Titus 3.1-2 – Seven To-Do’s

Today Paul has a list of Christian principles for Titus to keep on reminding his people in Crete about. As believers, we are all called to be model citizens, and the seven active tasks here go a long way to ensuring that.

Remind them to be submissive to rulers and authorities, to be obedient, to be ready for every good work, to speak evil of no one, to avoid quarrelling, to be gentle, and to show perfect courtesy toward all people.

Titus 3.1-2

Did you catch all seven?

  1. Be submissive to rulers and authorities.
  2. Be obedient.
  3. Be ready for every good work.
  4. Speak evil of no one.
  5. Avoid quarrelling. 
  6. Be gentle.
  7. Show perfect courtesy toward all people.

How the world needs this list now. It is possible to be outraged by injustice and still be the model citizen the Word calls us to (#4, #7, #6, #2, for example). 

Really, this is not a pie-in-the-sky dream of conduct that we should only expect from those in leadership. This is for all who have professed and confessed faith in Jesus (v.11.52.11). Let me put it this way; if you call yourself a Christian, Titus 3.1-2 is absolutely for you, and is absolutely how you need to be living.

It’s a tall task, yes. We will inevitably fail, yes. But the God who calls us to live like this has sent you all the provision you could possibly ever need to live like this (John 14.26, 1 Corinthians 3.16, 6.19, Ezekiel 36.27, 2 Timothy 1.14a, Romans 8.11).

Simply then, this is a list of character and conduct to-do’s that you are to do your human best to actively live!

Titus 2.15 – To Titus, For All

Having spent much of what we read as chapter two encouraging Titus to teach various things to various people, Paul now rounds off with an all-encompassing statement.

Declare these things; exhort and rebuke with all authority. Let no one disregard you.

Titus 2.15

Titus is given a few key things to do; declareexhortrebukelet no one disregard you. He is to do these things with all authority. Speaking forth the truth of the Word (2.1) should be done with all authority as the subject matter is Divinely inspired and immensely powerful, powerful enough to change lives (James 1.21). 

This letter of Paul was written to Titus (1.4), but letters like this were commonly read in the presence of the entire church (Colossians 4.16). So Paul, in writing this, is also giving instructions to the church at large; be exhortedbe rebukedaccept the authority of those teaching, and disregard no one. Really then, the words of Titus 2.15 are for all of us whether we are the Titus or the taught in our own church families.

Here are some considerations to take into today;

Are we willing to have the Word declared to us and to accept it as coming from the Master, not His chosen human mouthpiece?

Are we comfortable being taught with all the authority of God’s Word?

Are we humble enough to be rebuked with all the authority of God’s Word?

Do we disregard some who do this based on our own human assessment and evaluation?

 

Titus 2.11-14 – Underscored with Grace

Having spent much time exhorting different groups towards the character referenced in 1.6-9, Paul now underscores and underlines the whole thing with a powerful statement about grace.

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.

Titus 2.11-14

We see a few powerful things about the grace of God.

First, it brings salvation for all people. All people. Period. None have works required of them. None have grace + anything else. The grace of God has appeared, bringing salvation for all people.

Second, it trains us to renounce ungodliness and worldly passions.

It trains us to live self-controlled, upright, and godly lives in the present age.

It trains us to wait for our blessed hope which is the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ.

It trains us. This carries the meaning of the training given from parent to child; lovingly guiding, correcting, confronting, and encouraging. Everything Paul has told Titus to teach up to now, and everything Paul will tell Titus to teach from now is rooted in the grace of God

Today then, just pause and think – where is the grace of God training me? What am I being lovingly guided through? What is our loving Father in heaven guiding me through?

Titus 2.9-10 – Hard Work and Humble Submission

After laying out teachings for different groups of people (2.1-8), Paul continues to teach on character and conduct and now turns his attention to the workplace.

Bondservants are to be submissive to their own masters in everything; they are to be well-pleasing, not argumentative, not pilfering, but showing all good faith, so that in everything they may adorn the doctrine of God our Savior.

Titus 2.9-10

Paul calls Titus to teach that those in the employ of others are to be submissive to their own masters. We must remember that this was written at a time when the world looked very different to how it does now, and we must avoid the mistake of retrospectively imposing twenty-first century morals onto the first century world. All that to say, many people at the time and in the place this was written were employed as bondservants, and Christianity was a driving force and factor in moving away from this being the cultural and societal norm.

Part of that came in the fact that Christian communities did not differentiate or segregate based on social status, and so I read, a bondservant could well have been an elder of a church community over their own master. What a wonderful way to break down long-held societal hierachies; living out the truth that all are created in the image of God (Genesis 1.27), and therefore all are equally valuable, dignified, and full of worth. 

Paul calls for believers to be model employees, if we are using modern terms, well-pleasing, not argumentative, not pilfering, but showing all good faith. Simply, be the model employee you would want to hire!

The reason behind this exhortation follows; so that in everything [you] may adorn the doctrine of God our Savior

G.Campbell Morgan wrote that,

“The value of a theory is always supremely apparent in the results it produces.”

Simply then, the faith we claim to have and the doctrine we claim to be basing our lives on will be evident in the actions it produces in our lives. At work then, work hard and humbly submit to those you report to, working as if for Christ Himself, and be the employee you would want to hire!

Titus 2.6 – Likewise

Having exhorted older men (v.2), older women (v.3), and young women (v.4), Paul now instructs Titus on how to deal with the younger men

Likewise, urge the younger men to be self-controlled.

Titus 2.6

Beginning with likewise, we see that the instruction for the younger men is not all too different to that which has gone before. Paul writes that they are to be self-controlled. If you have ever met any younger men, you will know this doesn’t come natural, therefore, there is some urging needed!

At a turbulent time in their lives, what the younger men are being urged to do is keep under control what they have the power to keep under control. Whilst they may not be able (although they may feel like they can) to control the entire universe with their youthful exuberance, Paul is essentially saying that they are to take their life seriously, they are to pay attention to their character and conduct, and that they are to consider the outlet for their natural zeal for life. 

Really, when we think about it, this is also likewise applicable to us all regardless of the station of life we find ourselves at. For a takeaway from Titus 2.6, my mind went here, to the first stanza of the serenity prayer,

God grant me the serenity 
To accept the things I cannot change; 
Courage to change the things I can; 
And wisdom to know the difference. 

Pray this prayer today, and then, in the words of Paul to Titus and of the serenity prayerbe self-controlled and change the things you can