Proclaiming a message of grace
Here’s the third theme from my summary talk at the recent Reaching the Unreached conference
All our speakers have emphasised the need to disciple people with grace, not least because Paul emphasises this to Titus. The letter is an exposition of ‘the truth that leads to godliness’ and the way it leads to godliness.
What is the alternative to proclaiming the gospel?
- social work
There is a role for these since they are acts of love. But don’t let that distract you from gospel proclamation whether that is teaching the gospel corporately or speaking the gospel in everyday life.
1. Because only the gospel brings lasting change
Paul tell Titus: ‘These, then, are the things you should teach.’ (2:15) What are the these things? The appearing of the grace of God in Christ (2:11-14). In 3:8 he says ‘stress these things’. What are these things? The kindness and love of the Father in the giving of the Spirit and the Son (3:3-7). We stress these things ‘so that’ people will devote themselves to doing what is good (3:8).
2. Because only the gospel offers ‘the hope of eternal life’
Titus 1:1-2: ‘the knowledge of the truth that leads to godliness – in the hope of eternal life …’
Titus 2:11-13: ‘For the grace of God that brings salvation has appeared to all men. It teaches us to say “No” to ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright and godly lives in this present age, while we wait for the blessed hope – the glorious appearing of our great God and Saviour, Jesus Christ …’ – we live between two appearings – between grace and glory
Titus 3:7: ‘… so that, having been justified by his grace, we might become heirs having the hope of eternal life.’
Social needs are immediate and pressing. Eternal needs are unseen, but they are eternal!
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