Observations from today’s readings and today’s S-WOD, Monday, 6 September 21:
Titus 2:1, 10 — Teach what accords with sound doctrine…. adorn the doctrine of God our Savior.
Titus 2 begins and ends with the charge to instruct others in accordance with sound doctrine – “Teach what accords with sound doctrine…. Declare these things; exhort and rebuke with all authority.” (Titus 1, 15) However, the content between these two bookend directives deals almost exclusively with behavior – “be sober-minded, dignified, self-controlled, sound in faith, in love, steadfastness…. Be reverent in behavior, not slanderers or slaves to much wine… pure… submissive…. a model of good works… show integrity, dignity and sound speech… having nothing to do with evil… well-pleasing, not argumentative, not pilfering, showing all good faith.” Notice that in this very short chapter of only fifteen verses, self-control is mentioned four times.
The Bible demands teachers uphold sound doctrine but also have integrity, that they walk their talk. In order to teach the doctrine of God our Savior, which we have all been called to do in some capacity, we must first, “adorn the doctrine of God our Savior…. [showing ourselves] in all respects to be [models] of good works.” (Titus 2:10, 7)
“Do not let your adorning be external… but let your adorning be the hidden person of the heart.” (1 Peter 3:3, 4) Titus 2 primarily addresses our behavior, but understand that Paul’s real focus is the heart from which the behavior emanates. Paul isn’t encouraging Christians to “act” good as hypocrites do (the word hypocrite comes from the Greek word for stage actor) or to “clean the outside of the cup” as the Pharisees did. (Matthew 23:25, 26) Paul is encouraging Christians to live as “new creations” and to reveal the truth of the transformational power of the Gospel through their conduct which is the natural fruit of the Spirit of God within them – “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law. And those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. If we live by the Spirit, let us also keep in step with the Spirit.”
- Colossians 3:10-17 – [You] have put on the new self, which is being renewed in knowledge after the image of its creator. Here there is not Greek and Jew, circumcised and uncircumcised, barbarian, Scythian, slave, free; but Christ is all, and in all. Put on then, as God’s chosen ones, holy and beloved, compassionate hearts, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience, bearing with one another and, if one has a complaint against another, forgiving each other; as the Lord has forgiven you, so you also must forgive. And above all these put on love, which binds everything together in perfect harmony. And let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which indeed you were called in one body. And be thankful. Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly, teaching and admonishing one another in all wisdom, singing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, with thankfulness in your hearts to God. And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.
Paul says, “adorn” the doctrine and then he reiterates the doctrine – “For the grace of God has appeared, bringing salvation for all people, training us to renounce ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright, and godly lives in the present age, waiting for our blessed hope, the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ, who gave himself for us to redeem us from all lawlessness and to purify for himself a people for his own possession who are zealous for good works.” (Titus 2:11-14) Can people clearly see the evidence of your salvation through your godly life, and are you proclaiming the truth of the Gospel to all around you in word and in deed?
“Cross” Fit S-WOD (Spiritual Workout of the Day) – 6 September 21: Today, “teach what accords with sound doctrine…. [and] adorn the doctrine of God our Savior.”