Titus is a short letter from Paul to another young pastor, yet it is a favorite of mine, mostly because of Paul’s instructions of what Titus should teach to ‘older women’ — me. While many women would categorize those instructions as cultural and not for today, I’m not so sure. My reason is that the theme for the whole book is ‘sound doctrine’ which means ‘correct or healthy’ teaching. If some parts are not for everyone, how can that distinction be made? Does ‘sound doctrine’ allow me to pick and choose what is correct for me?
Anyway, as Paul writes about the qualifications for church leaders and for Titus, he has this to say about ‘sound’ teaching . . .
He must hold firm to the trustworthy word as taught, so that he may be able to give instruction in sound doctrine and also to rebuke those who contradict it. (Titus 1:9)
But as for you, teach what accords with sound doctrine . . . Show yourself in all respects to be a model of good works, and in your teaching show integrity, dignity, and sound speech that cannot be condemned, so that an opponent may be put to shame, having nothing evil to say about us. (Titus 2:1, 7-8)
I’m strong in the idea that we behave according to what we believe. If I believe my house is on fire, I will get out of it. If I believe my child is deathly ill, I will prayerfully seek medical help. If I believe the salesman at the door is telling me lies, I will not listen to him.
This principle is biblical vital. Proper understanding of ‘sound doctrine’ should eventuate in a changed life, and in the production of good deeds. Paul wrote several verses in Titus that support this. In speaking about defiled and impure people, he says, “They profess to know God, but they deny him by their works. They are detestable, disobedient, unfit for any good work.” (Titus 1:16) Knowing God changes lives!
He says to Titus to remember this principle for himself and teach it to others:
Show yourself in all respects to be a model of good works, and in your teaching show integrity, dignity. (Titus 2:7)For the grace of God has appeared, bringing salvation for all people, training us to renounce ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright, and godly lives in the present age, waiting for our blessed hope, the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior Jesus 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. Declare these things; exhort and rebuke with all authority. Let no one disregard you. (Titus 2:11–15)
Titus is strongly urged to tell Christians to live according to biblical teachings, proving their faith . . .
Remind them to be submissive to rulers and authorities, to be obedient, to be ready for every good work, (Titus 3:1)The saying is trustworthy, and I want you to insist on these things, so that those who have believed in God may be careful to devote themselves to good works. These things are excellent and profitable for people. (Titus 3:8)And let our people learn to devote themselves to good works, so as to help cases of urgent need, and not be unfruitful. (Titus 3:14)
Lest anyone get the wrong idea about the relationship between faith and good works, Paul reiterates the biblical teaching that contradicts the very human idea that doing good will earn us salvation. He repeats that good works are not the basis of salvation, but the evidence of it . . .
But when the goodness and loving kindness of God our Savior appeared, he saved us, not because of works done by us in righteousness, but according to his own mercy, by the washing of regeneration and renewal of the Holy Spirit, (Titus 3:4–5)He adds that this is a trustworthy statement and wants Titus to “insist on these things, so that those who have believed in God may be careful to devote themselves to good works. These things are excellent and profitable for people.” (Titus 3:8)
Lord Jesus, this is another reason I like this letter to a pastor; it is so practical. When I discovered Titus 2:1-5, I could see the value, first that my own life followed what older women are supposed to teach. As I put these principles into practice, You immensely bless my life. Second, this obedience is promised to produce another amazing result — that the Word of God is not reviled. I cannot make that happen all by myself, but this gives me even more incentive to do what You say and make my faith practical!
Today’s thankful list . . .
God’s Word makes sense.
Watching football with my hubby.
Grilled steak and garlic toast.