February 27, 2017
From the desk of A.J. Higgins
The Great Grace of God
The Grace of God that bringeth salvation hath appeared to all men …
the great God and Savior, Jesus Christ, Who gave Himself for us.
Think of everything that is contained in this brief citation from Titus. We are told of:
The Deity of Christ:
He is none less than our great God. The gospel had come to Crete with its idolatry and immorality. Over against the polytheism of the pagan world, the gospel message told of the monotheism revealed in Scripture. The Godhead was not to be compared to the works of man’s hands or the fruit of man’s imagination. God had revealed Himself in His Son. He had shown Himself to be none less than our great God. His miracles and manner told Him forth.
He is not the greatest of the gods. He stands alone, singular and solitary as the Great God. He possessed underived Deity which was never compromised by His humanity. But this great God is also our Savior. Here was deity, Who, unlike the pagan gods they had served, was not demanding anything; He was the Giver of all and He gave Himself
The Desire of God:
“The grace of God salvation bringing to all men” is how some translations read. The heart of God has been laid bare for all to view. His great desire is the salvation of all. He has made salvation available to all. But it is on the principle of grace; God has done all the work and bestows this salvation freely upon all who receive the Son.
The Depth of His Love:
Paul juxtaposes an affirmation of His deity – our Great God – next to the assertion of His work – who gave Himself for us. Christ moved from the atmosphere of the throne-room to the stench of the manger scene. From there His feet trod the dusty lanes of Galilee, until at last He went to a cross. Our great God gave Himself for us.
The One Whose fiat flung galaxy upon galaxy into space, Whose care, wisdom, and power formed an ideal dwelling place for man amidst an uninhabitable milky way, He Himself gave Himself for us. The giving here is to a cross, shame, reproach, dishonor; it meant the deepest depth of suffering possible. It meant leaving the world as a convicted criminal on the felony sheet of Rome. Deity descended to depths unimaginable – for you and for me.
The Dimension of the Invitation:
He gave Himself for us. Paul was including himself, the liars and lazy lawless people of Crete (ch 1:12), and you and me. The “great God” did not sacrifice Himself for nobility; He did not die for the worthy or for the honorable. He died to redeem us (v 14), to break the chains that held us and to free us from the oppressor. He died to purify a blemished, bent, and sinful people (v 14), to turn people from evil to perform good works; a people in chains, contaminated, and corrupt – such are those for whom He died.
This is one of the clearest statements of the deity of the Lord Jesus Christ. Others include John 1:1; 20:28; Romans 9:5; 2 Peter 1:1 (The God and our Savior, Jesus Christ), Hebrews 1:8; 1 John 5:20; Colossians 2:9.