Sound in Faith

Titus 2:1 NASB

But as for you, speak the things which are fitting for sound doctrine.

Sound Doctrine

We, who are followers of Jesus Christ, should all speak the things which are in accord with sound doctrine. We who share the Word of God with others should be diligent to read and to share scriptures in the context in which they are written, and to pray for understanding, and to not just spout off what we have always been taught by church denominations or by our ancestors or by our traditions, etc.

Many false doctrines arise because people take scriptures out of context or they hand-pick only the scriptures which say what they want to believe while they ignore the bulk of scripture which speaks to the contrary. And, then these doctrines get handed down from generation to generation, and people believe them because they trust the people who taught them to them.

But, we need to be those who rightly handle the word of truth (2 Tim. 2:15). And, we do this first of all by seeking God’s face, and by asking that he lead us into all truth, and then by being willing to have our eyes opened to any lies or false ideas we have accepted over the years.

And, these don’t all have to fall into the category of “false doctrines,” either, for we may have just misunderstood a passage of scripture, and so the Lord will want to increase our understanding.

For example, I know that as I have grown in my walk of faith that the Lord has broadened my understanding to many truths in scripture which I did not fully have a handle on previously. So, sometimes he needs to stretch us, too.

The main thing here, though, is that we remain open always to hearing from our Lord, to be willing to admit when we are wrong, and to be willing to change our thinking about some doctrines we previously were fixed on, but not in truth. And, we need to read passages of scripture in context so that we get the full picture, and then compare scripture to scripture, too.

None of us has perfect knowledge and understanding, though (See: 1 Co. 13). We know in part and we prophecy in part. Now we see in a mirror dimly, but one day we will see face to face. Then we will know fully.

So, for now, our understanding is imperfect. But, that is not an excuse for continued ignorance if we have been shown the truth but we refuse to accept it.

We all need to listen to our Lord and to the whole counsel of God, and not just to what tickles our itching ears. And, we need to pray for our eyes to be opened to the truth, and to have the lies exposed for what they are, and then we need to reject the lies and believe the truth.

Titus 2:2-10 NASB

Older men are to be temperate, dignified, sensible, sound in faith, in love, in perseverance.

Older women likewise are to be reverent in their behavior, not malicious gossips nor enslaved to much wine, teaching what is good, so that they may encourage the young women to love their husbands, to love their children, to be sensible, pure, workers at home, kind, being subject to their own husbands, so that the word of God will not be dishonored.

Likewise urge the young men to be sensible; in all things show yourself to be an example of good deeds, with purity in doctrine, dignified, sound in speech which is beyond reproach, so that the opponent will be put to shame, having nothing bad to say about us.

Urge bondslaves to be subject to their own masters in everything, to be well-pleasing, not argumentative, not pilfering, but showing all good faith so that they will adorn the doctrine of God our Savior in every respect.

Godly Character

Not only should we be sharing (teaching, preaching) what is sound in doctrine, but we should be living what we teach, too.

So, what can we take away from this section of scripture which would help define, for any of us, what godly character looks like? For, there are many overlaps among these various people groups listed here.

Generally speaking, we should live lives under the power of the Holy Spirit living within us, which will be evidenced by the words we speak, by the way we behave, and by our thinking and attitudes, too.

We should be self-controlled in the sense that we are not out of control living wildly, foolishly, and abandoning what is right. But, we should live sensible and godly lives, following the Word of Truth and not the ways of this world.

We should endure persecution and hardship for the sake of the name of Jesus, and we should live a life of love towards all people, including towards our enemies (those who hate us).

In all that we do, we should show reverence towards our Lord, in honoring, respecting, valuing, and obeying him and his Word. This is what it means to walk in the fear of the Lord, to take his Word seriously, to heart, and to do what it says rather than us just reading it and then ignoring the parts that don’t agree with our chosen lifestyles.

We should be kind to all people, but not “kind” as is often defined by culture. For, some people think that it is kind to lie to people, but lying is never kind. But, the truth spoken harshly, meanly or unnecessarily is not kind, either. For, when we speak the truth, we should do so in love. But, then love is not a mushy gushy feeling, either, but it is considering always what is best for the other person while honoring truth, morality, purity and faithfulness, too.

Titus 2:11-15 NASB

For the grace of God has appeared, bringing salvation to all men, instructing us to deny ungodliness and worldly desires and to live sensibly, righteously and godly in the present age, looking for the blessed hope and the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior, Christ Jesus, who gave Himself for us to redeem us from every lawless deed, and to purify for Himself a people for His own possession, zealous for good deeds.

These things speak and exhort and reprove with all authority. Let no one disregard you.

Grace of God

In reference back to the previous section on godly character, we learn that the purpose of God’s grace, after all, is not just so we can escape hell and go to heaven when we die, or just so we can be forgiven of our sins and escape punishment. And, it is not so we can continue in willful sin against God without guilt or without remorse, thinking that is why Jesus set us free.

Because the purpose of God’s grace is that we are delivered out of our slavery to sin so that we now walk in his righteousness and holiness, therefore we should live godly and holy lives pleasing to God. We should exemplify godly character in all that we do, speak, are and think. For, Jesus didn’t die just to forgive us but to transform us in to new creations in Christ Jesus, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness (Eph. 4:24).

And, this is where a lot of those false doctrines appear that we spoke about at the beginning of this writing. Many people falsely interpret the meaning of God’s grace because they don’t read this passage, for one, and because they pick and choose the scriptures they like while ignoring the vast majority of scriptures speaking of God’s grace in salvation from sin.

God’s grace to us is that Jesus made the way of escape for us out from underneath temptation to sin to now live in his righteousness. God’s grace to us is the power and strength of the Spirit of God to now walk in holiness, and to resist Satan and flee temptation, and to draw near to God in full assurance of faith. God’s grace does not free us from the obligation to live moral and upright and godly lives, but it commands that we live in such a way.

Because of God’s grace to us we can say “NO!” to our fleshly lusts and no longer be controlled by them. He delivered us from our addictions to sin. It is not ok for us to remain in addiction while claiming that God’s grace covers it all. His grace does not excuse away willful and continued sin against God. In fact, it teaches us that if we continue practicing such sins, we do not have the hope of heaven when we die, but a fearful expectation of hell.

Living righteously is not works-based salvation, though. It is loving God. And, if we do not walk in obedience to him, we don’t love him, and we don’t know him intimately. God’s grace is not free license to not have to obey God. That is a lie! So, don’t fall into that trap. Jesus purified us that we might become his own possession and that we might be his people zealous to do the good that he has for us to do.

Let the Lord be the one to whom you go for your understanding of scripture, and be in the habit of examining what humans teach you against the truth of God’s Word, in context, and then you will not only teach what is right, but you will live what is right, too.

I Take Refuge
An Original Work / September 1, 2018

Based off Psalm 71

O, Lord, I take refuge in You,
For You are my God.
Turn Your ear now to me.

Be my Rock and Fortress
To which I do go.
Deliver me, God. You’re my hope.

My lips now give praise to You, God.
I always have hope,
Since You saved me from sin.

My enemies speak evil
‘gainst me, O God.
Oh, help me, O Lord, rescue me.

The path of my life has been hard.
For, I have had troubles
Too many to bear.

But, You will increase honor,
Restore again.
Your faithfulness, Lord, comforts me.

Sunday, September 9, 2018 – Thank You, Jesus, for Your Word in its fullness. May we take Your Word to heart. Amen!

 

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