Gave Himself For Us- Titus 2:14

In this post, we will examine Titus 2:14, which reads as follows in the NIV: “who gave Himself for us to redeem us from all wickedness and to purify for Himself a people that are His very own, eager to do what is good”. This verse begins by telling us that Jesus “gave Himself for us”, a reference here to the idea of substitutionary atonement, that Jesus died in our place and on our behalf, that His sacrifice on the cross paid the price for our sins and enabled all who trust in Him to have eternal life. As Paul tells us, “the wages of sin is death (Romans 6:23), and “all have sinned and come short of the glory of God (Romans 3:23) . The penalty for sin is death, and all human beings are deserving of death (separation from God), but Jesus died in our place and on our behalf (substitutionary atonement) in order that we may receive the gift of righteousness, the gift of “eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord” (Romans 3:23), that we would be united with God for all eternity, no longer separated from Him due to our sinful condition . This verse also reveals to us the purpose of His atoning sacrifice for us, telling us first that He gave Himself to “redeem us from all wickedness”. The word redeem here is the aorist subjunctive form of the verb lutroo. This term refers to the price which was paid to by the freedom of a slave, so the primary concept in redemption is freedom. In the New Testament, we learn from both Jesus (Matthew 6:24) and Paul (Romans 6:16-18) that all human beings are in essence slaves, that we are either slaves to sin or slaves to righteousness. The basic condition of every human being is that of being slaves to “wickedness”, anomia here in the Greek. The term anomia would be more literally translated as “lawlessness”, for the term anomia is simply the Greek word “law” (nomos) with the letter a added as a prefix, which negates the term “law” and results in those living in “lawlessness”. This term “lawlessness” must be understood in its Biblical context, in which it refers to one who is a law unto him or herself. This is the basic condition of humanity due to the original sin of Adam and Eve, who chose to decide for themselves what is right or wrong, and this condition was passed on the all their offspring, meaning that every human being is born with the proclivity of being a law unto themselves, of not letting anyone else (including God) decide for them what is right or wrong, as being slaves to “lawlessness”. It is this slavery which Jesus died to purchase our freedom from, and we are not set free in order to become our own masters, but to be slaves of a new master, slaves of righteousness. We must also understand the term “righteousness” in its Biblical context, and as the antithesis of “lawlessness”. Those who are slaves to righteousness choose, over and over again, to submit to Jesus as Lord, to submit themselves to letting God tell them what is right and wrong. Those who have accepted the substitutionary atonement of Jesus in their place and on their behalf have been set free from their slavery to lawlessness inherited from Adam, and are recreated as slaves to righteousness, as those whose deepest desire is no longer to be a law unto themselves, but to submit to God’s law, to let God tell them what is right or wrong. Jesus “gave Himself for us” so that we would receive the “gift of righteousness” (Romans 6:17), and we are made righteous in order that we may begin to live “righteously”, to order our lives in accordance with the truth of Scripture, to submit ourselves fully to the lordship of the one who is the “way, the truth and the life” (John 14:6), to the one who is the ultimate arbiter of what is right or wrong.

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