Expositional commentary on Scripture using an inductive exegetical methodology intent upon confronting the lives of Christians with the dogmatic Truths of God's inspired Words opposing Calvinism and Arminianism, Biblical commentary, doctrine of grace enablement, understanding holiness and wisdom and selfishness, in-depth Bible studies, adult Bible Study books and Sunday School materials Dr. Lance T. Ketchum Line Upon Line: Holiness: A Purified and Peculiar People

Sunday, October 21, 2007

Holiness: A Purified and Peculiar People

1 But speak thou the things which become sound doctrine: 2 That the aged men be sober, grave, temperate, sound in faith, in charity, in patience. 3 The aged women likewise, that they be in behaviour as becometh holiness, not false accusers, not given to much wine, teachers of good things; 4 That they may teach the young women to be sober, to love their husbands, to love their children, 5 To be discreet, chaste, keepers at home, good, obedient to their own husbands, that the word of God be not blasphemed. 6 Young men likewise exhort to be sober minded. 7 In all things shewing thyself a pattern of good works: in doctrine shewing uncorruptness, gravity, sincerity, 8 Sound speech, that cannot be condemned; that he that is of the contrary part may be ashamed, having no evil thing to say of you. 9 Exhort servants to be obedient unto their own masters, and to please them well in all things; not answering again; 10 Not purloining, but shewing all good fidelity; that they may adorn the doctrine of God our Saviour in all things. 11 For the grace of God that bringeth salvation hath appeared to all men, 12 Teaching us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly, in this present world; 13 Looking for that blessed hope, and the glorious appearing of the great God and our Saviour Jesus Christ; 14 Who gave himself for us, that he might redeem us from all iniquity, and purify unto himself a peculiar people, zealous of good works. 15 These things speak, and exhort, and rebuke with all authority. Let no man despise thee” (Titus 2:1-15).

Holiness is not some ambiguous concept of impossible goals. In Titus 2:1-15, holiness is defined in some very tangible terms and with some very practical expectations. Holiness is defined and revealed in our behavior (Titus 2:3). God expects mature believers to be the models of holiness to young believers. The word “shewing” in Titus 2:7 is from the Greek word parecho (par-ekh'-o), which means to offer one’s self as an example. Paul repeatedly held himself up as a model of the Christian life and in Titus 2:1-15 he is commanding all believers to do the same.

“Be ye followers of me, even as I also am of Christ” (I Corinthians 11:1).

13 Brethren, I count not myself to have apprehended: but this one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before, 14 I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus. 15 Let us therefore, as many as be perfect, be thus minded: and if in any thing ye be otherwise minded, God shall reveal even this unto you. 16 Nevertheless, whereto we have already attained, let us walk by the same rule, let us mind the same thing. 17 Brethren, be followers together of me, and mark them which walk so as ye have us for an ensample. 18 (For many walk, of whom I have told you often, and now tell you even weeping, that they are the enemies of the cross of Christ: 19 Whose end is destruction, whose God is their belly, and whose glory is in their shame, who mind earthly things)” (Philippians 3:13-19).

True holiness exists inwardly in a change of desires and motivations before it becomes evident in the outward practices (behavior) of our lives. Seldom do Christians recognize the reality of the Christian life that is theirs in Christ Jesus and seldom do they accept the solemn responsibilities regarding their leadership influence upon other believers. The potential abundant life that Christ promises to all believers is available only to those who are willing to make the sacrifices necessary to abide in Him.

10 If ye keep my commandments, ye shall abide in my love; even as I have kept my Father’s commandments, and abide in his love. 11 These things have I spoken unto you, that my joy might remain in you, and that your joy might be full. 12 This is my commandment, That ye love one another, as I have loved you. 13 Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends. 14 Ye are my friends, if ye do whatsoever I command you” (John 15:10-14).

However, Phariseeism results when the commandments and truths of Christ’s expectations are applied to the externality of a life without a change in the “heart” (inward desires and motivations). A change of “heart” exists when the motivation for doing what God wants and expects comes from a genuine desire to please Him rather than impress men. Laws and Biblical expectations (rules and regulations) without a personal, loving relationship with Christ will always result in either Phariseeism (externalism and hypocrisy) or rebellion. Both of these phenomena are consistently evident in much of professing Christianity. Both are deadly to true spiritual growth, true holiness and the abundant life available in Christ Jesus.

25 Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye make clean the outside of the cup and of the platter, but within they are full of extortion and excess. 26 Thou blind Pharisee, cleanse first that which is within the cup and platter, that the outside of them may be clean also. 27 Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye are like unto whited sepulchres, which indeed appear beautiful outward, but are within full of dead men’s bones, and of all uncleanness. 28 Even so ye also outwardly appear righteous unto men, but within ye are full of hypocrisy and iniquity” (Matthew 23:25-28).

True holiness is the by-product of hungering and thirsting after the practical righteousness of God and will manifest itself in the outward expression of God’s truth in the everyday practices of life (behavior). That is what Paul is communicating in Titus 2:1-15. Holiness is not a vain show of pompous piety. Holiness is the revelation of a changed life brought to spiritual maturity and becoming a visible reality through some very tangible and practical realities of life. “Aged men” (v 2) and “aged women” (v 3) both refer to those who have enough spiritual history (experience) behind them to have acquired spiritual maturity and consistency in their lives.

The first instruction for practical holiness is in Titus 2:1. The believer who is really concerned about the righteousness of God will be concerned about “sound doctrine.” The word “sound” is from the Greek word hugiaino (hoog-ee-ah'-ee-no). It means to be free from any mixture of error. The word “doctrine” is from the Greek word didaskalia (did-as-kal-ee'-ah). It refers to teaching or instruction. The person who desires true holiness in his life will be consumed with knowing God’s Word for the purposes of both teaching that truth and living that truth before others.

In verse 2, Paul gives some very definitive expectations in behavior that should be the fruit of a “heart” intent on doing what is right before God and living right before men. The word “likewise” of verse three establishes that holiness is directly related to “behaviour” for both men and women. The word “behaviour” is from the Greek word katastema (kat-as'-tay-mah). It refers to a person’s demeanor or the way a person shows or exhibits who and what he is to the world. “Behaviour” refers to everything a person does, the people he associates with, the manners and practices of his daily life, the clothes he wears, the food he eats, the kinds of things he involves himself in for recreation and his general demeanor. “Behaviour” refers to both verbal and non-verbal communication that exhibit the reality of what this person is all about. What we do, how we live and what occupies our time are the true barometer of our relationship with Jesus Christ and the measurement of the reality of our Christianity.

We reveal more about ourselves non-verbally than we do verbally. I can tell a lot about a person by the way he dresses, the way he cuts his hair, what he spends his time on and just by observing his attitudes towards people. You can tell a lot about a person’s level of spiritual growth by how he handles difficulties and by what he does when he fails to do what is right.

God gives a number of behavioral definitions for both men and women that “becometh holiness.” “Becometh holiness” is from the Greek word hieroprepes (hee-er-op-rep-ace'). It means to stand out, to be conspicuous. The way we live, dress, talk, eat, drink or just our attitudes towards life and work in general reveal to others our relationship with God and the reality or hypocrisy of that relationship.

For men, God lists six specific areas that reveal the genuineness of our Christianity and our personal relationship with Him. The first is the word “sober.” It is from the Greek word nephaleos (nay-fal'-eh-os) and refers to the abstention from the use of wine or alcohol. Although this refers to something specific, in the broader sense it refers to anything that might cause us to lower our inhibitions regarding sin or to lose control of our emotions or feelings.

The second behavioral command is the word “grave.” It is from the Greek word semnos (sem-nos') and refers to possessing the character and integrity that is worthy of honor or respect. The Christian that considers this understands that his life is lived under the world’s microscope. The people we will be modeling Christ before (which includes everyone) will be watching for the faintest hint of inconsistency in our lives. Satan will take that inconsistency and blow it up to billboard size to discredit and destroy a believer’s testimony for God. We need to remember that the way we live our lives is the “light” that directs men to God. If our life is not what it ought to be, no one will listen to what we have to say. As someone has said, “Your life speaks so loud I cannot hear what you are saying.”

The third behavior command for holiness is the word “temperate.” It is from the Greek word sophron (so'-frone). The “temperate” person is a person with the kind of self-control that is able to curb his desires and impulses. Here is where the reality of our Christianity is really tested. We are by nature (fallen nature) reactive (as opposed to being proactive). When someone attacks us, we respond (react) defensively. When someone hurts someone we love, we naturally want vengeance.

We must remember that for a person with a fallen nature, what comes naturally is usually sin. The “temperate” person learns to be proactive. He plans ahead. He determines before hand how he will act if certain situations arise. That does not mean he will not be caught off guard occasionally. However, when the proactive “temperate” person realizes he has reacted wrongly, he immediately seeks to remedy the failure by confessing his bad behavior and seeking the forgiveness of those involved. He immediately returns to being proactive.

The fourth behavioral command for men is found in the words “sound in faith.” This command is from the Greek words hugiaino (hoog-ee-ah'-ee-no) pistis (pis'-tis). It means to be free from any error in the practice of the teachings of the Word of God.

We cry out to God for justice and righteousness while still wanting to live in the middle ground of commitment to truth and service. If that is the defining reality of our Christianity, we can say, “truth is fallen in the street.” Until the truth we know becomes the everyday practice of our lives, we are “lukewarm” Christians. Soundness is not about knowing truth as many suppose. Soundness in the faith is about living the truth and doing what is right. Like many Christians, Israel continually fell into this pit of self-deception.

We need to be reminded that it was the failure of the children of Israel in the area of practical holiness that was the central hindrance to God blessing their lives. God wanted to save them. God wanted to hear their prayers and answer them. God wanted to bless them, but He could not because they were not living the way they should have been living.

1 Behold, the LORD’s hand is not shortened, that it cannot save; neither his ear heavy, that it cannot hear: 2 But your iniquities have separated between you and your God, and your sins have hid his face from you, that he will not hear. 3 For your hands are defiled with blood, and your fingers with iniquity; your lips have spoken lies, your tongue hath muttered perverseness. 4 None calleth for justice, nor any pleadeth for truth: they trust in vanity, and speak lies; they conceive mischief, and bring forth iniquity. 5 They hatch cockatrice’ eggs, and weave the spider’s web: he that eateth of their eggs dieth, and that which is crushed breaketh out into a viper. 6 Their webs shall not become garments, neither shall they cover themselves with their works: their works are works of iniquity, and the act of violence is in their hands. 7 Their feet run to evil, and they make haste to shed innocent blood: their thoughts are thoughts of iniquity; wasting and destruction are in their paths. 8 The way of peace they know not; and there is no judgment in their goings: they have made them crooked paths: whosoever goeth therein shall not know peace. 9 Therefore is judgment far from us, neither doth justice overtake us: we wait for light, but behold obscurity; for brightness, but we walk in darkness. 10 We grope for the wall like the blind, and we grope as if we had no eyes: we stumble at noonday as in the night; we are in desolate places as dead men. 11 We roar all like bears, and mourn sore like doves: we look for judgment, but there is none; for salvation, but it is far off from us. 12 For our transgressions are multiplied before thee, and our sins testify against us: for our transgressions are with us; and as for our iniquities, we know them; 13 In transgressing and lying against the LORD, and departing away from our God, speaking oppression and revolt, conceiving and uttering from the heart words of falsehood. 14 And judgment is turned away backward, and justice standeth afar off: for truth is fallen in the street, and equity cannot enter.” (Isaiah 59:9-14).

There is no middle ground when it comes to the issue of righteousness. It is either all or nothing as far as God is concerned. If we want God’s blessings upon our lives, there must be brokenness about sin. There must be a turning from the carnal pursuits after pleasure and worldliness in our lives. There must be a whole-hearted turning to God and His righteousness. There must be a hungering and thirsting after practical righteousness in our lives. God will find no pleasure in our half-hearted, lukewarm pretension. We cannot fool God with a facade of Christian pretense.

2 The LORD hath been sore displeased with your fathers. 3 Therefore say thou unto them, Thus saith the LORD of hosts; Turn ye unto me, saith the LORD of hosts, and I will turn unto you, saith the LORD of hosts” (Zechariah 1:2-3).

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