This past Sunday we finished up Titus by spending our time in Titus 3. This great text puts squarely in front of us the glorious realities of the gospel. Paul exhorts Titus, and by application the church, to an ordered mission. In short, Paul is pushing the reader to: Live in a way that elevates God’s mercy; recalling what He has rescued us from.
As Paul writes, he is describing what an ordered mission looks likes.
An Ordered Mission…
Reminds us of Our Responsibilities: v.1-2
Paul begins with an exhortation to remind the church of the responsibilities that we have in Christ. In fact, he lists 7 of them. You can check them out in your Bibles, but each of these are meant to function as a witness to those around us, that we are in fact different from the rest of the world. The reason we’re submissive to rulers and authorities, ready for every good work or speaking evil of no one is meant to reflect to others that we are in fact changed.
Remembers Our Former Condition: v.3
Then we are reminded of our former condition. Paul reminds us that all of us were formerly far from God. Two things that are important to note. First, Paul includes himself, which is a reminder that this is true of us all. Secondly, he is speaking in the past tense. While this was true of us at some point, if we are in Christ, it is not true of us today. But remember our former condition is helpful to remind us of where we’ve come from, and to keep us from thinking more of ourselves than is needed or appropriate.
Repeats the Message of God’s Salvation: v.4-8
Then Paul moves to the incredible reality of the gospel. These verses contain such a beautiful depiction of the gospel explained. A few words and a brief description are simply insufficient to capture the fullness of what is happening here, but I’ll give a brief overview. That being said, I’d encourage you to read these verses again this week.
The Appearance of God’s Goodness and Kindness: This is where salvation begins. It is compelled by God’s goodness and kindness. It is in God’s nature to be kind to the lost. Because of this, He chooses to act on our behalf.
The Effect of God’s Mercy: He then saves us. From what, you may ask? From judgment and wrath that we so rightfully deserve. Mercy is rightfully defined as not getting what you deserve. With God’s mercy, we don’t get what we deserve (wrath and judgment) and in its place, God gives us grace, goodness and kindness.
The Washing of Regeneration: God then washes or cleanses us and regenerates us. This carries the connotation of new life! We are, as 2 Corinthians 5 tells us, new creations.
The Renewal of the Holy Spirit: If regeneration is new life, renewal is the expression of that life, which is manifested in the Spirit. Make note of the fact that the Spirit is poured out upon us richly. Not moderately or sparingly, but richly!
Becoming Children of God: This all culminates in the fact that God makes us His children. This is what God does, He takes those who are not His, and makes them His by bringing them into His family. If you are in Christ, then you are a son or daughter of God!
Rejects Distractions from Grace: v.9-11
As amazing as verses 4-8 are, Paul realizes that we can be distracted from the glories of grace. So He warns Titus and the church to not be pulled away from the fundamental aspects of the gospel. He warns him to avoid divisive issues and divisive people. This isn’t conflict avoidance or peace at all costs. This is a refusal to be distracted from grace.
God, help us to be a people who elevate God’s mercy, recalling what He has rescued us from. God help us to be a church living out an ordered mission.