We do not know as much about Titus as we do about Timothy, but Paul left him in Crete to help the many converts there. Paul writes to him, “to Titus, my true child … in the common faith” (1:4). The faith was “common” in the sense that it was becoming common to believe the message, but some wanted to join a common enterprise for less than good reasons.
Titus had been left in Crete (verse 5) “so that you might put what remained into order and appoint elders in every town”. These elders must be “above reproach” and have “one wife … and his children are believers” (verse 6). Those he appoints should be “hospitable, a lover of good, self-controlled, upright, holy, and disciplined … (they) must hold firm to the trustworthy word as taught, so that (they) may be able to give instruction on sound doctrine and also rebuke those who contradict it” (verses 8,9).
Then, as now, true believers shine as lights in a dark world. “For God, who said, ‘Let light shine out of darkness’, has shone in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ” (2 Corinthians 4:6). But do our hearts react to this light in the right way? Sadly not, we need to be constantly aware of the true nature and wonder of that divine light. At Crete some were not, Paul was aware some were “upsetting whole families by teaching for shameful gain what they ought not to teach” (Titus 1:11).
Paul makes the point, “to the pure, all things are pure, but to the defiled and unbelieving, nothing is pure; but both their minds and their consciences are defiled. They profess to know God, but they deny him by their works” (verses 15,16). Our actions must match the things we profess. We show to God by how we live, by what we do with our time. God sees all! (Remember Balaam’s admission when forced to acknowledge the true God! – read Numbers 24:2,4.)
We are not expected to be perfect, but we are in training for perfection! In this training period we are covered by the wonder of His grace. Notice how Paul expresses this. “For the grace of God has appeared, bringing salvation for all people, training us to renounce ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright and godly lives …” (2:11,12). Our Lord is the ultimate example, he “gave himself for us to redeem us from all lawlessness and to purify for himself a people for his own possession who are zealous …” (2:14).
Do you feel in your heart that you are in the process of becoming pure?