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Monday, January 7, 2013

Whetting your appetite for grace

Readiness:  Completely prepared and in fit condition for immediate action; duly equipped; willing; prompt and quick in perceiving.  Paul writes to Titus of the readiness of God to give and forgive.  The availability of his gift is the theme of this passage.  In turn, Paul instructs Titus on how the believers should exemplify this "gift" in their lives - by being examples for others to follow.  It should never amaze us when God asks us to live out our convictions in such a manner so as to reveal him to those who have never experienced his love and grace.  


God’s readiness to give and forgive is now public. Salvation’s available for everyone! We’re being shown how to turn our backs on a godless, indulgent life, and how to take on a God-filled, God-honoring life. This new life is starting right now, and is whetting our appetites for the glorious day when our great God and Savior, Jesus Christ, appears. He offered himself as a sacrifice to free us from a dark, rebellious life into this good, pure life, making us a people he can be proud of, energetic in goodness.  (Titus 2:11-14 MSG)

Paul begins with the idea of God's "readiness" - his being completely prepared and equipped for immediate action on our behalf.  In turn, we are asked to embrace the instruction of God's grace.  Yep, the "instruction" of his grace.  How can grace instruct us?  What is grace - isn't it unmerited favor?  So, when Paul says we are being shown how to turn out back on a godless, indulgent life, isn't he telling us God is showing us how to allow his unmerited favor to replace the pull of our self-indulgent ways? 

You might have heard the little acronym for GRACE:  God's Riches At Christ's Expense.  It carries the idea of getting what we don't deserve at the expense of someone who did not deserve the "cost" he paid to provide the gift.  Now, think about how GRACE becomes our instruction - our teacher for living.  Grace speaks of giving all to provide what another could not provide for themselves. Isn't that what a God-filled, God-honoring life is like?  Living in such a way so as to reveal what someone cannot possibly find or provide by their own effort? Paul tells us to be instruments of God's "readiness" - to give what we have been given in the manner in which we have been given it!

We offer freedom by living out the instruction of GRACE in our lives.  What we display in the way of embracing what we could never deserve and living in a new manner, contrary to the old ways of living, shows the impact of the gift in our lives.  The ones seeing this "gift" in action in our lives begin to apprehend the gift themselves.  This is the meaning of being a "testimony" - not the words we speak as much as the example we display.

Paul goes on to say that the "gift" of God's grace starts right now - not in the hereafter, but in the present.  It's effect - to whet our appetites for the glory of the coming day.  Little by little, we begin to develop a "hunger" for the things which once had no appeal to us.  Things like taking in his Word, fellowship with others of similar hearts, and a change in character which reflects the "newness" of heart we have been given.  "Whetting" the appetite does nothing more than make it more eager to be satisfied.  So, it is God's purpose to gift us with the one gift which will keep us coming back for more!  Grace has that effect on us - we keep coming back for more and more!  We experience an eagerness to experience it over and over again - never fully satisfied.

Maybe this is the real lesson of grace - the driving sense of satisfaction that comes only as we experience the presence of Christ more and more in our lives.  Until the day we are fully consumed by him and have fully consumed him - we desire more grace.  I don't know about you, but I am "hungry" for what I cannot produce on my own - God's GRACE!  Just sayin!