One of the many amazing facts of our existence (cf. Psalm 139:14) is that we are each made in God’s image (Genesis 1:26), but no two of us are alike! Each has different abilities and potential in God’s kingdom (Romans 12:3-8), and each Christian should be appreciated and enabled to serve within the range of those abilities!
Every Christian belongs somewhere, but we’re not interchangeable. Paul stressed that “…the body is not one member, but many”(1 Corinthians 12:14). We don’t all have the same abilities, but we all have work to do for the Master! This is why it’s foolish for a Christian to be jealous of another’s abilities, or to “lay out” of the church’s work simply because someone else is better able to do a certain job (see 1 Corinthians 12:15-17)! Titus 2:1-8 stresses some of the works God has set for us, and shows how we are differently qualified for them.
God HAS a place for you to work in His kingdom; are you there?
The places and duties God assigns us “befit” sound doctrine, verse 1. Paul shows this with a contrast between the speech of the impure and the pure, Titus 1:15-2:1. (The contrast lies in the content as well as the conduct!) The Cretans in Titus 1 correspond to folks today who demand that “everything” (including what we believe and do) should be exactly “equal” in every way. The gospel, however, teaches that our different qualifications are part of what makes us valuable to God! What Paul said next –about the roles of men and women, and old and young –highlights this point; these ARE things that befit (“beautify”) sound doctrine! God is not the author of confusion (1 Corinthians 14:33), so the roles He assigns in the church do not conflict with our liberty in Christ. Paul’s comparison is between the “healthy, hygienic” teaching of God and the “sick” thinking of the world! God’s plan for Christians complements His teachings in other matters!
Our duties in the kingdom DO vary, verses 2-6. Here, the Holy Spirit acknowledges distinctions of AGE and GENDER, and Paul’s instruction flies in the face of modern attitudes that “younger is always better” and “gender doesn’t matter.” His words are calculated to help the church grow strong and function smoothly. The aged are the presented as leaders because;
- Mature men can be reasonably expected to possess qualities like self-control, reverence, and prudence, as well as possessing “healthy” beliefs (teaching/doctrine), healthy Christian love, and endurance.
- Mature Christian women are reverent in their conduct (as befits priests), not “defamers,” and can be counted on to be active in teaching their younger sisters about things like sobriety (self-control), holy love, discretion and chastity, and industriousness, kindness, and obedience.
Note that the younger Christian men are told to be sober-minded just like the older men (this expression means “thinking it through, looking at the consequences”). The whole point of trying to encourage these things is so that God’s name will not be blasphemed! When we all do the things God has assigned us, the church functions like a body.
Principles that apply to all, verses 7-8. Here, Paul emphasizes that God intends us to participate in “good” works; this is why we are created in Christ Jesus, Ephesians 2:10. We should be enthusiastic about good works, according to Titus 2:14, but we cannot get them done if we are focused on “who gets to do what” instead of on doing what we can!
If we’re not serious about the mission and message of the gospel, we are rejecting God’s grace, Titus 2:11-12. Where are you in God’s scheme of things?