This evening we are gathering to discuss Titus 2. What we see at the end of this chapter (vv.11-14) is the very heart of Paul’s teaching. The New Testament is neither proscriptive (telling us what we cannot do since all things are lawful (1 Cor. 6:12)) nor prescriptive (telling us what we must do besides love our neighbor as ourselves (Rom. 13:10)) rather the New Testament is descriptive. Throughout his letters, Paul describes for us what a life in Christ looks like. The New Testament is a not a rule book, since we are no longer under the law (Gal. 3:25), rather the New Testament is a mirror in which reflects the image of Christ in us (2 Cor. 3:18) and helps us to become imitators of him (Phil. 2:5, 1 Cor. 11:1). This is what Paul is speaking about in vv.11-14. The future kingdom of God is now and we should be living the redeemed life that Christ has given us. Paul is not commanding us to live a sober, upright, and godly life, but is telling us that when the grace of God has fully appeared to us enfleshed in Christ Jesus, then this type of life will naturally follow.
Within these verses, we also see Paul’s understanding of what Jesus did. In v.14, Paul writes that “Jesus Christ gave himself for us to redeem us from all iniquity.” The Greek word for “redeem” is lutroo which means to set free by paying a ransom. This echoes 1 Timothy 2:6 where Paul writes that “Jesus Christ gave himself as a ransom for all.” The idea of a ransom requires three parts: a captive, a captor, and the ransom which is given over to the captor to free the captive. Of course, we are the captive and Christ is the ransom. Throughout Paul’s letters, the captor to whom Jesus is given is variously described as sin (Rom. 7:14), death (Rom. 6:21), evil (Gal 1:4), the Law (Gal. 3:14), or iniquity (v.14). Under this idea of Jesus as a ransom, it is not that God demands a sacrificial victim to assuage his anger, but that the powers and principalities of this world to which we are enslaved demand a payment to set us free. The Cross is that payment.
Dinner is at 6. The menu is lobster and crab macaroni-and-cheese. Discussion about 6:45. Hope to see you here.
I believe that Jesus Christ . . . who has redeemed me, a lost and condemned creature, purchased and delivered me from all sins, from death, and from the power of the devil, not with gold or silver, but with His holy, precious blood and with His innocent suffering and death, in order that I may be His own.Luther’s Small Catechism Art. II.2