Summary: Jesus is Grace in the flesh.
12.25.19 Titus 2:11-14
11 For the grace of God that brings salvation has appeared to all men. 12 It teaches us to say “No” to ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright and godly lives in this present age, 13 while we wait for the blessed hope—the glorious appearing of our great God and Savior, Jesus Christ, 14 who gave himself for us to redeem us from all wickedness and to purify for himself a people that are his very own, eager to do what is good.
At Christmas Time, Grace Appears
The grace of God that brings salvation has appeared to all men. Our church is all about grace. We are here by grace. The three solas of the Reformation start out by saying that we are saved “by grace alone.” It is only fitting that at Christmas time we talk about God’s grace.
But what does that mean? Grace is one of those Christian catch words - that we say a lot - but do we know what it means? That’s one problem with so much of what passes as Christianity today. Everything is vague. Grace, love, and even today’s version of God - it all means acceptance and tolerance and bland niceties. Heaven and hell, angels and demons, salvation and damnation, the Trinity and so many other articles of faith are left undefined. Some people think grace is nothing more than a table prayer. Others think “grace” just means that God loves us and so we are saved because God is more or less a nice guy. Catholics tend to think of grace as gifts that God gives you so that you can live a life that is pleasing to Him.
If grace is going to save us and be the foundation of our church, we better know what it is. If we get grace messed up, then we also get our salvation messed up. And let’s also remember what we mean by salvation. We’re talking salvation from hell and from death and from God’s wrath. We aren’t talking about giving you better health or more wealth or just giving you a happy life. We’re talking about eternity. We need to be saved from God’s wrath and being condemned to hell.
So let’s look at grace this Christmas morning. Paul told Titus, “the grace of God that brings salvation has appeared to all men.” If grace is something that “appeared,” then it must be an actual thing that is visible and tangible: something we can see and touch. Today we see that grace is an actual person - someone who could be weighed and measured - held and seen. It is someone who did actual things on this earth - real things - not just make believe stories like flying around in a sled through the sky. Grace is Jesus in the flesh. It is who He is and what He has done. If you were to say, “draw me a picture of the grace of God,” then I would draw you a picture of Jesus. So today, as we come to look in the manger, we come to see grace in the flesh.
By all accounts, there is nothing extraordinary looking with this baby. He doesn’t have a special glow about him. He’s just lying in a bed of straw that cattle eat out of. He’s just an ordinary looking child in a very under-ordinary place of a manger. He doesn’t look like He could save anyone from anything. But that’s one of the things that attracts us to Jesus. He’s not high and mighty looking. He’s not so majestic that we are afraid to even come. He’s not standing on the top of Mt. Sinai under a pillar of fire. He looks like an ordinary man, because He came for the ordinary, the under-ordinary, and the extraordinary. He came for the lowest of the low. That’s grace: a world of grace packed into a tiny baby.
What did Jesus, the grace of God, come to do? He “brings salvation to all men.” The word in the Greek ends in an ios - swthrios - and emphasizes the action - He is saving. This is what Jesus came to do - the action of saving - not just some of humanity - and not just His fellow Jews - but ALL of humanity - men, women, and children. He came to save the world of humanity. If you define yourself as a human - then you know He came to save you. He didn’t come to save the demons or the animals. He came to save the humans.
This implies, first of all, that we need to be saved. That’s a heavy doctrine in and of itself that’s loaded with insinuation. The Bible says that we aren’t just fine the way we are. We are born to die because of the curse that God place on Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden. We are by nature objects of God’s wrath. God hates sin, and we are sinners. So we need to be saved from God Himself. That’s pretty offensive to humanity, but that’s how God’s Word describes humanity. And if Jesus came to bring salvation, this also insinuates that we can’t save ourselves. We can’t bring it to ourselves. No, God has to send His Son to come and do it for us and bring it to us from heaven above. That’s grace too.