“3 At one time we too were foolish, disobedient, deceived and enslaved by all kinds of passions and pleasures. We lived in malice and envy, being hated and hating one another. 4 But when the kindness and love of God our Savior appeared, 5 he saved us, not because of righteous things we had done, but because of his mercy. He saved us through the washing of rebirth and renewal by the Holy Spirit, 6 whom he poured out on us generously through Jesus Christ our Savior, 7 so that, having been justified by his grace, we might become heirs having the hope of eternal life. 8 This is a trustworthy saying. And I want you to stress these things, so that those who have trusted in God may be careful to devote themselves to doing what is good. These things are excellent and profitable for everyone.” Titus 3:3-8 NIV
Paul encourages Titus to know that while it is excellent to have a strong faith and trust in Christ, it is profitable to be bold and do what is good. Titus is reminded by Paul that right beliefs while good, are not profitable unless it leads to right actions. Paul advises that sound doctrine when leading a church is important, but it MUST be partnered with good works. This Epistle gives no room for a separation of faith and actions. It shows that faith, according to the bible, is not so much about a philosophical belief system I subscribe to and creed that I cling to, but is much more about what I choose to practice in my everyday life. Titus knows that Jesus called His followers to build disciples, and not mere followers. A real faith is not so much about raising my hand in church to say that I accept Jesus. A real faith requires that my life be dramatically changed.
While the theology of Christianity is based upon God’s grace, the ethics of Christianity are based on our gratitude for that grace. It is true that it is much easier to discuss theological questions and truths than it is to be kind and considerate to our families at home and to our co-workers. Paul reminds Titus that when leading a church, sound theology MUST be coupled with PRACTICAL APPLICATION.
Holy Spirit forgive the many disconnects between my faith and my actions. Grow me to be the kind of person who not only subscribes to following Jesus, but also lives it out in a practical way. Amen.