Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for men, since you know that you will receive an inheritance from the Lord as a reward. It is the Lord Christ you are serving – Colossians 3:23-24. (NIV)
Some people say that it does not really matter what you believe, as long as you do the right thing. However, Paul’s letter to Titus contradicts that sort of thinking. He knew that people become what they think, and that everything they do is shaped by what they believe.
That is why he urged Titus, his valued associate who was pastoring a church on the island of Crete, to, “speak the things which are proper for sound doctrine” – Titus 2:1. He knew that correct living is a product of correct belief. Error can never lead to Godliness. Only truth produces genuine Christlikeness.
In our world today, many streams of thought lay claim to being “true.” Yet they produce nothing that even approaches the character, integrity, and humility of Christ. That is why believers need to carefully pay attention to the teaching they receive. Does it square with Scripture? Does it honor Christ? Does it acknowledge what Paul calls “the truth which accords with godliness” – Titus1:1.
We have published this article a couple of years ago but we consider it very relevant today. Please enjoy!
Titus’s Work in Crete
An elder must live a blameless life. He must be faithful to his wife, and his children must be believers who are not wild or rebellious. An elder must live a blameless life because he is God’s minister. He must not be arrogant or quick-tempered; he must not be a heavy drinker, violent, or greedy for money. He must enjoy having guests in his home and must love all that is good. He must live wisely and be fair. He must live a devout and disciplined life. He must have a strong and steadfast belief in the trustworthy message he was taught; then he will be able to encourage others with right teaching and show those who oppose it where they are wrong.
For there are many who rebel against right teachings; they engage in useless talk and deceive people. This is especially true of those who insist on circumcision for salvation. They must be silenced. By their wrong teaching, they have already turned whole families away from the truth. Such teachers only want your money. One of their own men, a prophet from Crete, has said about them, “The people of Crete are all liars; they are cruel animals and lazy gluttons.” This is true. So, rebuke them as sternly as necessary to make them strong in the faith. They must stop listening to Jewish myths and the commands of people who have turned their backs on the truth.
Everything is pure to those whose hearts are pure. But nothing is pure to those who are corrupt and unbelieving, because their minds and consciences are defiled. Such people claim they know God, but they deny Him by the way they live. They are despicable and disobedient, worthless for doing anything good – Titus 1:6-16.
Promote Right Teachings
But as for you, promote the kind of living that reflects right teaching. Teach the older men to exercise self-control, to be worthy of respect, and to live wisely. They must have strong faith and be filled with love and patience.
Similarly, teach the older women to live in a way that is appropriate for someone serving the Lord. They must not go around speaking evil of others and must not be heavy drinkers. Instead, they should teach others what is good. These older women must train the younger women to love their husbands and their children, to live wisely and be pure, to take care of their homes, to do good, and to be submissive to their husbands. Then they will not bring shame on the word of God.
In the same way, encourage the young men to live wisely in all they do. And you yourself must be an example to them by doing good deeds of every kind. Let everything you do reflect the integrity and seriousness of your teachings. Let your teachings be so correct that it can’t be criticized. Then those who want to argue will be ashamed because they won’t have anything bad to say about us.
Slaves must obey their masters and do their best to please them. They must not talk back or steal, but they must show themselves to be entirely trustworthy and good. Then they will make the teaching about God our Saviour attractive in every way.
For the grace of God has been revealed, bringing salvation to all people. And we are instructed to turn from godless living and sinful pleasures. We should live in this evil world with self-control, right conduct, and devotion to God, while we look forward to that wonderful event when the glory of our great God and Saviour, Jesus Christ, will be revealed. He gave His life to free us from every kind of sin, to cleanse us, and to make us His very own people, totally committed to doing what is right. You must teach these things and encourage your people to do them, correcting them when necessary. You have the authority to do this, so don’t let anyone ignore you or disregard what you say – Titus 2:1-15
Do What Is Good
Remind your people to submit to the government and its officers. They should be obedient, always ready to do what is good. They must not speak evil of anyone, and they must avoid quarreling. Instead, they should be gentle and show true humility to everyone.
Once, we too, were foolish and disobedient. We were misled by others and became slaves to many wicked desires and evil pleasures. Our lives were full of evil and envy. We hated others, and they hated us.
But then God our Saviour showed us His kindness and love. He saved us, not because of the good things we did, but because of His mercy. He washed away our sins and gave us a new life through the Holy Spirit. He generously poured out the Spirit upon us because of His great kindness. And now we know we will inherit eternal life. These things I have told you are all true. I want you to insist on them so that everyone who trusts in God will be careful to do good deeds all the time. These things are good and beneficial for everyone. – Titus 3:1-8
Paul’s Final Remarks and Greetings
Do not get involved in foolish discussions about spiritual pedigrees or in quarrels and fight about obedience to Jewish laws. These kinds of things are useless and a waste of time. If anyone is causing divisions among you, give a first and second warning. After that, have nothing more to do with that person. For people like that have turned away from the truth. They are sinning, and they condemn themselves – Titus 3:9-11.
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