Titus 3 Things to remember, things to avoid
Most of us are quite good at forgetting things. Sometimes it really doesn’t matter too much, but at other times it can matter a great deal (appointments, anniversaries etc.). Paul tells Titus to remind the people of various things, because we so readily forgot them.
- v1-2 Remember how to behave. In public life, Christians are to be good citizens, fulfilling our social and civic responsibilities. Where the authorities are exercising their God-given duty of promoting good and restraining evil, Christians should be respectful and obedient. In our personal relationships, we should refuse to indulge in malicious gossip, and show consideration and humility towards others.
- v3 Remember what you were before coming to Christ. Paul gives a vivid but accurate description of the sin which, like a cancer, affects and infects us all. We must not forget the depths from which we have been rescued!
- v4-8 Remember what God has done – we are saved to do good. This ‘trustworthy saying (v8) is an ‘excellent and profitable’ statement of what Father, Son and Holy Spirit have done through the gospel. We don’t become Christians by trying to do good works, but having become Christian by turning from our sin and disobedience and put our trust in Christ, we then go on to live out our salvation by doing good – practical acts of obedience towards God in serving others. Good works are not the means of earning our salvation, but rather the means of demonstrating it. The faith that saves, is a faith that works, expressing itself through love.
- v9-11 Remember to avoid controversies and quarrels. It seems that some people were indulging in rather fanciful interpretations and speculations based, at some level at least, on Old Testament passages. Still today, there are churches and groups who mishandle Scripture in ways which, far from being excellent and profitable, are unprofitable and divisive. In extreme cases this can damage and distort the gospel. Paul’s instruction to Titus on this is quite severe – warn those who go in for this kind of thing once. If they persist, warn them a 2nd time. If they still persist in this kind of divisive behaviour, have nothing more to do with them. Such people are warped, sinful, self-condemned. This is strong language, but regrettably there are occasion when this must be done for the sake of the gospel.
Paul concludes the letter in v12-15 with another reminder that as God’s people we must devote ourselves to doing good. If the gospel we believe in doesn’t affect our daily lives, it isn’t the gospel of Christ. Look for opportunities during this coming week of demonstrating the gospel, letting people know by the way you behave that you have experienced God’s kindness, love and mercy; that the Holy Spirit has been poured out on you generously; that you have been justified by grace and have the hope of eternal life.