For the grace of God has appeared, bringing salvation for all people, training us to renounce ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright, and godly lives in the present age, waiting for our blessed hope, the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ, who gave himself for us to redeem us from all lawlessness and to purify for himself a people for his own possession who are zealous for good works. (Titus 2:11-14, ESV)
Paul reminds us that our gratitude should be far deeper than what we are thankful for today.
It’s foundation is in the past – “the grace of God has appeared.” There is no greater reason for joy, humility, and gratitude than that Jesus took on human form and walked this earth to make God known to us and ultimately to redeem us to him through His death and resurrection.
It is deepened by our view of the world – In that redemption, he redeemed not only us, but all of life to us. Work, food, drink, family, pleasure, poverty, abundance. Everything takes on a new meaning and value for Christians. This world is not a temporary stop on our journey to heaven, but an opportunity for us to proclaim that grace in our lives “in this present age.” We now see the world in its proper perspective and are reminded that “Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights with whom there is no variation or shadow due to change.” (James 1:17, ESV) The full beauty of this life is only visible to us because, by His grace, He has opened our eyes to see life as it really is – as He designed it.
It reminds us of what awaits us – While the redemption and gift of the fullness of life is truly amazing, we are ultimately reminded that a full reunion with our Creator is waiting for us. As much as his grace to us in our salvation opens us to the world around us, that is not its final goal. That redemption will one day be completed when Jesus returns to unite us with Him and recreate everything in its original intent. Unmarred by sin, we will see the full glory and beauty of “our great God and Savior Jesus Christ.”