Love, not hate…

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Titus 2: 11 For the grace of God has appeared, bringing salvation to all, 12 training us to renounce impiety and worldly passions, and in the present age to live lives that are self-controlled, upright, and godly, 13 while we wait for the blessed hope and the manifestation of the glory of our great God and Savior, Jesus Christ. 14 He it is who gave himself for us that he might redeem us from all iniquity and purify for himself a people of his own who are zealous for good deeds.

Just as Timothy was a protege of the apostle Paul, so was Titus. Hence, as was the case in the letters 1 and 2 Timothy, in this letter Paul gave counsel to Titus as to how he should conduct himself as a leader in the church. This counsel, of course, can be helpful for us as well.

So, what is Paul’s counsel to Titus in this passage?

v.12 …renounce impiety and worldly passions, and in the present age to live lives that are self-controlled, upright, and godly…

Paul makes it clear that the life of Titus should not look like everyone else’s. His focus should reflect the heart of God – loving, serving, sacrificing for others. Too often, however, this is not the sort of life we Christians demonstrate to an increasingly skeptical world. Too often, we Christians come off as hypocritical.

Rather than loving and serving others, some Christians condemn others by pointing out (with gusto) their moral deficiencies. Christians can spend way too much time pointing out other peoples’ sins. Hence, what people experience from us is not love, but condemnation.

The bible names one who is continually condemning people for their sins. His name is Satan.

The hypocrisy part comes when the aforementioned judgmental Christians are then exposed for having the same sort of flaws and foibles as those they condemn. We claim to be different, but turns out we’re not. We, too, are sinners. Sad, but true.

So, what do we do? First, look at v.12 again:

v.12 …renounce impiety and worldly passions, and in the present age to live lives that are self-controlled, upright, and godly…

The focus here is not so much that Titus would make sure that other people live this way, but that HE lives this way. Rather than being a judge, Paul encourages Titus to be a living example. Not a perfect example (no such thing), but a living example. A life of godliness and self-sacrifice and love for others speaks for itself. This is a good word for you and me, don’t you think?

Then, when we add v.11 to v.12, we see HOW we can possibly be living examples to others:

11 For the grace of God has appeared… 12 training us to renounce impiety and worldly passions, and in the present age to live lives that are self-controlled, upright, and godly…

Our only hope of living differently is the grace of God. Period. NO ONE can be a living example by trying harder. Our sin will always get in the way. Instead, we depend on the power of the Holy Spirit living in us to overcome our shortcomings – to the glory of God. And, in our humility, we will find ourselves loving rather than condemning others, which draws people to us rather than repelling them.

Lord Jesus, let it be so. Amen.

2 thoughts on “Love, not hate…

  1. I read this quote the other day, “We draw people to Christ not by loudly discrediting what they believe, by telling them how wrong they are and how right we are, but by showing them a light that is so lovely that they want with all their hearts to know the source of it.” Madeleine L’Engle

  2. Pr. Michael Jannett

    Amen to Linda’s quote above…and AMEN to this: “The focus here is not so much that Titus would make sure that other people live this way, but that HE lives this way. Rather than being a judge, Paul encourages Titus to be a living example.” Thanks, Ernie… Good word.

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