The church under Titus’ charge is in big trouble. (see Titus in whole) It would seem that those on the inside are scarcely distinguishable from those on the outside.  It would seem that, whatever this salvation is that grace brings, it has yet to show its stuff.


Yet, Paul would insist that none other than the grace of God can speak to the church’s condition and in so doing to all the other conditions that could concern us.    In describing what God has done for us and all, Paul says the grace of God has appeared and he describes it as “salvation bringing.”


Survey the concept and you will find that grace has two aspects.  As everyone knows: grace means kindness and favor—unmerited favor of God toward us, for no reason other than God cares and loves us.  It is not because we are entitled, worthy and or have earned this, or ever could.  What makes it grace is just this quality—for “no good reason.”


As wonderful as this is, however, grace means more.  It is this more that we often miss.  Grace is also power, transforming, renewing power.  God loves us and does something about it.  Thus, grace is not passive, but active in giving, sustaining, and creating life that, in turn, generates creativity and life.  Grace gives rise to life that begets life.


Grace does because grace comes from God, and is “salvation-bringing” (see Titus 2:11).  Paul names Jesus Christ as “our great God and Savior” (see Titus 2:13)!  Grace is none other than the person of Christ in whom and for whom all things came to be and are, and through whom all things messed up will be restored, renewed, and recreated.  Jesus, our great God and Savior, is the embodiment, the appearing of Grace in this here and now world.


John says, in Moses came the law, in Jesus Christ grace and truth.  In that same gospel Jesus says, “I came that they (and we) may all have life, to the full (see 10:10)!   All of this is by grace:  Amazing kindness, lovingly reaching toward us, but awesomely powerful, making alive whatever comes under its (His) power. 


THE GRACE OF GOD in Jesus Christ brings “salvation,” eternal in kind but even now manifesting, at work dealing with the church, and interacting with the world savingly through the church that itself embraces, and is embraced by, this grace!


NOTE: The key to shining as light as Jesus calls us, to acting as salt in the world, to influencing a godless world toward its own well-being oriented around God as made known in Jesus—the absolute key, is the CHURCH’S OWN life by, of, in the grace of Jesus.  If we get grace right we will have kingdom impact, and righteous influence. 


And, this will happen in no other way.  Not by electing the right people, not by enacting righteous laws, not by any pressure or power we could exert by the rules of this world’s political, social, cultural arena.   What we and the world cannot do for ourselves or by ourselves, but desperately need, God can and does—ONLY BY GRACE.  More later …


Published by David Kendall

Reverend David W. Kendall, an ordained elder in the Great Plains Conference, was elected to the office of bishop of the Free Methodist Church in May 2005. He serves as overseer of East Michigan, Gateway, Great Plains, Mid-America, North Central, North Michigan, Ohio, Southern Michigan, Wabash, African Area Annual Conferences; and Coordinator of oversight for the World Ministries Center.

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