Saved Into Believing And Fearing God
“The grace of God that brings salvation has appeared…” (Titus 2:11) Suddenly in the narrative of the Bible a new note, which will prove to be the dominant note of the whole book, appears – the loud trumpet blast of salvation as God’s act appears for the first time in this chapter. Vv. 13 and 30 portray the deliverance of Israel from the clutches of Pharaoh through the sea as God’s act of salvation or deliverance. And from that point onwards, the whole of the history of the people of God is the experience of the unfolding of the mighty acts of the saving God who has bound Himself to His people in covenant.
God saves His people from their enemies. For Israel the obvious enemy was Pharaoh: he is breathing down their necks to bring them back into the house of bondage (vv. 5-10.) However, the chapter opens a crack in a door that will widen through the unfolding pages of Israel’s history, and the reveals more and more that the deepest enemy for Israel lies within. They are a thankless, fearful, complaining bunch (vv. 11-12.) – we’ll see more of this as the story unfolds. Israel is going to have be saved into believing and fearing the LORD. And that will take a saving act greater even than the exodus escape. The Old Testament keeps pushing further and further into this truth, pointing us more and more clearly towards God’s salvation that will come in fulness through the sending of one who will deal with the great enemies of death, sin and evil.
So, the LORD goes into action before Israel believes or fears Him. His salvation will bring that about in them. They don’t enter the sea as believers but become believers when they have been brought through (vv. 30-31.) On the day when they see the Egyptians dead on the seashore they start to see that “our God is a God who saves” (Ps. 68:20.) It is testimony to them of the great power of the LORD, and this causes them “to fear the LORD and to believe in the LORD and in His servant, Moses.”
Salvation is with a view to this kind of relationship with our saving God – believing and fearing, or, in other words, trusting and obeying. The grace of God that brings salvation has appeared in Jesus Christ. And so we are trained by that grace to say no to all that displeases God our Father (all ungodliness and worldly passions) and to say an active and dynamic yes to all that pleases Him (self-control, righteousness and godliness). Salvation always comes first in this – God acts for us before we act for Him, but when we see His mighty acts in Jesus Christ, then act we will, must and long to!