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Paul's Exhortations & Instructions to Brother Titus Volume 24
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Paul Reminds Titus of what we should do because of the Grace of God Given to Us
Titus 3:8 This is a faithful saying, and these things I will that thou affirm constantly, that they which have believed in God might be careful to maintain good works. These things are good and profitable unto men. KJV Note: CEV=Contemporary English Version and MKJV=Modern King James Version
As the Apostle begins to conclude this letter to Brother Titus, he wants to now remind him and we true believers of every era and generation of what we should be doing and what we should not be doing because of our reception of this wonderful grace we have received from our Lord, Master, and Savior Jesus Christ and the grace we continually receive from Him as we sojourn down here on the earth as pilgrims away from our heavenly home, first what we should do as it is written, "This is a faithful saying, and these things I will that thou affirm constantly, that they which have believed in God might be careful to maintain good works. These things are good and profitable unto men." (Titus 3:8) (KJV). When Paul writes these words at the very beginning of this verse, 'This is a faithful saying', he means that Brother Titus and we can trust it to be the decided, determined, and direct will of Almighty God. The little English phrase 'affirm constantly' that follows shortly after is translated by the Greek word diabebaioomai meaning to confirm thoroughly (by words), that is, asseverate (state categorically): - affirm constantly. The very next statement of Paul is what he wills or directs Brother Titus to state categorically, that is, affirm constantly which is 'that they which have believed in God might be careful to maintain good works', and by this he means that the grace of God that we have received should be empowering and energizing everyone who has believed in God to live lives radically different from when we did not know God personally through faith in our Lord Jesus Christ. The little English phrase 'might be careful' is translated by the Greek word phrontizō (used this one time only in the entire New Testament) meaning to exercise thought, that is, be anxious: - be careful. The little English phrase 'to maintain' is translated by the Greek word proistēmi meaning (as used here) to practice at all times. The English word 'good' is translated by the Greek word kalos meaning properly beautiful, but chiefly (figuratively) good (literally or morally), that is, valuable or virtuous (for appearance or use. The English word 'works' is translated by the Greek word ergon which means (as used here) by implication an act: - deed.
In other words, it means that we should be doing acts of charity to others, that is, giving to help others in need, but these acts of benevolence should begin within the household of believers in need as Paul wrote with these words to the Galatian Church, "We should help people whenever we can, especially if they are followers of the Lord." (Galatians 6:10) (CEV). It also means that we should support with our finances and our prayers the faithful Pastors, Evangelist, Teachers, etc., who are giving out the truth of the Gospel and the entire Word of God as the Apsotle Paul declared to be true of himself to the Ephesian brethren when he was about to depart from them for the last time on earth, "But none of these things move me, neither do I count my life dear to myself, so that I might finish my course with joy, and the ministry which I received from the Lord Jesus Christ, to testify fully the Gospel of the grace of God. And now, behold, I know that you all will see my face no more, among whom I went proclaiming the kingdom of God. Therefore I testify to you on this day that I am pure from the blood of all. For I did not keep back from declaring to you all the counsel of God. Therefore take heed to yourselves, and to all the flock in which the Holy Spirit has made you overseers, to feed the Church of God which He has purchased with His own blood." (Acts 20:24-28) (MKJV). When we the children of God are allowing the grace of God to have rule and reign in us, then the lives we live out in this world of woe everyday will cause no harm to other human beings, but instead will be a source of benefit to all as it is written by this same Apostle Paul to the Church @ Rome with these words, "Let love be your only debt! If you love others, you have done all that the Law demands. In the Law there are many commands, such as, 'Be faithful in marriage. Do not murder. Do not steal. Do not want what belongs to others.' But all of these are summed up in the command that says, 'Love others as much as you love yourself.' No one who loves others will harm them. So love is all that the Law demands. You know what sort of times we live in, and so you should live properly. It is time to wake up. You know that the day when we will be saved is nearer now than when we first put our faith in the Lord. Night is almost over, and day will soon appear. We must stop behaving as people do in the dark and be ready to live in the light. So behave properly, as people do in the day. Don't go to wild parties or get drunk or be vulgar or indecent. Don't quarrel or be jealous. Let the Lord Jesus Christ be as near to you as the clothes you wear. Then you won't try to satisfy your selfish desires." (Romans 13:8-14) (CEV).
Here is what Alexander MacLaren had to say about this verse of Scripture, "Here, then, we have the Apostle's last will and testament, so to speak, left to all the Churches, that 'they which believe in God might be careful to maintain good works.' According to that, the hall-mark of a Christian is conduct - 'good works.' But we must beware of narrowing the meaning of that expression, as is too often done, so as to include in it mainly certain conventional forms of charity or beneficence, like 'slumming' or tract-distributing, or Sunday- school teaching, and the like. These and such as these are, no doubt, one form of good works, but by no means the whole, and their having all but monopolized the name is one reason why many Christian people fail to apprehend the full significance of New Testament teaching on the subject. These acts are but as a creek in a great sea. Paul tells us what he takes to be included in the designation, when he bids the Philippians think on 'whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honourable, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure,' and having thought on them, do them. I have omitted one word in that quotation, for Paul speaks also of 'whatsoever things are lovely.' Loveliness is an essential quality of the highest kind of good works. Many of us know that the Greeks, wise beyond many who have clearer light but duller eyes, used the same word to express goodness and beauty. The Apostle uses that pregnant word in our text, and we should well ponder the teaching given by that word. For it tells Christians that they are to take heed to make their goodness lovely, not to 'graft grace on a crab-stock,' nor to present a frowning goodness to the world. It is not enough that they who believe in God should be careful to exhibit conduct which commends itself to every man's conscience as right and pure. They should also commend themselves as being fair with a more than earthly beauty, and lustrous with a more than earthly radiance. There are many Christian people who spoil the effect of high-principled, self-sacrificing conduct by forgetting that beautifulness is an essential part of the highest goodness. Sour grapes are not the grapes that are intended to be grown on the true vine. But now, will you notice, as a further light upon Paul's notion of how to go about growing these grapes, what goes before? 'These things. I will that thou affirm constantly, that they which believe in God might be careful to maintain good works.' What are 'these things'? They are a brief summary of what we call 'the Gospel'; the evangelical teaching that 'the kindness and love of God our Saviour' had 'appeared,' and that 'He saved us, by the washing of regeneration, and the renewing of the Holy Ghost... that.. 'we should be made heirs according to the hope of eternal life.' In effect Paul says to Titus: 'Now keep on insisting upon that.' The word translated 'affirm constantly' is a very strong one. It means a forcible and continually repeated enunciation, and the plain English of Paul’s injunction to Titus is: Keep on preaching the Gospel as the surest way to produce disciples full of good works. People say to us: 'Come down to daily life and conduct; never mind your dogmas.' If you leave out what these critics mean by dogma, and try to make daily life beautiful without it, you may as well hold your tongue. And the men who forget to 'affirm' these things 'constantly,' and preach morals without Gospel, are like Builders who begin to build on the second story, whose baseless castles in the air are sure to come down in ruins. The true way to produce moral conduct is to bring into clear prominence evangelical truth. But notice again, it is 'those which believe in God who will be careful to maintain good works.' That is to say, faith is the productive cause of good works, and good works are, as I said,' the hall-mark of faith.' If a man believes, then he will do 'good works.' The converse must also be true. If a man does not do good works, what, then, about his belief? 'Show me thy faith without thy works' - that is an impossible demand. The only way to show faith is by our works, and so all attempts to rend them apart, either in theory or in practice, are as absurd as it would be to take a piece of cloth, and try to tear away the inside from the outside. 'Faith' is the underside, 'good works' is the upper, and the web is one. Faith is the principle of works; works are the manifestation and making visible of faith. So now turn for a moment to another point.
The Apostle's command here implies a principle, that Christian work should always, and will always, if the faith is genuine, be in advance of all other sorts of good work. That is implied in one of the words used here which means literally' be foremost, stand in the front,' and I see no reason why the literal meaning should not be retained here. If it is retained, we have the thought implied - if you are a Christian man you should be ahead of the world in your goodness. You should lead, and not follow, or keep step with those who are not Christians. The Church's morality on the wide scale and individual practice on the narrow, ought to be, and will be, if we are true to the Gospel, far in advance of the ordinary opinion and practice of the day in which we Bye. If we are Christians, we are meant to be leaders, and that means that we shall often, like other leaders, have to endure a great deal of obloquy (state of disgrace resulting from public abuse) and calumny (a false accusation of an offense or a malicious misrepresentation of someone's words or actions) from the people whom we are trying to lead, and who are loitering behind us. The Christian Church, as the Apostle James says, is meant to be a 'kind of first fruits of God’s creatures,' ripe before the others, riper than the others always. Does the Christian Church lead the conscience of England to-day? Does it even try to do it? Does it recognise that its function is not to re-echo the morality of the street or of the newspaper, but to peal out the morality of Jesus Christ? Is it enough that Christian people should be as good, as charitable, as beneficent, as much interested in social questions as others, or should have the better, the purer, and the happier lives of the community for their great aim, as much as other people have them? Would it be enough to say 'the electric light is about as bright as a tallow candle?' Is it enough to say, 'Christian people keep abreast of the world’s morality?' Let them go in advance, and if they go very far ahead sometimes, none the worse; the laggards will perhaps come up. But at all events, whether they do or not, 'I will that these things thou affirm constantly, in order that they which believe in God may take the lead in good works.' And now there is a last point to be noted, and that is the Apostle's warning that, although thus the belief of the Gospel, and the faith which springs from the belief, are the spring of good work, yet these will not become ours unless we are careful to stand in front. What does that carefulness mean? The word implies two things, and the first of them may be put in the shape of an exhortation - bring your brains to bear on these truths that are being thus 'constantly affirmed.' Bring them into your hearts through your minds, that they may filter into and shape the life. I believe that one main reason why the morality of the Christian Church is not much further in advance of the morality of the world than it is, is because the individual members of the Church do not bring their minds into contact with the great truths of the Gospel in such a fashion as they should. Christian practice is thin and poor and inconsistent, because Christian meditation on the Gospel and on the Lord of the Gospel, is shallow and infrequent. The truths that are to be 'affirmed' are the fuel that feeds the fire, and if there are no coals put on, the fire will very soon die down-And so there must be 'carefulness,' which means the occupation of the mind with the truths that produce holiness of life. And there must be another thing, there must be a definite and direct and continuous effort to increase our faith. I have been saying that faith is the underside of all noble conduct; and in the measure in which it is strengthened, in that measure accurately will our 'good works' increase. Suppose Manchester had had two pipes from Thirlmere instead of one, during recent droughts, should we have been in such straits for water? There was plenty in the lake, but we could not get it into our houses because we had not piping enough. There is plenty of power in our Gospel and in our God to make us rich in 'good works.' What is lacking is that we have not that connection, which is made by faith, through which the fulness of God will flow into our lives. If they want to grow crops in Eastern lands they have little to do but to sow the seed and to irrigate. Christ has sown the seed in His Gospel. We have to look after the irrigation, and the crops will come of themselves. So our main effort should be to keep ourselves in touch with that great Lord, and to increase the faith by which we make all His power our very own."
If you do not know the Lord Jesus Christ and His amazing healing power, pray this from your heart to the Lord Jesus Christ (you speaking directly to Him), Dear Lord Jesus, I confess to You that I am a sinner and I need Your forgiveness. I believe You shed Your Blood and died for my sins. I believe that You rose from the dead proving that You alone are God. I repent of my sins. I want to turn from my sins. I ask You Dear Lord Jesus to come into my heart and take control of my life. I want You to be my Lord, Savior, and my God. Amen...
Sincerely in Christ,
Clifford D. Tate, Sr.
Author of “Silent Assassins of the Soul - Are you Broken by Pornography and Masturbation? You can be Restored by the Lord Jesus Christ and brought into Deliverance, Freedom, and Victory! A Guide for Men and Women in the Enemy’s Crosshairs” e-book available now @ Amazon Kindle, @ Apple I Bookstore for IPod, Barnes and Noble for Nook, Reader Store for Sony Reade, Kobo, Copia, Gardners, Baker and Taylor, and eBookPie…
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