Reading for Friday, March 2: Titus 3
This chapter, though brief, is loaded with instruction and encouragement, both for Titus and for today’s reader. If I had to reduce this chapter down to a singular theme, I think “doing what is good” seems to fit, given that Paul uses that phrase multiple times here.
Once again, the Word teaches us that humility must permeate the life of Jesus’ disciples. This humility prompts us to submit to our governing authorities, extending goodness, peace and consideration, showing “true humility toward all men,” (v1). Prior to Christ, Paul says our lives were characterized by indulgence (“…enslaved by all kinds of passions and pleasures,”) and hate (“…being hated and hating one another”). But then, the glorious kindness and love of God appeared to us and our lives were forever changed. This “but then” moment is Gospel to us — the “good news” that is salvation for those who believe. It is this grace that liberates us to live the kind of lives that Paul writes about: lives that reflect the goodness of God. Obedience, trust, faith, love in action…these all conspire to declare the goodness of God to the world. It is no accident that the most oft-repeated phrase in Scripture affirms the good love of God throughout the ages: “Give thanks to the Lord, for He is good; His love endures forever.”
This ultimate commitment to God’s enduring goodness leads the disciple to avoid certain behaviors, too. In particular, the Christ-follower is to be on guard against “foolish controversies and genealogies and arguments and quarrels about the law, because these are unprofitable and useless,” (v9). It’s instructive for us to realize that Jesus had little use for the legalists of His day who would spew invective and condemnation and division. As followers of Christ, we take our cues from Him, moving forward only in love.
Paul closes with a few personal remarks and one final exhortation for Titus’ teaching: “Our people must learn to devote themselves to doing what is good, in order that they may provide for daily necessities and not live unproductive lives.” (v14)