Grace Develops God's People to Live Counter-Culturally among All People.

We're taking a break from our series on 2 Corinthians for a few weeks to study Titus 3:1-11. This passage will be our ultimate focus; but first, we need to know the context of the whole book.

Notice a few themes in this letter from Paul to the young pastor Titus. Paul refers to the Incarnated Word, Jesus our Savior, in each chapter (Titus 1:1-4, 2:11-13, and 3:4-5). He exhorts Titus to be bold 3 times in the book, including Titus 2:15. (See also 2 Timothy 4.) Throughout all 3 chapters, our attention is drawn to the development of Christian character in those who give their lives to Christ.

Titus 1 makes clear that no church can exist well unless their shepherd's character matches God's character. Titus 2:1-8 extends this to older saints who should become an example for those younger.

The light of God's character, lived out by His children, should shine brightly and obviously in any culture. Paul applies this to elders and teachers, every age group in the church, and employer/employee relationships. God's kindness and grace in our lives result in our living to reflect His character. God wants that character to be developed among both saved and unsaved people. Grace compels us to be active in good works, the quality of which is in direct contrast to cultural vices (Titus 2:7, 14, 3:8, 14.)

In Titus 3, the theme of leading and submitting is applied to the realm of civil rulers and authorities. People in too many churches struggle to submit to authorities because their pastors struggle to submit. When pastors don't pay taxes, are not accountable to anyone in their own church, and do not practice mutual submission in their marriages (Ephesians 5:21-33), why would their church see any need to submit to authority? On the contrary, even Christ showed submission (Philippians 2:5-7).

Titus 1:10-16 warns against calling others unclean and separating from them hypocritically. It is amazing what trials reveal of a person's character. Sometimes it is not a pretty result, even in leadership. These people have forgotten the grace and mercy God has shown to them. They have forgotten that their identity is in Christ, and so is the identity of every believer we meet.

Application Points

  • Do you struggle to submit to the rulers and authorities God has ordained over your life? What kind of example do your leaders in the church provide? Follow them as they follow Christ.
  • What are trials revealing in you? Have you forgotten the grace and mercy God has shown you? Believer, never forget that your identity is in Christ, and so is the identity of every believer you meet. Refuse to treat someone based on any other label.
  • The noise in our culture is deafening. This affects our minds, which affects our hearts. Guard what you allow to influence your thinking. Keep focused on God's Word and the mission He's given you as a believer and member of His church.

Tools for Further Study

Cross References to Explore
  • Ephesians 2:11-21 – We are all one in Christ.
  • Ephesians 2:8-10 – God's grace and kindness produces character.
A Hymn to Encourage: "Our God Has Made Us One"

Our God has made us one —
In Him our hearts unite.
When we, His children, share His love,
Our joy is His delight.

Our God has made us one —
His glory is displayed.
For as we build each other up
Our love becomes His praise.

Our God has made us one —
In sorrow and in joy;
We share the cross of Christ, our Lord,
In Him we now rejoice.

Our God has made us one —
One Church to bear His name;
One body and one Bride of Christ,
And with Him we shall reign