We live in times similar to those of Amos; “‘Behold, the days are coming,’ declares the Lord GOD, ‘when I will send a famine on the land— not a famine of bread, nor a thirst for water, but of hearing the words of the LORD’” (8:11). In these days, when we all have Bibles, there is no excuse for such a famine! There is certainly not a famine of food and drink today as most have an abundance. But Paul told Titus, that in those days people had been “slaves to various passions and pleasures” (3:3) until they learned to “purify” their minds through serving Christ and the word of God. We must each ask ourselves, ‘How well am I succeeding in maintaining that blessing of purification’?
Paul wrote to Titus whom he had left in Crete to “put what remained into order” (1:5). There are matters which are equally applicable today. Paul warns of those who “profess to know God, but they deny him by their works. They are detestable, disobedient, unfit for any good work” (1:16). Paul says “their consciences are defiled” (verse 15). Our world is so defiled that we must be ever vigilant to keep our minds fed with godly thoughts that will override all our other thoughts, so that we will give continual faithful service to our Saviour who “gave himself for us to redeem us from all lawlessness and to purify for himself a people for his own possession who are zealous for good works” (2:14) “so that being justified by his grace we might become heirs according to the hope of eternal life” (3:7).
We are not saved by doing “good works” – it is “grace” that justifies (or declares righteous) so that we have “the hope of eternal life”. Paul’s words that our Lord “gave himself” to “purify for himself” a people (and that means you and me) reminds us of his words to the Hebrews, where Paul contrasts the purification rituals under the Law with what should now happen. “How much more will the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered himself without blemish to God, purify our conscience from dead works to serve the living God” (9:14).