Study 7 WHY CHRIST GAVE HIMSELF FOR US
THE LETTERS TO TITUS AND PHILEMON
by Francis Dixon
(Scripture Portion: Titus 2: 13-14)
In this study we are to focus on a part of Titus 2:13 and the whole of verse 14. We shall see seven aspects of truth in this one fragment of scripture, and we shall see something that our great God and Saviour, Jesus Christ, has done. We shall, in fact, see certain things that only our great God could do.
1. Only a ‘great God’ could GIVE
Titus 2:13 reads, ‘Our great God and Saviour, Jesus Christ, who gave…’ All other gods demand and have to be placated or appeased, and the worshipper must give something – maybe money or food; but with our God it is different, for He gives. It is His nature and prerogative to give – look up and compare John 3:16; 1 Timothy 6:17. What a mercy this is, because we can give nothing to Him that is acceptable to Him until we have first received what He gives to us – look up Psalm 116:12-13! We are right when we sing, ‘Nothing in my hand I bring’, for that is the only way we can come before the Lord. But what does God give? The answer is ‘Himself’
2. Only a ‘great God’ could give HIMSELF
In the New Testament we read seven times that Christ gave Himself for us – look up Luke 22:19-20; Galatians 1:4; 2:20; Ephesians 5:2,25; 1 Timothy 2:6; Titus 2:14. Here are three questions:-
- WHO gave Himself? ‘Our Saviour, Jesus Christ’ (verse 13). Here we have a direct reference to the Incarnation and to the Lord’s work on Calvary.
- WHY did He give Himself? The clue is found in the word, ‘Saviour’ (verse 13) – for the Lord came to be our Saviour and to bring us to God – look up 1 Timothy 1:15; 1 Peter 3:18.
- HOW did He give Himself? He gave Himself voluntarily (Psalm 40:7-8; John 10:18), and vicariously (Isaiah 53:5-6; 1 Peter 2:24).
For whom did He do this? He did it for us.
3. Only a ‘great God’ could give Himself FOR SINNERS
‘He gave Himself for us’. To whom does this refer?
- He gave Himself for the WORLD. Compare 1 Timothy 2:6; 1 John 2:2. He gave Himself to make salvation available to all people.
- He gave Himself for the CHURCH. He gave Himself in a special way for believers as Ephesians 5:25 tells us. He gave Himself to make salvation actual or experiential in all who believe.
- He gave Himself for ME. This is what we read in Galatians 2:20, and the fact that Christ gave Himself ‘for me’ tells me that my Saviour died as my substitute.
But what was His motive in giving Himself for us? It was ‘to redeem us from all wickedness’.
4. Only a ‘great God’ could REDEEM us from all wickedness
How did He do this? By shedding His own precious blood – Ephesians 1:7; Hebrews 9:12; 1 Peter 1:18-19. Notice that He died ‘to redeem us from all wickedness’. In relation to the past, He redeemed us from the guilt and penalty of sin – look up 1 Corinthians 15:3; in relation to the present, He redeems us from the power and grip of sin – look up Romans 6:14; and in relation to the future, He will redeem us from the presence of sin at His second coming – look up Romans 8:22-23. But now see how our verse goes on – ‘and to purify…’
5. Only a ‘great God’ could PURIFY sinful men and women
How does He do this? Can any effort of our own cleanse us? No – but God can, and He does this in three ways:-
- (1) He cleanses by His Blood – 1 John 1:7 tells us this. It refers to the initial cleansing from the guilt of sin, and to our standing before God.
- (2) He washes with His Word – Ephesians 5:25-26 tells us this – look up and compare Psalm 119:9 with John 15:3. This is the cleansing of our daily walk – compare John 13:10.
- (3) He purges through His Spirit – look up Matthew 3:11, and then read Matthew 3:12, and recall the great purging that took place when the Holy Spirit came at Pentecost and filled the hearts and transformed the lives of God’s people.
But God’s motive in giving Himself for us was not only to purify us, but in order to make us His own people.
6. Only a ‘great God’ could choose a people FOR HIMSELF
Our verse tells us that He has chosen “for himself a people that are his very own”, that is ‘a people for His own possession, a special treasure’ – look up Exodus 19:5; Deuteronomy 4:20; 32:9. God has set apart a certain people for Himself, to be His own special possession, and in order to make these people His own He has chosen them in eternity past – look up Ephesians 1:4; died for them upon the cross – look up Galatians 1:4; called them – look up Acts 15:14; and indwells them by His Spirit – look up John 14:16. But there is one more thing to notice: the Lord’s purpose in all this was that we might be a people eager to do what is good.
7. Only a ‘great God’ could make His people eager to do what is GOOD
One translation of this phrase is – ‘a people with hearts set upon living a life that is good.’ The meaning is this: God our Saviour gave Himself for us that we might live God-glorifying, fruitful, Christian lives. Are we enthusiastic in our living and in our service for Him?
One day the Saviour will ‘see the suffering of His soul’ and will be satisfied with the fruits of His Calvary work – look up Isaiah 53:11. One day! – but how about now? Does He see of the suffering of His soul now…?