Titus for Church Planters: Part 11

In my last post we looked at the exhortations laid out in Titus 2:1-10 and how there are different instructions to different categories of people.  In this post I encourage you to notice what’s the same about these exhortations and what gets repeated to these different groups. Two things, I think, stand out.

The first is self-control. Older men, younger women and younger men are all told to be self-controlled (2:2, 5, 6). In 1:8 elders are to be self-controlled. And look at 2:12: the grace of God ‘teaches us to say “No” to ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright and godly lives in this present age.’ Everyone is to be self-controlled.

The second common virtue is submission. Verse 5: young wives are ‘to be subject to their husbands.’ Verse 9: ‘Teach slaves to be subject to their masters in everything, to try to please them, not to talk back to them.’ Titus 3:1: ‘Remind the people to be subject to rulers and authorities, to be obedient …’

This is profoundly counter-cultural. It was counter-cultural in Crete. We’ve already seen that ‘Cretans are always liars, evil brutes, lazy gluttons’ (1:12) These are people who didn’t control their speech or their anger or their appetites. And it’s counter-cultural today. Instead of self-control we value self-expression. Instead of self-denial, we value self-fulfilment. Instead of submission, we value independence.

It is profoundly counter-cultural and people don’t like it when they hear Christians talking about self-control and submission. Even now some of your may be bristling.  And yet look at what Paul says in verse 5: younger women are ‘to be subject to their husbands, so that no-one will malign the word of God.’ Or look at verse 10: ‘… so that in every way they will make the teaching about God our Saviour attractive.’

People may not like it when we talk about self-control and submission. But when we live it, they find it attractive. It’s a wonderful life. And it commends God our Saviour.

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