Purity in Faith

Saturday, February 11, 2017, 8:00 a.m. – The Lord Jesus put in mind the song “Search Me, O God.” Speak, Lord, your words to my heart. I read Titus 2 (NASB).

Older Men (vv. 1-2)

But as for you, speak the things which are fitting for sound doctrine. Older men are to be temperate, dignified, sensible, sound in faith, in love, in perseverance.

Although all of these instructions are designated for specific people groups, in this particular case for older men, specifically concerning the spiritual qualities or characteristic traits they should possess, many of these instructions in this chapter of Titus can be applied to anyone of us.

To be temperate means to be self-controlled and even-tempered. This means we are not easily angered, we don’t live by our emotions, we are not moody, and we resist the devil, run away from sin when tempted, and we rely on God to be our strength and to counsel us in the way we should go. To be dignified means to be honorable, respectable and serious-minded. To be sensible means to be realistic, to make good judgments, and to exercise caution, care, discernment and wisdom in varied circumstances. To be sound in anything means to be healthy, unblemished and firm, so to be sound in faith means we don’t waver in opinion, we don’t go with the flow, and we stand on the Word of Truth even in the face of great opposition. To be sound in love means to be faithful, committed, loyal, trustworthy and steadfast.

Older and Younger Women (vv. 3-5)

Older women likewise are to be reverent in their behavior, not malicious gossips nor enslaved to much wine, teaching what is good, so that they may encourage the young women to love their husbands, to love their children, to be sensible, pure, workers at home, kind, being subject to their own husbands, so that the word of God will not be dishonored.

To be reverent means “suitable to a sacred character” (biblehub.com). Sacred means “holy,” which means to be set apart (unlike, different) from this world because we are being conformed into the image of Christ. Our character is our personality, temperament, or disposition. So, to be reverent is to behave appropriately in accordance with a holy disposition, such as in demonstrating honor, respect, love, devotion and fidelity to God/Jesus.

It is also shown in what we don’t do, such as we are not to be people who make a practice of gossiping about others, especially not in a malicious way intended to do them harm. We should not be addicted to alcohol or any substances that might cause us to lose self-control, as well as we should not be addicted to any kind of sin, for Jesus Christ set us free! And, we should be teachers (in words and in lifestyle) of what is good (wholesome, beneficial, pure, righteous, holy, godly, and in the best interest of others).

The things that we, as older women, are to teach the younger women should also be what we have practiced and/or are practicing, depending on what is applicable, i.e. many older women may no longer have husbands or young children at home, although we should love our adult children and our grandchildren, too. This kind of love is a friendship and affectionate love of a wife toward her husband, or of a mother toward her children. She should be dedicated to meeting their needs and to showing them affection, nurturing and kindness. And, the wife is to be in subjection to her husband, i.e. under him in rank and in authority, yielding to his God-given position over her, especially with regards to where there are differences of opinion, but never yielding to anything sinful, i.e. to anything against God’s will.

The counsel here is that married women should be workers at home. For some people, like single moms, this is not possible, for they provide the sole financial support for their families. Yet, many married women do enter the workforce when financially they could stay at home if they set their priorities in the right order. So, what’s the big deal? Why was this counsel given in the first place? I find the order of these instructions particularly interesting in that the instruction to be workers at home follows directly after the instruction to be pure. I believe purity, thus, plays a huge part in the need for more married women to be workers at home, and to make this a priority.

Why? Because, according to many studies and their statistics, the workplace is or was the number one place for married people to engage in infidelity, although I think social media plays a close second, and is climbing. In the workplace men and women work closely together 40+ hours per week in settings where they share common interests, team work, projects, and even travel together. So, the danger is real, and thus there is much wisdom in this instruction for women to be workers at home, if it is financially feasible.

Young Men (vv. 6-8)

Likewise urge the young men to be sensible; in all things show yourself to be an example of good deeds, with purity in doctrine, dignified, sound in speech which is beyond reproach, so that the opponent will be put to shame, having nothing bad to say about us.

Again, these characteristic traits could apply to any of us. We should all be sensible. And, we should show ourselves to be examples of good deeds. In other words, by our words and by our actions we should set an example for others to follow with regard to doing good deeds to others. We should be sensitive to others’ needs and to the voice of the Holy Spirit prompting us to speak a word of encouragement to someone, or to take someone some food, or to help pay for someone to get false teeth, or to pay for a broken appliance to be repaired or replaced, or to offer words of counsel, hope and healing to the despondent, depressed, and those troubled in spirit, etc.

We should all be pure in heart and in doctrine. What we believe, live, and what we teach others should not be mixed with humanistic philosophy, with the values of this sinful world, with idolatry, and with other religions. And, we should all be people who practice the principles of purity in everything we do, think, speak and are. There should be no room in our lives for impure thoughts and behaviors or for being entertained by the self-serving, self-gratifying and/or greedy, sensual, and sexual indulgences of others. And, we should all live lives above reproach, i.e. our “interactions with others, are to be of such moral quality that they do not bring shame or in any way disgrace the body of Christ or the name of Jesus” (gotquestions.org).

Bondslaves (vv. 9-10)

Urge bondslaves to be subject to their own masters in everything, to be well-pleasing, not argumentative, not pilfering, but showing all good faith so that they will adorn the doctrine of God our Savior in every respect.

If we are in the servitude of another, whether voluntarily or under compulsion, or whether paid or volunteer, we should behave honorably toward the person or the people we serve, as though we are serving our Lord Jesus. We should never pay back evil with evil, but always with good. We should never take the law into our own hands thinking they “owe” us something and so we just take (steal) it. If we put on our time sheet that we worked 8 hours, we should give our employer 8 hours of work, i.e. we should not cheat our employer or lie on our paperwork. If we cheat, steal and lie we will be disobeying our Lord and we will be giving a bad name to Christianity and to the gospel of our salvation. So, we should always behave truthfully, honorably and with full integrity in all that we do and say. This way we will honor our Lord and will bring respect to our faith in God.

The Grace of God (vv. 11-15)

For the grace of God has appeared, bringing salvation to all men, instructing us to deny ungodliness and worldly desires and to live sensibly, righteously and godly in the present age, looking for the blessed hope and the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior, Christ Jesus, who gave Himself for us to redeem us from every lawless deed, and to purify for Himself a people for His own possession, zealous for good deeds.

These things speak and exhort and reprove with all authority. Let no one disregard you.

Everything we have talked about in this writing thus far really all boils down to our understanding of God’s grace. Many people today are teaching a false grace gospel which leads people to believe that God’s grace merely forgives sin, gives us an escape from hell, and promises us heaven when we die. They teach people that God requires nothing of them – no repentance, no obedience and no submission to Christ and to his cross. There is no death to sin and thus no resurrection to new life in Christ Jesus, because to live we must first die with Christ to sin so we can live with Christ to righteousness.

Jesus didn’t die just to give us heaven when we die. He died that we might die to sin and live to righteousness. His grace, as well, is not a get-out-of-jail-free card or a free-ride into heaven while we still live life how we want. Many people today are cheapening God’s grace, and are leaving their adherents with the understanding that they don’t have to turn from their sins and they don’t have to obey Christ and his commandments. But, they are missing the whole point of the grace of God which is to deliver us from SLAVERY to sin so that we can become bondservants of Christ.

It is not true grace if it leaves you still floundering in your sins, feeling hopeless to ever be free from your addictions. Jesus died to set us free, so I pray you will search your hearts today, and you will allow Jesus to search you, too, which is what I am doing, and you will let him show you any wicked way in you, as I am doing, so that we might turn from what is against God, and so we might turn to follow our Lord Jesus in obedience in all respects.

Search Me, O God / An Original Work / July 12, 2012

Based off Psalm 139

O Lord, You search and know me.
You know all that I do.
O Lord, You discern my ways.
I put my trust in You.
Where can I go from Your Spirit?
Where can I flee from Your presence?
Where’er I am, You are with me,
Guiding me in love.
O Lord, You search and know me.
You know all that I do.
O Lord, You discern my ways.
I put my trust in You.

O Lord, You made and formed me
In my own mother’s womb.
Your hands beautif’ly made me.
I give my praise to You.
My frame was not hidden from You
When I was made in the dark place.
All the days ordained for me
Were written in Your book.
O Lord, You made and formed me
In my own mother’s womb.
Your hands beautif’ly made me.
I give my praise to You.

O Lord, how precious to me
Are Your thoughts, O my God.
When I wake in the morning,
You are still here with me.
Search me, O God, and know my heart;
Test me and know my anxious thoughts.
See if there is any offense.
Lead me in Your truth.
O Lord, how precious to me
Are Your thoughts, O my God.
When I wake in the morning,
You are still here with me.

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