We kick off this week with Titus 3:1-3
One of the most important qualities for a believer to possess is the ability to submit. We need to recognize authority and respond to it properly.
v1: Them = the believers. As long as it is not in conflict with the Word of G-d we need to submit to those in governmental (earthly) authority.
· It is only when we are in submission that we are able to obey. If we cannot learn to submit to those with earthly authority, we will not be able to submit to those who have spiritual authority – even G-d Himself.
· The objective of submission is for us to be enabled to do good works.
Note: The above does not give an absolute authority to the government, in regard to their right to rule over believers, to do whatever they want (see Roms 13:3-4). If there is a government who are using or exploiting their authority for that which is not good (clearly against the Word and will of G-d) then we cannot submit to them in those things. No other authority can replace the absolute authority that G-d has over the life of every believer.
v2: We need to remember that every human being is a creation of G-d and as such we don’t speak in a blasphemous way (an inappropriate way) against anyone.
· Peaceable/amenable – at the very core these words mean that we desire to be in agreement with people and to avoid contention.
· Gentle – kind, not harsh or derogatory.
· ALL is emphasized at the end of this verse. This needs to be our behavior and attitude at all times and in every situation (this does not mean that we cannot evaluate someone’s behavior and say it is wrong, incorrect or against the will of G-d. The caution is that we do not speak
simply for the sake of being derogatory or putting someone down for the sake of humiliating them)
v3: We can forget that once we too were unbelievers and our attitude towards unbelievers can be condemning. Paul warns us not to condemn them. He reminds us that in the past we too did not know truth and behaved in the same way that they do. We are saved by G-d’s grace but prior to that we were no different to anyone else.
· Foolish – a lack of proper perspective. Not thinking in a correct way
· Deceived – the implication is that we were once deceived by the enemy
· Enslaved/ serving lusts and pleasures: all humanity, before salvation and because of original sin, were in bondage.
· Pleasures – this word in context has to do with that which is pleasurable to the natural man, not the spiritual man.
· Envy – jealousy, wanting what other people have.
· The first word translated “hateful” can also be translated “despicable”. In our original (normal, pre-G-d State) we were rejectable or despicable to G-d.
· Hating one another – when people seek their own desires, and they don’t get what they want, they become frustrated. This causes them to do despicable things. They begin to see others as an obstacle to them achieving their own desires. This leads to conflict and hatred toward others (James 4:1-4). Left to ourselves this is the plight of humanity.