God has called His people to be light and salt in this world. Members of the body of Christ are members of the community of Christ. The testimony of the community of God is to be an influence of life to the communities of the world. Paul’s instructions to Titus as a leader in the church were instructions to lead the community of God in the midst of the communities of the world. His instructions were not meant to be instructions of law to leaders, but ones of wisdom for leading God’s people in the testimony of life. A policeman has the authority of a policeman, an employer has the authority of the business for which one is employed, a president has the responsibility of executing the responsibilities of implementing the decisions of the governing body of a nation. Authority only exists within the boundaries of given and received responsibilities for the sake of some form of life to others. The family of God should live under and also demonstrate what true life-giving authority looks like. It is not merely a matter of obedience to authority, but a witness of grace empowered people in an everyday world.
Titus 3:1-2 Remind them to be subject to rulers and authorities, to obey, to be ready for every good work, to speak evil of no one, to be peaceable, gentle, showing all humility to all men.
Leaders remind the people to be subject to rulers and authorities and to obey them with demonstrations of good works. This is not blind obedience to things that are beyond an authority’s measure of rule, but obedience to the God-appointed responsibility given to men and women in life. Leaders remind those under their authority to not speak evil of anyone, but to be peaceable, gentle, showing humility to all men. They must set an example that true change and empowerment to live godly lives is by the mercy of God and by the power of His grace. Leaders remind the people that they are new creations being renewed by the Holy Spirit and it is by this they present an example of grace transformed people that inspire others to maintain good works.
Our testimony among the kingdoms of the world must come from the internal kingdom of Christ within our hearts. We cannot condemn the world for acting like the world, we must simply demonstrate to the world what those embracing the internal kingdom of God look like. We never need speak evil of those who do not understand what we know. We are graced by God to be expressions of the peace of God in ways of love with a humble attitude in our hearts.
Titus 3:3 For we ourselves were also once foolish, disobedient, deceived, serving various lusts and pleasures, living in malice and envy, hateful and hating one another.
It is not our role to condemn people in the world for being foolish. True wisdom comes from the Spirit of God in our hearts and it is gift from God not a prideful skill of the flesh. We can make a judgment of their foolishness, but the only judgment we can make of the foolish is one of mercy as a testimony of love. We do not condemn the foolish; there own foolishness is their condemnation. Our judgment of mercy does not include condoning their foolishness; it only removes any condemnation of them from our hearts and allows them to find the wisdom of God even as we have. We were once foolish, but Christ in us is granting us the grace of wisdom from God that empowers us to do works of faith towards God. We cannot condemn the people of the world for being disobedient. True obedience is obedience to God and the things of God by the grace of the Spirit of counsel in our hearts. We cannot expect those in the world to understand counsel that leads to life. Only Christ in them can empower them for true obedience unto life. We cannot condemn the people in the world for being deceived. We were deceived, but the Spirit of the Lord made us alive toward God in Christ. We cannot expect people with hearts that are dead to God to not fall for deceptive things in life. People in the world serve their own desires and wants in life. We were this before Christ put His desires in our hearts. As everyday people, we are still vulnerable to fail in the same way again in some measure, but Christ in us is our hope of direction that leads to life. He gives us the true desires of life within our hearts. He gives new heart desires. We cannot judge those in the world for acting selfishly, we must simply inspire them to think differently by the attitudes and actions of our lives.
Food For Thought,
Ted J. Hanson