The Purpose of Salvation
by Shiju Vincent
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“For God has revealed His grace for the salvation of all mankind. That grace instructs us to give up ungodly living and worldly passions, and to live life self-controlled, upright and godly lives in this world, as we wait for the blessed Day we hope for, when the glory of our great God and Saviour Jesus Christ will appear. He gave Himself for us, to rescue us from all wickedness and to make us a pure people who belong to Him alone and are eager to do good.” (Titus 2:11-14 TEV).
The purpose of salvation is clarified in the above verses. Many get saved only to go to heaven. But the grace of God instructs every believer to live life self-controlled, upright and godly lives in this world. We must read this passage with deep fear and reverence. It is not another moral teaching, it is a command from the Holy of holies. God is graceful and loving, but at the same time He is against those who misuse His grace as an excuse for ungodly living and worldly passions. When we read a command in the Bible, we should immediately request God’s grace to make us able to obey Him unconditionally. Here, we get the order to live godly lives. According to the world, it is impossible and unfruitful to be godly. They say, “What good will we get if we obey God? Will not many people scoff at us and make us an object of scorn?”. This fear is generated in human minds by the devil who wants everyone to continue in sin and stop God’s will to be accomplished. But we must be brave and bold. Whatever insults and complaints we may get from people, how many critics may rose up against our way of living, we should not least bother about them but be concentrated in obeying God. Focusing on God is the only trustworthy way to obey Him.
What is self-control? Does it mean God gave us the right to control ourselves? No, it is God alone who controls us and all that we have. The meaning of ‘self-control’ as in Oxford Dictionary is: the ability to control your emotions or behaviour in difficult situations. When some irritating happens, we must be able to control our tongue, when we are being praised we must be able to not become proud. When we get an exclusive and golden opportunity we must be able to not underestimate others who could not get that opportunity. This is self-control. How many of us do have it? How easily do we blame others who are not self-controlled but cannot be self-controlled ourselves? This is a very noticeable point. If we practice to be self-controlled by the grace of God, we can be able to withstand the waves and tsunamis of life. How? If we control our mouth when someone tries to make us angry, we can victoriously fight against the chance to be vain-speakers, because words spoken in anger are able to create flood-like problems. We need to learn how to control our anger. If we control ourselves from being proud, we can stand bold when others underestimate us or when we are in a lowly state.
We live upright and godly lives as we wait for the blessed Day we hope for, when the glory of our great God and Saviour Jesus Christ will appear. To wait for the blessed Day, we need to be prepared for it. Living a godly life is the method of preparation. Waiting without preparation is foolishness. If we just wait in mind and are not actually prepared through actions, we cannot go to heaven. The glory of Jesus Christ will appear to honour those who stood steadfast in midst of insults and oppositions. It will be a very magnificent and marvelous day. Forsaking all worldly honour for gaining that awesome honour is a real blessing. If we focus on Jesus Christ rather than on the words of the world, we can be honourable before God.
He gave Himself for us, to rescue us from all wickedness and to make us a pure people who belong to Him alone and are eager to do good. Pure people who are eager to do good: This should be our identity. What does it mean to be eager to do good? It is not only doing good when everything is fine, when we desire to do good, but it is doing good when everyone is against us, when situations are opposing us in a rampant way. It is eagerness to do good at all times. If we are such people, we belong to Jesus alone. Those who belong to Jesus are on the right path. The people of the world do right in order to gain worldly recognition but we do right to get honour from God. Doing the right thing to get praises from men is not a right way of living life. Their righteousness depends on the words of men. But those who do right focusing on God do not care what men have to say. The worldly righteous will lose their eagerness to do good if their deeds go unnoticed, but it is not true with godly people. So, keeping these words in mind, let us be a pure people who belong to Jesus alone and are eager to do good.
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