For the grace of God that brings salvation has appeared to all men,…
I. THE CHRISTIAN'S BUSINESS, while an inhabitant of this present world.
1. What he must renounce.
(2) Worldly lusts.
2. What he must cultivate.
(1) With regard to his personal character he is to "live soberly." While in the world, he is not of the world. His heart is weaned from its honours, riches, and pleasures. He uses this world without abusing it.
(2) We now pass on to view the Christian in his social capacity. He is to live "righteously" as well as "soberly." This term includes all his relative obligations.
(a) With regard to the relation in which he stands to his fellow creatures in general, he looks upon himself as a member of one great family, all of whom have suffered a common shipwreck. He sees himself rescued from the wreck by an act of infinite grace, and, therefore, he cannot exult over the rest of the crew as though by his own right hand, or by his own arm he had gotten himself the victory. Tender compassion towards the whole race fills his breast. He longs to tell the whole world of "the grace of God which bringeth salvation"; and he uses every means in his power to diffuse the knowledge of this unsearchable grace.
(b) In his relation also to the Church of Christ the Christian would live righteously. He must here, also, be influenced by the law of love. Consider the many ties which bind Christians to each other. Having a common Father, redeemed by the same precious blood, pervaded by the same Spirit, possessing one hope of their calling — what more can they need to cement the bond that unites them?
(3) In his religious duties he is to cultivate godliness.
(a) He seeks to please God.
(b) He loves to hold communion with God.
(c) He delights to think of God.
(d) He glorifies God in his body and in his spirit.
II. THE CHRISTIAN'S HOPE IN PROSECUTING HIS BUSINESS. What is it that urges on the worldling to labour and toil? What is it that keeps him in one unbroken course of regular and well sustained exertion? Or, again, what is it that excites the shipwrecked mariner to stem the foaming surge? What is it that keeps him clinging with invincible firmness to the friendly plank? Is it not hope? Now if the expectation of worldly gain, and of a temporal salvation can yield such support, oh! say, what should be the sustaining power of your hope — the hope of your Saviour's second coming. Whether we consider the blessedness of your hope, a complete salvation; or whether we consider the time of its consummation, the glorious appearing of the Redeemer; or, whether, again, we look to the character of your expected Saviour — in whatever point of view we behold your blessed object of hope — we cannot but feel how mighty should be its influence in stirring you up to "live soberly, righteously, and godly in this present world."
(H. Cadell, M. A.)
Parallel VersesKJV: For the grace of God that bringeth salvation hath appeared to all men,