For an introduction to this series, click here.
October 31, 2007
Paul has a lot of practical advice for Titus and for all of us in this book.
"But as for you, teach what accords with sound doctrine. Older men are to be sober-minded, dignified, self-controlled, sound in faith, in love, and in steadfastness. Older women likewise are to be reverent in behavior, not slanderers or slaves to much wine. They are to teach what is good, and so train the young women to love their husbands and children, to be self-controlled, pure, working at home, kind, and submissive to their own husbands, that the word of God may not be reviled. Likewise, urge the younger men to be self-controlled." (2:1-6)
I'm not sure the best way to say this, but the first century church was very different from our churches today. They were together probably every night. There were more informal opportunities to teach and to learn than we have in our churches today. I am not suggesting that we go back to this model, but providing more opportunities for informal learning in our churches would be a good thing. Many churches are so hyper-organized that as soon as a new member joins or someone gets saved, somebody in an office assigns a mentor to them. Now of course that is not completely bad either. But I get the feeling from passages like this that allowing mentoring relationships to develop more naturally is more the Biblical model. I don't know, I'm kind of rambling. Certainly assigning someone is better than letting people falling through the cracks without any sort of mentoring.
"Bondservants are to be submissive to their own masters in everything; they are to be well-pleasing, not argumentative, not pilfering, but showing all good faith, so that in everything they may adorn the doctrine of God our Savior." (2:9-10)
This is another of Paul's exhortations to slaves. Most of these, of course, can apply to the relationship between a boss and a worker. Notice that Paul says that a servant can glorify God through their work. This definitely needs to be our goal as employees.
"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. Declare these things; exhort and rebuke with all authority. Let no one disregard you." (2:11-15, ESV)
God's grace is more than a ticket to heaven. His grace continues to work in us, causing us to become more and more what God wants us to be. A good parallel passage to this is 2 Corinthians 3:17-18, which is one of my very favorite passages in all the Bible. Notice it says that God's grace trains us to leave some things behind and to add some new things to our lives. We are no more able to make ourselves Christ-like after we are born again than we were to make ourselves born again in the first place. Thankfully God takes care of both of those, and He will take care of us all the way into eternity.