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Grace Has Appeared

by Ron Bartanen

bartenen3“The grace of God that bringeth salvation hath appeared to all men, teaching us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously and godly in this present world, looking for that blessed hope and the glorious appearing of the great God and our Savior, Jesus Christ” (Titus 2:11-13 ).

To a world enveloped in spiritual darkness grace appeared for all to see two thousand years ago.  That grace was embodied in Christ, the prophesied “Sun of righteousness” that would “arise with healing in His wings” (Malachi 4:2 ).  Malachi’s promise for His appearing was “to them that look for Him.”  There were those in Judea, at the coming of Christ, who “looked for redemption in Jerusalem” (Luke 3:8 ).  They were those who were spiritually awake, even in the world of darkness, knowledgeable of the messianic prophecies of His coming, awaiting the rising “Sun of righteousness.”  The world had the natural law, with some inherent knowledge of right and wrong, and the Jews were further blessed with God’s Law through Moses, but law only exposed the fact that “all have sinned and come short of the glory of God” (Romans 3:23).  What was needed was grace—the unmerited favor of God, secured for man by Christ, As Malachi said, He would arise “with healing in His wings.”  His righteousness would be imputed to the unrighteous through His sacrifice at Calvary.  The apostle Paul spoke of his grace: “Being justified freely by his grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus: Whom God hath set forth to be a propitiation through faith in his blood, to declare his righteousness for the remission of sins that are past through the forbearance of God” (Rom. 3:24-25 ).  The full realization of this righteousness came as penitent believers were “buried with him by baptism into death: that as Christ was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life” (Rom. 6:3-4 ).

The word grace speaks of the unmerited favor of God, as bestowed through Christ alone.  The most unworthy among us, has access to the worthiness of Christ, the sinless Son of God.  There is no quality even in the best of men and women that would lay claim to heaven.  In Rom. 3:19 Paul declared “all the world” to be “guilty before God”.  Before the bar of justice, all stand condemned if it were not for the grace of God through Christ. This grace “appeared.”  It was not man’s doing, but God’s.  The grace appeared in God sending Christ His Son to be man’s redeemer.  “The law was given by Moses, but grace and truth came by Jesus Christ” (John 1:17).

Paul, in writing to Titus, reminded him that not only did grace appear in the coming of Christ, but also that the redeemed can look again with expectation for “the blessed hope and the glorious appearing of the great God and our Savior, Jesus Christ.”  He who came once will come again.  That is the believer’s “blessed hope.”  As iniquity abounds  and the love of many waxes cold (Matt. 24:12 ), Christ’s true followers shall, by His grace, “endure unto the end (v. 13),” looking for His glorious appearing.  The fruit of this faith is the denial in our lives of “ungodliness and worldly lusts,” as the passage in Titus indicates.  The appearing of the grace of God establishes not only a new relationship with God, but also a new life, characterized by the words “soberly, righteously and godly.”  In this spiritually darkened world of  ungodliness, are you looking for His appearing—the second arising of “the Sun of righteousness”?

Ron Bartanen lives in Sullivan, IL and preaches for the  Arthur (IL) Church of Christ

 

 




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That is why, for Christ's sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong.

2 Corinthians 12:10