Francis Shaeffer and Charles Colson wrote books titled "How Now Shall We Live" to help the church go beyond salvation to understand faith as an entire worldview, a perspective on all of life.
Paul knew his time was short and wrote his dearest sons, first Timothy and now Titus, that they put elders in place to teach believers how to live godly lives. Paul knew strong leaders must be in place to build on what he started to be complete.
Paul gives both of them a list of character qualifications for church leadership. Leaders lead by example, so these qualities are not just for elders but everyone to follow. The world focuses on looks, sounds, and abilities; as you see in TV shows like "The Voice, or America's Got Talent," God focuses on the heart. People are naturally gifted, but the godly character is grown. It is a work of the Holy Spirit in the heart through hearing and applying Truth. The world desires people to behave right, that's why there is law and order, yet humanity falls short without the power of God.
Titus, stationed in Crete, had a difficult task for the people's reputation was liars, cruel, and lazy. Salvation starts one down the road of transformation, but one must renew the mind according to God's ways to experience continual change. The bible is our source of living; if we don't learn to apply it, we will still live according to our surrounding culture. We are a product of what we hear and see; until we choose to listen and view something different, we remain the same. The bible doesn't just tell us how to live; it empowers us through the Holy Spirit.
In verses six through nine, we learn the leadership qualifications; they live blamelessly in the community, faithfully to their spouse, and their children are not rebellious. Elders are not to be arrogant or quick-tempered, not heavy drinkers, violent or dishonest with money. Elders are hospitable, loving what is good, wise, righteous, holy, self-controlled, teaching sound doctrine, and able to refute anyone that would contradict it. Elders are to stand against and silence rebellious legalistic, slanderous gossippers; if not, they will overthrow entire households.
Just as in the early church, there are wolves in sheep clothing; that's why good overseers need to be in place to discern and protect the sheep. How can we recognize wolves since they are in sheep clothing? Matthew 7:15-20 says to judge by the fruit. We are not to assume anything about anyone until we get close enough to them to determine what character they have. As it says in verses 15-16, "to the pure, everything is pure, but to those who are defiled and unbelieving nothing is pure both their mind and conscience are defiled. They profess to know God, but they deny him by their works. They are detestable, disobedient, and disqualified for any good work."
We must live out what we tell others; otherwise, our words won't have power. People watch more than they listen. If our lifestyle doesn't match what we speak, we lose credibility.
Younger people should respect older people, but if they haven't lived wisely and practiced self-control, they shouldn't expect it. Older women are to devote themselves to training younger women to love their husbands and children, living wise, submissive, and pure. Young men are to live wisely, setting an example and reflecting a life of integrity according to what they have been taught. We should live in a way that those who oppose us will end up in shame, for they can find nothing wrong to say about us.
The bible talks a lot about slaves and masters because in Ancient Roman/Greek cultures many people were in that situation. It was how conquering countries gave conquered people a place in society. Paul did not promote slavery but it was a reality of many of whom he taught. You are most likely not a slave but you can apply these instructions to work or anywhere you submit to another. Paul said do not talk back or steal, but show yourselves trustworthy and good, which will make the gospel attractive in every way. The best way to see situations change is when people's hearts change.
How we conduct ourselves as Christians is how we change the world. Preaching the gospel is part, but living the gospel is when the world sees the Word going to work. People need evidence, a demonstration before they are moved, without it we are just like a bad salesman.
Verses 11-15 reveal how the grace of God empowers us to live right. Where we turn from sinful pleasures to living in wisdom, righteousness, and devotion to God. Living free from every kind of sin and committed to doing good deeds.
The charge: Repent if you are not living right! All believers have the same standard, Christ-likeness. Dedicate yourself to knowing and applying the Truth.
It is nice when someone wants to do right, but it is even better when they do so. We all originated from God, and so there is a part of humankind that has a conviction; the problem is that without the Holy Spirit's help, the desire for good falls short. The world needs to see people living right consistently to believe that through God, it is possible.The nature of sin is to blame, just as we saw Adam towards Eve in the garden. Leaders are those who get the finger pointed. Titus 3:1 says to submit to the government and its officers. Well, what if they are wrong? We live in a fallen world, so we can expect the government to be wrong, but as Christians, our response should be to submit, not rebel. We understand that we fight our battles through prayer and the leading of the Lord. God may lead us to take a righteous stand like Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. did regarding systemic racism. Yet, the way he fought against evil was different than those in the world who fight with physical force. Taking down evil leaders like Adolf Hitler will mean, on some occasions, that war is necessary. Yet, prayer is still the vital aspect of the eradication of evil.
Titus 3:2 says, "we are always to be ready to do good." What is the right thing to do in situations can be complex, but that is why we have the helper, counselor, power agent, the Holy Spirit? As it says in verse three, we know that quarreling and slandering others is not the right way to deal with problems. We should not be taken back by those in the world; we were once like them until God revealed His love and kindness to us (vs. 4). Therefore, our response should be the same, with love and mercy so we can show God to them in the way we live.
Only through grace have we been made right in His sight (vs.7), so why would we judge and tear another person down when they don't even walk with the Lord. Our job is to be devoted to what is good, trusting that those around us will follow and do the same as we practice what we preach (vs. . The warning repeated numerous times in Paul's writings is to avoid foolish discussions, which are a useless waste of one's time (vs. 9). If we focused more on doing the work of the Lord, we would not have time to talk so much. Our tongues get us in the most trouble, so we need to learn to speak less and work more (vs.14). Leaders need to silence those that divide the body and not allow foolishness to continue; it is the world's main excuse why they reject God because of hypocrisy from Christians. If we can't get along, what can we offer the world?
The Charge: God is Good; we do good only through Him. Repent for being idle, having a loose tongue, causing division, and then commit to walking closer to your good, good, Father.