Posts categorized “Titus”


You May Already Be Qualified

June 10, 2013   11:11 pm

Hypocrisy is a charged often leveled against Christians. “How can you say you believe ‘x’ and still do ‘y’?”, the unbeliever asks. While the merits of this claim probably deserve an entire devotional on their own, the implication is that these hypocrites are unqualified - unqualified to be taken seriously, unqualified to speak the truth of the Bible, even unqualified to be a child of God. If someone hears this charge, particularly the latter one, with enough repetition, they may actually start to believe it. What exactly qualifies someone to become a Christian, or to at least claim that they are?

Believe it or not, the list of qualifications is quite short.

1Now there was a man of the Pharisees named Nicodemus, a ruler of the Jews. 2This man came to Jesus by night and said to Him, “Rabbi, we know that You are a teacher come from God, for no one can do these signs that You do unless God is with him.” 3Jesus answered him, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born again he cannot see the kingdom of God.”

John 3:1-3 (ESV)

30Then he brought them out and said, “Sirs, what must I do to be saved?” 31And they said, “Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved, you and your household.”

Acts 16:30-31 (ESV)

Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ - that’s it!

This is the culmination of a long process. God created man (Genesis 1:27) in a perfect state, but man chose to sin (Genesis 3:1-7). There were stiff consequences for that sin (Genesis 3:16-19), but in the serpent’s curse, God alluded to His plan (Genesis 3:15). Throughout the Old Testament, many prophecies were made concerning the Messiah, both literal (Isaiah 9:1-7, Isaiah 53) and figurative (Leviticus 4). Jesus came, born of a virgin (Matthew 1:18), and lived a sinless life (Hebrews 4:15) while ministering on earth. He was crucified (Matthew 27:22-26), but resurrected from the grave (Matthew 28:1-7) and ascended to heaven to be with His Father (Acts 1:6-11) until He returns to call His own home (1 Thessalonians 4:13-17).

Throughout the Bible, there are many, many examples of those who would likely be called hypocrites today. Abraham lied about Sarah being his wife - twice! - (Genesis 12:11-20, Genesis 20:1-18) and is still the father of the nation of Israel. Jacob stole his brother’s blessing (Genesis 27:5-35), but was still the father of the 12 tribes of Israel. David committed adultery (2 Samuel 11:2-5) and murder (2 Samuel 11:14-24), yet God used Bathsheba to give him Solomon, his successor as king. Paul persecuted and killed Christ’s followers (Acts 8:1-9:2), yet he was used to write nearly half of the New Testament.

Were these people hypocrites? Some may say “yes.” The thing is, while salvation is an instant change in state, learning to live in a way that pleases Christ takes a lifetime. As we work to allow the Holy Spirit to control our lives, and deepen our relationship with Him, we can see significant growth. Habits can be changed, thought patterns can be transformed, and we can experience peace and joy that are not possible in our own strength. We will get better, but we will never be perfect.

This is also a great example of God’s redemption. The more cynical person would look at the people above and think “If these are the founders of this religion, I want nothing to do with it!” When you look at each life, though, you see God working to bring about a changed heart, which results in a transformed life. These people weren’t used by God to do those sinful things; those people were used by God to do amazing things for Him in spite of those sinful things!

(A note on leaders - Paul sets out qualifications for deacons and pastors in two different places (Titus 1:5-9, 1 Timothy 3:1-13). James echoes this along with a warning.

1Not many of you should become teachers, my brothers, for you know that we who teach will be judged with greater strictness. 2For we all stumble in many ways.

James 3:1-2a (ESV)

These guidelines are good for all, but the church should hold their leaders to these standards as a condition of continued leadership. The Bible contains several examples of God removing people from leadership when they turned from Him.)

How, then, do we get qualified? That’s just it - God doesn’t call the qualified, He qualifies the called. If you have accepted Christ, you are qualified! Don’t let your failures get you down; rather, use them as reminders of how much you (and we all) need Jesus. If you haven’t accepted Christ, the good news is that you’re only missing one qualification. There is no credit check, and no test for which you have to study. God is waiting with open arms to welcome you into His family! All you have to do is ask; God’s Simple Plan of Salvation can show you how.


How to Become Pure

October 10, 2007   7:00 am

When Paul wrote to Titus, he stopped one verse short of us having a 3:16. Instead, we’ll look at Titus 1:16 (with verse 15 included for context).

15To the pure, everything is pure, but to those who are defiled and unbelieving nothing is pure; in fact, both their mind and conscience are defiled. 16They profess to know God, but they deny Him by their works. They are detestable, disobedient, and disqualified for any good work.

Titus 1:15-16 (HCSB)

Paul had been to the island of Crete, and when he left, he left Titus there to continue the work of building the church on Crete. It was a tough mission field for Titus – there were people who wanted to overthrow the church, and were financially profiting from teaching what was wrong. (Titus 1:10-11) In fact, here’s how one of their own described them.

12One of their very own prophets said,

Cretans are always liars, evil beasts, lazy gluttons.

Titus 1:12 (HCSB)

Titus certainly had his work cut out for him! But, Paul’s advice to him on selecting leaders of this young church can help us today, even though most of us probably attend well-established churches (or could if we wanted to). Paul starts verse 15 by saying “To the pure, everything is pure…” Paul hasn’t been talking about those who are pure, but he is reminding Titus that there are people who have accepted the Word of God in their hearts, and have been made pure. This is the type of person we should strive to be. Paul mentioned purity when he told the Philippian church where they should focus their thoughts.

8Finally brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable - if there is any moral excellence and if there is any praise - dwell on these things.

Philippians 4:8 (HCSB)

Even Jesus mentioned those who are pure in His Sermon on the Mount.

8Blessed are the pure in heart, because they will see God.

Matthew 5:8 (HCSB)

Paul follows this short description with a contrast. The “defiled” are different; they claim to know God, but their words and their works are at odds with one another. They may know about God in their heads, but they do not know Him in their hearts. Paul describes these people as “detestable, disobedient, and disqualified for any good work.” (v. 16)

Rather than focus on what these folks (or us today) have done wrong, think about this. If Paul had thought that the detestable, disobedient, vile beasts of Crete were beyond hope, would he have gone and started a church, and left Titus there to continue it? I doubt it. No matter how far gone we may think we are, it is God’s grace that can bring us out of that, and purify our hearts. The purity that Paul spoke of in verse 15 is not something we can manufacture ourselves; rather, it is the outcome of us allowing God to come into our hearts and lives, and Him getting rid of the things that are keeping us from the purity He desires.

I pray that we will allow the Holy Spirit to purify our hearts, and make us willing, strong vessels for His work.


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Daniel is a man who wants to be used of God however He sees fit.

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