The citizens of the Island of Crete didn’t have a very good reputation. Paul quoted one of their writers, “Cretans are always liars, evil beasts, lazy gluttons” (Titus 1:12). Not very complimentary. Yet there were congregations of the Lord’s church present comprised of people struggling to reflect Jesus in their lives. So Titus was instructed to teach “things which are fitting for sound doctrine” (2:1). He was to help them live sound, moral, sensible lives. Like well-fitting clothes, life needs to fit who we say we are.
This principle is stated several times in Titus 2. Older men and women are to be reverent, godly and watchful over themselves “that the word of God may not be dishonored” (2:5). Their behavior is to bring honor to the word, not undermine it. Their influence over younger Christians should produce men and women of such quality that “the opponent may be put to shame, having nothing bad to say about us” (2:8). Their lives need to fit their faith.
Titus was even to instruct Christians shackled by slavery not to be uncooperative, dishonest or rebellious. They served Jesus Christ and their lives needed to be respectful, faithful and pleasing to their masters. Here he makes his point again, “that they may adorn the doctrine of God our Savior in every respect” (2:10). Even slaves were to put on the faith in such a way that everyone – without a doubt – knew who their real master was.
Much like ancient Crete, our modern society tolerates lewdness and decadence. We are to be careful to wear the doctrine of God in a way that fits who we say we are. Does what you wear fit?
– Tim Johnson