3 Remind the people to be subject to rulers and authorities, to be obedient, to be ready to do whatever is good, 2 to slander no one, to be peaceable and considerate, and always to be gentle toward everyone.
Going back to yesterday’s blog, this is another thing that is to be taught to the congregation as a whole. However, unlike the specific instructions provided, this is a reminder of what it seems they should have known in the first place, namely to do what is good, obey those placed in positions over us (and this includes the government, and to be kind and gentle to everyone. None of this should come as a shock, but it does seem to be necessary to Paul to bring it up. Then Paul gives the reasoning for why we should be kind to even unbelievers.
It was as though the Christians in Crete had forgotten their past. While Christ does redeem our past, they had entirely forgot it and were acting as though their poop didn’t stink compared to the unbelievers. How easy it can be to forget that without God we are exactly the same as non-Christians. There are two applications for the Christian, first we need to remember where we came from in our fallen state before the Holy Spirit entered us. Second, we need to pay attention to the state of the rest of the world.
The characteristics used here are foolish, disobedient, deceived, and enslaved by our passions, or in other words, we were and the rest of the world is selfish, and unable to stop themselves from sinning even if they want to. This is part of why fighting addictions is so hard, humanity without the Holy Spirit guiding, directing and fighting for us, is incapable of doing good. Therefore, when someone says “I just can’t stop” they are absolutely correct and the Bible agrees with them. This is part of their sin nature, but in Christ the sin nature has been killed so we are free to not sin.
This concept of humans prior to Christ is contrasted with the Christian life. We see the focus move from humanity to God and that is where our focus as Christians ought to be as well. We see that God’s work is not motivated by anything we have done, but rather because of God’s mercy. Then it is through rebirth (being born again) and the working of the Holy Spirit that we are saved. Also of note here is that the Holy Spirit is poured out through Jesus.
Next, after being justified by grace…think of that, without going heavily into the theology, we are made right with God by GRACE. While there are huge theological debates relating to salvation by Grace, it will be important here to just say the result of being saved by grace is that we are made heirs, adopted sons and daughters in the kingdom of God having eternal life given to us. Lastly, Paul reminds Titus to stress everything he wrote about so that Christians may devote themselves to doing what is good.
In contrast to doing good we see that Titus is supposed to avoid some specific things, namely foolish questions which makes me think of “could God make a rock so heavy he couldn’t lift it?” which simply defies physics and is useless for discussion, also geneologies which really amount to things like my dad was the pastor at this church and his dad was the pastor at some other church, and really has no impact on daily living. Especially when you think of this: my father is God and so is yours. Or He can be if you follow Christ and are adopted as sons and daughters of the most high God. Contentions would simply be things that have actually split churches such as arguments over the color of the carpet or the pews for the service. Instead of these types of debates our focus should be on Jesus.
The next topic to avoid is the strivings of the law which boils down to things like eating meat or which day to worship on. As Paul said in Romans, bear with the weaker brother and don’t cause them to stumble, but ultimately many of these arguments that were brought up bear no fruit on our daily lives. Then Paul brings up those who do try to bring these arguments into the church. Paul calls them a divisive man which brings the concept of someone who has an issue with something in the church and instead of going directly to that person may start to bring their side of the argument to someone else to get them on their side and eventually resulting in a division of the church. The correct way to handle anytime there is an issue with someone in the church, whether a person in leadership or someone in the church is simply to talk to them about things in a reasonable manner with the hope of winning them over. Here Paul tells Titus to warn the person twice, and after that to have nothing to do with them.
Finally Paul ends by asking Titus to join him as soon as possible and to bring specific people with him and lastly Paul issues one last reminder to Titus and the churches to keep doing good.