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Expectations of Grace

In Romans 6:1-2, Paul wrote the Church in Rome these questions, "What shall we say then? Are we to continue in sin that grace may abound? By no means! How can we who died to sin still live in it?" It seems evident that a misunderstanding of grace existed among the Church of the first century that seemingly still exists in the Church and in the religious world at large. The issue is the mistaken idea that once in Christ, we have an all-atoning sacrifice that accounts for everything we want to do. "I can live however I like because Christ's blood will cover it." Is that true? Or does God's grace come with boundaries and expectations?

Titus 2:11-14 aptly gives us an answer. In this passage, Paul tells us several things about grace. First, we see how grace was shown - in the sending of Christ. Second, we see the intention of grace - to bring salvation, redeem, and purify. Third, we see the expectations of grace, which inherently establish the boundaries of grace.

I see seven different expectations of grace, beginning in verse 12. In this verse alone, we find five of the seven expectations, all of which naturally flow to and from one another - if you focus on one, you will achieve all. The first is to renounce ungodliness, removing from yourself anything (behaviorally or internally) that does not show respect toward God. The second is to renounce worldly passions, removing from yourself desire for and part in things without restraint. The third is to live self-controlled, subjecting your body to God and His laws. Fourth, to live upright, being tethered to the morality of God. Fifth, to live godly lives, a life that shows respect toward God and magnifies Him. Continuing into verse 14, we see two of Paul's final seven expectations. Sixth is to be redeemed from all lawlessness, bought back from practices of rebellion against God (i.e., cease rebellion). Seventh, to be a people of His possession who are zealous for good works (i.e., do His will).

Grace is not given without any expectation of reciprocation. We must live a life that reciprocates His love and sacrifice on our behalf.
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