Welcome to The Bible in Three, a podcast where we discuss 3 Things About the Bible in about three minutes. Today we’re explored Titus 3:5. This is my friend Patsy’s favorite verse and after digging in, I can see why!
Paul wrote to Titus, a gentile (that means a follower of Jesus who isn’t a Jew)—who was living and leading the church in Crete. Fun geography tidbit—Crete is the 4th largest island in the Mediterranean.
Paul starts his letter with instruction on the organization of church in chapters one and two. He talks about the structure for leadership and gives guidelines for how the young and more mature believers are to interact with one another. But then chapter 3 outlines the Christian obligation to outsiders which is where it gets really interesting!
THREE—The Bite-sized Truth
1Remind the people to be subject to rulers and authorities, to be obedient, to be ready to do whatever is good, 2 to slander no one, to be peaceable and considerate, and always to be gentle toward everyone.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.
The believers in Crete are being challenged to live out their faith while living in a godless, pagan society. Sound familiar? Paul reminds them they used to look like their pagan neighbors but because of the kindness of God, they’ve been saved and radically transformed. And this should show in the way they treat their unbelieving neighbors.
Practical Application: So what does this mean for us?
- We always need to remember that it is not our works of righteousness that save us but rather God’s mercy that makes all the difference.
- Because of God’s mercy that transforms us we need to treat those who have not encountered God’s mercy YET with kindness and dignity—even if they don’t treat us well.
That can be hard in a society that at large lives opposite the Christian ethic. But we must look different and treat others differently realizing that what separates us from those who are not followers of Christ is that we have received God’s mercy. Might we extend His mercy to others? And may they experience the same saving power in their lives as well.
Here are some more resources to dig deeper.
Local Church— Being plugged into a church that prioritizes the reading and understanding of scripture is pretty important. For some that may be a pretty big ask due to previous hurt within this space. If that’s you, take your time and pray for God to lead you to the right space. But know that being in community with other faithful and mature believers is what God intended for his people. I’ll be praying with you for that community as well!
Simply Practical Truths. My friend Heather offers this weekly email bible study. Consider it your weekly dose of simple truth drawn from one verse or small passage of scripture with sound contextual insight and practical application for your life right now.
Honestly Though Podcast My friend Rebecca Carrell—along with co-hosts Liz Rodriguez and Nika Spalding—wrestle with relevant issues in the world, the church, and the family and ask, “Where is God in this?”