You, however, must teach what is appropriate to sound doctrine. Teach the older men to be temperate, worthy of respect, self-controlled, and sound in faith, in love and in endurance.

Likewise, teach the older women to be reverent in the way they live, not to be slanderers or addicted to much wine, but to teach what is good. Then they can urge the younger women to love their husbands and children, to be self-controlled and pure, to be busy at home, to be kind, and to be subject to their husbands, so that no one will malign the word of God.

Similarly, encourage the young men to be self-controlled. In everything set them an example by doing what is good. In your teaching show integrity, seriousness and soundness of speech that cannot be condemned, so that those who oppose you may be ashamed because they have nothing bad to say about us.

Teach slaves to be subject to their masters in everything, to try to please them, not to talk back to them, 10 and not to steal from them, but to show that they can be fully trusted, so that in every way they will make the teaching about God our Savior attractive.

11 For the grace of God has appeared that offers salvation to all people. 12 It teaches us to say “No” to ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright and godly lives in this present age, 13 while we wait for the blessed hope—the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior, Jesus Christ, 14 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.

15 These, then, are the things you should teach. Encourage and rebuke with all authority. Do not let anyone despise you.

This down-to-earth teaching about life in the home, and the workplace, has both negative and positive implications. Negatively, practical, godly living will mean that the Word of God is not ‘maligned’ (5); positively, such a holy lifestyle will make the teaching about God ”attractive” (10). There’s a lot at stake here.

But holiness is only possible because of the enabling grace of God in Jesus (11-14). There is a power at work in the life of every Christian, enabling us to refuse to yield to the siren calls of temptation and sin, and equipping us for godly living. The very reason Jesus died was in order to create such a holy people.

Nicky Gumbel tells a story about a Christian man, ”Gibbo”, who worked at ‘Selfridges’, and who knew Gordon Selfridge himself. One day the phone rang in the store, Gibbo answered it, and the person at the other end of the line asked for Mr. Selfridge. Gordon, standing nearby, said, ‘Tell them I’m not here.’ Gibbo handed Gordon the receiver and mouthed, ‘You tell him!’ When he’d finished the call, Gordon Selfridge was livid with Gibbo. But Gibbo explained, ‘If I can lie for you, I can also lie to you.’ That day he won the respect and admiration of his boss. This is the power of practical, everyday holiness, and Jesus makes it possible for every believer, by the power of the Holy Spirit.

This is amazing grace.

PRAYER: Lord God, teach me to say ‘Yes’ to all you ask of me, and ‘No’ to all that sin requires of me.