After explaining how a church should look, Paul progresses in his teaching to why the church should look that way. Older men and women should lovingly engage younger with the truth, and younger men and women should humbly receive instruction and correction from the older. The church should be a multi-generational family that strives together to live in ways that are pleasing to God. In the Roman culture rife with slavery, Paul further explained that slaves should follow the same biblical principles that everyone else should. The message to Titus on how to straighten up the churches in Crete was clear - Christians should live in obedience to God.
And none of the commands that Paul gives here are new to the pages of Scripture. Rather, Paul is taking the commands of Scripture found elsewhere and reinforcing them in specific application to the roles of church leadership and church members. Christians should be loving, holy, and just. This is not new doctrine; Paul is simply applying it to each person in the church in a very specific way.
Seeing then the “what” of the Christian life, Paul moves on to the “why” of the Christian life. After he gives the commands, he gives the cause. He is now moving from the “musts” to the motivations. Beginning in verse 11, Paul says “For the grace of God that brings salvation has appeared to all men, teaching us…that we should live soberly righteously, and godly.” Here is the chief motivation for living the Christian life – the grace of God.
We have received forgiveness from our sins, and God has granted us a relationship with him. Now, we would do well to pursue a life that puts away sin. We should not return to those things we were saved from. Rather, having been given hope and peace by the grace of God, we should live in ways that reflect that hope and peace. He saved us from lives of selfishness, so let us now serve one another. He saved us from lives of impurity, now let us provoke one another to love and good works. He saved us from lives of disobedience, now let us live fully submitted to the authority that he has placed in our lives. God’s grace is the motivation for why we should live the way we live.
These words were to be the authority on which Titus could “set in order” (ch.1 v. 5) the things that were wrong with the Cretian churches. It would be under the authority of God’s grace and the hope of Christ’s return that he could speak and exhort those churches to live in obedience to God’s commands. He did not need to appeal to emotionalism or manipulation, rather, in confidence he could exhort Christians based upon their mutual conversion in Christ. He could teach with confidence that “if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature. Old things are passed away, all things are become new.” And there could be no one in any of the churches who could push back against the “why” of the Christian life.
Reflect: Why did Paul tell Titus what he did in v.11-15?