Sunday, August 12, 2012

Sound Doctrine (Titus 2:1-14)

“But as for you, teach what accords with sound doctrine.”

Rather than “rules of men” or myths, Titus and other leaders are encouraged to teach only the sound doctrine of the gospel. Instead of rules, Paul lists qualities and characteristics of godly living. The legalist would try to create and exhaustive list of behaviors to be followed; answers to every conceivable circumstance that a believer could face. Paul calls for a harder, but more reliable guide for integrity. Instead of saying, “don’t drink,” he says, “be temperate” and “not slave to too much drink.” Instead of rules about interpersonal relations he urges “be sound in love.” Instead of encouraging elders and leaders to enforce behaviors, he calls on them to be examples and to teach what is good. Instead of calling on believers to struggle to try to change the injustices in the fallen world around them, he urges them to live in such a way as to “adorn the doctrine of God” and so that no one would be able to say anything bad against them.

However, it is not just a matter of approach. It is not just because being is better than imitating. The basis of godly behavior is found in the gospel message.

"For the grace of God has appeared, bringing salvation for all people, training us to renounce ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright, and godly lives in the present age, waiting for our blessed hope, the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ, who gave himself for us to redeem us from all lawlessness and to purify for himself a people for his own possession who are zealous for good works."

We do not try to imitate godly behavior to earn God’s love or forgiveness. The grace that offers God’s purchased forgiveness trains us in a new godly character. The hope that we believe in makes a continuation of worldly obsessions illogical. The magnitude of the sacrifice given for us makes anything less than zeal an insult.

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