Time for a little chit-chat about the letter to Titus.

Dear Church, Time for a little chit-chat about the letter to Titus.

Grace and peace to you in the name of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. As we gather in part of the warmth of our faith, I am compelled to share with you the profound insights and blessings found in the letter to Titus in the Holy Scriptures.

I heard a pastor explaining how to blend God’s laws with the new covenant, citing verses from Titus. It made me think that maybe the confusion comes from not understanding why the letter was written and who it was for. It seems like this might be connected to a certain way of thinking or belief that might be wrong. So, I want to share another way of looking at it, one that I think fits better with what God says in the Bible and with what Paul meant in all his letters, especially in Titus.

Titus isn’t a set of strict rules; it’s more about how we live. The main goal in this letter was to challenge the circumcised, the Jews trying to enforce the law. This isn’t meant to be a heavy burden; everything in this letter is doable with the power of God’s Spirit. Paul is asking for leaders and people who live in a fitting and orderly way. It’s not about following laws, rules, and rituals like the circumcised (Jewish Traditions) did.

If you read the rest of the letter without remembering who Paul is correcting, it could turn into a manifesto for a new covenant legalist, but that’s not the point. So, be careful. The person teaching these ideas is the very one Paul is correcting in the letter. Words matter, the audience matters, and who it’s about is crucial. So, be cautious when listening to preachers who try to make rules for your life instead of teaching about a life led by the Spirit through grace in Christ alone.

Trust in the Spirit of God to change your life, not just your willpower, because relying on ourselves will surely lead to failure. Thank the Father in Heaven for Jesus, for the gift of eternal life, forgiveness, and His Spirit transforming our lives.

In the book of Titus, the apostle Paul, a humble servant of God and messenger of Christ, imparts wisdom and guidance for the Church. It is a letter filled with the richness of God’s grace, a grace that transforms lives and empowers us to live in accordance with His divine will.

Titus, a devoted disciple in the faith, has been entrusted with the honorable responsibility of bringing order and establishing leadership within the church communities of Crete. In his letter, the apostle Paul underscores the significance of appointing elders who embody qualities such as integrity, a deep commitment to family, and a steadfast dedication to sound doctrine—essentially, individuals guided by the Spirit. These elders are to shine as beacons of godliness, reflecting virtues in harmony with the teachings of our Lord.

It’s crucial to understand that these leaders are not expected to be flawless; perfection is not the prerequisite. Rather, the emphasis lies in their unwavering commitment to sound doctrine—a commitment driven by the Spirit and rooted in a profound understanding of the fullness and grace of God. These guidelines for selecting leaders are not a rigid set of rules but rather a framework that ensures the discernment of individuals whose character aligns with the teachings of Christ.

However, a cautionary note is warranted, as there is a tendency for some to add extraneous requirements to this list. For instance, mandating attendance at seminary, abstaining from wine at dinner, limiting interactions with those outside the church, prescribing specific attire, or imposing an unrealistic expectation of perpetual righteousness. These are human-made rules and should not be confused with the criteria outlined by Paul.

Ultimately, the criteria for leadership revolve around the character of the individual, ensuring that they are authentic followers of Christ and not mere impostors (The Legalist). Let us be vigilant against the imposition of man-made rules, holding fast to the spirit-led commitment and genuine character that Paul advocates in the selection of church leaders.

The heartbeat of this letter is the recurring theme of grace. Grace is the unmerited favor of God that redeems us, sustains us, and empowers us for righteous living. It is the divine force that enables us to live beyond reproach, embracing qualities such as hospitality, love for goodness, self-control, righteousness, holiness, and discipline. These traits are beyond our ability to manufacture; they are the exclusive handiwork of the Spirit. We can’t claim credit or brag about them—every positive aspect of our character is solely attributed to the transformative might of His Spirit.

Amidst the challenges faced by the early Christian communities, Paul addresses the need to silence deceptive teachings and empty talk, urging us to focus on the pure and faithful word of God. The grace found in this letter is a call to live counter-culturally (not cancel culture), resisting the influences that lead us away from the truth and embracing a life that reflects the transformative power of God’s love. Achieving this is solely within the heart transformation from the Spirit, not through our willpower.

As we reflect on the lessons from Titus, let us, as a church family, renew our commitment to grace-filled living. May we be a community characterized by love, hospitality, and a steadfast devotion to the faithful word of God. Let the grace that has been lavished upon us inspire us to extend the same grace to one another and to all those we encounter.

In the coming days, let us meditate on the words of Titus and allow the grace of God to permeate every aspect of our lives. May our actions, guided by this divine grace, be a testimony to the transformative power of the Gospel.

With gratitude for the grace we have received and the grace we can share,

Ryan Nelson