Be Ready for Every Good Work
3 Remind them to be submissive to rulers and authorities, to be obedient, to be ready for every good work, to speak evil of no one, to avoid quarreling, to be gentle, and to show perfect courtesy toward all people. For we ourselves were once foolish, disobedient, led astray, slaves to various passions and pleasures, passing our days in malice and envy, hated by others and hating one another. But when the goodness and loving kindness of God our Savior appeared, he saved us, not because of works done by us in righteousness, but according to his own mercy, by the washing of regeneration and renewal of the Holy Spirit, whom he poured out on us richly through Jesus Christ our Savior, so that being justified by his grace we might become heirs according to the hope of eternal life. The saying is trustworthy, and I want you to insist on these things, so that those who have believed in God may be careful to devote themselves to good works. These things are excellent and profitable for people. But avoid foolish controversies, genealogies, dissensions, and quarrels about the law, for they are unprofitable and worthless. As for a person who stirs up division, after warning him once and then twice, have nothing more to do with him, knowing that such a person is warped and sinful; he is self-condemned.
Final Instructions and Greetings
When I send Artemas or Tychicus to you, do your best to come to me at Nicopolis, for I have decided to spend the winter there. Do your best to speed Zenas the lawyer and Apollos on their way; see that they lack nothing. And let our people learn to devote themselves to good works, so as to help cases of urgent need, and not be unfruitful.
All who are with me send greetings to you. Greet those who love us in the faith.
Grace be with you all.
Titus 3 Commentary
by Hank Workman
And let our people learn to devote themselves to good works, so as to help cases of urgent need, and not be unfruitful.Titus 3:14 ESV
Now isn’t this an interesting way to end a letter? Reading and rereading this final chapter of Paul’s letter to Titus it seems to be fitting though. As a whole this letter is strong and these parting thoughts are much the same.
Paul holds nothing back in his call for people to do the right thing, the godly thing as we live in this society. Interestingly as he’s writing to Titus a leader in the church, his direction is toward those who are of the church; those who claim to be Believers. He speaks of those who were once disobedient to Christ and serving themselves; those who love to fan the flame of controversy and meaningless arguments through being difficult on every level of engagement; he speaks very specifically of those who are divisive in the church itself and how in the end after fair warning, to wash your hands of them.
His tolerance for these things is zero to none. And it should be. The division among people of the family of God, the insanity of foolish arguments for the sake of argument does nothing for Kingdom Life.
So his ending is quite fitting – work towards fruit in your life, in your ministry, within your church. Be willing to meet pressing needs that come upon you. This resonates with Jesus’ words, “The Son of Man did not come to be served but to serve…” Mark 10:45. He expects the very same from His Followers.
Titus 3 Commentary
by Brad Boyles
Have you ever been involved in a foolish conversation? How about an endless quarrel about a technicality? Most likely, all of us have been involved in an unpleasant, unprofitable discussion at one time or another. But for some, this is what they live for.
I know people who are seemingly never happy, and always have a complaint about something. Resembling the Israelites of Moses’ time, they are quick to throw a leader under the bus when plans appear to fail. These unhappy people never step up to actually do much of anything as they would rather sit on the sidelines and criticize those who are actually trying to lead.
I know people who are always right. No matter the topic of conversation, they will not hesitate to weigh in with their expert opinion. Like the Pharisees of Jesus’ time, these people are unteachable and self-righteous. Their identity is firmly rooted in their flawless doctrine and perfect theology. As protectors of all that is good and true, they make it their mission to destroy anyone who threatens their dogmatic beliefs.
Over the years, I’ve been in several heated discussions over church matters that, in the end, didn’t matter. They were fruitless, foolish controversies. How are we to respond to such people?
“But avoid stupid arguments, long lists of ancestors, quarrels, and fights about the Law. They are useless and worthless. 10 Give at least two warnings to those who cause divisions, and then have nothing more to do with them. 11 You know that such people are corrupt, and their sins prove that they are wrong.”Titus 3:9-11 GNB
Warn them once. Warn them twice. Then, have nothing to do with them. Really? Have nothing to do with them? Doesn’t that seem a little harsh? I believe the type of person Paul is describing is not just your typical, unhappy, argumentative person. He is speaking toward those who are heretical in their behaviors. In other words, these are people who are so convinced they are right, that they will begin to split the church into two sides – us and them.
“Are you with us on this, or are you with them?” This kind of self-willed person is a heretic who is actively pursuing division within the body of Christ. This is why Paul gives such strong instruction to Titus. Have nothing to do with such people. Although our flesh wants to “have nothing to do” with any difficult person (believe me, I know), there is a keyword that triggers the green light for discipline to occur. Division.
“But rather than talk theology with the divisive person, Titus is to warn (or “admonish”) that person “once and twice.” As in 1Ti 5:19-20 and 2Ti 2:25, the purpose of this confrontation is to induce the erring brother or sister to repent, and the admonition is understood to be positive instruction given within the context of a caring relationship.”IVP New Testament Commentary
The most loving action a leader can take toward a divisive person is not to ignore them or try and debate them. The most loving act is to warn them in hopes of repentance. Of course, this admonition should be exercised alongside fervent prayer. There have been many who have allowed a divisive person to stay much longer than they should have, but there have also been situations when leaders have jumped to conclusions and caused more division due to unhealthy disciplinary tactics.
As always, we must be dialed into the Holy Spirit as He leads and guides in all truth.