January 3, 2024
On this first Wednesday of 2024, our consideration of Biblical books falls on Paul’s letter to Titus.
The pastoral letters written by Paul to Timothy and Titus, his children in the faith, demonstrate his genuine love in leading, mentoring, guiding, and counseling them in their ministry and personal lives. We will consider three ways:
Firstly, he displays genuine love by providing them with character traits that will help Titus and other believers to be good leaders (Titus 1:6-9, 2:1-6). If you are going to lead other believers in a church context, Chapter 1 provides qualities that will assist greatly.
Being above reproach means having a testimony that cannot be called into account for wrongdoing (Titus 1:6). Of course, this doesn’t mean perfection, but rather that when a wrong is committed, repentance, confession, and renewal are in order.
Not being arrogant (Titus 1:7), means having a humble mindset. This characteristic is developed through time spent with Jesus. It is not thinking of yourself as more important than what you are, but willingly doing whatever God desires of you.
Being self-controlled and disciplined (Titus 1:8) are qualities that will preserve you from acting rashly or unkindly when irritated by the inconsideration of others.
In Chapter 2, there are age-appropriate qualities mentioned. Older women, for example, are told to teach the younger what is good (Titus 2:3). This requires a heart to help others and to share what has been learned from the Scriptures to those younger in the faith.
There are many more qualities in this section worth our attention.
Secondly, in Titus 2:11-14, Paul shows genuine love by making Titus aware that the grace of God is foundational and active in the lives of God’s people.
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.
God’s grace is the basis of our lives. For us, this is where it all started and it is from that solid foundation that we exist. There would be no knowledge or enjoyment of God without it. It was His grace that brought Jesus into the world in the first place to reveal the fulness of who God is.
The sufferings of the cross, the sin-atoning sacrifice, the sufficient salvation secured are evidence that God is overflowing with grace towards this world.
God’s grace puts us on a training track that directs our lives into deeper godliness. It enables us to renounce evil and live more like Jesus.
God’s grace gives us something bigger and greater to live for than what this world can offer. It lifts our vision to the eternal and creates in us anticipation and expectancy of seeing the One who willingly gave His all for us on the cross.
As we begin 2024, it would be good for us to reflect on God’s operative grace in our lives in the past and seek new ways of showing it to those around us.
Lastly, Paul expresses genuine love by indicating that good works are the outcome of grace-filled lives.
Paul does not mean that doing what is good is the arduous chore of weary, tired-out believers, but is the automatic outflow of a life occupied with God’s grace.
Paul says to Titus that he should be a model of good works in every way (Titus 2:7). Those in leadership have the privilege of displaying in a very public way their love for Christ and His children.
He goes on to say that we should all be zealous of good works (Titus 2:14). The word zealous is not one we use a lot these days, but it carries the idea to be eagerly desirous of, to want to do something with strong emotion. Just as Jesus lived His days for the benefit and blessing of needy people around Him, we too, have the honor of touching lives with acts of kindness.
Paul goes on to say, as he closes his letter, that we should be devoted to doing good. “The saying is trustworthy, and I want you to insist on these things, so that those who have believed in God may be careful to devote themselves to good works. These things are excellent and profitable for people” (Titus 3:8).
To be devoted to something is to give careful attention to it. The KJV says “to maintain good works." While doing good is the automatic outflow of a grace-filled life, it does require special intentional attention.
When God’s Spirit puts someone in need on your mind, or you see something that needs to be done, the thought is meant to propel you into action. “And let our people learn to devote themselves to good works, so as to help cases of urgent need, and not be unfruitful” (Titus 3:14).
Thank you for praying for our prodigals and for revival among us.
Love in Christ,
Bryan and Rachel