Impacting Culture With Titus as the Guide
I’m sure you’ve heard this line, as Christians we should be in the world and not of it. Well, that’s what the book of Titus is about. It’s about impacting our culture and communities, being in them, but not of them. Sometimes we Christians want to stay in our bubbles, our own communities and we forget that Jesus went out into the world and impacted it. He wasn’t of the world but he boldly went into it, sharing the message of salvation for men and women’s souls.
As a history major I must give you a little context around what’s happening here and why Paul is writing the way he does in the 3 chapters of Titus…
Titus was Greek and had been a traveling companion of Paul, and Paul sent him the island of Crete (which is off the coast of Greece) to restore order to house churches that had been planted there, but that was engaging in bad practice. Cretans were known as liars, as people who engaged in treachery, violence and sexual immorality. Why did Paul think Crete to be of importance? The island had many harbors, with sizeable cities surrounding them and Paul believed that Crete was the place to start church plants. But over time, bad practice led to bad theology, as the leaders of Crete who proclaimed to be Christians were actually corrupt and ungodly. Because Paul was all about holy living, he sent Titus to correct the errors of Christian practices in Crete, to turn bad practice into good practice so that their theology would be pure and righteous.
Paul starts off by reminding Titus of the heart of the Gospel message and that God is truth, unlike the Cretans who were known to be liars. And therefore, the Christian life is about truth.
Then Paul exhorts Titus with his task on the island, which is to appoint new elders (mature husbands and fathers) who are set a part, who teach truth, who are honest and generous, who are Godly, and who will stand up to and correct the corrupt Cretan leaders.
Next, Paul exhorts Titus to do something about the credibility of the church because Christians had begun to live wildly like the Cretans. Back in 1:12 of Titus, Paul quote Epimendous by saying, ‘Cretans are always liars, evil beasts, and lazy gluttons.’ This behavior had creeped into the church and the credibility of the church and God’s Word was tainted. Bad practice had led to bad theology in the church there. So, Paul lays out how the ideal Cretan household should have men mentors to boys and women mentors to girls, and that slaves should obey their masters.
Here is where we get Paul’s intent for this epistle to Titus, when the church gets its practices right, then ungodly people [the Cretans] will see. He is saying, Christian living must impact culture and communities for ungodly people to see. Christians can’t stay in their bubble, but rather, they must integrate into society and mix with all people, and it’s their set a part lifestyle that will change the culture around them.
As Christine Caine has often said, “When the church starts being the church we will get the world evangelized in days.”
It’s this set a part lifestyle this value system that fuels the Christian life and it’s all based on God’s generosity, grace and love, which was lived out in the life of Jesus.
Paul’s message to Titus is for us. In 3:1-3, Paul states real Christians should speak no evil, are peaceable, gentle, and show humility. It is the transforming power of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit that enables this authentic Christian lifestyle.
Summarizing the Bible Project: Titus is Paul’s missionary strategy for churches to become agents of transformation within their communities. It won’t happen by waging a culture war or assimilating to the Cretan (world/carnal) way of life, but by participating in culture and embracing what’s good in culture and rejecting the bad. It’s about impacting culture and sharing God’s grace with the world.
Happy Friday! God bless you and go bless someone else this weekend!