Summary: The Redeeming, Reforming, Rewarding work of Grace
“For the grace of God has appeared, bringing salvation to all men, instructing us to deny ungodliness and worldly desires and to live sensibly, righteously and godly in the present age, looking for the blessed hope and the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior, Christ Jesus, who gave Himself for us to redeem us from every lawless deed, and to purify for Himself a people for His own possession, zealous for good deeds.”
I would like to begin today approaching our study in a different fashion than which is normal for us. I want to read this letter to you, from chapter one verse one up through our text verses, chapter 2 verses 11-14.
I’d like for you to look up from your Bibles and hear it in a translation that is probably not familiar to your ears, so that you will be hearing it in a sense, for the first time – so that you will hear it afresh, as it were.
My purpose in doing this will be made clear as we go.
1:1-4 - Paul, servant of God and messenger of Jesus Christ in the faith God gives to his chosen, in the knowledge of the truth that comes from a God-fearing life, and in the hope of the everlasting life which God, who cannot lie, promised before the beginning of time - (at the right moment he made his Word known in the declaration which has been entrusted to me by his command) to Titus, my true son in our common faith, be grace, mercy and peace from God the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ our Savior.
Men who are appointed to the ministry must be of the highest character
1:5-9 - I left you in Crete to set right matters which needed attention, and gave you instructions to appoint elders in every city. They were to be men of unquestioned integrity with only one wife, and with children brought up as Christians and not likely to be accused of loose living or law-breaking.
To exercise spiritual oversight a man must be of unimpeachable virtue, for he is God’s agent in the affairs of his household. He must not be aggressive or hot-tempered or over-fond of wine; nor must he be violent or greedy for financial gain. On the contrary, he must be hospitable, a genuine lover of what is good, a man who is discreet, fair-minded, holy and self-controlled: a man who takes his stand on the orthodox faith, so that he can by sound teaching both stimulate faith and confute opposition.
Be on your guard against counterfeit Christians
1:10-16 - But there are many, especially among the Jews, who will not recognize authority, who talk nonsense and yet in so doing have managed to deceive men’s minds. They must be silenced, for they upset the faith of whole households, teaching what they have no business to teach for the sake of what they can get. One of them, yes, one of their prophets, has said: "Men of Crete are always liars, evil and beastly, lazy and greedy." There is truth in this testimonial of theirs! Don’t hesitate to reprimand them sharply for you want them to be sound and healthy Christians, with a proper contempt for Jewish fairy tales and orders issued by men who have forsaken the path of truth. Everything is wholesome to those who are themselves wholesome. But nothing is wholesome to those who are themselves unwholesome and who have no faith in God - their very minds and consciences are diseased. They profess to know God, but their actual behavior denies their profession, for they are obviously vile and rebellious and when it comes to doing any real good they are palpable frauds.
Good character should follow good teaching
2:1-8 - Now you must tell them the sort of character which should spring from sound teaching. The old men should be temperate, serious, wise - spiritually healthy through their faith and love and patience. Similarly the old women should be reverent in their behavior, should not make unfounded complaints and should not be over-fond of wine. They should be examples of the good life, so that the younger women may learn to love their husbands and their children, to be sensible and chaste, home-lovers, kind-hearted and willing to adapt themselves to their husbands - a good advertisement for the Christian faith. The young men, too, you should urge to take life seriously, letting your own life stand as a pattern of good living. In all your teaching show the strictest regard for truth, and show that you appreciate the seriousness of the matters you are dealing with. Your speech should be unaffected and logical, so that your opponent may feel ashamed at finding nothing in which to pick holes.