“instructing us in order that, rejecting impiety and worldly desires, being self-controlled, upright and godly, we might live in the present age.”
The saving grace of God is revealed, but what is our response? A large part of that response is found in repentance…renouncing the old, worldly way of life and embracing a life of godliness. One of the great lies of our American culture is that God loves us just the way we are. No, God saves us just the way we are but loves us enough not to leave us that way. If we find ourselves content with our own spirituality, that is more a sign that God has removed his grace from us rather than being a sign that we have arrived at maturity.
Yet, this change of life does not happen all at once. It comes to us as we are trained into a new way of life (this we call the process of sanctification). The word we translate as “instructing” is παιδεύω (paideuo). It is the verb from which the English word, “pedagogy,” comes and it can mean instruction, training, discipline, or practice. At the very heart of this word is the idea of teaching a person a given worldview. This is a parent’s responsibility toward their children and it is the church’s responsibility toward their membership. Ultimately, though, the source of this worldview is the work of God’s Holy Spirit and the textbook which the Spirit uses is the Word of God.
And why is this training in godliness important? It is important so that we can live in this present age. It is only in Christ that we have life; to live that life, one must live a life disciplined by the Word of God and the Holy Spirit — trained into a new worldview.