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Purified and Zealous

Grace does more than get sinners out of hell—so much more.


Grace not only brings salvation; it also instructs and motivates believers to live righteous lives. Paul says so expressly in a brief discourse on grace in Titus 2:11–14:

For the grace of God that brings salvation has appeared to all men, teaching us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly in the present age, looking for the blessed hope and glorious appearing of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ, who gave Himself for us, that He might redeem us from every lawless deed and purify for Himself His own special people, zealous for good works.

Clearly, then, grace is far more than bare forgiveness. It is not a vacuous get-out-of-hell-free token. Grace is active and dynamic. It has past, present, and future implications for every believer.

Paul portrays grace as an instructor, “teaching us.” This goes well with the imagery he applied to the law in Galatians 3:24: “The law was our tutor.” The Greek word translated “tutor” is a unique expression, paidagegos. It refers to a child’s guardian. It is derived from two words meaning “boyleader.” “This was a caretaker tasked with supervising a nobleman’s son. He was custodian of a wealthy family’s children (not a “schoolmaster,” as in the KJV). He did indeed act as a tutor to the children, especially in matters of behavior and morality, but he was not their formal instructor. In fact, one of his tasks was to bring the children to school. That is precisely how Paul portrays the law in Galatians 3:24—the law’s tutorial function was to bring us to Christ, that we might be justified by faith.”

So the law is more like a nanny or a child-care specialist; grace is the master teacher.

—John MacArthur, The Gospel according to Paul (Thomas Nelson, 2017), 119–120.

Posted 2018·07·18 by David Kjos
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