In chapter one of Paul’s letter to Titus he emphasizes the qualifications for deacons and elders in the church. In chapter two he expands his instructions to include the other members of the church. As the reader will notice, what is required for sainthood is the same on the personal level regardless of one’s position within the family of God. Let us turn now to chapter two of this explicit and thorough set of commands from the Creator of all things to His most prized creation–mankind whom He created in His own physical LIKENESS and spiritual IMAGE. Man is like God in physical shape by fiat. However, man, like angels before him, is given the option to choose his spiritual image. Lucifer and one-third of God’s angels chose the way of sin, as did Adam, Eve, Cain and the vast majority of their descendants to date. The Apostle Paul’s letter to Titus reveals the Lord’s requirements for the salvation of mankind. Let us continue to examine them and, unlike the vast majority of our fellow human beings, let us choose to walk in holiness by obeying God’s Law/Word/Truth.
In 2:1 we find Paul telling Titus not to vary from the “sound doctrine” (teaching) he had received from him when teaching the people of the churches located in Crete. Note that Paul uses the word “doctrine” (singular). God considers His entire Law (Genesis to Revelation) one single message, all parts being equally important. One will note throughout the Scriptures how God often uses the Words “commandment,” “Word,” and “Scripture” (all singular in context) when referring to the entire Law. He presents it as one, indivisible unit which must be believed and obeyed without variation.
In verse two Paul refers to the “aged men” who traditionally were viewed as having wisdom and common sense which children and young people normally do not have. Notice the characteristics God required of those to whom we should turn for wisdom and common sense. Wise men are first and foremost “sober,” meaning that they are not clowns, pranksters, etc. Years ago there was a famous comedian on the church ministry circuit who labeled himself “God’s clown.” GOD DOES NOT HAVE A CLOWN. Nowhere in His Holy Bible do we find any mention of a clown, a comedian or court jester. Laughter is good, He tells us. But nowhere does He tell His people to deliberately make people laugh. Humility, which He does require, will not allow comedic behavior because it takes attention away from God and places it on the clown. There is natural humor in life and we should enjoy it. But God’s people do not purposefully cause people to laugh by their words or acts. In His letter to Titus, Paul used the Word “sober” five times. This should tell us something.
The Word following “sober” does tell us something. The Word is “grave.” I have been confronted on four occasions relative to my normal facial expression which is neither negative nor positive. IT IS NORMAL. I have been asked by total strangers: 1) “Why are you so sad?” 2) “Don’t you ever smile?” These are quotes. In another situation I was having my driver’s license renewed. When it came time to take the picture, the lady behind the camera remarked: “Around here we smile.” I have a serious persona (facial expression) given to me by the Lord. (A) I am not sad. I am a happy person. I do smile and laugh when the occasion calls for it, and (B) I could not care less what “we do around here.” On another occasion I was at a community-wide breakfast event when the young religionist serving up the pancakes forced his face into an exaggerated grin and told me to “smile.” Forced smiling is one of the things people do when they do not have the Lord. The words “smile” and “grin” do not appear in the Holy Tome. The point I am making is that God does not tell us to deliberately draw attention to ourselves, or to care what other people think about our “peculiarities,” which He does require (vs 14/ Exo. 19:5/ Deut. 14:2/ Ps. 135:4/ 1 Pet. 2:9). In 1 Peter 2:9 God ties peculiarity to holiness. Holiness certainly does make one peculiar in this world, including the church world, which scoffs at the idea that man can live a life of holiness. I am sure that each of those people who took it upon themselves to evaluate my facial expression was a church member in good standing. My wife chided me for my “problem,” reminding me that “It takes more muscles to frown than it does to smile.” I reminded her that it takes more muscles to do either than it does to do neither. I thanked the Lord for that retort, for I could have never come up with it myself.
Other commands for the aged require us (I am 81) to be even-tempered, sound in faith and love and to be patient. Expression evaluators try my patience severely. Aged people are required to walk in holiness. They are to be honest and to drink wine in moderation. They are to be “teachers of good things.” Teaching is carried out both verbally and by way of example.
In verse four Paul instructs young women to be sober, to love and care for their family members, to be discreet (not tell everything that happens) and to be obedient to their own husbands “so that the Word of God is not blasphemed.”
Young men are to be sober minded, doers of good works, grave, sincere, and uncorruptible when it comes to God’s doctrine. Their speech is to be sound and in accordance with His Word.
In verse 10 Paul tells servants to serve their masters as they serve God.
In verses 11-15 Paul tells us how to live in order to receive salvation upon Christ’s return (His “appearing”). We must “live godly, soberly, righteously in this present world” as we look forward in “blessed hope” for the salvation Christ will being with Him “at His appearing” (Second Advent). Paul describes those who will have qualified for salvation at that time as those being free from “iniquity” (Lawlessness), “purified” to the point of being “peculiar” and “zealous for good works.” Yes, the Word is “works.”
Does this sound like anything you have been told by church leaders. Probably not. Normally, pulpit proclamations instruct parishioners to repent following their inevitable sins which, thanks to Adam, are simply part of “Christian life.” But not to worry, Mary or Grace will “handle” their inevitable sins. Then they can be like the sow that returns to her mire and the dog that returns to its vomit. Upon repenting of their latest sins, they are, as one woman said following a repentance session, “good for another week.” Is this what Paul wrote to Titus? Is this what the Lord wrote in stone on Mt. Sinai? Is this what John wrote in 1 John chapter 3? If my Bible is correct, the answer is “NO.” L.J.