Pauls Footsteps #414

 Once we, too, were foolish and disobedient. We were misled and became slaves to many lusts and pleasures. Our lives were full of evil and envy, and we hated each other. But— When God our Savior revealed his kindness and love, he saved us, not because of the righteous things we had done, but because of his mercy. He washed away our sins, giving us a new birth and new life through the Holy Spirit.” Titus 3:3-5 NLT. 

Footsteps #414. Paul then addresses Titus with a two-fold task (1:5-9). He says the first one is to appoint new leaders for each community, a team of what he calls “elders”, mature husbands or fathers whose way of life is totally different from the Cretan culture. They are to be known for integrity, total devotion to Jesus, self-control, and generosity, both in their families and in the community at large. These new leaders are to teach the good news about Jesus and replace the corrupt leaders who needed to be confronted. (That’s Titus’ second task vs 10-16.) Paul identifies the teachers as those of the circumcision. In other words, they were ethnically Jewish Cretans who said that they followed Jesus but, similar to the problems in Galatia, these people demanded that non-Jewish Christians be circumcised and follow the laws of the Torah if they really wanted to become followers of the Jewish Messiah. Paul says that they are obsessed with Jewish myths and human commands, and to top it off, they are just in the church leadership business to make money. So Paul, in a brilliant move, pulls a quote from an ancient Cretan poet, Epimenides, who was very frank and honest about the character of his own people. He said Cretans are always liars, vicious beasts, and lazy gluttons. They blurred the lines between true and false, between good and evil and they are just in it for the money. So while these leaders claim to know God, their Cretan way of life denies him. They have to be dealt with.  

This leads Paul into the next section. Because of these corrupt leaders, many Christians in these churches now have homes and personal lives that are a total wreck. In three different times, Paul highlights the result of all this: the message about Jesus is discredited (2:5). Their non-Christian neighbours now have good cause to make evil accusations(v8). All of this makes teaching about God our Saviour totally unattractive and not compelling to anybody(v10). So Paul paints a picture of the ideal Cretan household that is devoted to Jesus. It would be elderly men and women who are full of integrity and self-control, so they can become models of character to the young people. The young women should not be sleeping around and avoiding marriage, as was fashionable on Crete at the time. Rather, they should be looking for faithful partners so they can raise stable, healthy families. The young men are to do the same. They are to be known as productive healthy citizens

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