An Epistle Written Unto Christians
This is a faithful saying, and these things I will that thou affirm constantly, that they which have believed in God might be careful to maintain good works. These things are good and profitable unto men.Titus 3:8
Dear Christians, we live in a present evil world. This fact is plain to see. We live in an age where the Holy Scripture of God is in abundance, yet the Christians have less faith than when the Scriptures were sparse. The hearts have hardened, the ears have stopped, and it seems that the attitude of many Born-again believers is to live as they lived before the Cross of Christ, and to feign ignorance or arrogance as they walk through this life without a care about what is right and wrong in the eyes of God.
This is a culture war. There was a letter we wrote to you all about the spiritual aspect of a Christian’s culture that we implore you to read. But the culture war is a spiritual war, for it takes the place of the law of God and Christ in our minds, and it causes well-meaning Christians to err in their judgement against sin. It is important to understand this as we discuss Titus’ ministry through the eye of the dutiful Pastor one more time.
As we have shown in previous epistles, Titus was left in Crete to ordain good men as elders and to show the Christians of that island the better way to live for God. The key to living for God is obedience and submission. As the Apostle James wrote, “Submit yourselves therefore to God” (James 4:7), and as King Solomon wrote, “Fear God, and keep his commandments: for this is the whole duty of man” (Ecclesiastes 12:13). Titus was given a ministry by God through the Apostle Paul to be the commander of an army of Christian soldiers to fight a spiritual war that had seeped into the very bones of the Christians in Crete. This is why Paul told him to set in order the things that were wanting. As we wrote before, these included the duties of Elders, aged men, aged women, young men, and young women. It does appear as if the entire age spectrum of living Christians were to be exhorted to live “holily and justly and unblameably,” as behaved and not misbehaved (1 Thessalonians 2:10). And no wonder, as this was the example of Paul to the Thessalonians and the other Churches, it would certainly be the example set by Titus in Paul’s stead. These facts were proved in Paul’s instructions regarding the methods of dealing with false teachers, including stopping their mouths (Titus 1:11), and sharply rebuking them (Titus 1:13), and the methods for helping those that needed help in their joy, including exhorting and convincing the gainsayers (Titus 1:9), utilizing sound and holy speech (Titus 2:8), and teaching the brethren to deny ungodly lusts (Titus 2:12).
These are all aspects of fighting a spiritual culture war, and the key was for Titus to not be afraid to tell the truth no matter how offensive, for Titus was instructed not to be afraid of their faces in many words. This was instructed to the Prophet Jeremiah, who fought a very similar spiritual war in the days of the Babylonian invasion, where God told him, “Be not afraid of their faces: for I am with thee to deliver thee, saith the LORD” (Jeremiah 1:8). The faces of the licentious are impudent and without care of the effect of their actions. Consider the heretical Christians today that promote fornication and blasphemy, who speak as though they are experts at any thing, and do not consider the latter end of their actions (Deuteronomy 32:29). The best analogy I may give is the one God gave us, as he wrote that the lips of the strange woman are sweet, but that her steps go down to death, and take hold on hell (Proverbs 5:5).
We live in the time of the strange woman, which is the best way to describe the heresies that take the Christians today. The prize of many has become the fleeting pleasures of the flesh, and as Paul knew Titus would have to combat these, he told him, “For we ourselves also were sometimes foolish, disobedient, deceived, serving divers lusts and pleasures, living in malice and envy, hateful, and hating one another” (Titus 3:3). And Paul made sure to remind Titus that he has come out of this prison of sin, and that the brethren he was sent there to help had been made free from the prison of sin as well. He wrote, “But after the kindness and love of God our Savior toward men appeared, Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to his mercy he saved us, by the washing of regeneration, and renewing of the Holy Ghost” (Titus 3:4-5).
The ultimate spiritual war was won once for all by the sacrifice of the Lord Jesus Christ upon the Cross. To win the current war, we must affirm these truths constantly. I believe Christians have resolved themselves in large part to defeat, and have decided that they will “wait for the rapture” instead of fighting the good fight of faith. Imagine if the LORD thought that we were a lost cause! Imagine that we had been utterly forsaken by the one who had created us! God forbid, for he gave himself for our wretched state, and shed his blood for our salvation. Imagine if Titus decided that the people of Crete were too lost to be saved, or if he forsook the unction and duty given to him by the Christ who saved him.
We cannot give up the fight, O Christian! We must fight as we never fought before! “Lay hold on eternal life” (1 Timothy 6:12), “hold forth the word of life” (Philippians 2:16), and preach the gospel, “be instant in season, out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort with all long suffering and doctrine” (2 Timothy 4:2). These are the instructions we read about throughout Paul’s Epistle to Titus in many words.
Finally, let us give focus to the Gospel, as Titus was exhorted to do. Paul told Titus to avoid foolish questions, contentions, and any unprofitable or vain conversation (Titus 3:9). These are the ideas that lead a Christian away from Christ. They must know and understand truth with all wisdom, but concerning evil things they should be simple and ignorant in large part (Romans 16:19). This means that conversations about false “lost books of scripture”, aliens, and wicked doctrines concerning angels having actual sex with human women should not be discussed. Thankfully, Paul gave Titus instruction concerning these heresies: “A man that is an heretick after the first and second admonition reject: Knowing that he that is such is subverted, and sinneth, being condemned of himself” (Titus 3:10-11). Heretics will teach false things, but they can be corrected. If they cannot take correction they must be cut off from any communication unless they come to repent themselves. This is how the spiritual war is fought, with thousands falling around you, but never letting the pestilence of false doctrine touch you (Psalm 91:6-7). Also, one may see how the heretic has done this to himself, for he has neglected the doctrine of salvation in his own heart, and chose rather to follow after sin and condemnation.
And so dear Christian, we have come to the end of this subject of the culture war, but this in itself is not the end of the teaching. Let us always read God’s Word and learn by the Holy Ghost, and when this life is over, our fight is over. When Paul finishes his letter to Titus he told him, “When I shall send Artemas unto thee, or Tychicus, be diligent to come unto me to Nicopolis” (Titus 3:12). Paul wanted Titus to understand that this fight and this battlefield are not permanent. When God told Paul to send for Titus, it meant that Titus’ work in Crete was done. He had a timeframe to finish this work, and only by prayer, study, and faith in the power of God can we do the work that God has given us to do here in our Crete, the United States of America, or wherever you are dear Christian. The fight is on.
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