This is a passage that is nothing short of a call to godliness among God’s people.
There are a lot of people who claim to be Christians. But as Paul said in chapter 1,
They claim to know God, but by their actions they deny him. They are detestable, disobedient and unfit for doing anything good. (1:16)
You cannot claim to be a Christian and simply live the way you want to. God has called us to be be holy. What does that mean practically? Paul tells them.
Teach the older men to be temperate, worthy of respect, self-controlled, and sound in faith, in love and in endurance.
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. Then they can train the younger women to love their husbands and children, to be self-controlled and pure, to be busy at home, to be kind, and to be subject to their husbands, so that no one will malign the word of God.
Similarly, encourage the young men to be self-controlled. (2:2-6)
All fiercely practical.
Later he gives instructions to the slaves, which are practical for employees today.
Teach slaves to be subject to their masters in everything, to try to please them, not to talk back to them, and not to steal from them, but to show that they can be fully trusted, so that in every way they will make the teaching about God our Savior attractive. (2:9-10)
Then in chapter 3, he gives instructions concerning our attitude toward authority, that we are to be subject to them (3:1).
Finally he gives us instructions on how we are to treat each other, that we are to do good to one another,
to slander no one, to be peaceable and considerate, and to show true humility toward all men. (3:2)
And to Titus himself, Paul says,
In everything set them an example by doing what is good. In your teaching show integrity, seriousness and soundness of speech that cannot be condemned, so that those who oppose you may be ashamed because they have nothing bad to say about us. (7-8)
In other words, Titus was not simply to teach these things, but to live them that he might be an example to all the church of the kind of life they were to live. Just as importantly, by living that way, no legitimate reproach could come upon Christ and his teaching.
“But we are saved by grace! These instructions sound so legalistic,” some may say.
Yes we are saved by grace and by grace alone. But what is true grace? Does true grace teach us to live however we want because we are saved by the cross of Christ?
No. This grace,
teaches us to say “No” to ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright and godly lives in this present age, while we wait for the blessed hope–the glorious appearing of our great God and Savior, Jesus Christ, who gave himself for us to redeem us from all wickedness and to purify for himself a people that are his very own, eager to do what is good. (2:12-14)
Grace wasn’t given us as a license to live unholy lives. Rather grace was given us that we might become holy. Jesus bought us out of slavery to sin and purified our hearts by his blood that we would become his own people. A people who want to please him and are eager to do what is right.
And this is so important to Paul, that he tells Titus,
These, then, are the things you should teach. Encourage and rebuke with all authority. Do not let anyone despise you. (2:15)
How about you? Are you using the grace of God to give you an excuse to live how you want to? Or are you so grateful for what he has done for you, that it’s your greatest desire to please him?
As a Christian, you have been called to godliness. Are you living that way?