2 Kings 16 & Titus 2

2 Kings 16

    In the seventeenth year of Pekah the son of Remaliah, Ahaz the son of Jotham, king of Judah, began to reign. Ahaz was twenty years old when he began to reign, and he reigned sixteen years in Jerusalem. And he did not do what was right in the eyes of the LORD his God, as his father David had done, but he walked in the way of the kings of Israel. He even burned his son as an offering, according to the despicable practices of the nations whom the LORD drove out before the people of Israel. And he sacrificed and made offerings on the high places and on the hills and under every green tree.

    Then Rezin king of Syria and Pekah the son of Remaliah, king of Israel, came up to wage war on Jerusalem, and they besieged Ahaz but could not conquer him. At that time Rezin the king of Syria recovered Elath for Syria and drove the men of Judah from Elath, and the Edomites came to Elath, where they dwell to this day. So Ahaz sent messengers to Tiglath-pileser king of Assyria, saying, “I am your servant and your son. Come up and rescue me from the hand of the king of Syria and from the hand of the king of Israel, who are attacking me.” Ahaz also took the silver and gold that was found in the house of the LORD and in the treasures of the king's house and sent a present to the king of Assyria. And the king of Assyria listened to him. The king of Assyria marched up against Damascus and took it, carrying its people captive to Kir, and he killed Rezin.

    When King Ahaz went to Damascus to meet Tiglath-pileser king of Assyria, he saw the altar that was at Damascus. And King Ahaz sent to Uriah the priest a model of the altar, and its pattern, exact in all its details. And Uriah the priest built the altar; in accordance with all that King Ahaz had sent from Damascus, so Uriah the priest made it, before King Ahaz arrived from Damascus. And when the king came from Damascus, the king viewed the altar. Then the king drew near to the altar and went up on it and burned his burnt offering and his grain offering and poured his drink offering and threw the blood of his peace offerings on the altar. And the bronze altar that was before the LORD he removed from the front of the house, from the place between his altar and the house of the LORD, and put it on the north side of his altar. And King Ahaz commanded Uriah the priest, saying, “On the great altar burn the morning burnt offering and the evening grain offering and the king's burnt offering and his grain offering, with the burnt offering of all the people of the land, and their grain offering and their drink offering. And throw on it all the blood of the burnt offering and all the blood of the sacrifice, but the bronze altar shall be for me to inquire by.” Uriah the priest did all this, as King Ahaz commanded.

    And King Ahaz cut off the frames of the stands and removed the basin from them, and he took down the sea from off the bronze oxen that were under it and put it on a stone pedestal. And the covered way for the Sabbath that had been built inside the house and the outer entrance for the king he caused to go around the house of the LORD, because of the king of Assyria. Now the rest of the acts of Ahaz that he did, are they not written in the Book of the Chronicles of the Kings of Judah? And Ahaz slept with his fathers and was buried with his fathers in the city of David, and Hezekiah his son reigned in his place.

(2 Kings 16 ESV)

Titus 2

    But as for you, teach what accords with sound doctrine. Older men are to be sober-minded, dignified, self-controlled, sound in faith, in love, and in steadfastness. Older women likewise are to be reverent in behavior, not slanderers or slaves to much wine. They are to teach what is good, and so train the young women to love their husbands and children, to be self-controlled, pure, working at home, kind, and submissive to their own husbands, that the word of God may not be reviled. Likewise, urge the younger men to be self-controlled. Show yourself in all respects to be a model of good works, and in your teaching show integrity, dignity, and sound speech that cannot be condemned, so that an opponent may be put to shame, having nothing evil to say about us. Bondservants are to be submissive to their own masters in everything; they are to be well-pleasing, not argumentative, not pilfering, but showing all good faith, so that in everything they may adorn the doctrine of God our Savior.

    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.

    Declare these things; exhort and rebuke with all authority. Let no one disregard you.

(Titus 2 ESV)

Something to Consider

Titus 2: The apostle Paul mentions that Christ has appeared, and that Christ will appear again. Christ has appeared in grace, and one day He will appear in glory. Now first, we must come to understand that these two appearings must always be considered together. The work of Christ must always be taken as a whole. We begin to lead ourself astray the moment we begin to consider one part of His work over the whole scope of His mission. 

There are many who simply look at His birth and view Christ as still gentle, harmless and unthreatening. There are others who look simply at His life and teaching and view Christ as the great moral teacher who can help us in our manners and ethics. There are others who look only to His death and view Christ as the misunderstood radical who couldn’t overcome the force and violence of those who opposed Him. There are others who only look at His resurrection and view Christ as still alive and therefore able to help us when we need Him. And then there are others who only look to His return and view Christ as the resolution to all life’s concerns and the remedy for all the evil that’s spread rampant throughout. To dissect the work of Christ in this way runs the risk of distorting the work of Christ as described in the gospel.   

Christ has appeared in grace and will one day appear in glory. That is the gospel and the basis for living a life of godliness in the present.

We can rest assured in the salvation that Christ has brought for His people, and we wait with hope for the glory that Christ will bring when He comes again. Therefore, the motivational basis for living out our Christian duty is found in our realization that we live in between these two appearings of Christ. We live encouraged by His grace and excited about His glory.

As we live between the already and not yet appearings of Christ, our hearts must be tenderized as we are captivated by what Christ has already accomplished for us, and our hearts must be energized as we are motivated by what Christ has in store for us. Christianity is not simply something God has said, but it is something definitive that God has done and will do in the future. Therefore, a clear understanding of our doctrine gives us a clear direction in our mission. May we “declare these things” among the world and live our lives in such a way that it leads others to “adorn the doctrine of God” that we declare.