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Titus 2:12  (International Standard Version)
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<< Titus 2:11   Titus 2:13 >>


Titus 2:12

Self-mastery is self-government, self-control. A person who has self-mastery is a disciplined person, one who has his life in order. The first thing that a person has to accomplish when he begins to rid his life of evil is to get his own life in harness. Because, if we cannot control ourselves, we are sunk! The rest of the growth process will not follow. It all begins with mastering number one.

The thought in Ephesians 4 is that every part of the body has to contribute to the unity of the whole. How does one contribute to the church's unity? By making sure that one is growing, by letting grace teach us, by consciously responding to it.

Self-mastery can be even more strictly defined as "sober," which is how it is translated in the King James and New King James versions. This is a direct translation of the Greek word. In addition, it could also be translated as "sane"! Does this not indicate that before grace comes into our lives, we are all somewhat insane? Indeed, it does! Grace teaches us how to be sane—sound-minded! This is a looser translation, but it still fits.

This word also appears in Greek literature as "discreet," "self-discipline," "to behave in an orderly manner," "to be prudent," and "to be moderate," depending on the context.

We find it in the Bible in such places as Romans 12:3; Titus 2:6; and I Peter 4:7. It always suggests a person who is even-handed and has his passions under control, one who makes proper use of his drives and desires. This implication connects perfectly with the Christian work of getting rid of worldly passions. This word describes a person in whom there are no extremes in his or her manner of life. In the religious or spiritual sense, it means one who is making steady progress in growing into the balance of Jesus Christ. Someone who is not doing these things will be divisive because he is serving himself.

John W. Ritenbaugh
Titus 2:11-14



Titus 2:12

Listed fifth is godliness or piety. In Acts 10:2, 7, the word is translated as "devout." This Greek word means "to render to God the reverence and worship emanating from a holy life." To do this, the holy life must come first, and then giving this kind of devotion to God is made possible.

John W. Ritenbaugh
Titus 2:11-14



Titus 2:12

Ungodliness is simply not being like God. It is equally easy to determine whether "worldly lusts" is a trait of God or of Satan.

John W. Ritenbaugh
The Covenants, Grace, and Law (Part 2)



Titus 2:11-12

Paul writes that grace - self-motivated, condescending, reconciling, tender and forgiving mercy - has "appeared." How has grace appeared to bring salvation? In the context of Titus 2, in its broadest sense, it has appeared in the gospel of the Kingdom of God. The gospel includes the message of our great hope, the promise of Christ's return, Jesus' perfect life, and His death for the forgiveness of our sins.

The Greeks used "appeared" in their literature to describe the sun's light bursting out from the heavens onto the darkened earth. Its feminine form is used in other places to describe Christ's first and second comings. When used in the passive voice, it means "to show openly" or "shine light upon" with the sense of suddenness and unexpectedness. This is part of the sense here since we do not normally expect grace to reveal or teach us anything.

Grace, however, has a clear message that has much to do with our responsibility and growth. "Teaching" in Titus 2:12 is the Greek word paideuo, also translated as "chastens" in Hebrews 12:6. It is used in the sense of schooling, training, or disciplining. In the context of educating a child, it describes activity directed toward moral and spiritual development and influencing conscious will and action. In religious matters, paideuo means chastising to educate one to conform to divine truth. It includes instruction, as in a classroom; drilling, as in "practice, practice, practice"; and chastisement, as in spanking or rebuking to bring about correction.

God's grace teaches us by putting us under obligation negatively - to quit sinning - and positively - to grow and produce fruit. The Moffatt translation clarifies this obligation by defining the terms in more modern language. "For the grace of God has appeared to save all men, and it schools us to renounce irreligion and worldly passions and to live a life of self-mastery, of integrity, and of piety in this present world." These are the areas toward which we must turn our attention to fulfill our duty to Christ. Moffatt retains the positive and negative aspects in his version: first, the negative renouncing of "irreligion and worldly passions," then the positive living of a life of "self-mastery, integrity, and piety."

John W. Ritenbaugh
Five Teachings of Grace



Titus 2:11-14

Titus 2:11-14 describes this obligation thrust upon us as a result of receiving God's grace. These verses are jam-packed with instruction about our Christian responsibilities. Having grown up in this Protestant-dominated society, we have heard much about God's "free grace." Though God's grace is freely given, by no stretch of Scripture can we properly label it as free! No gift has ever been so costly! It cost Christ His life! And because grace obligates us to give our life as a living sacrifice completely set apart to God (Romans 12:1), it has also cost us ours.

John W. Ritenbaugh
Five Teachings of Grace



Titus 2:11-14

For the grace of God has appeared to save all men, and it schools us to renounce irreligion and worldly passions and to live a life of self-mastery, of integrity, and of godliness in this present world, awaiting the blessed hope of the appearance of the Glory of the great God and of our Savior Christ Jesus, who gave Himself up for us to redeem us from all iniquity and secure Himself a clean people, with a zest for good deeds. (Moffatt Translation)

One reason God has given us grace is for us to express self-control. It is hard to imagine a Christian, preparing for the Kingdom of God, who does not strive for continual and resolute self-government, that is, one who allows his passions, tastes, and desires unbridled freedom to express themselves. That is what the world does! When we witness such a demonstration, it gives strong evidence that the person is unconverted. Blind passion is not meant to be our guide. If men live guided by their animal passions, they will land in the ditch because "God is not mocked; for whatever a man sows, that he will also reap" (Galatians 6:7).

John W. Ritenbaugh
The Fruit of the Spirit: Self-Control



Titus 2:11-14

Remember that Paul uses "grace" as a collective term to encompass many aspects of God's freely given kindnesses. To the astute, grace is a gift that teaches its recipients. These verses show what it teaches:

1. It teaches how and in what attitude we must conduct our lives—that is, righteously and godly.

2. It teaches us to live in anticipation of Christ's return.

3. It teaches us about iniquity and redemption.

4. It teaches that we must zealously do good works.

Ephesians 2:8-10 states that salvation is by grace through faith, and that these two lead to good works. Grace and faith are the very foundations of salvation, and with the privilege of having access to God, we also have a responsibility: to perform the good works God ordained beforehand for us to do. Can we honestly avoid the fact that God requires works?

John W. Ritenbaugh
The Christian Fight (Part Five)



Titus 2:11-15

This passage on grace will take us in a somewhat different direction, but one important to our understanding. Paul sometimes uses "grace" as a broad catchall term to declare the way God acts toward His converted but still occasionally sinful children. In every case, whether referring to a singular gift or a continuing package of gifts that result in salvation, grace must always be perceived as unearned. Here, "grace" is used as a kind of shorthand for the entire ministry of Jesus Christ through which we are given salvation.

Notice that Paul exclaims, "Grace has appeared," just as the manna, cloud, and fire appeared to illustrate God's faithful presence to the Israelites through the entirety of their pilgrimage. Thus God is shown freely providing them with guidance, daily sustenance, and security. Recall that in John 14:18 that Jesus says in relation to giving the Spirit of truth, "I will not leave you orphans; I will come to you." Paul is implying in Titus 2 that Jesus is following the pattern that He established with Israel for the church's benefit.

Paul also describes Jesus Christ as the personification of grace, salvation, redemption, teaching, hope, and the instruction and inspiration to live godly lives of overcoming and good works. All of these are shown as aspects of one huge gift that is continuously flowing in our lives.

Even as Paul describes Jesus as the personification of grace, he also uses Him as a synonym for grace and all of its powers and benefits, as though Christ exemplified all aspects of grace rolled up in one package. In this way, we can more easily identify and understand it and its meaning to us. Notice further what Jesus—grace—is doing: It is teaching us. Teaching represents the empowerment of knowledge, wisdom, understanding, inspiration, and discernment regarding our responsibilities. It also helps us to identify the subtleties of Satan's devious, anti-God systems.

We should not make the mistake of thinking of grace as an entity; it is not a "thing" God dispenses. "Grace" is a term that represents the freeness of God's personal, patient, and concerned generosity—His blessings and saving acts that are continuously flowing on our behalf to assist us along the way.

God's saving work in us is not merely an extending of life to everlasting life. It is a creative labor on His part, forming us into the image of Jesus Christ, that requires our freely given cooperation for it to succeed. One of our major problems in fulfilling this responsibility by faith is to think about Him consistently, seeking for and acknowledging His benefits, and then returning thanks and praise to Him for His forgiving, patient generosity.

John W. Ritenbaugh
Living By Faith and God's Grace (Part Two)



Titus 2:11-15

Grace penetrates a person's life in the same way that light penetrates darkness. It does not just appear to offset darkness, but rather it penetrates it and disperses it. That is what grace does for a human being. It enters into a person's life, penetrates it, and begins dynamically to produce things.

This is what John 1 is about. God came to the earth in the flesh, and He penetrated humanity. The grace of God appeared to man in the person of Jesus Christ. It can be translated that God's grace made its appearance bringing salvation.

Grace can rescue man from the greatest possible evil. What could that possibly be? The greatest possible evil that anybody can face is God's curse. Men can curse us, but if God curses us, we have had it. That curse is the penalty of sin. But God counterbalances that, and more, by giving us grace.

Here, grace is shown as the power that teaches, trains, disciplines, guides, and leads us. It does not force us. In other places, it is shown as counseling, comforting, encouraging, admonishing, guiding, convicting, rewarding, even restraining. It teaches us that we must deny immorality, exhorting us to give ourselves over to self-mastery, that is, to controlling ourselves. We must devote ourselves to integrity and loyalty to God right here and now, while expectantly and patiently looking forward to the return of Jesus Christ and the resurrection from the dead to glory.

John W. Ritenbaugh
Grace Upon Grace




Other Forerunner Commentary entries containing Titus 2:12:

Exodus 20:17
Galatians 3:10
Galatians 3:19
Ephesians :
Philippians 2:12-13
2 Timothy 2:11-12
Titus 2:11-12
Titus :
James :
1 Peter :
2 Peter 1:5-10

 

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