But as for you, teach what accords with sound doctrine. Older men are to be sober-minded, dignified, self-controlled, sound in faith, in love, and in steadfastness. Older women likewise are to be reverent in behavior, not slanderers or slaves to much wine. They are to teach what is good, and so train the young women to love their husbands and children, to be self-controlled, pure, working at home, kind, and submissive to their own husbands, that the word of God may not be reviled. Likewise, urge the younger men to be self-controlled. Show yourself in all respects to be a model of good works, and in your teaching show integrity, dignity, and sound speech that cannot be condemned, so that an opponent may be put to shame, having nothing evil to say about us. Bondservants are to be submissive to their own masters in everything; they are to be well-pleasing, not argumentative, not pilfering, but showing all good faith, so that in everything they may adorn the doctrine of God our Savior. For the grace of God has appeared, bringing salvation for all people, training us to renounce ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright, and godly lives in the present age, waiting for our blessed hope, the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ, who gave himself for us to redeem us from all lawlessness and to purify for himself a people for his own possession who are zealous for good works. Declare these things; exhort and rebuke with all authority. Let no one disregard you. (Titus 2:1-15)
According to Paul, Christians should live daily in eager anticipation of Christ’s Second Coming! His return will be a “glorious appearing,” a veritable display of His awesome glory. Christians are not to be fearful of His Coming. God wants us to view it as a “blessed hope”— literally, a happy expectation!
The thought of Christ’s Second Coming should stir and excite us. Christ is coming to claim His bride (the church). When I was a student in Bible college, I used to hear H. Robb French periodically ask from the pulpit of the college church, “Are you looking for the return of your bridegroom?” Then he would say, “Oh, friends, He is coming again. Let’s be sure we are ready!” In the book of Revelation, the Apostle John writes, “Let us rejoice and be glad and give the glory to Him, for the marriage of the Lamb has come and His bride has made herself ready. And it was given to her to clothe herself in fine linen, bright and clean; for the fine linen is the righteous acts of the saints” (Rev. 19:7-8).
Just think, contrary to the lyrics of some song writers who teach that we will be clothed in the righteousness of Christ, John informs us that we will be clothed in our grace-enabled righteous deeds! “And he said to me, ‘Write, ‘Blessed are those who are invited to the marriage supper of the Lamb.’ And he said to me, ‘These are true words of God’” (Rev. 19:9). Since the clothing of the bride of Christ will be composed of the “righteous acts” of the saints (Rev. 19:8), all Christians should be concerned that their present attitudes, speech, and behavior are righteous—in harmony with all of God’s Word.
In Titus 2:1–15, Paul explains what righteous acts are and what we need to do in order to be ready for His glorious appearing.
Counsel to All Who Wish to be Ready for Christ’s Glorious Appearing (Titus 2:1-10)
In order to be prepared properly for Christ’s Second Coming, Paul told Titus to instruct specific groups of people how they must live in order that their attitudes and actions be “righteousness.” Remember, the basic meaning of “righteousness” as applied to a person’s acts is “to measure up to the standard of God’s Word.” What follows are some of the criteria that God will use to determine the “righteousness” of the attitudes and actions of six specific groups of people.
COUNSEL TO AGED MEN (TITUS 2:1–2)
Titus is charged by Paul to teach and promote the kind of behavior that is consistent with sound doctrine (in harmony with God’s Word). The older men (presbutas) are to be temperate, dignified (worthy of respect) and spiritually healthy in three areas: their faith, their love and their perseverance.
COUNSEL TO AGED WOMEN (TITUS 2:3–4a)
The older women (presbutidas) are to conduct themselves in a way that is honorable and dignified. They are to be godly examples of holiness. They must not slander (falsely accuse) others, nor be given to much wine. They are to be teachers of good things, with particular emphasis on teaching the young women how to fulfill their duties.
COUNSEL TO YOUNG WOMEN (TITUS 2:4b–5)
The young women (neas) are to be taught how to love their husbands, how to love their children, how to be discreet (prudent), pure, how to be homemakers (not put outside interests ahead of their husbands and children), how to be good, and how to be submissive to their husbands. They are to be taught all of this in order that the word of God be not blasphemed.
COUNSEL TO YOUNG MEN (TITUS 2:6)
The young men (neos) to be taught how to be self-controlled and moderate in their attitudes and behavior.
COUNSEL TO TITUS WHO FUNCTIONS AS A PASTOR AND OVERSEER (TITUS 2:7–8)
Titus must personally set the example for others by his own godly lifestyle. He must excel by doing only what is good (in full harmony with all of Scripture). In his teaching, Titus must make sure his teaching is free from error and that it reflects integrity and dignity. By being careful that he teaches only what God has said (and not his own personal opinions) his teaching will be blessed of God. Further, if Titus does this, Paul notes that “those who oppose us will be ashamed and have nothing bad to say about us.”
COUNSEL TO SLAVES (TITUS 2:9–10)
Slaves (doulos) are to be subject to their own masters in everything that does not directly contradict God’s Word (Acts 5:29). They are to seek to be well-pleasing and not argumentative. Further, they must never steal, but demonstrate by their godly character that they can be fully trusted. In this manner they will make the teaching about Jesus Christ, who is both our God and Savior, attractive to those who watch their lives.
Grace is Available to All to Enable Them to be Ready for Christ’s Glorious Appearing (Titus 2:11–12)
God has provided grace to all mankind, for He is the God of all grace (1 Pet. 5:10). And His grace teaches that we are to say “No” to ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright and godly lives in this present age. Thus, grace teaches us to renounce our old life and to live a new one, to turn from ungodliness to godliness, from self-centeredness to self-control, from the world’s deceitful and devious ways to honesty and fair dealing with each other. And as motivation for godly living, we are instructed to look forward with hope to that wonderful day when the glory of our great God and Savior, Jesus Christ, will be revealed.
Christ Died to Redeem Christians From All Iniquity and to Purify Himself a People Who Are Eager and Committed to Doing What is Good (Titus 2:4–15)
Among the many reasons why Christ died for us on the Cross, Paul underscores two: He died to redeem Christians from all iniquity, and He died to purify His people so they would be eager and committed to doing what is good.
As we await Christ’s Second Coming, we must never forget the purpose of His First Coming and of His self-sacrifice on the cross. He gave Himself not only to save us from the guilt and penalty of sin, but to redeem us from all iniquity. This corresponds to the believers’ renouncing “ungodliness and worldly passions” in Titus 2:12. It would have been a half-way salvation if the penalty of sin had been canceled but its dominion in our lives was left unconquered. All Christians, if truly saved, have been set free from the slavery of sin.
In addition to being set free from the power and dominion of sin, Christ redeemed us for a purpose: to purify for Himself a people who are set apart as His very own, a people who love Him supremely and who are eager and committed to doing what is good (Titus 2:14b). Christians should not need to be cajoled into service. We bring joy to our Saviour when we are eager and committed to do what is good. “Be not overcome of evil, but overcome evil with good,” wrote Paul (Rom. 12:21).
Doing good is God’s prescription for overcoming evil!
Counsel to All
Paul closes his exhortation on preparation for Jesus’ glorious appearing with admonition to Titus. He writes, “These things speak, and exhort, and rebuke with all authority. Let no man despise thee” (Titus 2:15).
Counsel to all who wish to be ready for Jesus’ glorious appearing, grace sufficient to enable everyone to align their lives to God’s Word, and a focus on redemption from all iniquity and purification so as to produce a Christ-honoring people who are eager and committed to doing what is good are the themes for Titus’ preaching. A believer must never grow slack in his duty.
Further, these truths are not to be communicated diffidently as mere facts. Titus is to encourage all the people and to rebuke any who fail to submit to the authoritative Word of God.
And lastly, Titus need have no qualms about his youth, his Gentile background, or any natural disability. He is speaking the Word of God, and this makes all the difference!
Originally published in the Ministry Library of God’s Bible School and College.