One of the Cretans, a prophet of their own, said, “Cretans are always liars, evil beasts, lazy gluttons.”This testimony is true. Therefore rebuke them sharply, that they may be sound in the faith, not devoting themselves to Jewish myths and the commands of people who turn away from the truth. To the pure, all things are pure, but to the defiled and unbelieving, nothing is pure; but both their minds and their consciences are defiled. They profess to know God, but they deny him by their works. They are detestable, disobedient, unfit for any good work.
The problem all boils down to the truth of v.16; that the people Titus has been tasked with leading (with the help of his newly-appointed elders) profess to know God, but they deny him by their works. Their character is severely lacking when compared to the elders appointed (vv.5-9, cf. vv.12-16), they are prone to myths and legalism (v.14), and have seriously misunderstood the liberty to live life to the full that comes with Christ (v.15). All the more need, then, for consistent Christian character to be displayed by Titus and his elders.
The crux of the problem is professing to know God, but denying Him with works. This comes up again and again in Scripture, doesn’t it? James 2.14-26, for example, makes a strong case that if you truly believe in what you claim and profess, there will be evidence, examples, and fruit borne from the root.
Friends, it is one thing to talk like a Christian, but more important than all the terms, the lingo, the big theological words, the Christian-ese, is actually living the life. Talking the talk is one thing, but can we walk the walk?
Paul writes of those who simply talk a good game, they are detestable, disobedient, unfit for any good work.
These are strong words, but Paul means it. These difficult people probably pretended to have a higher spirituality than Titus or other godly leaders.
So, today, stop and think: am I talking the talk but not walking the walk?
Were I to keep silent for a day, would anybody be able to tell I am a Christian by my conduct and character?