Saving Grace

Beloved:
You must say what is consistent with sound doctrine,
namely, that older men should be temperate, dignified,
self-controlled, sound in faith, love, and endurance.
Similarly, older women should be reverent in their behavior,
not slanderers, not addicted to drink, 
teaching what is good, so that they may train younger women
to love their husbands and children,
to be self-controlled, chaste, good homemakers,
under the control of their husbands,
so that the word of God may not be discredited.

Urge the younger men, similarly, to control themselves,
showing yourself as a model of good deeds in every respect,
with integrity in your teaching, dignity, and sound speech 
that cannot be criticized,
so that the opponent will be put to shame
without anything bad to say about us.

For the grace of God has appeared, saving all
and training us to reject godless ways and worldly desires
and to live temperately, justly, and devoutly in this age,
as we await the blessed hope,
the appearance of the glory of the great God
and of our savior Jesus Christ,
who gave himself for us to deliver us from all lawlessness
and to cleanse for himself a people as his own,
eager to do what is good.
(Titus 2:1-8, 11-14)  

 

Scripture Study

2:1 But as for you: The Greek is emphatic, drawing a sharp contrast between Titus, whose mission is to propagate true doctrine, and the Jewish teachers, whose destructive ideas were denounced in the preceding context (1:10–16).

2:7 model of good deeds: Titus’ own life must be consistent with his preaching, otherwise opponents will make his personal defects a cause for public disgrace (2:8).

2:11 the salvation of all: The grace of Christ invites every person and nation into the covenant family of God. See note on 1 Tim 2:4.

2:13 our blessed hope: The return of Jesus in glory, which Paul often describes as the “appearing” of Christ from heaven (2 Thess 2:8; 1 Tim 6:14; 2 Tim 4:1, 8; CCC 1130, 1404). our great God and Savior Jesus: The syntax of this statement in Greek indicates that Paul is asserting the divinity of Jesus (Jn 10:33–38; Col 2:9; 2 Pet 1:1). Less likely translations make a distinction between God and Christ in this verse.

2:14 to redeem us: I.e., to purchase us from the bondage of sin and to purify us for a life of divine sonship. People of his own: The expression is taken from the Greek OT. ● Both Ex 19:5 and Deut 7:6 use these words to describe Israel as Yahweh’s special possession by covenant. The nation was set apart as a holy and priestly people called to draw other nations closer to God (Deut 4:6–8; Is 49:6). But since the persistence of sin and weakness prevented Israel from fulfilling this vocation under the Old Covenant, Christ came to reconstitute his covenant people in the Church (1 Pet 2:9) and to empower them to fulfill the mission once given to Israel (Mt 5:14–16). Paul’s words are also reminiscent of the New Covenant oracles of Ezekiel, especially Ezek 37:23.[1]

Reflection

“For the grace of God has appeared, saving all.”

Grace (charis) is a significant word in the New Testament, especially in Paul’s epistles. The use of charisin the New Testament has its roots in the Hebrew word hesed, used in the Old Testament to speak of God’s loving kindness, mercy, and faithfulness.

Greeks often used the word charis to speak of patronage (the support of a patron, such as someone who provided financial or political support). To Greeks, the word charis connoted generosity—generosity that demanded loyalty on the part of the recipient.

It is easy, therefore, to understand why Paul would adapt charis to the Gospel. Christian charis is the gift of salvation by God to all who accept the Lordship of Jesus Christ. God, therefore, is the patron—the benefactor. Just as we could never fully repay a person who left us an inheritance of unimaginable wealth, so also we can never repay God for the gift of salvation. However, if a patron were to grant us unimaginable wealth, we could be faithful to the patron by using the money in a way that would be consistent with the patron’s wishes or values. So also, we can be faithful to the God who gives us salvation by living in accord with God’s will.

 

May the virtues of faith, hope, and love go with you today – DV.

 

 

CCC Catechism of the Catholic Church
[1] The Ignatius Catholic Study Bible: The New Testament (San Francisco: Ignatius Press, 2010), 406.