The Pursuit of Holiness
"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, waiting for our blessed hope, the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ, who gave himself for us to redeem us from all lawlessness and to purify for himself a people for his own possession who are zealous for good works."- Titus 2.11-14
Recently, this Bible passage has been occupying a lot of the personal time that I set aside to ponder. It fascinates me because of its brevity, clarity, and gospel-centered message. There is no fluff here, there is no room for small talk or kid gloves, this passage delivered from Paul to Titus is all about the mission of making God’s Kingdom known on Earth.
I came across this passage recently because of the wise and brilliant J.I. Packer. I’m currently listening to/reading along with his book Rediscovering Holiness and I cannot recommend it enough.
When I read this passage I am immediately presented with the Truth: “The grace of God has appeared, bringing salvation for all people.” This is the Good News! God has made it his mission to make his grace, love, and mercy known to the people of this world so that we might come to experience and accept the gift of salvation, adoption, and acceptance from our Creator.
Paul continues by saying that the grace of God trains us “to renounce ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright and godly lives in the present age.” This is a dagger of conviction straight to the heart for me. So often I have lived with little to no self-control or discipline. I’ve often done what I wanted, when I wanted to do it, without thought towards the ramifications both over the short and long terms. In a sense, I’ve lived like a child while masquerading as an adult. This sort of self-deprecation may seem a bit harsh, but I assure you I am being both honest and forthright.
I want to be self-controlled, upright, and godly. I want to bid farewell to ungodliness and the allure of worldly passions. I want to know in my heart, the place only God and I are privy to, that I am living a life of holiness, righteousness, and truth. Simply put, I want to be like Jesus. I long for his desires to be mine.
I want this because there is no one else like Jesus. He is singular.
He alone is both God and Man. He alone lived a sinless life. He alone was murdered so that we, broken as we are, could finally be brought back into the family of God, as broken things no longer, but instead as welcomed and beloved children of God. Holy, new creations, set apart, and righteous before God.
We have the privilege of standing as the recipients of the greatest gift, the grandest plot twist of all time. We get to be with God forever because of the salvation brought forth by the Holy Trinity. This fires me up! It causes me to want to cast aside my worldly passions, to leave my ungodliness behind and to embrace the life that God has called me to: one full of mercy, love, forgiveness, reconciliation, and compassion.