DAY 19 - Read Daily

18-11-2019  |  Matthew Campbell  |  YOUTH

Read Daily
Day 19 - Grace empowers holiness
Titus 2:11-12
Matthew Campbell


Questions for reflection:

  1. Have you ever felt the ‘cobra effect’ in your Christian life? In what ways?

  2. Why do you think that our attempts to fix ourselves and simply ‘be better people’ always fail in our attempts to grow in holiness?

  3. How does the reminder of God’s gospel of grace empower and motivate you in your pursuit of holiness today?



Devotion Transcript (Watch on Baptist Youth Youtube Channel)

11 For the grace of God has appeared, bringing salvation for all people, 12 training us to renounce ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright, and godly lives in the present age,


I wonder have you ever heard of the ‘cobra effect?’ I’m guessing - Probably not. But the cobra effect is a term which describes how your attempts to fix a problem actually makes the problem worse. The term was coined way back in the early 1900s when there was a massive outbreak of deadly poisonous cobras in India. The British Government who ruled in that time thought of a clever strategy to try and reduce the number of deadly cobra’s. The strategy was this - we’ll offer a financial reward to every individual who brings us a dead cobra. So if you managed to kill a cobra and bring it to the government, they would give you money since you have contributed to there being one less cobra in the country.


This seems like a great tactic, doesn’t it? However, a problem quickly emerged. Some very enterprising people thought to themselves, ‘Wait a second, I can earn money for handing in dead cobra’s…’ And so what they did, quite cleverly, was they started breeding more cobra’s to then kill them and hand them in for money. Effectively this resulted in more cobra’s being in Delhi and the government losing more money. The government’s entire scheme turned out to be completely counter productive - Their attempts to fix the problem only made it worse.


When it comes to your own fight for holiness, I wonder do you feel the ‘Cobra Effect?’ I wonder does it feel like the more you attempt to fix your problem of sin, the worse it only seems to get. Well in verse 12 of chapter 2 of Titus, Paul gives us some indication as to why that might be.


You might remember that Paul began this section in v11, as we saw yesterday, by proclaiming ‘the grace of God has appeared.’ In other words, in the person of Jesus Christ the grace of God has become visible to his people. And that grace has got enormous implications for you and I. What’s the first implication? We saw it yesterday, because of God’s grace we are saved. We have salvation purely because of God’s amazing grace. 


But in verse 12, we see that not only does the grace of God bring about our salvation. Actually, the grace of God empowers our sanctification. What is sanctification? It’s the journey that a Christian is on of becoming more and more like Christ. In other words what Paul is saying is this - if you want to grow in your faith. If you want to become more holy. If you want to continue to put sin to death in your life, what is going to empower you? What is going to motivate you? It’s the grace of God… look at what he says again…


11 For the grace of God has appeared, bringing salvation for all people, 12 training us to renounce ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright, and godly lives in the present age,


Do you see it? God’s grace is the thing which trains us to live godly lives. If your attempts to battle sin simply involve you trying your best, through your own efforts to be a better person, you will fail. If your attempts to battle sin and grow in holiness involve simply rolling up your sleeves, puffing your chest out and making a personal commitment to be on your best behaviour, you will fail - you will simply fall into the cobra effect. Rather our ability to fight sin is empowered by God’s grace to us in the gospel.


You see the gospel isn’t just for non-Christians, the gospel is for Christians. Every day as a Christian you must remind yourself of the gospel of grace. Every day as a Christian you must allow the gospel of Jesus Christ to win and shape your heart. Why? It is the motivation to fight sin. As Dallas Willard says, ‘grace does not oppose effort, it fuels it’ Grace is a powerful motivator. And so, by God’s grace today…. may you prayerfully remind yourself of the gospel of grace. And as you do that, ask that God’s spirit would empower you to fight sin in light of the grace that has been lavished upon you.