“Still More Tactics for Life and Ministry from
A Bible Study of Titus
Speak Sound Doctrine - Titus 2
What you believe is just as important as believing. What you have faith in is just as important as having faith. What you trust in is just as important as trusting. Some people believe in belief, have faith in faith, and trusting in trusting, but belief, faith, and trust are all synonyms for an action or reaction to an object of truth. Belief, faith, and trust are merely the conduits and link to securing the benefits of God's truth. Belief, faith and trust are nothing without putting them in the context of what is true and real. The object of faith determines the value and victory of faith.
In the story of The Emperor’s New Clothes by Hans Christian Anderson, a king, his leaders and his people are all duped into believing in something that is not really there, something that defied truth, reality, logic and the evidence. The scheme used to persuade and dupe them was a combination of appealing to peer pressure and to pride. The schemers said, “The beautiful clothes [which were in reality invisible, not there at all] could only be seen by those who were fit for the offices they held or who were very clever.” Therefore, everyone who viewed the "invisible clothes" denied the truth and reality that there were no clothes because they didn’t want to be seen by others, (who they assumed could see the clothes) as stupid or unfit for their office. Peer pressure and the fear of being assessed as stupid and unfit for a position are powerful and persuasive tools in the hands of those who seek to manipulate. The king and his people could for whatever reason believe, have faith in and trust that he was wearing clothes, but an innocent and brutally honest child dissolved the lunacy by declaring the truth that the king indeed was parading in his skivvies. It's foolish to put your faith in nothing.
King Asa in the Old Testament came to power and brought reform and revival. He made a statement of his faith in God by doing away with the foreign idols in the land his predecessor had permitted. There was peace for ten years. But then a million man army of Ethiopians came out against him. What would he do? Simply have faith? Or would he turn and put his faith in God? Thankfully he turned to God in prayer saying, "LORD, it is nothing for You to help, whether with many or with those who have no power; help us. O LORD our God, for we rest on You, and in Your name we go against this multitude. O LORD, You are our God; do not let man prevail against You!" (2 Chronicles 14:11). Now that is impressive faith when faced with a gigantic problem! And God gave him a gigantic victory (2 Chronicles 14).
After the victory the LORD spoke to King Asa and the people through the prophet Azariah. The LORD said, "Hear me, Asa, and all Judah and Benjamin. The LORD is with you while you are with Him. If you seek Him, He will be found by you' but if you forsake Him, He will forsake you." (2 Chronicles 15:2). God knew there would be other conflicts in King Asa's future and so He reemphasized the importance of keeping his trust in Him.
King Asa was encouraged by the LORD's word through Azariah. Asa enacted further revival reforms. It states, "They they entered into a covenant to seek the LORD God of there fathers with all their heart and with all their souls; . . . And all Judah rejoiced at the oath, for they had sworn with all their heart and sought Him with all their soul; and He was found by them, and the LORD gave them rest all around" (2 Chronicles 15:12,15). Asa became popular and prosperous. God's blessing was on him and the people. There was joy in the kingdom. It was a wonderful time. When people seek the Lord, it leads to fulfillment and a sense peace.
But Asa took his eyes off of the LORD. He began to drift which is often the case in times of peace and prosperity. That's the inclination of the sinful human nature. We have to watch out for that. Keep your eyes on the Lord and walk by faith in Him on high mountaintops and through low valleys. Asa allowed this prosperity to pause his walk with God. Asa kept walking, but maybe having God with him was no longer his top priority. He became distracted. He got caught up with maintaining his kingdom. Like us, he got caught up in the streams of life. His faith was choked by the things of this world (e.g. Matthew 13:22).
Asa's drifting led to his entering into an alliance with the king of Syria. He sought to have Syria attack the tribes of Israel to the north. It was a shrewd attempt at a power grab. And it was successful! But it hadn't included the approval of the LORD. And the LORD rebuked Asa because of it saying through Hanani the seer: “Because you have relied on the king of Syria, and have not relied on the Lord your God, therefore the army of the king of Syria has escaped from your hand. 8 Were the Ethiopians and the Lubim not a huge army with very many chariots and horsemen? Yet, because you relied on the Lord, He delivered them into your hand. 9 For the eyes of the Lord run to and fro throughout the whole earth, to show Himself strong on behalf of those whose heart is loyal to Him. In this you have done foolishly; therefore from now on you shall have wars” (2 Chronicles 16:7-9a). "The eyes of the LORD run to and fro throughout the whole earth, to show Himself strong on behalf of those whose heart is loyal to Him." Loyal hearts trust in God not human resources and God is faithful to show Himself strong in behalf of those whose faith is in Him. This is a lesson that nations and individuals have historically needed to learn and practice but unfortunately have too often failed to learn.
King Asa had made a alliance and had won a victory. But because his victory depended on his wisdom and not consulting the Lord, because it was in essence evidence of self-will and pride, the Lord rebuked him. While Asa had been victorious, God informed him he had missed an even greater victory. On our own we may do well, but we will never attain God's best. And God's best is always far superior to anything we accomplish on our own. The world thinks it is doing fine without God. But what it fails to realize is that it would do so much better by seeking God and His best. That is what Asa failed to see and accept.
The sin of Asa was he had more faith in himself than in God. He allowed a self-reliant victory to blind him to the truth that his "victory" was very limited in comparison to what God intended to do. When you trust in yourself instead of God you always settle for less. Rather than humbling himself before God King Asa became angrily indignant. Asa was enraged and threw Hanani the seer into prison. He began to oppress the people (2 Chronicles 16:10). As his love for God grew cold his love for others also grew cold. He turned from God to himself and lost his joy. And when he later became severely diseased in his feet he did not seek the Lord for help but to human physicians (2 Chronicles 16:11-12). It's not that using human physicians are in and of themselves sinful or wrong, it's that Asa chose to not consult God for healing. God may have indeed used human physicians to bring healing to Asa, but Asa didn't care to turn to God in his time of need. It's as though Asa was giving God the silent treatment to show his displeasure. Asa lived the rest of his life and one big long childish pout or pride. How ridiculous and foolish is pride to think that one can judge God. That is what Asa really did. He had done things his own way and been victorious and when rebuked for not consulting God he chose to be offended by God. His pride blinded him into settling for his best and robbed him of God's better. Asa failed to learn the lesson that the object of faith determines the value and victory of faith. Faith in yourself never measures up to faith in God.
Another example of the importance of the object of faith is found in the Old Testament where we find an interchange between the Rabshakeh commander of the Assyrian army, King Hezekiah and the people of Jerusalem. The Assyrians came upon the great City of Jerusalem with an overwhelming force of 185,000 men. All seemed lost. The Rabshakeh approached the walls of Jerusalem and began to taunt and threaten. He challenged King Hezekiah and the people about the futility of trusting in "the broken reed" of Egypt (2 Kings 18:21; Isaiah 36:6). He taunted them further by telling them not to trust in "the LORD our God" to deliver them because "Have I not come up without the LORD against this land to destroy it?" (Isaiah 36:7-10). There was half truth in what the Rabshakeh said. Yes, Egypt was an unreliable source of help against the mighty Assyrians. Indeed, years later the Assyrians would defeat the Egyptians in battle (e.g. 671 BC). But it was a deceptive lie of the devil that the LORD was taking the side of the Assyrians over His people to defeat Jerusalem; at least at this time.
Thankfully Hezekiah and the people didn't listen to the Rabshakeh. They weren't deceived by his half truths but went to the LORD and sought His word. Hezekiah humbled himself, called for the prophet Isaiah and convened a prayer meeting. After fervent prayer the word of the LORD came to Isaiah in truth that the LORD would deliver His City and His people from the Assyrians. That night 185,000 of the mighty Assyrian army were slain in their sleep by the Angel of the LORD.
If the people had trusted in Egypt, it would have been too little too late. But God is always enough and right on time. Even the Rabshakeh could see that Egypt wasn't a dependable solution to the plight of God's people. Perhaps God was speaking to the people through this enemy commander. It's always better to trust in the LORD than anything or anyone else (Isaiah 36-37). And what or Who you put your faith, belief, and trust in makes all the difference in victory or defeat. The object of faith determines the value and victory of faith.
Egypt, a type of the world, was as unreliable and weak as a broken reed of grass. You'd think God's people would learn to trust Him and rely on His word always by what He did for them throughout history. But history records that God's people turned from Him and as a result God allowed them to be defeated and taken into captivity (cf. 2 Chronicles 36:15-21). And after the canon of scripture was closed, history records that people, including "God's people," persist in trusting in things and human resources instead of God.
People trust in Evolution rather than Creation though there is more evidence for a Designer and a designed universe than a Big Bang as the Godless source of the order around us. It takes a lot more faith to trust in dirt and dark empty impersonal matter than it does a Personal Creator who loves us and has graciously reached out to us. The LORD holds all things together (Col. 1:16-17). He doesn't blow them apart!
Most recently people are throwing away the God-given order of marriage and family in exchange for the disorder and chaos of immoral same-sex unions. Politicians have descended to the point where they call good evil and evil good, just as God said they would (Isaiah 5:20). None of this degeneration into deeper and deeper sin surprises God. The secular media tried to placate people of faith. Faith is sometimes mentioned and even esteemed in the secular media. But it is faith in faith, not faith in God's truth. The object of faith determines the value and victory of faith. Faith in the world is unreliable and futile. There is only defeat awaiting those who trust in things and human resources instead of God.
As humanity persists in casting aside and willfully neglecting the revealed truths of God in His word, it will surely "reap corruption" (Gal. 6:7-9). The only solution to the chaos and inevitable painful consequences to the sinful faith choices is faith that trusts in sound doctrinal truth of God's word.
Paul uses the phrase "the faith" frequently in his writings (Romans 1:5; 4:11, 16; 14:1; 16:26; 1 Cor. 16:13; 2 Cor. 13:5; Galatians 1:23; 3:23; Eph. 4:13; Col. 1:23; 2:7; 1 Timothy 1:2, 19; 3:9; 4:1; 5:8; 6:10 and 20; 2 Timothy 3:8; 4:7; and Titus 1:1, 13; 3:15). By preceding "faith" with the definite article "the" (Greek te - e.g. Titus 1:13) Paul distinguishes a particular faith as opposed to simply faith itself or faith in anything. What is the particular faith that secures salvation, forgiveness from sins, spiritual life and eternal life and the faith that keeps us in a right relationship with God through Jesus Christ? It is "the faith of God's elect." It is the faith in God's truth and His prescribed parameters of holy living. In chapter one of Titus Paul states the penultimate qualification of an elder is that they are always "holding fast the faithful word as he has been taught, that he may be able, by sound doctrine, both to exhort and convict those who contradict" (1:9). Belief, faith, trust, if they are to be worth anything at all, must be in the truth of God's word (cf. also Romans 10:17).
Paul mentions the importance of sound doctrine in his opening words to Titus. He now devotes a section to emphasize the importance of sound doctrine. Underlying this chapter on speaking sound doctrine is the truth that The object of faith determines the value and victory of faith. By speaking and teaching sound doctrine Paul is pointing Titus and those Titus ministers too, and all followers of Jesus who come after them to a faith that is valuable and victorious.
We need to keep in mind that all of what we will see here and elsewhere in scripture is accomplished by the Holy Spirit who indwells the believer. Jesus spoke of the Holy Spirit, One just like Him, Who would lead His followers into all truth as well as empower them to do all He directed them to do (cf. John 14-16; Acts 1-2). As we cooperate and surrender to His instructions and guidance He works the word of God into us like a Potter works a piece of clay. There is work for us to do, but it is the Holy Spirit who provides the instructions and empowerment to bring it to pass.
Communicating Sound Doctrine in the Proper Way
2 But as for you, speak the things which are proper for sound doctrine:
Paul has just mentioned the contradiction of those who "profess to know God, but in works they deny Him." (1:16). Therefore Paul encourages Titus to be a contrast to those who are living contrasts. Titus was to "speak" (Greek laleo - talk, use words, preach, utter, discuss with others, communicate) the things which are "proper" (Greek prepo - tower up conspicuously, to stand out, to be eminent, to be fitting, to be appropriate for the need) for "sound" (Greek hygiaino - sound in health, uncorrupt, true in doctrine, safe and sound, wholesome) "doctrine" (Greek daskalia - instruction, doctrine, learning, teaching). Paul instructs Titus to speak openly those things which would tower above the false teaching and sinful behavior of the Cretans. Titus was to speak the sound healthy healing truth of God's word to people who were morally and relationally diseased.
The Cretans were conspicuously improper. They weren't healthy in what they believed. And they needed to be corrected. They needed to be turned from their Cretan ways and adjusted to God's ways. Apparently Cretan marriages and the Cretan family unit were a mess. Paul was calling Titus to get the church (Titus 1), marriages, and families in Crete into ship shape. If the church and Christians in Crete were to flourish and be fruitful it would have to put away any behavior that would cause the word of God to be blasphemed. God's word in Christian lives was Paul's Spirit inspired strategy to properly adorn the doctrine of Jesus Christ so it would be attractively emphasized to those they were seeking to minister to.
Appropriately sound doctrine is practical and relational. What is interesting and important to note in what follows is that Paul's instruction to Titus about speaking "the things which are proper for sound doctrine" begins with and prioritizes the practical relational effects of sound doctrine on the various people groups found in a church congregation. Insinuated therefore from the start by Paul to Titus is that the target or mission of sound doctrine is to tidy up and transform people into healthy disciples. Paul addresses the effect that sound doctrine should have an each of the following age groups of people in the church.
Living in a Way that God's Word is not Blasphemed
2 that the older men be sober, reverent, temperate, sound in faith, in love, in patience;
"Older men" (Greek presbutas) refers to an older man, aged man, elderly man. There is not definitive age that one passes from being a young man to being and older man. While an older man could be seen as one who is merely older in age it appears that Paul is pointing this group to be more than just old physically but that they are seasoned in their experience and walk with the Lord. When a man who is older, has lived with the Lord, this is what their walk and life should look like. This is what Paul says an older man who knows Jesus should be like.
First, an older man who walks with Jesus should be "sober.""Sober" (Greek nephalios) means abstaining from wine, drinking no wine, clear-headed. The older man has learned, (maybe from their experiences from younger years) that wine or similar substances cloud the thinking leading to a greater susceptibility to being preyed upon by the world, the flesh and the devil. The older man has learned to be filled continually with the Holy Spirit and not drunk on wine (Eph. 5:18-20).
Second, an older man who walks with Jesus should be "reverent." "Reverent" (Greek semnos) means dignified, worthy of respect, holy, honorable, distinctive. The older man should carry themselves in a way that is respectable. There is nothing more irreverent than a man who does not act his age. That doesn't mean an older man can have fun or be fun to be around, it does mean that an older man should not be childish or immature in their behavior. Living in the Spirit and obeying the word of God has a way of making a man reverent and age appropriate in their lifestyle.
Third, an older man who walks with Jesus should be "temperate." "Temperate" (Greek sophron) means of a sound mind, self-controlled, discreet, temperate, chaste, prudent. Wisdom involves temperance; the ability to regulate and balance, to keep from going beyond truth and reality into excesses. There are some things which require wholehearted devotion such as our relationship with Jesus. We are to be totally committed to Him and His word. But other things, even good things, when excessively indulged in cross the line from good to bad, positive to negative. Eating is good, but if you eat to excess without control you become overweight, unhealthy and fat. Recreation and exercise are beneficial unless excessively, even obsessively indulged in. Virtually everything we do can be turned to bad with excess and imbalance. This is a lesson learned in life. The parameters of involvement in things are found in the Bible. The parameters for living are standardized in the Bible. When rightly interpreted living by the word keeps a person in balance. This is something the Holy Spirit within us works in us. This is something an older man must have learned and put into practice in life.
Fourth, an older man who walks with Jesus should be "sound.""Sound" (Greek hygiaino) means to be in good health, sound, wholesome, correct, uncorrupt, wholesome. This can apply to physical and mental as well as spiritual health. The older man should take care of themselves so that they are sound physically, mentally and spiritually. The emphasis here is on the spiritual soundness of the older man but since human beings are a trichotomy of body, mind and soul all three are linked and affect each other. The grammar (Present/Active/ Participle) carries the sense of being regularly and consistently sound and healthy in their walk with the Lord.
Fifth, an older man who walks with Jesus should be sound " in faith." The older man is to be spiritually healthy "in faith" (Greek pistei) which means in faith, in trust, in trustworthiness, in reliability, in confidence, in assurance, in conviction, in belief, and in doctrine. The older man should be someone who walks the talk! They don't only know about God's word but they live God's word.
Sixth, an older man who walks with Jesus should be sound "in love." The older man is to be spiritually healthy "in love." "Love" (Greek agape) refers to Christlike sacrificial selfless love. The older man who walks with Jesus has grown and matured in their love for Jesus. More and more the eternal purposes of Jesus have taken root in their heart. The love of Christ truly compels them (cf. 2 Cor. 5:14-21). They love God supremely and love others sacrificially. How a person loves in the truth of God's word is the true measure of spiritual maturity (e.g. 1 John 2:5; 4:17-19; 5:3).
Seventh, an older man who walks with Jesus should be sound "in patience." The older man is to be spiritually healthy "in patience." "Patience" (Greek hypomone) means cheerful or hopeful, enduring, constancy, patience, willing to wait. The older man who has been walking with the Lord is steadfast in their faith and trust in God. They aren't moved by impulse or impatience. They move in step with Jesus. They don't lunge ahead or lag behind but they walk side by side with their Lord.
3 the older women likewise, that they be reverent in behavior, not slanderers, not given to much wine, teachers of good things—4 that they admonish the young women to love their husbands, to love their children, 5 to be discreet, chaste, homemakers, good, obedient to their own husbands,
"Older women" (Greek presbytis) refers to women who are aged, older, elderly. Again, like the older men, the older woman is a woman who is physically older and has been walking with the Lord. The older woman who walks with the Lord should be characterized by certain effects of that walk in her life.
First, the older woman who walks with Jesus should be "reverent." The Greek term translated "reverent" here is different from that used above with reference to older men. Here "reverent" is translated from the Greek term hieroprepes which means behavior that is appropriate for holy living, the sacred things of God. Greek inscriptions using this word were translated "like a priest." A priest is one who is an intermediary who goes before God on behalf of people and goes to people on behalf of God. Therefore, the first characteristic effect of God's word on an older woman would seem to imply that she is a praying woman who has a sense of holiness about her. There is a holy presence among those who spend time in the holy presence of the Lord. When God's word is growing in and having its effect on an older woman, there is a holy presence about her. It is not a holy pretense but an actual holy presence about her. When you interact with and older woman who walks with the Lord, there is a sense of the presence of Jesus about her.
Second, the older woman who walks with Jesus should not be "slanderers." The word "slanderers" (Greek diabolos) means diabolical, devilish speaking, falsely accusing speech, slandering speech. Cretan women were known for their slander. The older woman who has been walking with the Lord is one who speaks as the Holy Spirit leads her not as she is tempted by her flesh and the devil to do.
Third, the older woman who walks with Jesus is "not given to much wine." "Not given" (Greek dedoulomenas) means not enslaved to. Drunkenness was a common problem for the women of Crete. An older woman who walked with the Lord should not be enslaved to anything especially wine or strong drink. It's a pitiful sight when an older woman lives under the influence and drunken stupor of some alcohol or other substance. Drunkenness had no place for the older godly woman.
Fourth, the older woman who walks with Jesus should be "teachers of good things." "Teachers of good things" (Greek kalodidaskalos) means a teacher of what is right, a teacher of what is good, a teacher of goodness. There is an incredibly important ministry of older women in the body of Christ. They are to teach good and noble things to the younger women. The older spiritually mature women who walk with Jesus are to disciple the younger women to follow in the steps of Jesus.
Fifth, the older woman who walks with Jesus should be admonishers. "Admonish" (Greek sophronizousin) means to admonish, chasten, train. Here Paul instructs Titus to tell the older women who walk with Jesus to train and teach, to disciple the younger women. This is a calling sorely missing in the church today. Oh that the older more spiritually mature women would see themselves as called to teach and train the younger women!
Sixth, the older woman who walks with Jesus should "admonish young women to love their husbands." "Young women" (Greek neas) are new women, freshly regenerated women, youthful women, younger women. The first thing Paul instructs Titus about the training an older woman is to give to the younger women is to love their husbands. "Love their husbands" (Greek philandrous) is literally loving a husband, affectionately loving your husband. The older woman who walk with Jesus had likely passed through the earlier seasons of marriage and how to love their husbands. They were to train the younger women in how to love their husbands and care for them affectionately. Paul wanted to secure healthy marriages among the Cretans. He therefore instructed that the older women instruct and train the younger women in how to be a good wife.
Seventh, the older woman who walks with Jesus should admonish young women to love. . . their children." Paul also instructed Titus to have the older women who walk with Jesus to train the young women in what it meant to love their children. This would assure a sound and healthy family unit. It's not easy being a mother. Young mothers need to be trained in how to discipline and disciple their children so that a godly generation will carry on the gospel.
Eighth, the older woman who walks with Jesus should admonish young women "to be discreet." "Discreet" (Greek sophronas) means of sound mind, self-controlled, balanced, moderate, not given to extremes, sober, discreet, temperate. Young women needed to be trained so as not to be overtaken by emotion or extreme behavior.
Ninth, the older woman who walks with Jesus should admonish young women to be "chaste." "Chaste" (Greek hagnas) means holy, pure, chaste, modest, pure in heart from fault. Young women needed to be trained to live holy pure lives.
Tenth, the older woman who walks with Jesus should admonish young women to be "homemakers." "Homemakers" (Greek oikourous) means taking care of household affairs, keeping a home, managing the household affairs. There is a lot involved in keeping and running a household. A young woman needed to be trained in how to properly manage the home. That might include managing the finances, cleaning, cooking, caring for and discipling children, assuring peace in the house. Proverbs 31 gives a good list of what keeping the household entails. It's no easy task. In our day the secular world often looks down on the woman who chooses to be a homemaker. Women who see themselves as liberated look down on being a homemaker as enslavement. However, the Bible here tells us that being a homemaker is a precious gift and calling.
Our world has discarded the Biblically set pattern of the family for a conglomeration of often chaotic alternatives. There is something to be said for the stability and security of a woman who sees as her calling in life managing a household and caring for her husband and children. The home is where God has ordained the woman will find her greatest fulfillment and pleasure. That doesn't mean the contemporary woman who finds her career outside the home will not find fulfillment. But it does mean we shouldn't sell the idea of a woman being a homemaker short. A woman will find fulfillment in the home. A woman who answers God's call to find her primary purpose and meaning and fulfillment in life in the home will have God's blessing.
Eleventh, the older woman who walks with Jesus should admonish young women to be "good." "Good" (Greek agathos) means good, beneficial, good things, well, complete, upright, kind, benevolent, wholesome. This is a general term for those things that are beneficial to all that has already been spoken of as an area of training for the young woman to be godly.
Twelfth, the older woman who walks with Jesus should admonish young women to "be obedient to their own husbands." "Obedient" (Greek hypotasso) means to subordinate, to obey, be subject to. The Bible does have roles for men and women. The husband is the head of the wife like Christ is head of the church. Wives are to submit to their own husbands as the church submits to Christ (Eph. 5:21-33). Submission is not to be equated with inferiority. God simply has ordained a chain of command. No husband should lord his position over a wife. No sane husband will disregard the wise counsel of a godly wife. And no sane wife will undermine and belittle her husband. When a husband or wife belittles or degrades their spouse they are really also degrading themselves who married that spouse!
It should also be mentioned here that Paul does not instruct Titus to have women submit to men. A woman is to submit to her own husband. There is not superiority of men over women taught in the Bible. Regardless of roles ordained by God men and women are of equal value in his structure for marriage and the family. That learned truth is something an older and wiser woman of God would be able to explain to a young woman.
that the word of God may not be blasphemed.
The first bottom line objective of instructing people in these ways is "that the word of God may not be blasphemed." "Blasphemed" (Greek blasphemeo) means to vilify, speak impiously about, defame, revile, speak evil of. Improper living of God's people who are supposedly being taught sound doctrine from God's word, if they live in sin and not in accord with the sound doctrine they are taught, leads to God's word being minimized and reviled. The problem isn't that the word of God isn't powerful (e.g. Heb. 4:12). The problem is that Christians aren't following the word of God as disciples should.
Discipleship and growing in God's word is so important. We shouldn't be like those who profess to know God but deny him in the way we live. That leads to desecration and dismissal of God's word by those looking for an excuse to disregard God's truth. When a believer falls into sin, the sinner can sinner responds, "See, I knew it was a bunch of malarkey!" God's word is true. It isn't exaggeration or deceptive. God's people are to be living epistles (2 Cor. 3:2). We are the fruit and evidence of the reality of God and His word. Don't take God's word lightly. Don't disregard God's call for holiness. Be doers of God's word not only hearers (cf. James 1:21-25).
Live in a Way that Adorns God's Doctrine
6 Likewise, exhort the young men to be sober-minded,
To "exhort" (Greek parakaleo) means to call near, to invite, to beseech, to entreat, to encourage, to pray. Paul now instructs Titus to call the "young men" (Greek neoterous) or new believing young men, newly regenerate men, "to be sober-minded" (Greek sophronein) or of prudent sound mind, sensible, sober, serious. Paul calls for sober-mindedness a number of times in this letter (1:8; 2:2, 4). The people of Crete were not known for being sober-minded or serious. They were known for quite the opposite. Paul advised Titus to encourage serious eternal thinking among these young men. They needed to be steered clear of the debauchery that wastes lives toward the eternal priorities that give life meaning, purpose and stability.
7 in all things showing yourself to be a pattern of good works; in doctrine showing integrity, reverence, incorruptibility,
Paul instructed Titus to not only teach or instruct by word but to show himself to be a "pattern" (Greek tupon) or example, mark, image, statue, form, figure, pattern, or model "of good works." "Good works" (Greek kalon ergon) means good, excellent, noble, efforts, works, actions, tasks, occupation. Young men learn by seeing and doing and Titus was to live in a way that they could see excellence in Christ.
In his "doctrine" (Greek didaskalia) or teaching of the word he was to show himself to be a man of "integrity" (Greek adiaphthorian) which is sincerity, purity, incorruptibility, integrity. Titus was to exemplify being a teacher who would not twist the scriptures for his own purposes but would teach the word in purity. He was to be sincere and true in his motives as a teacher.
In his "doctrine" Titus was also to be a pattern or example of "reverence" (Greek semnoteta) or dignity, honorableness, nobility, respectability. Titus was to be an example of a teacher who took his task seriously. He was to teach as though he were teaching in the sight and presence of God (which he was). He was to teach reverently with a sense of the presence of God.
And in his "doctrine" Titus was to be an example of "incorruptibility" (Greek aphtharsian) or teach in a way that doesn't corrupt but constructs people in their faith.
8 sound speech that cannot be condemned, that one who is an opponent may be ashamed, having nothing evil to say of you.
Titus was to be a pattern of "sound" (Greek hygies) healthy, sound "speech." Titus was to speak words that would produce health in the listeners. Such words would be so above reproach that they "cannot be condemned" (Greek akatagnoston) or are above disgrace, beyond reproach, and cannot be condemned.
Any word can be condemned. But Paul was saying to Titus to teach God's word in such a way that the person who does condemn will themselves be "ashamed" (Greek entrepo) or themselves be ashamed. It's a situation where you will earn their respect because of the pattern or your teaching "having nothing evil to say of you." "Évil" (Greek phaulos) is something vile or worthless.
9 Exhort bondservants to be obedient to their own masters, to be well pleasing in all things, not answering back, 10 not pilfering, but showing all good fidelity,
Slavery in the days of Paul was more of an indentured service to pay off debts than it was enslavement based on kidnapping such as developed in the 17th - 19th centuries. Today this would apply to the employer-employee relationship. Here it would apply to employees being "obedient" (Greek hypotasso - under obedience), "well pleasing" (Greek euarestos - well pleasing, acceptable), "not answering back" (Greek antilego - not contradictive, not dispute, not answering back), "not pilfering" (Greek nophizomai - not embezzling, not keeping back a part), "but showing all good fidelity" (Greek pistis - faithfulness) to their employers
that they may adorn the doctrine of God our Savior in all things.
The second bottom line objective of encouraging such behavior in people is that in all things and in every way "the doctrine of God our Savior" should be adorned. "Adorn" (Greek kosmeo) means to be put in proper order, to be arranged and made ready and prepared, to embellish with honor.
When we think of adorning something we might think of putting on makeup. Putting on makeup has a twofold purpose. Make is installed to enhance certain features. Eye liner and lipstick emphasize and make more attractive the eyes and lips. But makeup also is used to cover up certain features. Makeup can cover scars or facial blemishes. To adorn the doctrine of God our Savior therefore would mean to live in a way that emphasizes and attracts people to Jesus and His teaching. It also means that we cover up our sins with the blood of Jesus; we put away the old man and put on the new man. How do we do that? In our own strength like Asa tried to do? No, Paul uses the imagery of adorning the doctrinal teaching of Jesus in the lives of His people as the perfect segue into the heart of that doctrine, the grace of God.
Living By Grace
11 For the grace of God that brings salvation has appeared to all men,
Paul now substantiates all the instructions on applying God's word to life. He has warned to not live in a way that cause others to blaspheme God's word. And he has exhorted for people to be instructed to live in a way that would adorn and make attractive God's word in life. But how can this be done? There's a lot of hard work to do. Are we do buckle up and do it in our own strength? NO, NO, NO! Paul points Titus and us to the grace of God. It is God's grace that enables and instructs us in how to apply all of this His word.
"For the grace" (Greek charis). Grace is God's favor. Grace is God's enabling ability to do. Grace is God's riches at Christ's expense. Grace is God's resources at Christ's expense.
This grace is the grace "of God." God alone is the dispenser of this grace. He is the One who calls and commands us as well as enables us by His grace to do what He calls us to do. God's grace makes us what we need to be to do what He calls us to do all for His glory.
God's grace is the grace "that brings salvation." Salvation is not something we work out in our own strength. Salvation is not about human work, it is all about the completed work of Jesus on the cross. Salvation is a gift of God's grace earned by Jesus and offered freely to us to receive by faith.
God's grace that brings salvation "has appeared to all men." God is not partial. God has made this grace provide salvation "appeared" (Greek epiphaino) or to dawn upon, bring to light, to become visible, to become known, to appear. God has made this grace based salvation dawn upon all humanity so that "all men" might see it. God is impartial, just and fair. God gives equal opportunity to all people to benefit from His gracious provisions. This begins at prevenient grace; the grace that goes before us as the Holy Spirit gets our attention to convict of our sin and need of salvation. It continues in His gracious saving provision in the gospel of Jesus Christ. And it brings us through to the end as we live in newness of life by the power of the Holy Spirit. Grace, grace, grace, God's grace is the root of all benefit and blessing; of every good thing experienced by humanity. Praise Him for His grace!
12 teaching us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly in the present age,
God's grace is instrumental in "teaching us" (Greek paideuo) or actually training us like a parent trains a child. This may involve discipline including punishment if warranted. There is a consequence for sin (e.g. Gal. 6:7-9). But God in grace educates us in the proper way to live. What does God's revealed grace teach us?
First, God's grace teaches us to deny "ungodliness." God's grace does not teach us that it doesn't matter if we sin. God's grace teaches us to always be "denying" (Greek arnesamenoi - Aorist/Middle/Participle) or having renounced, having denied, having disowned, having refused "ungodliness"(Greek asebein) or impiety, godlessness, wickedness. God's grace teaches us that when we came to Christ we put ungodly ways behind us.
Second, God's grace teaches us to deny "worldly lusts." God's grace does not teach us to indulge "worldly" (Greek kosmikas - earthy, of this world as opposed to being heavenly) "lusts" (Greek epithumias - desires, longings, lusts. It teaches us that when we come to Christ we do so in repentance which denies such things. God's grace teaches us that worldly lusts are behind us.
Third, God's grace teaches us to "live soberly." "Soberly" (Greek sophronos) means soberly, with moderation, with self-control. The Cretans were out of control. God's grace teaches us that we are no longer enslaved to the sinful nature that is base in every way. God's grace teaches us that we are not longer at the mercy of our sinful nature; we are no longer out of control. God's grace teaches us to take control of our lives and live soberly in the power of the Holy Spirit.
Fourth, God's grace teaches us to live "righteously." "Righteously" (Greek dikaios) means justly, in right standing before God, agreeably to God and His ways. God's grace teaches us to live in His right scripturally sound ways. The Cretans were out of the parameters of God's righteous ways. God's grace would teach them the right way to live before God.
Fifth, God's grace teaches us to live "godly in the present age." "Godly" (Greek eusebos) is piously, with God in sight. God's grace teaches us to live in this present age before Christ's return, in a manner that keeps God in mind and sight. We live with Him in the Spirit now. We live for Him in the Spirit now. We do everything we do and are all that we are with God as our center.
13 looking for the blessed hope and glorious appearing of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ,
Sixth, God's grace teaches us that Jesus is coming back. "Looking for" (Greek prosdechomenoi) means waiting to receive, expecting to return. Jesus is coming back. No one knows the exact time of His return (Mat. 24:36). We can know the season of His return and world conditions seem to be pointing in that direction (cf. 1 Thess. 5:1-11). But Jesus is coming back and we need to be constantly and continually looking for His return (cf. Present/Middle/Participle of prosdechomai).
"The blessed hope" refers to the rapture of the church. The Rapture is the blessed hope because it is our hope to escape the wrath of God which will come on the earth during the seven year Tribulation period (1 Thess. 4:13-18; 5:1-11; Rev. 6-18).
The "glorious appearing of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ" refers to the Second Coming of Jesus when He will return with us in tow to the Mount of Olives (Zechariah 14) at the end of the Tribulation (Rev. 19) to establish His kingdom on earth (Psalm 2; Rev. 20). Jesus is coming back! Just as surely as He came the first time, He will return a second time.
And Paul identifies Jesus as "our great God and Savior Jesus Christ." Jesus is God. Jesus is Savior. In the Old Testament God proclaims He alone is Savior (e.g. Isaiah 45:14-25). Therefore equating Jesus as Savior here is tantamount to equating Him with being God.
14 who gave Himself for us, that He might redeem us from every lawless deed and purify for Himself His own special people, zealous for good works.
Seventh, the grace of God teaches us that Jesus gave Himself for us to redeem us and purify us especially for Himself; a people who would be zealous for good works. The crux of God's grace and His gracious teaching is that Jesus "gave" (Greek didomi) or gave Himself up for or handed Himself over "that" or for the purpose of "that He might redeem us." "That He might redeem us" (Greek lutrosetai - Aorist/Middle/Subjunctive of lutroo - redeem by paying a ransom, set free, rescue) expresses the possibility that people might be redeemed though Him (e.g. subjunctive). It isn't that the redemptive work of Jesus isn't completely and totally sufficient, it's that the redemptive work of Jesus has to be received and appropriated by faith for it to be put to a person's account.
The redemptive work of Jesus is powerful and sufficient to "redeem us from every lawless deed." The redemptive atoning sacrifice of Jesus on the cross as our substitute is completely sufficient and fulfilling of all God's just requirements to redeem the person who trusts Him as Savior "from every lawless deed" they have ever committed or ever will commit. To that we should pause and shout a glorious Hallelujah!!!!!!
But the redeeming work of Jesus isn't only to redeem us from our sins and then release us to live as we please. No, the redemptive work of Jesus also involves the purpose to "purify for Himself His own special people." "Purify" (Greek katharise - Aorist/Active/Subjunctive of katharidzo - cleanse, make clean, purify) carries with it too the idea of possibility of purification because this purification also has to be accepted by faith. This purification involves living with a heart that is pure unto the Lord. We are "His own." We no longer belong to ourselves but to Jesus. He spilled His blood to pay off our sin debt. He therefore redeemed us. He therefore owns us. You are not your own, you belong to Jesus (e.g. 1 Cor. 6:19-20). And we are His "special" (Greek periousion) personal chosen, costly, treasured, possession of people to Jesus. Just think, you may be alone and feel like no one cares for you. You may be an outcast and forsaken by all. You may feel as though you are the black sheep of the family. But when you receive Jesus as your Savior to Him you are chosen, precious, of great value, precious, treasured, His personal possession who He would have died on the cross for even if you were the only one who would ever accept Him. Wow! Does Jesus love us! Thank You Lord.
With the fullness of Christ's redemptive work in our heart and mind it shouldn't be difficult to see why His people would be " zealous for good works." "Zealous" (Greek zelotes) means a burning passion, eager to do, desiring of an objective, passion of heart, total commitment to a purpose. What are His people burning with a fiery passion to do? "Good works" (Greek kalon - beautiful, excellent, advantageous, noble and ergon - actions, tasks, missions, occupations) are those things the Holy Spirit puts on our heart to do. When we begin to understand and take to heart the fullness of the redemptive work of Jesus is lights a fire in our heart to "speak the things which are proper for sound doctrine" (2:1). And we don't do this lackadaisically or without attention to detail and effort, but we do everything for our Savior Jesus with all our heart and with a standard of excellence.
15 Speak these things, exhort, and rebuke with all authority. Let no one despise you.
Paul concludes this chapter on sound doctrine with an exhortation to Titus to not hold back but to "speak" (Present/Active/Imperative of laleo - speak and don't stop speaking) "these things" or all that Paul just instructed him about in this chapter. "Exhort" (Greek parakaleo) means to call for action and so Titus was commanded by Paul to call for the Cretans to act and put in place by God's grace all that he was sharing.
Paul advised Titus to "rebuke with all authority.""Rebuke" (Greek elencho) means to refute, convict, reprove. And do this rebuking if necessary "with all authority" (Greek pases epitages) with all injunction, all mandated authority, all the power of a command from God based on His word. No messing around Titus. This is not something that you can compromise on. This is something that you must enforce if the ministry in Crete is to be successful and glorifying to God.
And Paul says, "Let no one despise you." "Despise" (Greek rephroneo) means to depreciate, have contempt for. In other words Paul told Titus not to let anyone ignore or blow off this teaching or doctrine. Make sure people understand and follow through on it.
What a wonderful chapter of God's word. Wonderfully practical and wonderfully encouraging. Having spent joyful hours in preparing and digging into this precious piece of God's word, I feel a passion for good works welling up within me. I hope you do too. I can't wait for Jesus to return. But until He does, there's work to do. Join me in going out and speaking sound doctrine. Come Lord Jesus! Thy will be done!