For the grace of God has appeared that offers salvation to all people. It teaches us to say ‘No’ to ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright and godly lives in this present age, while we wait for the blessed hope – the appearing of the glory of our great God and Saviour, Jesus Christ
Titus 2:11-13 (NIV)
Read: Titus 2:1-15
Consider: Paul wrote this letter while Titus remained in Crete to appoint elders who would administer the church and minister to the church. Paul wanted Tutus to appoint elders in every town who were godly Christians who would be able to lead the church, to teach sound doctrine and to encourage the believers to do good. Paul’s encouragement to do good flows throughout his letter and he sees this as a defining characteristic of those who call themselves Christian. Paul is not adding to the doctrine of being saved by grace, but recognises that when a person becomes a Christian the emphasis of their life changes to focus on the needs of others.
Notice in this chapter that every member of the church in Crete is included in Paul’s list of instructions: the older men (Titus 2: 2), the older women (2:3-4), the younger women (2:4-5) and the younger men (2:6-7). He also includes those who previously would have been marginalised by society (2:9-10). Christianity is the great leveller in that in the church there should be no hierarchy of rank or status that we see in society. In the Cretan church the slaves were to be regarded as equal to all the other believers, even though some might remain in the service of their masters. Paul makes this clear when he says: For the grace of God has appeared that offers salvation to all people (Titus 2:11).
Notice also what Paul says is the reason for the Christians in the church in Crete to live in a particular way. His reasons are:
‘… so that no-one will malign the word of God’ (2:5);
‘… so that those who oppose you may be ashamed because they have nothing bad to say about us’ (2:8);
‘… so that in every way they will make the teaching about God our Saviour attractive’ (2:10).
Paul’s concern is that as Christians we should do nothing that reflects badly on God and the gospel message we share with others. In other words, our life and witness should live up to the words we profess.
Are you equally concerned about your witness and your words? Do you seek to do nothing that would reflect badly on God and the gospel message? Do you seek to do good at all times, believing that this will make the gospel message attractive to others?
Jesus Christ, who gave himself for us to redeem us from all wickedness and to purify for himself a people that are his very own, eager to do what is good (Titus 2:14).
Pray: Father, may we be conscious of any disparity between what we say and what we do. Help us to live in such a way that makes the message about Jesus attractive to others. Amen