Titus 3:1-2 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 to show true humility towards all men.
Titus had his work cut out for him on Crete, because Cretans had earned a bad reputation for themselves. (Titus 1:12-13) However, God is the ultimate “Recycler,” because He takes what is spoiled and makes something magnificent out of it. As Paul wrote to the Corinthians, He deliberately chooses what the world would consider inferior in order to demolish man’s pride. (1 Corinthians 1:27-29) That said, old habits die hard, so we need to be reminded (NIV) or warned (Japanese) to behave like the children of God that He has made us to be in Christ. Verses 3-7 are a beautiful statement of what salvation is all about, and we do well to remind ourselves and each other of it frequently. We have a sad tendency to take things for granted and so forget the magnificence of God’s grace. The better we grasp the magnitude of our debt to God, the more effective we will be in sharing the Gospel with others. If we forget what good news it is for us, it won’t sound like good news when we tell someone else. That said, we aren’t to keep living in the patterns of thought and action that we had before encountering Christ, whatever the people around us are doing. It can be hard to live right when everyone around you is living wrong!
I can’t say that peer pressure was a huge issue for me because I tended to be isolated in the first place, but I have done my share of excusing my own sin because “everyone’s doing it.” That argument holds no water at all! As a pastor, I am very much in Titus’ place, needing to remind believers of who they are. Actually, for quite a few years I have been convinced that when Japanese Christians wake up to who they are in Christ, they will transform not just the Church in Japan but the whole nation, and even the world. That’s not so much in being well behaved, as Paul was saying about the Cretans, but in understanding and exercising the spiritual gifts and authority that are ours in Christ. For that matter, I need to understand and exercise them better myself! I’ve got to remember that I have no wisdom or ability in myself apart from God, but when I am in Christ, fully submitted and responsive, all His wisdom and ability are available through me, for His glory.
Father, thank You for this reminder. Thank You for the graduations I’ll be attending today and tomorrow, and that I’ve been asked to speak at the reception following each one. I ask You for Your words to remind the graduates of what You have said to them through me in my classes, so that Your Word may have its full work in each heart, drawing them to repentance and salvation, for Your glory. Thank You. Hallelujah!