Summary: The letter to Titus, although written to the young pastor, has much to say to the church and individual believers. Following our transformation in Christ, we have an obligation to live in a way that pleases Him and reveals His grace before others.
Transformed in Christ
Titus 3: 1-7
Although Paul’s letter to Titus was brief in comparison to some of the other letters he had written, the Apostle shared much with the young pastor. He had provided sound wisdom in regard to settling the church on a firm foundation, implementing a plan that would ensure discipleship of new believers, and dealing with the challenges of false doctrine and attacks from the enemy.
As Paul began to bring his letter to a close, he again offered insight regarding the life believers were expected to live before others. By reminding Titus of what the believer had received in Christ, and being aware of what the Lord had delivered them from, Paul knew such an awareness should serve to guide them in living upright lives that would bear an influential witness to others who had yet to come to faith in Christ.
These are simple verses, and yet they reveal profound truth. Like Titus and the believers in Crete, we too have been delivered from the bondage of sin, being transformed in Christ. Such a transformation should impact every aspect of our lives. We are no longer the same, and bear an obligation to live in such a way that others can see Christ through our lives. Those who are born again, saved by grace and placed within the body of Christ, should live in such a way that others immediately recognize the difference a relationship with Christ has on an individual’s life. As we examine the reminders Paul offered Titus, I want to consider: Transformed in Christ.
I. The Expectation for the Believer (1-2) – Paul began these thoughts by reminding Titus of what is expected of believers, those who have been transformed in Christ. He mentioned:
A. Our Cooperation (1) – Put them in mind to be subject to principalities and powers, to obey magistrates, to be ready to every good work. We must remember that Crete, along with much of the world at that time, was under Roman authority. The Romans were not especially sympathetic to Christians and their faith. In fact, believers were often persecuted by the Romans. Regardless of their treatment by the Romans, Paul urged the church to submit to the authority above them. They were expected to abide by the laws of Rome, being obedient to those in positions of power, revealing their submission and obedience through the lives they lived. That is not to say they were to embrace theology or principles contrary to the faith or the Word of God, but they were to be good citizens, striving to obey the laws of the land, rather than participating in insurgencies and acts of public disobedience. Rom.13:1 – Let every soul be subject unto the higher powers. For there is no power but of God: the powers that be are ordained of God. 1 Peter 2:13-14 – Submit yourselves to every ordinance of man for the Lord's sake: whether it be to the king, as supreme;  Or unto governors, as unto them that are sent by him for the punishment of evildoers, and for the praise of them that do well.
B. Our Conduct (2) – To speak evil of no man, to be no brawlers, but gentle, shewing all meekness unto all men. Not only did Paul expect the believers to live in accordance to the law, he also expected them to behave in such a way that would reflect their faith in Christ. They were not to speak evil of others. They were to refrain from slander, verbal abuse, gossip, or any attempt to tear down the reputation and character of another. (My how this is needed in our day!)
They were not be brawlers, “not a contentious person, always seeking a fight or argument; they were not to have a chip on their shoulder, seeking controversy; not being critical and seeking to stir up trouble with others.”
They were expected to be gentle. This has the idea of “gentleness, forebearance, reasonableness, consideration, agreeableness, courtesy, patience, and softness.” It means that there is something better than mere justice—a gracious gentleness. Christian citizens are to be gentle and forebearing in dealing with other citizens. (I)
They were also expected to show meekness to all men. This means to “to be gentle, tender, humble, mild, considerate, but strongly so.” Meekness has the strength to control and discipline, and it does so at the right time. (ii) Meekness is not weakness, but strong gentleness.
II. The Transformation of the Believer (3-7) – After challenging Titus and others to live upright before others, he reminded them of the transformation they had received in Christ. He mentioned:
A. Our Rebellion (3) – For we ourselves also were sometimes foolish, disobedient, deceived, serving divers lusts and pleasures, living in malice and envy, hateful, and hating one another. Paul was gracious and yet firm. He did not accuse Titus or any other believer of anything he had not been guilty of in the past, but he did remind them of the rebellion of all men prior to a relationship with Christ. All men behave foolishly, in disobedience and deception, seeking to serve the lusts and pleasures of the flesh, while living in malice and envy toward others, having a tendency to be hateful and even hating others. Paul emphasized the fact that every believer is nothing more than a depraved sinner who has experienced the transforming grace of God. We all walked in rebellion, sin, and disobedience prior to salvation. We have no reason to develop a self-righteous, condescending attitude of condemnation toward another. Unbelievers behave the way they do because they remain in sin, not yet being set free as we have been in Christ.