DISCLAIMER!!!  People balk at the word "religion" or "religious".   But, when you read it in this article, please be gracious and apply words of the Apostle James, especially when the word is used in a positive way.  I am not intent on advancing any religious system, or set rules and regulations or  denominational bent in particular.  

27 Pure religion and undefiled before God and the Father is this, To visit the fatherless and widows in their affliction, and to keep himself unspotted from the world.  James 1:27

This morning as I was reading, my eyes came upon a portion of scripture that opened up my understanding to the grace of God in a fresh way! The grace of God is a teacher!!! Who knew???

11 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 Saviour 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.15 These things speak, and exhort, and rebuke with all authority. Let no man despise thee. Titus 2:11-15

So...what is it that Teacher Grace teaches us??

Grace teaches us that we should deny ungodliness and worldly lusts. This requires some activity on our parts. Laid back, lazier-than-a-beach-bum Christianity will not work when you're applying Biblical denial. Applying "biblical denial" means that you refuse to accept and you reject anything that is godless and worldly EVEN if you have a personal "bent" or interest in that particular thing. The Amplified version of the Bible uses the words "reject and renounce". When you deny something in the way God wants you to deny it, not only do you stop doing it, but you even RENOUNCE it, which means you actively speak out that it holds no power in your life!

What does the Lord mean by the term "ungodliness"? Beloved, if you are wondering if something is "ungodly", just ask yourself if you'd be comfortable doing it, viewing it, chewing it, or even considering it if the Lord Jesus Himself were present in the room with you as you engaged in the behavior? There are certain things I love watching on TV. They really are not too bad at all. But then, I think....would I still be sitting here watching this if Jesus were in the room....EVEN knowing He has fully paid the price for my sins, and I am under His blood, and He has given me rest in Him, would I feel at peace watching this with Jesus if He were my buddy and came over for popcorn and "movie night"?

And what are "worldly lusts"? It's whatever the world loves and consumes on a regular, and even daily basis, and yet it can never seem to get enough of it. Lust is a condition of constant desire with never coming to any true satisfaction. We always associate the word "lust" with sexual pleasure, but we can lust after other things, too. Everyone knows there own personal "lust list" they must deal with, and honest introspection will help us to face the question, "Is this a worldly lust that I am battling?" And then, once that question is answered, we need to look to what the Word says regarding how we do warfare against those things until we are walking in victory.

There is teaching in the Church today telling you that it's simply a matter of a laid back attitude of resting in the finished work of Christ. Even if you're actively participating in your own "lust list", you don't need to worry about it because you are "in Christ", and that means you are no longer responsible for your actions because Jesus living in you is the one who will answer to God someday, and not you personally. They teach that the Cross of Christ has absolved you of any responsibility for your actions. It's all about Jesus, what He did, the price He paid, and are home free!!! The Apostle Paul may have believed every last word of that doctrine, but he wasn't taking any chances with his own soul:

24 Know ye not that they which run in a race run all, but one receiveth the prize? So run, that ye may obtain.
25 And every man that striveth for the mastery is temperate in all things. Now they do it to obtain a corruptible crown; but we an incorruptible.
26 I therefore so run, not as uncertainly; so fight I, not as one that beateth the air:
27 But I keep under my body, and bring it into subjection: lest that by any means, when I have preached to others, I myself should be a castaway. 1 Corinthians 9:24-27

26-27 I don’t know about you, but I’m running hard for the finish line. I’m giving it everything I’ve got. No sloppy living for me! I’m staying alert and in top condition. I’m not going to get caught napping, telling everyone else all about it and then missing out myself. 1Corinthians 9:26-27, the Message.

The Grace of God that brings salvation, is not only bringing salvation, but it's teaching you what the Lord wants you to do now that you are saved! God wants you to get the negative out of the way so that you can now focus on the positive! The negative stuff that no one really wants to hear, the things that will cause you to be labeled with titles such as "legalistic and Pharisaical" are simply things that must be accomplished in our lives before we can move onto that which bespeaks the Christian lifestyle which is now the place where we should be dwelling as we live our lives unto Him.

So, Grace as as Teacher, teaches us the thing we MUST do....we must deny ungodliness, and worldly lusts....and then it also teaches us the things that we GET to do!!!

The first thing we get to do is LIVE. A person never truly lives until the grace of God has been revealed to them. It is only then that we begin to ENJOY REAL LIFE!!!

The word live means...
Strong's G2198 - zao
1) to live, breathe, be among the living (not lifeless, not dead)
2) to enjoy real life
a) to have true life and worthy of the name
b) active, blessed, endless in the kingdom  of God
3) to live i.e. pass life, in the manner of the living and acting
a) of mortals or character
4) living water, having vital power in itself and exerting the same upon the soul
5) metaph. to be in full vigour
a) to be fresh, strong, efficient,
b) as adj. active, powerful, efficacious

And HOW should we live? we should live soberly, righteously, and godly, in this present world; see Titus 2:12
We get to live "soberly". The word soberly means...

Strong's G4996 - sōphronōs
1) with sound mind, soberly, temperately, discreetly.

Maybe that doesn't really sound all that exciting, but if you've ever lived in the opposite state of being, you'll realize what a blessing it truly is!!! I just recently had a person who was a habitual drunk tell me how GREAT it feels to be sober, and making daily decisions from a right mind instead of one foggy from inebriation. A person who is not sober is neither temperate OR discreet!!!

But, aside from comparing this to being in a state of drunkenness, we realize that living soberly is an attitude of heart and spirit whereby we recognize the gravity of the hour we live in, and because of it, we desire to approach life with a serious and circumspect demeanor toward all things.
We get to live “righteously”. The word righteously means...

Strong's G1346 - dikaiōs
1) just, agreeably to right
2) properly, as is right
3) uprightly, agreeable to the law of rectitude

Friends, when I look at the meaning of the word “righteously”, I can understand why the first order of business is to “deny ungodliness and wordly lusts”. We can’t be agreeable to what is right if we’re still in agreement with things that the Lord disproves of! But once we are in agreement with Him, the Word promises that to live righteously is to live in a joyful and even delightful way! 

Be glad in the Lord, and rejoice, ye righteous: and shout for joy, all ye that are upright in heart.  Psalm 32:11

We get to live “godly”. The word “godly” means...
Strong's G2153 - eusebōs
1) piously, godly

Beloved friends, I am sad to say, that this is where some persecution might come in. Practicing piety is something totally frowned upon in our present church culture. Practicing piety is seen as being Pharisaical,overly religious, out of touch with what is relevant to the masses today, and just plain “stuck-up”. But, the Word says what it says. Living Godly means we live “piously”. Since “pious” is not a Bible word, I looked to a dictionary to find out it’s meaning. Common sense tells me that God meant for us to apply the positive meaning of this word to our lives, and give NO place to the negative connotation of it.

Here is the positive meaning of the word “piously”. (These are all taken from
  • Having or showing a dutiful spirit of reverence for God or an earnest wish to fulfill religious obligations.
  •   Of or pertaining to religious devotion; sacred rather than secular: pious literature.
  • Having or showing appropriate respect or regard for parents or others.

What true Christian can find fault with that? It would be wonderful to see everyone with a very reverent attitude toward the Lord as they fulfilled their service to Him, and His Church. To be devoted to God, to have a greater interest in things sacred than things secular, and showing respect for parents, our elders, and others in positions of authority sounds like a GOOD thing!!! In all of these things, I want to “live godly”.

Here is some of the negative meanings applied to the word “piously”:

  • Characterized by a hypocritical concern with virtue or religious devotion; sanctimonious.
  • Practiced or used in the name  of real or pretended religious motives, or for some ostensibly good object.  
  • Falsely earnest or sincere: a pious deception.

These are attitudes that are “off-putting”, and that people reject. There are times when people who love the Lord are falsely accused of having these attitudes, especially in the company of someone who is resisting the conviction of the Holy Spirit in their lives. They wish to find fault with Christians where ever they can so as to make excuses for refusing to budge from a position or place they don’t want to give up.

Sadly, these things are also a real problem in the church, causing some to even despair that they won’t ever be able to live up to a religious standard someone else seems to be setting for them. How do we guard against these things?? Just as diligent as we are to walk in true piety, we need to come in the opposite spirit against those things which are an offense. 

 I have never met an overly religious or “sanctimonious” person who was truly humble and approachable! I have never seen those who consider themselves among the “spiritually elite” to be quick to forgive and of a warm and friendly spirit. If you’re around another Christian who makes you feel like you will never quite “measure up”, then you are around someone who is “living piously” in a very wrong way, and NOT someone who has been taught by GRACE to “live godly”.

I have seen many Christians who practice TRUE godliness with sweet faces, open hands and open
hearts, and a willingness to lead others into the life of love, service, and devotion they have toward the Lord. They have been taught by God’s grace how to “live godly”!  

Where are we to live “soberly, righteously, and godly?” The Apostle Paul tells us that is how we are to live “in this present world”. Without looking at the culture he was speaking to directly as he wrote these words, because it is inspired Holy writ, I tend to believe that God knew that in every generation from that time until this, there would be challenges for the Christian. 

 It would never be easy to “walk the walk” and “talk the talk”. Church history itself tells us of periods of time when it had to be harder to accomplish the feat of living “soberly, righteously and godly” than at other times.  

 Now, in our time, it's hard because the very ones we feel should be encouraging us to "live godly in Christ Jesus", are quick to trip us up with gross wresting of scripture, and hearts hell-bent in calling "good evil", and "evil good".  

 Why is this?  I can only speak for myself.  In a time when I was personally "dumbing down" the message of Christianity, the message of how the grace of God teaches me to live a holy life....well....I was not living a holy life, and I was finding ways to compromise the Word of God.  I trust the Lord, that my heart found true repentance and that in Him and by His grace there is now a greater ability and anointing to rightly divide the Word of Truth!   Glory to His Name!

Dear Heavenly Father,  I thank you for revealing to me that Grace is a Teacher.  If I listen to the voice of Grace speaking clearly to my heart, I see and understand and perceive that your grace is always leading me into paths of righteousness, godliness and holiness and even enabling and empowering me to live a life wholly pleasing to You.  If I fail and falter, it's because I have not taken to heart or embraced Grace as My Teacher.  Help me to live and walk daily in this truth. 

In the Name of Jesus Christ My Lord,  Amen and Amen

Always in the Love of Jesus,

CJ DiPilato