Remind the people to be subject to rulers and authorities, to be obedient, to be ready to do whatever is good, to slander no one, to be peaceable and considerate, and always to be gentle toward everyone.
At one time we too were foolish, disobedient, deceived and enslaved by all kinds of passions and pleasures. We lived in malice and envy, being hated and hating one another. But when the kindness and love of God our Savior appeared, he saved us, not because of righteous things we had done, but because of his mercy. He saved us through the washing of rebirth and renewal by the Holy Spirit, whom he poured out on us generously through Jesus Christ our Savior, so that, having been justified by his grace, we might become heirs having the hope of eternal life. This is a trustworthy saying. And I want you to stress these things, so that those who have trusted in God may be careful to devote themselves to doing what is good. These things are excellent and profitable for everyone.
But avoid foolish controversies and genealogies and arguments and quarrels about the law, because these are unprofitable and useless. Warn a divisive person once, and then warn them a second time. After that, have nothing to do with them.
The final chapter of this book has to do with the Church and the government. The duty of the church is to submit to governing authorities. The importance of this has to do with the furtherance of the gospel. Christian behavior in society was as important in first century Rome as it is today. We have seen this put to the test the past eleven months as the State has shut down our economy and limited our ability to exercise corporate worship. A lot of anxiety has been produced as a result of this conflict between the church and the state. In his commentary on the book of Titus, Donald Guthrie writes, “But here the apostle evidently fears that the turbulent Cretans might too readily implicate the church in political agitation which could only bring the gospel under suspicion.”
As believers, we acknowledge that civil authorities are established by God. In Romans thirteen, Paul writes, “the authorities that exist have been established by God. Consequently, whoever rebels against authority is rebelling against what God has instituted.” Instead of rebelling against the government, Paul encourages us to “be obedient, to be ready to do whatever is good.” As believers, we should counter rebellious behavior with every kind of good work. As Americans, we have the right to speak out about the political process, but we should always be cooperative and Christ-like in carrying out our civil duties and responsibilities. Instead of being rebellious and slanderous, we are encouraged to “be kind, always showing gentleness to all people.” Paul then reminds Titus that before salvation we acted in these ungodly ways too. When believers act in ways contrary to the Spirit of God, it harms the cause of Christ. Behaving as pagans brings disgrace and shame to the church.
Paul once again reminds Titus of the gospel of grace. He reminds Titus that salvation is not the result of being a good person. Salvation is not about doing good works and somehow earning your way into heaven. Paul writes, “according to His mercy he saved us.” Because Christ died for us and paid the penalty for ours sins, God extends His mercy to us. Therefore, when we trust in the person and work of Christ for our salvation, a “righteousness from God” is credited to our account. We call this “imputed righteousness”. As a result of Christ’s righteousness being credited to our account (justification), we receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit regenerates us and guides us through the sanctification process.
Paul closes out this letter to Titus by affirming that the ultimate evidence of our salvation is seen as we reflect the character of Christ in our world. Pastor Bob often says, “Good works is the fruit of salvation not the root of salvation.” Paul is charging Titus to guard this doctrine of the gospel of grace. Titus must be diligent in proclaiming this gospel of grace as well as living it out in his daily life. As he models this reality before the church, he will be making sure to pass on these truths in word and deed.
Lastly, Paul warns Titus about engaging in “foolish controversies, genealogies and arguments and quarrels about the law.” He goes on to write, “these are unprofitable and useless.” We are to defend the faith, but we are not to do it by contentious argument or debate. Nothing good comes from such tactics. A divisive person who refused to repent of such behavior showed himself to be affected by sin; therefore, he was self-condemned. Titus had a huge task in Crete, but with Paul’s guidance he could provide the leadership the church needed during those troubling times.
Questions to Ponder
What kinds of problems would prompt Paul to ask Titus to remind the people to be subject to “rulers and authorities”? Why is it so easy for believers today to ignore that reminder? What is the difference between confidence in what you believe and disregard for governing authorities? What false teachings tempt you away from the gospel of grace? How do you determine what is sound doctrine? What are some of the passions that enslaved you in the past? How does Paul’s words to Titus help you face these issues?
- Praise Him as Savior, Light of the World, King of Kings and Lord of Lords.
- Invite the Holy Spirit to search your heart and bring to remembrance any complaining, slander, gossip, anger…toward leadership and authority.
- Ask Him to nullify those words and/or actions so the enemy is demolished.
- Pray for yourself and the greater one church, that we won’t sin by our refusal to prayer for those in authority.
Sovereign Lord, I declare that You are all knowing. You see it all- both externally and internally, within our hearts and in the secret place. Have mercy oh God upon us, individually and together as a church for not coming under the authority in the land and the authority in Your Church. Shepherd us back to Your Word and enable us by Your Holy Spirit to live out what You teach us both behind closed doors and out in public. Even now Lord we thank You and pray for President Biden, Vice President Harris, Governor Whitmer, the authority in each of our cities and our local Police. We lift up Pastor Bob and the Elders and Pastors of Oak Pointe Church. We ask that You touch each one with Your love, mercy, truth and protection. Cause them to depend on You today and strike their hearts with the fear of You Lord. For those outside of Your family, grant salvation today. Remind us and teach us how to pray for them daily. I ask in the Name of Jesus Christ, amen.