Titus 2:11-14 For the grace of God that bringeth salvation hath appeared to all men, 12 Teaching us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly, in this present world; 13 Looking for that blessed hope, and the glorious appearing of the great God and our Savior Jesus Christ; 14 Who gave himself for us, that he might redeem us from all iniquity, and purify unto himself a peculiar people, zealous of good works.
I often hear people say that Christianity isn’t a bunch of do’s and don’ts. Certainly Christianity is about a personal relationship with God and being a partaker of His divine life and nature not JUST a list of personally generated do’s and don’ts. We cannot add to God’s Word our personal requirements, thoughts, and ideas. Nor can we keep the standards of God’s Word for the purpose of exalting ourselves and to judge others as inferior that they don’t keep it. That is called pride.
That is not the same as claiming because we are under God’s grace there are no standards or lists of things we are to do and not do. God’s Word has its’ own requirements, standards, and things it lists for us to do or not do.
Having His life and nature within will cause us to do certain things and refrain from doing other things. It is the grace of God that enables us and God Himself Who works in us both to will and to do of His good pleasure (Philippians 2:13). True grace teaches both a denial of improper things as well as a direction into proper things. The text in Titus 2:11-14 even describes the grace of God as a teacher of things not to do (“denying ungodliness and worldly lusts,” or DON’TS) and of things to do (“we should live soberly, righteously, and godly, in this present world,” or DO’S).
The Bible warns of a time when ungodly men who have crept into the Church (through stealth) will turn (twist; distort; pervert) the grace of God into lasciviousness (licentiousness, absence of restraint; unbridled lust; shamelessness) or a reason to justify their living unrestrained or with no restraints. It is sad and true that there are some like this and what they most often mean when they balk at any “do” or “don’t do,” from God’s Word is that they do not want to hear anything that will restrain them from what their flesh wants to do. That day is upon us and we need to spend time in the Word of His grace (Acts 20:32) to be able to detect it.
We have to know that any rule, command, or principle of conduct from God’s Word in the New Testament to DO or to NOT DO something always has God’s heart in them and are meant for our good. They do not take away good but they take away evil and keep us from evil. They are always to enhance our relationship to Him and others. We can trust the One Who not only loves us more than any human being could but Who is Love (1 John 4:8).
Like the commands in the Garden to Adam and Eve, “Freely eat,” and “Do not eat,” God had Adam and Eve’s best interest in mind. Keep in mind it was Adam and Eve’s failure to keep a “DON’T” command that led to the enslavement of the human race to sin, spiritual death, satan, and the curse. In the New Testament 1 John 3:4 says, “Whosoever committeth sin transgresseth also the law: for sin is the transgression of the law.” I could start another line of thought by asking what law being transgressed does the New Testament word of His grace define as being sin but that is another topic. Think about this, Adam’s sin, that put humanity in its fallen state in need of a Savior, originated with transgressing a DON’T command.