John 1:17: For the law was given through Moses, but grace and truth came through Jesus Christ. [HCSB]
As I read the book of Titus this week, I was reminded that when Jesus came, grace and truth were clearly shown and made universally available for salvation to all people. [Titus 2:11]
Grace is God providing salvation for His enemies so that they might become His children. But grace has other purposes beyond salvation. Grace is vital for our sanctification—for maturing. Grace enables our character to be conformed to the character of Christ Jesus.
Paul reminds us that grace instructs us “to deny godlessness and worldly lusts and to live in a sensible, righteous, and godly way in the present age.” [Titus 2:12 HCSB]
As you read that verse you cannot help but focus on the descriptions of character, both negative and positive. Negative—godlessness and worldly lusts. Positive—sensible, righteous, godly. We are to deny the negative and encourage the positive.
The character trait that stood out to me was sensible. It is “sóphronós” and it means with sound mind, soberly, temperately, discreetly. I have been in the church for five decades and I must admit that I have not always found the character trait sensible flourishing among believers.
Five decades in the church have taught me that too often Christians get sidetracked from the path of the Gospel. Often, they get bogged down in things that draw their attention away from the Cross of Christ and the salvation provided through Christ Jesus. They major in the minors and ignore the centrality of grace and faith.
So, church. Grace has been provided so that we might be instructed to abandon the negative character traits, embrace the positive ones … and be sensible! Glory!