We are surrounded by ungodliness to a far greater degree than previous generations. We can say we “renounce ungodliness”, but putting what we say into action is getting more difficult: it means we must concentrate our minds on godly thoughts at every opportunity.
The 46 verses of Paul’s letter to Titus are an ideal source for mental fortification; we should not just read, but meditate on it. Titus is in Crete (1:5) to work for the Lord. The contrast between those who really believe and those who give the appearance of believing is a problem in Crete. The parallels with the problems that challenge us today is increasingly apparent.
Paul says, “a prophet of their own said, ‘Cretans are always liars, evil beasts, lazy gluttons.’ This testimony is true” (1:12,13). Titus is told to “rebuke them sharply, that they may be sound in the faith … 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. They are detestable …” (verses 15,16). Sadly, Christianity in general is sliding towards doing this and this can influence us.
Titus is to set the example “Show yourself in all respects to be a model of good works, and in your teaching show integrity, dignity and sound speech that cannot be condemned, so that an opponent may be put to shame, having nothing evil to say about us” (2:7,8). This leads Paul to make the point, “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 in the present age, waiting for our blessed hope …” (verses 11-13).
Our sense of urgency in waiting for our hope to be fulfilled grows ever greater. Perhaps the younger generation can only partly appreciate as life today is so interesting! We stress it is “the grace of God” that provides the message of salvation and meaning for our existence. Let us appreciate that grace to the full, for we cannot ‘earn’ a place in God’s kingdom nor will we deserve it. But, writes Paul, “being justified by his grace we might become heirs according to the hope of eternal life” (3:7).