to obey is better than sacrifice / obedience is better than sacrifice *
December 10, 2019 – Tuesday
Titus 1:16 NIV
16 They claim to know God, but by their actions they deny him. They are detestable, disobedient and unfit for doing anything good.
There is something about this verse I really like. Maybe it’s because it brings to mind the saying “Actions speak louder than words.” This is the end of chapter one where Titus is instructed to rebuke those who fail to do good. Certainly that would be true in verse sixteen where they falsely claim to know God, , but by their actions they deny him. Because their actions betray them by telling the truth about them, Paul adds They are detestable, disobedient and unfit for doing anything good.
Paul states this with authority because of the context he provides in the prior verses as we can see here.
10 For there are many rebellious people, full of meaningless talk and deception, especially those of the circumcision group. 11 They must be silenced, because they are disrupting whole households by teaching things they ought not to teach—and that for the sake of dishonest gain. 12 One of Crete’s own prophets has said it: “Cretans are always liars, evil brutes, lazy gluttons.” 13 This saying is true. Therefore rebuke them sharply, so that they will be sound in the faith 14 and will pay no attention to Jewish myths or to the merely human commands of those who reject the truth. 15 To the pure, all things are pure, but to those who are corrupted and do not believe, nothing is pure. In fact, both their minds and consciences are corrupted.
Short note the Cretan who said Cretans are always liars, evil brutes, lazy gluttons was the Cretan philosopher Epimenides. Thus Titus has to be aware of what the Cretans were like as well as the Judaizers among them who are teaching them Jewish myths such as circumcision is required to be a real Christian which was certainly not true. Before concluding with verse sixteen Paul tells Titus that for such people both their minds and consciences are corrupted.
So where is Titus to find people to act as elders, deacons, and teachers? In what we have labeled as chapter two Paul tells Titus where to look for these people when he writes: 1 You, however, must teach what is appropriate to sound doctrine. 2 Teach the older men to be temperate, worthy of respect, self-controlled, and sound in faith, in love and in endurance. 3 Likewise, teach the older women to be reverent in the way they live, not to be slanderers or addicted to much wine, but to teach what is good. It is the older men and women he is to teach and turn to, but even there Titus will have Teach the older men to be temperate, worthy of respect, self-controlled, and sound in faith, in love and in endurance. Paul does not expect them to have all these qualities at the beginning, but being older, without the passions of those younger, and more likely settled, they would hopefully be teachable.
The hope is they would not be detestable, disobedient and unfit for doing anything good and instead would be congenial, obedient, and at least minimally fit for the tasks at hand responsive to the sound doctrine Titus would teach. Titus would teach, preach, and train others in the gospel of Jesus Christ in what amounted to a hostile environment for the Word of God.
Titus had traveled with Paul doing missionary work, but now he was going to be on his own – almost. Almost for he would have the Holy Spirit with him. So he would persevere and like Paul become a hero of the faith. Today we continue to support people like Paul who take the gospel to people who have never heard of it before or in areas where it is prohibited.
It is an honor to be able to help and be involved with those doing God’s work in spreading the Good News of Jesus Christ.
(to obey is better than sacrifice /obedience is better than sacrifice)
* To obey is better than sacrifice, and to heed is better than the fat of rams. (1 Samuel 15:22)