‘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’ (Titus 2:11-12). In these verses Paul says that the same grace which appeared to us at salvation also teaches us how to live. The word translated as ‘teach’ is paideuo, from which we get the word pedagogue, meaning a teacher.
This is most interesting, because elsewhere Paul likens the law to a pedagogue (see Gal.3:24-25). And he says that when a person comes to faith in Christ they are taken out from being under the law; they no longer need this pedagogue. We are free from the law and from people telling us what to do.
Here we see why. We have another pedagogue, the Holy Spirit.
But there is a major difference. Under the old covenant the pedagogue was external to us, but under the new covenant our pedagogue is internal. The Holy Spirit lives inside us and teaches us how to live. He leads us step by step, just like a pedagogue.
When God saved us He did not give us a law, He gave us a life; the life of Christ. And this life comes to us by the Holy Spirit to effect transformation.
He teaches us to say ‘no’ to:
- Ungodliness. Ungodliness is when we don’t take God seriously; when he is disregarded. The strict meaning of an atheist is not one who doesn’t believe in God but one who lives without Him. Before we were saved we were like this; we were ungodly. But now the Holy Spirit teaches us to live God-conscious, God-centred and God-dependent lives.
- Worldliness. Worldliness means to be absorbed in this temporary, material world with no regard for the things of God. As natural, unredeemed people that’s how we once lived. But now the Holy Spirit teaches us to set our minds on the things of the Spirit, i.e. our new creation life in Christ (see Rom.8:5-9).
The consequence of this is that we will live ‘soberly, righteously, and godly in the present age’ (Titus 2:12). This is all the work of grace.
In my observation, some pastors, preachers and church leaders are reluctant to embrace the teaching of grace because it means they have to trust the Holy Spirit to do His work in God’s people. Some, apparently, think they can do the job better than He can. They want to be the pedagogue!
It is true that Paul instructs Titus to teach others how to live, but there is a huge difference between explaining God’s Word and trying to enforce it. It’s one thing to teach God’s people, another thing to police them!
We must trust the Holy Spirit to teach believers how to work out their salvation in the day to day details of their lives. He is far more capable than we are. Jesus promised, ‘But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in My name, He will teach you all things, and bring to your remembrance all things that I said to you’ (Jn.14:26).