To purify for Himself a people...zealous for good deeds
Titus 2 from the daily reading in the One Year Bible
But as for you, speak the things which are fitting for sound doctrine. 2 Older men are to be temperate, dignified, sensible, sound in faith, in love, in perseverance.
3 Older women likewise are to be reverent in their behavior, not malicious gossips nor enslaved to much wine, teaching what is good, 4 so that they may encourage the young women to love their husbands, to love their children, 5 to be sensible, pure, workers at home, kind, being subject to their own husbands, so that the word of God will not be dishonored.
6 Likewise urge the young men to be sensible; 7 in all things show yourself to be an example of good deeds, with purity in doctrine, dignified, 8 sound in speech which is beyond reproach, so that the opponent will be put to shame, having nothing bad to say about us.
9 Urge bondslaves to be subject to their own masters in everything, to be well-pleasing, not argumentative, 10 not pilfering, but showing all good faith so that they will adorn the doctrine of God our Savior in every respect.
11 For the grace of God has appeared, bringing salvation to all men, 12 instructing us to deny ungodliness and worldly desires and to live sensibly, righteously and godly in the present age, 13 looking for the blessed hope and the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior, Christ Jesus, 14 who gave Himself for us to redeem us from every lawless deed, and to purify for Himself a people for His own possession, zealous for good deeds.
15 These things speak and exhort and reprove with all authority. Let no one disregard you.
In today’s text Paul encourages believers to live, act and speak properly, in a Godly manner. He gives several reasons why they should live this way. He says: so that the word of God will not be dishonored. When believers live and act unrighteously, not only are they themselves judged by the world, but they bring dishonor and judgment on God’s word. Jesus, our Lord and Savior, the one who gave His life on the cross, for our sins, is the Word made flesh. (John 1:14) When we dishonor the word of God, we dishonor Jesus. In John 10:30, Jesus says: I and the Father are one.” When we dishonor the word and dishonor Jesus, we also dishonor the Father. It is not that God is concerned with His reputation, but rather when we dishonor the word, Jesus and the Father, we hinder the gospel, the good news of the kingdom of God. Our example becomes a stumbling block, hindering others rather than pointing them toward God. Jesus says: “You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden; nor does anyone light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on the lampstand, and it gives light to all who are in the house. Let your light shine before men in such a way that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father who is in heaven.” (Matthew 5:14-16) Our lives, our words and our actions should glorify God, not dishonor Him.
The next reason Paul gives is: so that the opponent will be put to shame, having nothing bad to say about us. It seems as though Paul is speaking of those who question and challenge the gospel, those who teach false doctrines, when he refers to the opponent. Surely, for us to live and speak in ways that limit the arguments that others can have against us and against the gospel is a good and noble cause. It is reason enough for us to make every effort to live and speak well. We do though also have another opponent. The devil himself is the opponent, the enemy, the adversary of every person. 1 Peter 5:8 says: Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil walks about like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour. The devil has no actual power or authority in our lives, that’s why he seeks who he may devour. May indicates that he requires permission. That permission which the devil requires is not granted by God, but rather it is inferred and conferred by our actions and words. In Revelation 12:9-11 it says: And the great dragon was thrown down, the serpent of old who is called the devil and Satan, who deceives the whole world; he was thrown down to the earth, and his angels were thrown down with him. Then I heard a loud voice in heaven, saying, “Now the salvation, and the power, and the kingdom of our God and the authority of His Christ have come, for the accuser of our brethren has been thrown down, he who accuses them before our God day and night. And they overcame him because of the blood of the Lamb and because of the word of their testimony, and they did not love their life even when faced with death. The devil, Satan attempts to accuse believers, “day and night.” Our words can either become fodder for his accusations or they can become the very way we overcome him. We overcome by the blood of the Lamb, Jesus Christ and by our testimony concerning Him.
Paul encourages right living so that: they will adorn the doctrine of God our Savior in every respect. We are not saved by our works. Ephesians 2:8-10 says: For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God; not as a result of works, so that no one may boast. For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand so that we would walk in them. Our works, our actions do not save us. They do however adorn the doctrine of God our Savior. If we do what God has created us to do, to live as He desires, we glorify Him. We are not saved by our works but we are saved so that we will do His works.
Finally Paul says: For the grace of God has appeared, bringing salvation to all men, instructing us to deny ungodliness and worldly desires and to live sensibly, righteously and godly in the present age, looking for the blessed hope and the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior, Christ Jesus, who gave Himself for us to redeem us from every lawless deed, and to purify for Himself a people for His own possession, zealous for good deeds. We are indeed saved by grace, it is a free gift to us. Our salvation though was not without cost. Jesus Christ, our Savior, gave Himself for us, to redeem us from every lawless deed. John 3:16 says: “For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life.” We are eternally saved because of the cross, our future is secure in Christ. But the cross was not just for our eternal salvation. Jesus gave Himself: to redeem us from every lawless deed, and to purify for Himself a people for His own possession, zealous for good deeds. Jesus redeemed us so that we could live righteously, now in this time. Jesus says: “The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I came that they may have life, and have it abundantly.” (John 10:10) The abundant life He gives, is a life dedicated to Him. He gave up everything for us. 1 Corinthians 6:19-20 says: Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have from God, and that you are not your own? For you have been bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body. To live and act righteously is the least we can do, for the one who gave us everything.
Heavenly Father, Lord Jesus Christ, precious Holy Spirit, thank You for all You have done for me, for my eternal salvation, for redeeming me from sin, for reconciling me to You, for restoring me to all that You planned and intended. May I indeed live in a way that brings glory and honor to You. I zealously desire to do the good works which You saved me for. Amen