Grace Instructs Us…
Chapter and verse divisions in our Bible translations were not in the original writings, they were added many years later for the purpose of making it easier to find specific places in the Bible. In quite a few instances divisions separate a thought or context that naturally follows a specific subject, which is unfortunate. The divisions as a whole are very helpful in finding certain verses or subjects in the Word.
I believe that we have such a separation here; verses 2:11 & 12 naturally are part of the context with verses 3:1-9… to separate them would be to separate Paul’s revelation about what the grace of God instructs us to be and do.
Titus 2:11-12 Holman Christian Standard Bible
11 For the grace of God has appeared, with salvationfor all people, 12 instructing us to deny godlessness and worldly lusts and to live in a sensible, righteous, and godly way in the present age,
3:1 Remind them [by Gods grace that is given to instruct us] to be submissive to rulers and authorities [spiritual and in the world], to obey, to be ready for every good work, 2 to slander no one, to avoid fighting, and to be kind, always showing gentleness to all people. 3 For we too were once foolish, disobedient, deceived, captives of various passions and pleasures, living in malice [spitefulness] and envy, hateful, detesting one another. [This is a great contrast between godless living and the godly living that we have been called and equipped to live. The indwelling Holy Spirit has been given to us to make us – as Christ-followers – a living breathing example of the reality of the new birth to the unbelievers around us… we must decide in every circumstance of life whether we are going to be Christ-followers or world-followers…]
4 But when the goodness and love for man appeared from God our Savior,
5 He saved us— not by works of righteousness that we had done,
but according to His mercy, through the washing of regeneration
and renewal by the Holy Spirit.
Eph 2:4-10 NASU
4 But God, being rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us, 5 even when we were dead in our transgressions, made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved), 6 and raised us up with Him, and seated us with Him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, 7 so that in the ages to come He might show the surpassing riches of His grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus. 8 For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God; 9 not as a result of works, so that no one may boast. 10 For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand so that we would walk in them.
6 This Spirit He poured out on us abundantly through Jesus Christ our Savior,
7 so that having been justified by His grace, we may become heirs with the hope of eternal life. [All believers HAVE been justified by His grace and because of this reality we are His heirs and we are the possessors of eternal life now… but we will experience the fullness of this inheritance after we die and go to heaven.]
8 This saying is trustworthy. I want you to insist on these things, so that those who have believed God might be careful to devote themselves to good works. These are good and profitable for everyone. 9 But avoid foolish debates, genealogies, quarrels, and disputes about the law/doctrine, for they are unprofitable and worthless.
Titus 3:1-9 Holman Christian Standard Bible
The Apostle Paul was given the revelation, inspiration, and ability by the anointing of the Holy Spirit to reveal practical/livable understanding about God’s grace to us. In his writings we see the two-pronged doctrine of God’s grace and the believer’s privilege and responsibility in God’s grace.
By God’s grace we are saved thru faith; justified from sin, its curse and control; given a new life; declared the righteousness of God in Christ; placed – thru baptism by the Holy Spirit into Christ with every heavenly blessing in Christ and much more.
By Gods grace we are to live holy and righteously – rejecting sin and its temptation – because we are no longer sinners but saints – by Gods grace… also He has given us the Holy
Spirit and the power of His grace to enable us to live in a holy and righteous manner. Remember Paul wrote to the Corinthian church instructing them not to receive Gods grace in vain… we should receive the same instruction not to receive Gods grace in vain but to work with Him…
Let’s consider how the Amplified Bible says this concept:
The practical implications of God’s grace in us
2 Cor 5:14-6:4 AMP
14 For the love of Christ controls and urges and impels us, because we are of the opinion and conviction that [if] One died for all, then all died; [ to our old life; NLT]
15 And He died for all, so that all those who live might live no longer to and for themselves, but to and for Him Who died and was raised again for their sake.
16 Consequently, from now on we estimate and regard no one from a [purely] human point of view [in terms of natural standards of value]. [No] even though we once did estimate Christ from a human viewpoint and as a man, yet now [we have such knowledge of Him that] we know Him no longer [in terms of the flesh].
17 Therefore if any person is [ingrafted] in Christ (the Messiah) he is a new creation (a new creature altogether); the old [previous moral and spiritual condition] has passed away. Behold, the fresh and new has come!
18 But all things are from God, Who through Jesus Christ reconciled us to Himself [received us into favor, brought us into harmony with Himself] and gave to us the ministry of reconciliation [that by word and deed we might aim to bring others into harmony with Him].
19 It was God [personally present] in Christ, reconciling and restoring the world to favor with Himself, not counting up and holding against [men] their trespasses [but cancelling them], and committing to us the message of reconciliation (of the restoration to favor).
20 So we are Christ’s ambassadors, God making His appeal as it were through us. We [as Christ’s personal representatives] beg you for His sake to lay hold of the divine favor [grace] [now offered you] and be reconciled to God.
21 For our sake He made Christ [virtually] to be sin Who knew no sin, so that in and through Him we might become [endued with, viewed as being in, and examples of] the righteousness of God [what we ought to be, approved and acceptable and in right relationship with Him, by His goodness].
6:1 LABORING TOGETHER [as God’s fellow workers] with Him then, we beg of you not to receive the grace of God in vain [that merciful kindness by which God exerts His holy influence on souls and turns them to Christ, keeping and strengthening them — do not receive it to no purpose].
2 For He says, In the time of favor (of an assured welcome) I have listened to and heeded your call, and I have helped you on the day of deliverance (the day of salvation). Behold, now is truly the time for a gracious welcome and acceptance [of you from God]; behold, now is the day of salvation! [Isa 49:8.]
3 We put no obstruction in anybody’s way [we give no offense in anything], so that no fault may be found and [our] ministry blamed and discredited.
4 But we commend ourselves in every way as [true] servants of God: