DUNCAN/Adorn the doctrine of God our savior in every respect
Please turn to Titus 2:1-10. Paul desires to see the believers in these congregations on the island of Crete to live a uniquely godly life. He wants their lives to be a witness to the reality of the gospel work that God has done in their hearts. In this chapter, Paul is concerned to promote that same godliness in the congregation, especially in their homes, marriages, families, and in their vocations. In other words, he wants people of every type in the congregation to live out the grace of God in their lives. He is continuing to emphasize the point that sound doctrine is essential for living out the Christian life. Thus, Paul applies that truth to different groups in this local congregation including men, women, and bondslaves.
I. Live the Christian Life as an Encouragement to Others.
In verses 3-4, Paul tells Titus to urge the older women in the congregation to live godly lives in their homes and to live by example so “that they may encourage the young women.” In other words, their motivation for believing the truth, seeing their own lives transformed by that truth, and then being an example to the younger women in the congregation, is so that they can be an encouragement to those younger women in their life of faith and in their walk with the Lord Jesus Christ. Paul is saying, “Titus, teach those older women to remember that their personal growth in grace is not merely a private matter. It is a matter with ramifications for the whole congregation, and their growing in grace and their living the Christian life must be done at least in part out of a desire to encourage the younger women of the congregation.”
When Paul addresses these different groups of individuals in these congregations in Crete, he is telling them that they are to remember that they live not merely for themselves. Paul is reminding them that their desire to grow in grace is not just for their own personal relationship with God but that it has an impact on the well-being and the witness of the whole congregation. And this truth comes up again later in the letter when Paul gives an exhortation to Titus himself on how he is to be an example to the congregation in living a life of sound words and dignity, and of appropriate purity and demeanor. Thus, Titus is to seriously consider how his example impacts the rest of the congregation.
II. Apply God’s Truth Specifically.
In this passage, Paul is also telling Titus that God’s truth needs to be brought to bear on every class and kind of person in the Christian congregation with respect to their age and station in life. In other words, God’s truth needs to be applied specifically. Every Christian, because of the stage and the situation in his or her life, has different challenges, different temptations, and different opportunities. Paul says, “Titus, don’t forget to apply God’s Word to each Christian in those specific circumstances.” For example, in verse 2, he says, “Older men are to be temperate, dignified, sensible, sound in faith, in love, in perseverance.” Notice the two things that Paul addresses. First, Paul talks about the character of older men. Then, he talks about their spiritual health being revealed through their faith, love, and perseverance.
In verse 3, Paul addresses the character of older women. Specifically, he says that they are to be reverent and “teaching what is good.” In addition, they’re not to be gossips or addicted to wine. Their character is to evidence God’s transforming grace at work in their lives, and they are to teach the young women of the congregation by their example in how they live their life. They’re not only to be motivated in the Christian life because of God’s grace to them; they’re not only to be motivated out of gratitude to God for His grace; but they’re to be motivated to live the Christian life because there’s someone watching them who needs to be encouraged to live a godly life.
In verses 4-5, Paul addresses younger women. Specifically, Paul says that the younger women should be encouraged “to love their husbands, love their children; to be sensible, pure, workers at home, kind, being subject to their own husbands, that the Word of God may not be dishonored.” In addressing young men in verse 6, Paul says, “Likewise urge the young men to be sensible.” And in verse 7, he says directly to Titus, “in all things show yourself to be an example of good deeds, with purity in doctrine, dignified, sound in speech which is beyond reproach, in order that the opponent may be put to shame, having nothing bad to say about us.” Notice that the things that he tells Titus to apply are things that are particularly appropriate for that group of Christians in the local congregation relating to specific challenges that they have because of their place and station in life. In all of these commands for these specific Christian groups, note that Paul’s command to Titus to apply God’s Word are in areas that would not come naturally for us to do. Therefore, Paul says that individuals have to be exhorted in these things.
Finally, in verses 9-10, Paul has instructed Titus about how to speak even to bondslaves in the congregation. Specifically, he says that their behavior towards their superiors is to be a behavior that will “adorn the doctrine of God our Savior in every respect.” Our response to God’s Word and all of our Christian living ought to have in it the view to adorning the doctrine of God our Savior in every respect. In other words, the way we live will either adorn or besmirch the truth of God’s Word in the eyes of the watching world. The way we live will either make the Word of God to be compelling; it will either make God’s Word to be sweet; it will either contribute to the perception of its truth and reality, or, our behavior will detract and take away from it.
And so Paul is saying to the whole congregation that they are to so imbibe healthy teaching so that they encourage one another, so that every Christian in every station in the congregation is encouraged and has the truth applied to his or her specific situation, and that we are all living with a view to adorning the doctrine of our God and Savior in every respect for the eyes of the watching world, so that they will have to say, “There goes a people in whom God is at work, and you can see that God is at work by the way that they live towards Him, towards one another, in their character and in their vocation.” May God soften our hearts to respond to His Word, and grow us in grace that we might adorn the doctrine of God our Savior in every respect.