[“For the grace of God that brings salvation has appeared to all men, teaching us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly in the present age, looking for the blessed hope and glorious appearing of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ, who gave Himself for us, that He might redeem us from every lawless deed and purify for Himself His own special people, zealous for good works.” Titus 2:11-14 NKJV]
In the above passage, this teaching work of grace is emphasized. In the original text the meaning is: “to train up a child, to chasten, to instruct, to teach.” The same word in Hebrews 12:6, 7,10 is translated by some form of the word chasten. Thus when grace teaches, it does more than impart knowledge as an instructor. It teaches in the sense that wise parents train and discipline children. This must first of all be in love, and not by threatenings. It is done by pointing out that which is good and helpful and warning against that which is wrong and destructive. It may mean withholding things that are greatly desired; but it also means giving encouragement, both by word and by actual help, in difficult times and in failures. Moreover, it includes chastening when necessary and this, as in Hebrews 12:6, may partake of the nature of scourging. But it never means forsaking the child.
All impartation of spiritual truth, all instruction, all reproof, all admonition, all exhortation, and all chastening are elements of the discipline by grace.
There is a false idea, a prevalent one, that God’s law teaches men how to live godly lives. Does not the law set forth high standards of moral living that man may know how to live pleasing unto God? Not only unsaved men hold this view, but a vast majority of believers, in a greater or less degree, consent to it. This view is not in harmony with the passage under consideration.
Certainly, unsaved men are not taught righteousness by the law. If that were the purpose of the law, then it would have been one of the most colossal failures of all of God’s economy, for it is said that by the law every mouth is stopped and all the world is guilty before God (Rom. 3:19). Not one man has learned godliness by the precepts of the law.
But was not the Mosaic Law given to God’s people, Israel, to teach them the conduct He required of them? True, but in giving the law God also with it provided sacrifices as a ground for extending mercy when they broke the law. This proves that God knew that the law could not so teach righteousness as to produce godly living.
Two errors had crept into the Galatian church. The one of these was that the justified believer is made perfect by keeping the law. Had this contention been true, it might rightly be said that the law is the teacher of godliness, but Paul in contending against this error wrote: “Wherefore the law was our schoolmaster to bring us unto Christ, that we might be justified by faith. But after that faith is come, we are no longer under a schoolmaster” (Gal. 3:24, 25). Notice, the law was our schoolmaster to bring us unto Christ. In other words, it is by the law and the failure to fulfill its demands that man is brought to Christ, who is the source of grace. When that has been done there is no further need for the law as a schoolmaster.
Part 2 of 3
Excerpt from J. Strombeck, Disciplined by Grace (Chicago: Moody Press), Chapter 1, pp 6-8.