Yom Shishi, 27 Tammuz 5777 — יוֹם שִׁשִּׁי כז תַּמּוּז ה' תשעז Friday, 21 July 2017
Salvation — Titus 2:11–14

Do you know that if I said, "I just can't wait to get saved." Or as we were praising God earlier, if I said, "I really felt I was getting saved as I was participating in that worship."

I would not being using the word saved in a unbiblical manner?

Generally when you ask someone, "Have you been saved?" what are you asking them?

Have they become a believer in Yeshua, asked him into their heart, received his forgiveness, entered into a relationship with God, been born again etc.

Is that wrong? Well, Romans 10 says,

Rom. 10:9 That if you confess with your mouth, "Jesus is Lord," and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.

Well, that seems to work

But what about Phil 2:12 where it says ... "continue to work out your salvation with fear and trembling,"

I am supposed to work out my salvation with fear and trembling, what? I thought I just needed believe, now can I lose it? can I get unsaved?

What about 1 Peter 1, where it says ... 1Pet. 1:5 "(those) who through faith are shielded by God's power until the coming of the salvation that is ready to be revealed in the last time."

Now it sounds like I am waiting for my salvation. He is obviously talking to believers here. What are these unsaved believers? What a great name for a church. The first church of the unsaved.

Well, the problem is the common understanding of salvation or being saved that has a problem.

Now, even the word saved sounds kind of foreign to my ears, and not terribly Jewish sensitive. But the word saved, save, salvation appear over 300 times in the Hebrew Scriptures. It is definitely a Jewish concept.

When Romans 10, goes on to say, Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved, he is quoting the prophet Joel.

But in the Hebrew Scriptures, saved and salvation have a wide variety of usuages and meanings. The New Testament concept is based on that. It definitely adds revelation. But I think we need to get back to a more holistic understanding of salvation.

So tonight we are going to take a look at salvation, but we are going to basically look at through the eyes of one particular passage.

Asking ourselves as we study it, what does it mean to be saved? What are we to expect?

Then we will organize our thinking and learn some basics to the theology of salvation.

Then lastly we will ask ourselves, the all important question, so what?

So as we read earlier, we are going to take a look at the Book of Titus, chapter 2:11-14.

Titus along with 1st and 2nd Timothy are considered the pastoral epistles of Paul. They are written not to churches or groups of believers, but to individuals. Here to Titus, one of Paul's traveling campanions. Although Titus was closely connected with Paul, he is never mentioned in Acts, but he does appear in three of Paul's epistles. You can see in chapter 1 verse 5 Paul says, I left you in Crete, so you might appoint some elders.

So Paul and Titus had worked in Crete together. He goes on to give some specific requirements for church leadership. He also warns Titus about many false teachers that are around. Paul also gives further instruction to him that he is to pass on for older and younger men, older and younger women and slaves. Paul encourges him again and again, to teach the truth, and to teach the people to live good and productive and upright lives as they look forward to the Lord's coming.

At a couple different spots in this letter, Paul kind of breaks out of his specific instruction mode and gives us some doctrine, then tells Titus to especially make sure the people know these things.

We are going to look at one of these passages in his letter, when he sort of digresses into some doctrine. Chapter 2:11-14.

As I said earlier, the main topic we want to discuss is what it means to be saved.

Our passage comes right off his instruction to slaves to be subject to their masters, not to steal, to be trustworthy, to do everything to make the teaching of God our savior attractive, then he says:

Titus 2:11 "For the grace of God that brings salvation has appeared to all men." Titus 2:12 It teaches us to say "No" to ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright and godly lives in this present age, Titus 2:13 "while we wait for the blessed hope - the glorious appearing of our great God and Savior, Jesus Christ," Titus 2:14 "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."

The Grace of God that bring Salvation has appeared. We know he is talking about the grace of God bringing salvation having appeared in the life, death and resurrection of the Messaih.

In verse 12, it teaches us to say no to some things, and yes to others.

You see, the grace of God which brings salvation makes demands on you today.

Firstly it says, it teaches us to say no to ungodliness and worldly passion.

Ungodliness, those things which have a disregard or a defaming of God, those things which have no reverence for God. We are simply to say no. This is an admonition. Just say no, if something is ungodly, say no. Just do it.

Also say no to worldly passions, also translated desires. This it not saying to stop having passions or desires, we are not to be Eunichs without desires.

I remember when I was in Thailand, and I stayed in the Buddhist Monastary studying Buddhism. All desire was considered to cause you suffering. You were to seek to remove all desires.

A funny thing happened, you become like those monks, almost without expression or care. Nothing effects you. It may seem like a remarkable accomplishment, to cease from worry or care. I remember I could sit and wait for a bus for 2 hours, and not worry in the least, just sit contently. But I see now, it was a de-humanisation. We became less than human. This just made all people the same, a people without passion or desire.

Here we are not to say no to passion or desire, but worldly desires. The love of the world and its vanities which pass away, don't desire them. Don't desire things of no eternal value. Many of the things we chase in this world are not only wastes of time but they can even be destructive desires to ourselves and others.

God does not want us to be rid of desires but to desire the right things.

C.S. Lewis said:

Our Lord finds our desires are not too strong, but too weak. We are half-hearted creatures, fooling about with drink and sex and ambition when infinite joy is offered us, like an ignorant child who wants to go on making mud pies in a slum because he cannot imagine what is meant by the offer of a holiday at sea. We are far too easily pleased. - (the Weight of Glory, pg 1-2)

But not only does Paul exhort us to say no, he also exhorts us to say yes, he tells us in our passage, that we should rather live self-controlled, upright and godly lives.

This word self-controlled is all over this letter. In this chapter alone, verses, 2, 5 and 6. He tells older men, younger women, younger man and now everyone, be self-controlled. Other translations say sensible, discreet, sober minded. The greek literally means to the save the mind. Basically we are called here to self-restraint.

We live in a society which just hates to exercise self-control, or to use our will to say no to things. Even among believers, we have joined in the idolatry of obeying our feelings, many people thinks its unspiritual to just do the right thing if you don't really feel it. Nice thought, to do what you feel, but I am sorry it is not a biblical one.

In the Bible, you use your mind and your will and you determine what is right, and you do it. Your feelings are important and essential to who you are and how you experience life and God, but they are not your decision makers.

So my brothers and sisters, let us swim upstream against society, and show self-control.

We are not only to be self-controlled, but to be upright, also translated righteous. The idea here is to be just, fair, right. To be people without prejudice or partiality. Judge rightly.

And lastly it says we are to live godly lives or reverent lives. This is to use the old word - piety. Live pious lives. Live a manner of life that is pleasing to God. Be God like in your attitude, your way of life. Be fully devoted to God in reverence and loving obedience.

And in verse 13, we are to do this all while we wait, for the glorious appearing of our Great God and Savior, Yeshua Hamashiach.

All these demands on us today, are all in view of the hope to come. In few of his coming, let us live for him today, a familiar thought many places in Scripture.

Now you may have noticed, the reference to Yeshua, as our Great God and Savior. It is actually a good place to go to show the diety of the Messiah. Some translations will have the appearance of the glory of our Great God and Savior, therefore also allowing for it to be referring to the Father and the Son, our Great God and Savior. And commentators are really split on it. Evidently the Greek is ambiguous.

The early church, understood it the first way as seeing it being the whole description of Yeshua, and there are many reasons to see it that way. But calling him our Great God is very unusual, and the Father and Lord, dual thing, is used a lot, even earlier in this letter, Grace and peace from God the Father and Christ Jesus our Savior.

But really regardless, it is an incredible statement, that it is the appearance of the glory of God in either way. God who does not share his glory with another, is quite content to have Yeshua share in it here. As the Expositors commentary says:

Under the (referring to Father and Christ) view (Messiah's) deity is assumed, for the intimate association of his glory with that of God would be blasphemous for a monotheist like Paul if he did not accept Christ's deity. - Expositor's commentary.

But then Paul goes on to give this further description of Yeshua in verse 14. It is he who gave himself up for us.

It is not the Jews killed Jesus, as people are screaming about this Mel Gibson movie. The point in the Gospels is that Yeshua gave himself for us. As he said,

"No one takes my (life) from me, I lay it down" (John 10:18)

For what purpose. It says here, To redeem us from wickedness, but not only that, but to purify for himself a people that are his very own, eager to do good.

He is not just giving some ticket of forgiveness, that is not his purpose. He is creating for himself, a people of his very own, whom he has redeemed, who he then will purify. He describes them as a people, eager to do good.

That is what God is doing. He redeemed them, Yeshua, gave himself for them, to redeem them from all the wickedness, so he could take a people and purify them.

A people who would say no to ungodliness, and yes to righteousness. A people his very own eager to do good as they looked forward to the great hope, his return, the promised land. When they are transformed and they will be with him.

That is salvation. The whole picture.

It is God's deliverance. It is redeeming us from the lost life we have now, it is the purifying us and cleaning us now, and it is completed when God delivers from this broken world and these broken bodies to be with him.

I have a powerpoint slide to help us understand the different aspects of Salvation and the fancy words commonly associated with them.

Basically we understand salvation in terms of the way we saw it in those verses in Titus.

* It can be seen as a past salvation that which has already been done for us, meaning what we have been already saved from.

* a present salvation we are working out now, God's cleansing and purifying us now,

* and a future salvation still to come that we look and hope for.

These fancy words get used to describe it.

Justification, Sanctification and Glorification. Past, present and future salvation.

Justification talks of how God saved us by giving us a pardon, by forgiving us our sins as we saw in Romans 10:9-10, we confessed with our mouths and believed in our hearts and were saved. We see this as salvation or deliverance from the penalty of sin.

The wages of sin is death. Yeshua gave himself for us, to redeem us, he took on our death and penalty. It is a past salvation for us as believers.

Then Sanctification. To sanctify, means to make holy. This is the present tense process of being made holy. God is at work in us now, saving us or delivering us from the power of sin in our lives.

That is the battle Paul talks about going on in our lives now in Romans 7. "I do what I do not want to do." But we are to work to master the power of sin in our lives through the power of God. As we read in Titus, saying no and yes, being purified into a people eager to do good.

That is why many people see it not only as being sanctified or being made holy, but also as vocation, in that we are saved unto good works. Things God wants to do with us.

As we started with in Phillipians 2

Phil. 2:12 "Therefore, my dear friends, as you have always obeyed - not only in my presence, but now much more in my absence - continue to work out your salvation with fear and trembling," Phil. 2:13 "for it is God who works in you to will and to act according to his good purpose."

Work out this salvation with fear and trembling, this present tense action of being delivered from the power of sin in your life, for it is God at work in you to will and to act according to his good.

You can see this transition as well in Ephesians 2,

Eph. 2:1 "As for you, you were dead in your transgressions and sins," Eph. 2:2 "in which you used to live when you followed the ways of this world" ... Eph. 2:4 "But because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy," Eph. 2:5 "made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions" -

Eph. 2:8 "For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith - and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God." Eph. 2:9 "not by works, so that no one can boast." Eph. 2:10 "For we are God's workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do."

There is verses 1-9 is the Justification, God, saving, delivering us from our hopeless state, dead in our transgressions and sins. But there in verse 10, the sanctification/vocation saved unto good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.

He redeems us from the muck, and then begins to clean us off to do his work now, but the story is not over, and salvation is not complete, and he delivers us from this broken world itself.

That glorious appearing we read about in Titus, the blessed hope. Its called Glorification, it's that future deliverance, when God delivers from the very presence of sin. We are delivered from this body of death, we receive new bodies, and we no longer see through a glass darkly but then we will see him face to face. We see in Hebrews this salvation:

Heb. 9:28 so Christ was sacrificed once to take away the sins of many people; and he will appear a second time, not to bear sin, but to bring salvation to those who are waiting for him.

He is still to come to bring salvation to those who are waiting for him, to deliver them. In 1st Peter 1, you can see all the aspect of salvation coming together.

1Pet. 1:3 _ Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! In his great mercy he has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, That is Justification - past deliverance

1Pet. 1:4 and into an inheritance that can never perish, spoil or fade - kept in heaven for you, 1Pet. 1:5 who through faith are shielded by God's power until the coming of the salvation that is ready to be revealed in the last time. Currently being shielded through faith for this salvation still to come.

1Pet. 1:6 "In this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while you may have had to suffer grief in all kinds of trials." 1Pet. 1:7 "These have come so that your faith - of greater worth than gold, which perishes even though refined by fire - may be proved genuine and may result in praise, glory and honor when Jesus Christ is revealed." 1Pet. 1:8 "Though you have not seen him, you love him; and even though you do not see him now, you believe in him and are filled with an inexpressible and glorious joy," 1Pet. 1:9 "for you are receiving the goal of your faith, the salvation of your souls."

As we look to the glorious appearing, we are receiving now the salvation of our souls as well, which is the present tense refining of our faith, and the inexpressible joy we feel though we don't even see him now. Peter continues...

1Pet. 1:10 "Concerning this salvation, the prophets, who spoke of the grace that was to come to you, searched intently and with the greatest care," 1Pet. 1:11 "trying to find out the time and circumstances to which the Spirit of Messiah in them was pointing when he predicted the sufferings of Messiah and the glories that would follow."

Here Peter clearly refers to this great plan of salvation as being predicted in the Hebrew Scriptures, both the sufferings of the Messiah and the glories that would follow.

Well, interesting little study on Salvation, but so what?

Well, I think it helps us in a number of ways:

Well, I guess at the least, it is helpful to know the bible uses the same word to describe all three of this aspect of salvation, so it is important that you look at the context to determine what it is talking about. That's true.

Many a person, has taken same strange turns as to their understanding of their faith, but confusing the uses of the word salvation.

But I think we see the same problem of misunderstanding Justification and Sanctification, when we look at the Torah, and Judaism.

I love to ask people which came first, Passover or the ten commandments.

Passover. Passover was the redemption, like justification, by faith the Israelites, took God's free gift of salvation through the blood of the Lamb and put in the doorposts.

The 10 commandments and the rest of the Law was about then sanctifying, making holy this people God had redeemed to ready them to go to the Promised Land.

The laws were never about getting yourself redeemed, they were for the cleansing of the redeemed. I see Judaism badly mixed up on this. They see obedience to the Laws, the Mitzvot as the whole salvation. It was never that.

I see that was Israel in the sight of the nations, a type of the ultimate salvation to come, but that is a sermon in itself.

But I think you can certainly see this understanding of Salvation as being critical in all your Bible study.

But is that really all?

No, I think this is critical to grasp in your life today, in how your faith plays out today.

How many people today, believe that pretty much all our faith is saying some quick prayer to get saved, and have some kind of automatic pass to heaven.

I think this deficient understanding of what God is doing in saving us, and is one of the reason for so much immaturity among believers today.

God is not just needing some people to say some prayer so he can forgive them. He is looking as Paul said to Titus, to purify a people for himself. We are to be God's people now, being transformed into his image.

Recognizing as it says in 2nd Cor 5, that those who live should no longer live for themselves but for him who died for them.

We are his. We are God's people, his workmanship, created in Messiah Yeshua to do good works. Work this out with fear and trembling, because he is at work in us. What an awesome thought.

C.S. Lewis once said, about this process:

God is at work in us now, He is making us into images of himself.

And furthermore, we need to always remember, that this is not the promised land. These bodies are not the final product. This is not our hope. In this world you will have trouble, Yeshua promised us.

God may and does answer many of our prayers now, and give us blessings in the present, but they are little candies, they are nothing, compared with the banquet he has in store for us.

Don't worry if he does not throw you every little candy you would like. Or if this world is a shocking dissapointment. God is at work in you now, and The Banquet is a guarantee, and your every desire will be fulfilled when he comes. He who promises is faithful, and he will do it.

Psalm 16 says, "In His presence there is fullness of joy, at his right hand pleasures forevermore."

Now that is a salvation worth looking forward to.