grace of God brought salvation, but there's a second thing that Paul tells Titus.
He says, "the grace of God has also appeared to train us"—to train us to renounce ungodliness and worldly passions. Grace has been given to us so that we can overcome temptation and sin and so that we can live self-controlled, upright and godly lives in this present age. Grace is not just to get us to eternal life. Grace is to get us to a godly life in this life. God wants to make us more like Christ. He wants to make us more the lights shining in the darkness, not like this present world, not conformed to this age, but living like Him in this age. And we can only do that by the grace of God. Just like we can't save ourselves. We can't make ourselves Holy, but grace can. Grace has been given to save us, and grace has been given to train us to live a godly life. To be remade into the image of Jesus Christ here and now so that we can live for Him in this life. God bless you and fill you with His grace that not only saves us, but makes us into the very image of His son, Jesus Christ our Lord. God bless.