For the grace of God has appeared that offers salvation to all people. It teaches us to say “No” to ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self controlled, upright, and godly lives in this present age…”
The entire program of redemption is rooted in “the grace of God,” his free favor and spontaneous action toward needy sinners to deliver and transform them. In the Greek, “has appeared” stands emphatically at the beginning, stressing the manifestation of grace as a historical reality. The reference is to Christ’s entire earthly life—his birth, life, death, and resurrection. The verb epephanē, from which we derive our word “epiphany,” means “to become visible, make an appearance,” and conveys the image of grace suddenly breaking in on our moral darkness, like the rising sun. (It is used of the sun in Acts 27:20.) Men could never have formed an adequate conception of that grace apart from its personal manifestation in Christ, in his incarnation and atonement.
The effect of the manifestation was redemptive, not destructive. The adjective rendered “that brings salvation” (sōtērios) asserts its saving efficacy. The dative “to all men” may equally be rendered “for all men,” thus stressing the universality of the salvation provided. Salvation is available to all, but its saving effect is dependent on the personal response of faith. Its universal scope justifies the application of its ethical demands to all classes of its professed recipients.
“It teaches us” declares that grace also operates in the lives of the saved. Grounded in God’s nature, grace makes ethical demands of Christians consistent with his nature. “Teaches” pictures grace, practically personified, as instructing the believer in the things “in accord with sound doctrine” (2:1). The verb basically means “to train a child,” hence “to instruct, train, educate.” It comprehends the entire training process—teaching, encouragement, correction, discipline.
The negative pedagogical purpose of grace is to train us “to say ‘No’ to ungodliness and worldly passions.” The aorist participle indicates that grace aims to lead the believer to the place where as a definite act he will voluntarily make a double renunciation of the past. He must repudiate and abandon “ungodliness,” the impiety and irreverence that characterized his unsaved life, as well as “worldly passions,” those cravings characteristic of the world in its estrangement from God. Such an act of renunciation, standing at the beginning of a life of Christian victory, must be maintained in daily self-denial.
This negative work clears the field for its positive aim for believers: “to live self-controlled, upright and godly lives.” “Live” (aorist tense) may mean “come to live” but more probably means that our entire course of life should be consistently characterized by three qualities (state as adverbs). In the original these adverbs stand emphatically before the verb. They look in three directions, though sharp distinctions need not be pressed: (1) inward, “self-controlled” (“soberly”), already stipulated for different groups (1:8; 2:2, 5) and now demanded of every believer; (2) outward, “upright” (“righteously”), faithfully fulfilling all the demands of truth and justice in our relations with others; (3) upward, “godly” (“reverently”), fully devoted to God in reverence and loving obedience.
Such a life is a possibility and duty “in this present age.” This present evil age (Gal 1:4) holds dangers for the believer (Rom 12:2; 2 Tim 4:10) and stands in contrast to the anticipated future.
This passage came to me last night and of which I wrote this entry late last night before I hit the bed, and just today, I faced not a pressure from work but spiritual one as well. From work, making a decision if it is the right time to walk away and trusting God for His providence, and if that’s the right thing and the will of God. I think it is not about whether walking away from a job that merely just pays but offers nothing whatsoever in helping me to pursue God, and it is about ME if i am willing to let it go and putting it down (like Pitch Perfect 3), and then on the spiritual, it is the Grace of God indeed that keeps me from the path of unrighteousness, and for the first time, i do not need to strive to the gnashing of teeth to stay off the path of wickedness, but it is all credit to God’s grace to me.