It is one of the shortest books of the Bible. It is only three chapters long and rarely is it ever preached. But the Epistle of Paul to Titus is one of the most condensed and explicative books on God and his ways there is. So much so Adam Clarke, the 18th century theologian and Bible scholar had the following to say about the epistle:
“Few portions of the New Testament excel this chapter. It may well form the creed, system of ethics, and text book of every Christian preacher. Does any man inquire what is the duty of a Gospel minister! Send him to the second chapter of the Epistle to Titus for a complete answer” (Adam Clarke).
Here we pick up at the close of chapter 2 in the Epistle of Paul to Titus where Paul teaches of grace, salvation, righteousness and exhortation.
Grace of God
“For the grace of God that bringeth salvation hath appeared to all men, Teaching us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly, in this present world; Looking for that blessed hope, and the glorious appearing of the great God and our Saviour Jesus Christ; Who gave himself for us, that he might redeem us from all iniquity, and purify unto himself a peculiar people, zealous of good works. These things speak, and exhort, and rebuke with all authority. Let no man despise thee”. (Titus 2:11-15).
“For the grace of God that bringeth salvation hath appeared to all men”
There’s a rather sobering thought. It leaves us all with no excuse. God’s plan of salvation is clearly known to man.
So often the grace of God is defined as “unmerited favor”. It’s to the point of cliché’ and consequently the full impact of God’s grace is not understood, received or delved into. We must understand that His grace is not automatically given and that no one deserves it. Grace is a display of God’s love and mercy. More specifically, we need to grasp a hold of the idea of the supernatural influence of grace. Grace is the Holy Ghost in union with our spirit, guiding us to right and righteousness. Only through the aid of the Holy Ghost are we able to get understanding and wisdom, grow in the Godly type love of a Christian and to turn from vile ways. Grace isn’t just favor, it is an indwelling and interaction of the Holy Spirit with the spirit within each person!
Jesus said, “But the Comforter, which is the Holy Ghost, whom the Father will send in my name, he shall teach you all things, and bring all things to your remembrance, whatsoever I have said unto you” (John 14:26).
Now what are we going to do with God’s grace? How are we going to react when our eyes become clear and can see once there has been an indwelling of the Holy Ghost? Man has free will and free choice, are we going to receive the Holy Ghost and his guidance? Or, are we going to resist it and go about our merry way of the flesh, the way of death and destruction and of pain and sorrow?
The Holy Ghost teaches us that, “denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly, in this present world”. Do we accept what we have been taught by the spirit or are we going to be ruled by the whim and desires of the skin?
Living a righteous life and avoiding things of the flesh are not an end but rather a means. Living righteously is a manifestation of the love and God inside. It is also the love and God displayed to and for other people. God’s love, like His grace is to be freely given.
The spirit filled man of God is always, “Looking for that blessed hope, and the glorious appearing of the great God and our Saviour Jesus Christ”. The blessed hope is of salvation and eternal life that comes through Jesus Christ. A man of hope is a man of joy and peace for that eternal salvation is not a future event it is a present day condition. Let that one sink in for a moment.
This is why the spirit filled man of God is, “zealous of good works”. We are saved now! Life eternal has begun now!
To add to our joy, peace and tranquility of soul (which can only come through Jesus Christ), we are also excited about our salvation and to be Christ like. After all, that is what good works and righteousness are! They are the ways and actions of Jesus Christ. Christians are to lead by example not just by mouth and intent. What better way to lead by example than to be that example? We are to emulate Christ from the inside out in thought, in spirit and in action.
“These things speak, and exhort, and rebuke with all authority. Let no man despise thee”
These things speaks goes beyond mere utterance or reciting scripture or bible quotes. This speak is what should be the natural upwelling from the heart. It should be the God that comes out of our mouth from the spirit within. Whether it is scripture or not, this “speak” should flow naturally and always be Godly. Remember, the Devil himself recited scripture. But a man of God should always have his words filled with the Holy Ghost that has filled him.
“To exhort” someone is to love then along the way when they may stumble. It is to console and encourage them in God. To exhort is to correct and strengthen someone in the Lord.
“Rebuke with all authority” is to convict and convince with the word of God and His word only. Man does not need to try to “help” the word of God with his emotions, repetitions or heated fervor. He does, however need to know God’s word in terms of awareness, familiarity, depth, and breadth and most certainly in its application. While the Holy Ghost enlightens and teaches the man of God still he must put forth effort.
“Let no man despise thee” although the world will hate the word of God and those who live and speak it, just be sure that is the sole cause. Man must be very careful that his zeal for the word has not caused the hatred of others. It is so easy for pride to slip in and take over. Likewise it is easy for hatred to birth and grow in the righteous. Pride and hatred are not of the righteous but of the self-righteous. God, His Son and the Holy Ghost are removed from the self-righteous and all that remains is the man and the condemnation of the Law.
Although you may be hated, do not be despised. Stay in God and, “When a man’s ways please the Lord, he maketh even his enemies to be at peace with him” (Proverbs 16:7).
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