Truth Leads to Godliness
Heavenly Father, may Your truth shape my life today. Strengthen me to live each day according to Your better way.
Read TITUS 1:1-16
Scripture taken from the Holy Bible, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION. Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984 International Bible Society. All rights reserved throughout the world. Used by permission of International Bible Society.
“…train yourself to be godly. For physical training is of some value, but godliness has value for all things, holding promise for both the present life and the life to come” (1 Tim. 4:7b,8).
Paul had sent Titus to stabilize the vulnerable young church in Crete by appointing reliable leadership for each town congregation. The local culture had a well-justified bad reputation. The saying Paul quoted (12) was typical. Crete had a reputation for self-indulgence and caring only for its own. The Gospel had begun to take root and had spread across the island, but there was insufficient evidence of transformed lives. Furthermore, Jewish Christian teachers (“the circumcision group,” v. 10) were spreading a version of the Gospel that pandered to Cretan culture by emphasizing commands (the Law), “myths” (14) and purity rituals (15), none of which had the power to transform (16). Late in his ministry, Paul was still protecting young churches from this inadequate form of Christianity he had challenged from the beginning (e.g., in Galatians).
The truth which Paul has been preaching leads to godliness. Faith is sustained by hope, which is rooted in God’s promises. Unlike Cretan culture, God does not lie. Gospel truth is lived truth. It makes godly living possible. Titus is to identify leaders whose faith is sound and whose lives are godly. Their sound belief is to counter the false teachers and enable them to instruct the young churches (9). Their godly lives are to contrast with Cretan culture and show God’s better way (6-8). In this passage the “elders” and the “overseers” are probably the same people. We are not all called to be overseers (i.e. church leaders), but in another sense everyone who follows Christ is called to be an “elder,” an example of long-term discipleship. Young Christians need examples of stable and mature Christian living.
Ask: “How is what I believe reflected in my life? What sort of example am I to younger believers?”
Lord, I pray as Paul prayed for the Philippian Church, that I may be able, “…to discern what is best and be pure and blameless until the day of Christ.”