The book of Titus describes the lifestyle of those who believe in God. Titus 1 highlights the high moral qualifications and role of elders in God’s family, the Church. Titus 2 focuses on the moral conduct of individual members of the church who have experienced salvation by grace. These chapters were covered in Parts 1 and 2 of this series.1
In Part 3 of this series, we will look at Titus 3 and consider the following:
- The responsibilities of Christians toward authority fig- ures
- Salvation by grace
- The importance of maintaining good relationships In all three chapters of Titus, elders have a role to play as leaders of God’s spiritual flock.
I. RESPONSIBILITIES OF CHRISTIANS TOWARD AUTHORITY FIGURES (TITUS 3:1-3)
A. Concerning proper conduct to authority figures and others: “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 always to be gentle toward everyone” (Titus 3:1, 2).2
B. Why we should respect those in authority: “At one time we too were foolish, disobedient, deceived and enslaved by all kinds of passions and pleasures. We lived in malice and envy, being hated and hating one another” (Titus 3:3).
II. SALVATION BY GRACE (TITUS 3:4-7)
A. The kindness and love of God: “But when the kindness and love of God our Savior appeared, he saved us, not because of righteous things we had done, but because of his mercy . . .” (Titus 3:4, 5a).
B. Through washing and renewal: “. . . He saved us through the washing of rebirth and renewal by the Holy Spirit, whom he poured out on us generously through Jesus Christ our Savior, so that, having been justified by his grace, we might become heirs having the hope of eternal life” (Titus 3:5b-7)
C. By trusting in God: “This is a trustworthy saying. And I want you to stress these things, so that those who have trusted in God may be careful to devote themselves to doing what is good. These things are excellent and profitable for everyone” (Titus 3:8).
D. By avoiding unprofitable and useless controversies: “But avoid foolish controversies and genealogies and arguments and quarrels about the law, because these are unprofitable and useless. Warn a divisive person once, and then warn them a second time. After that, have nothing to do with them. You may be sure that such people are warped and sinful; they are self-condemned” (Titus 3:9-11).
III. IMPORTANCE OF MAINTAINING GOOD RELATIONSHIPS (TITUS 3:12-15)
A. Final remarks: “As soon as I send Artemas or Tychicus to you, do your best to come to me at Nicopolis, because I have decided to winter there. Do everything you can to help Zenas the lawyer and Apollos on their way and see that they have everything they need. Our people must learn to devote themselves to doing what is good, in order to provide for urgent needs and not live unproductive lives” (Titus 3:12-14).
B. Final greetings and prayer: “Everyone with me sends you greetings. Greet those who love us in the faith. Grace be with you all” (Titus 3:15).
Titus 3 deals with living responsible Christian lives as a witness to unbelievers. The elders and the church at large are counseled by Paul about how they should treat one another: to respect those in leadership and authority and to be ready to do whatever is good for all men. As Christians we are exhorted to behave with gentleness and humility, especially because at one time we too were lost, foolish, deceived, and enslaved by sin, but the grace of God has saved us and changed the condition of our hearts from disobedience to obedience. Thus, having experienced the saving grace of God, we too must share that salvation in proportion to that which we ourselves have enjoyed through Christ. Consequently, elders and members of the church must learn to trust God more and to avoid unprofitable and silly controversies (3:8-11), to devote ourselves to good works, and to provide for the urgent needs of God’s people (verses 12-14). What would the church be like if both elders and members of the church lived responsible Christian lives?
1 The previous articles of this series were printed in the first and second quarters of Elder’s Digest, 2013.
2 All Bible texts in this article are taken from the New International Version.
Limoni Manu O’Uiha, Ph.D., writes from Palmerston North, New Zealand.