In his letter to Titus, Paul has given instruction for how the church can and should run. Titus was instructed to appoint leadership in the church that was faithful and “blameless.” It was vital to the health of the church that the people of the church were taught the word of God. There were plenty of personality things that a pastor or elders might desire to teach that were not the clear exposition of the Scriptures, but they were to refrain from serving themselves, and instead serve the church by teaching the word of God.
Paul admonished Titus to correct those teachers who were teaching things that were not consistent with Scripture. Those who sought to establish their own cults of personality were to be stopped and corrected. The words Paul had used were that Titus should “rebuke them sharply.” For the sake of the church, those leaders who were not teaching the testimony of Scripture but were instead railing and unruly were to be sharply rebuked. It was vital for the health of the church that each congregation have a leader that was grace and truth oriented, and not misguided by error.
The instruction in the letter of Titus then transitioned from the distinction between the good teachers Titus should appoint and the false teachers that Titus should rebuke, to the relationships that the church members should have with one another. The church should be a multi-generational family that exists in community encouraging and exhorting each other. And those who were in the bonds of slavery were to seek to serve well and to exemplify their trust in God to their employers. Their life was to evidence the transforming grace of God to those around them, especially their masters.
In very practical ways, Paul finished his letter by directing Titus to admonish the believers in their practical everyday living. Again, this was not Paul venting his own personal preferences, rather, he was confirming under the guidance of the Holy Spirit, what God had revealed elsewhere in Scripture as the duty of the people of God. This was not Paul’s agenda and attempt at developing a cult, rather, he was explaining what a Christian should look like.
Christians should relate to their authorities (governmental and otherwise) in humility and obedience. Christians should guard their words and not speak of things in ignorance or malice. Christians should be marked by the kindness and love that has been shown to them and that they should show to those around them. Christians will be transformed by the grace of God, and will seek to see others transformed by that same grace. As Paul closes his letter to Titus, he gives one last challenge for those who are believers. “Let ours also learn to maintain good works.” This should be the lifestyle of the believer. That in good works, and then in what Paul mentions in verse 15, “love in the faith,” God’s grace can be seen at work in us.
Walking away from Titus, perhaps we can see the value of good leadership in a church. Maybe we can more clearly understand the priority of the word of God in the life of the church, and how each member in the church should relate to the other members. Overall, I pray that our study together will result in us loving one another better. That instead of seeking areas to argue and be contentious, we can be a people who are marked by kindness and gentleness with the love of God.
Reflect: What are some things that you have learned from Paul’s letter to Titus?