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Summary: "The Blessed Hope" through the coming of Christ is shown through salvation from: 1) The Penalty (Titus 2:11), 2) The Power (Titus 2:12), 3) The Presence (Titus 2:13), and 4) The Possession (Titus 2:14) of sin.

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Charles Lewis gave an a tongue in cheek warning this week: "To my atheist brothers and sisters: Greetings! This is a reminder of the sinister period we are moving into. It is the time of the year we should all be preparing ourselves for the difficult road ahead. Be vigilant! As you know — or should know if you have been reading your AtheistWeekly newsletters — that this Sunday is the start of what Christians call Advent".

Providing a tongue in cheek translation, Lewis continued: "This is the period in which religious people will prepare for Christmas (aka the HOLIDAY SEASON) This is a particularly dangerous time for secularism. Many of these religious people will often feel a renewed zeal for their faith. Be especially suspect if anyone in your family wants to bring in an Advent Calendar. These cardboard devices count down to Christmas by opening a little window each day. The little pictures look harmless but are actually secret signals sent to Christians instructing them on such practices as praying, reading the Bible and speaking about religion in public. The latter is meant to undermine the secular order. Remember the aim of anyone religious who dares to speak out loud or want “their place in the public square” is actually working towards a theocracy. Blinking Holiday Season lights are also not as harmless as they might appear. If you know how to read them, see AtheistWeekly issue #12, you can read the signals that these lights are sending out. These help co-ordinate subversive Christian activity on a street by street basis.

Finally, Lewis concluded: "Of course, please be prepared to correct anyone who greets you with “Merry Christmas.” It is not only intrusive but insensitive in that it presupposes we share these same backwards beliefs. But be gentle. They cannot help their ignorance and it is your job to help them move up the rung of evolution (http://life.nationalpost.com/2011/11/22/my-atheist-brothers-and-sisters-be-prepared-for-advent-and-the-rough-road-ahead/).

To someone not familiar with the purpose of Christ’s coming in the plan of God, all the fuss can be strange, as the preceding tonue in cheek interpretion of Advnet was ment to be. Far from a time of secret codes in lights or happy catchphrases, the coming of Christ is an event of hope which brings salvation. Not willing that the people of earth should remain in darkness, the gracious God and father of our Lord Jesus Christ, sent is Son to deal with sin. For those who place their faith in Him, they no longer have to fear the eternal consequences of sin; they no longer are under sin’s dominion; they no longer have to be controlled by sin and can lead lives of hope.

In Titus 2:11–14, Paul condenses the eternal plan of God in Christ by grace. He gives four aspects, or realities, of God’s redemptive grace: "The Blessed Hope" through the coming of Christ is shown through salvation from: 1) The Penalty (Titus 2:11), 2) The Power (Titus 2:12), 3) The Presence (Titus 2:13), and 4) The Possession (Titus 2:14) of sin.

1) Salvation From the Penalty of Sin (Titus 2:11),

Titus 2:11b [11] For the grace of God has appeared, bringing salvation for all people, (ESV)

Paul wanted to reinforce this central reality of redemptive purpose and therefore culminates this practical instruction with a monumental section about the saving work of God. He begins where we should always begin—with the grace of God. God’s grace is His unmerited favor toward wicked, unworthy sinners, by which He delivers them from condemnation and death. God’s grace is his active favor bestowing the greatest gift upon those who have deserved the greatest punishment. But the grace of God is more than a divine attribute; it is a divine Person, Jesus Christ. Jesus Christ not only was God incarnate but was grace incarnate. He Himself personifies and expresses the grace of God, the sovereign, eternal, and unmerited divine gift.

This grace has penetrated our moral and spiritual darkness. It “has appeared.” The verb used in the original is related to the noun epiphany, that is, appearing or manifestation (for example, of the sun at sunrise). Upon those sitting in the darkness and in the shadow of death the grace of God had suddenly dawned (see also Mal. 4:2; Luke 1:79; Acts 27:20; and Titus 3:4). It had arisen when Jesus was born, when words of life and beauty issued from his lips, when he healed the sick, cleansed the lepers, cast out demons, raised the dead, suffered for man’s sins, and laid down his life for the sheep in order to take it again on resurrection-morning. Thus, grace had “shed on the world Christ’s holy light” and had “chased the dark night of sin away.” The sun of righteousness had arisen (Hendriksen, W., & Kistemaker, S. J. (1953-2001). Vol. 4: New Testament commentary : Exposition of the Pastoral Epistles. New Testament Commentary (370). Grand Rapids: Baker Book House.)

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