Good behavior and cosmic transformation
Some of this advice, especially his advice for women (and his advice to slaves, not included in the Lectionary’s excerpt), may strike modern ears wrongly, especially since he does not balance this advice with advice to husbands (and slave masters) as he does elsewhere.
His point in the first part of this passage, however, is the importance of good behavior in the Christian’s witness to the world.
To be sure, this external witness through civil decorum must be accompanied by interior transformation through our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ: a transformation of self that will lead to a transformation of the world and liberation from the world’s slaveries.
For the grace of God has appeared, saving all
and training us to reject godless ways and worldly desires
and to live temperately, justly, and devoutly in this age,
as we await the blessed hope,
the appearance of the glory of the great God
and of our savior Jesus Christ,
who gave himself for us
to deliver us from all lawlessness
and to cleanse for himself a people as his own,
eager to do what is good.