Paul encouraged Titus, “As for you, teach what accords with sound doctrine” (2:1), which includes the proclamation that “the grace of God has appeared, bringing salvation for all people” (2:11) and this through 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” (2:14).
“Who gave himself for us to redeem us” . . . Paul is pointing to the cross and the judgment Jesus received in our place. In another place, to the Corinthians, Paul declared, “I decided to know nothing among you except Jesus Christ and him crucified” (1 Corinthians 2:2). I just read a dissertation that addressed prominent themes in a Southeast Asian culture – honor/shame, fear/power, a hierarchy of relationships, and a holistic view of the world – and how Christ resolves these matters. I often read these sorts of discussions and, sometimes, the writer seems to go to great lengths not to mention sin and the law’s requirement of the payment of a penalty. But this is at the heart of the gospel, i.e., Jesus has taken our sins upon himself and paid the legal penalty so that we can be forgiven and found guiltless. What good news! Indeed, Christ has redeemed us from all lawlessness. Indeed, Jesus Christ and him crucified!
I will sing of my Redeemer
and his wondrous love to me;
on the cruel cross he suffered,
from the curse to set me free.
Sing, O sing of my Redeemer!
With his blood he purchased me;
on the cross he sealed my pardon,
paid the debt, and made me free. --P. P. Bliss (1876)