“For the grace of God has appeared, bringing salvation to all men, instructing us to deny ungodliness and worldly desires and to live sensibly, righteously and godly in the present age, looking for the blessed hope and the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior, Christ Jesus, who gave Himself for us to redeem us from every lawless deed, and to purify for Himself a people for His own possession, zealous for good deeds” (Tit 2:11-14).
Many books could easily be written about these four verses, particularly because of how clearly Paul affirms the deity of Jesus. Paul uses only one definite article (“the”) to join two singular non-proper nouns together: literally, THE great God and Savior of us (i.e., the Great God and Savior of us IS JESUS). Likewise, Paul refers to the “appearing” of our great God, a word he uses elsewhere only for Jesus’ second coming (2 Thess 2;8; 1 Tim 6:14; 2 Tim 1:9-10; 4;1, 8; Tit 2:13). What I find most incredibly encouraging about these verses is the way in which Paul speaks about the first coming of Jesus in verse 11: “for the grace of God has appeared, bringing salvation.”
Not only is Jesus our great God and Savior who will come a second time, but he is also the full embodiment of God’s grace who came the first time!
Elsewhere, John tells us that God IS love (1 John 4:16). Here, Paul tells us that God IS grace: a grace that not only saves us, but also empowers us to say “no” to worldly desires and “yes” to godliness! So beware of those who deny the full deity of Jesus, because their “Jesus” is not the embodiment of divine grace which saves and changes us, but a semi-divine being who needs lots of help and effort on our part in order to ensure our salvation.
“But when the kindness of God our Savior and His love for mankind appeared, He saved us, not on the basis of deeds which we have done in righteousness, but according to His mercy…” (Tit 3:4-5).