“For there are many insubordinate, both idle talkers and deceivers, especially those of the circumcision, whose mouths must be stopped, who subvert whole households, teaching things which they ought not, for the sake of dishonest gain. One of them, a prophet of their own, said, “Cretans are always liars, evil beasts, lazy gluttons.” This testimony is true. Therefore rebuke them sharply, that they may be sound in the faith, not giving heed to Jewish fables and commandments of men who turn from the truth. To the pure all things are pure, but to those who are defiled and unbelieving nothing is pure; but even their mind and conscience are defiled. They profess to know God, but in works they deny Him, being abominable, disobedient, and disqualified for every good work.” Titus 1:10-16
Whenever you see the word “for” at the beginning of a sentence, it is super important to go read the verse or verses that came before it. The word “for” indicates that what is coming after it is qualifying something that was just said. It’s like saying “because”.
Yesterday we looked at the qualifications for spiritual leadership (Titus 1:5-9), in the following verses 10-16 Paul explains the importance of a leader meeting those specific qualifications.
In Titus 1:10-11, Paul brings to attention the presence of certain “Christians” in Crete who are stirring up trouble among the churches and causing division. “[O]f the circumcision” implies that these were Jewish Christians. This was not at all uncommon during those days. These troublemaking “believers” were teaching things that they ought not to teach. By Jewish standards, the native Cretans were unclean and the Jews openly condemned the Cretans for it. (I wonder if that’s where we get our slang word).
Paul charges Titus and the appointed Godly leaders to correct these people causing division and misrepresenting the gospel. The truth of the matter is that some Jews still felt obligated by the Mosaic law to observe certain traditions and regulations (verses 14,15). However, Jesus’ sacrifice had freed them from bondage to the law and gave them salvation by grace. This was the true doctrine that needed to be taught and is the reason that godly leaders MUST be grounded in the Word in order to recognize false teaching and to lovingly correct those who are spreading fallacies.
Finally in verse 16, “They profess to know God, but in works they deny Him, being abominable, disobedient, and disqualified for every good work.”. To know God is to know that he is love. He is not condemning, in fact he WANTS to save. The condemning attitudes of the Jewish Christians were not indicative of true faith. Paul calls them “abominable, disobedient, and disqualified.”
It has been said that Mahatma Gandhi studied Christianity and valued many of its principles, but he said, “I would be a Christian, if it were not for Christians.”
I was street witnessing one day downtown, and a Hare Krishna person told me “Christians are selfish hypocrites who care for no one but themselves and their own salvation.” I sadly had to agree with him to a certain degree. There are many who profess to be Christians but their lifestyles don’t reflect it.
I have an athiest friend who rejects Christianity simply based on the fact that many “Christians” he knows are condemning, immoral, and not worth associating with. Even though he’s a non-Christian, he’s one of the most genuine people I know. I’d even dare say that in his choices and attitudes he is more Christ-like than some who profess to be Christians.
Even if you are not slandering and condemning people with your mouth and imposing laws and rules on people like the Jewish Christians in Crete, your lifestyle, your vocabulary, your pasttimes are all indicative of your spiritual state.
Again, I ask. If you were accused of being a Christian, would there be enough evidence to prove it?