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: Living Godly Is Living Truth

Thursday, January 3, 2008

Holiness: Living Godly Is Living Truth

“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).

As we come to verse 11 of this text, we are once again reminded that “sound doctrine” is more than the transfer of intelligentsia from one mind to another. “Sound doctrine” is the communication of life changing truths. If the teaching of “sound doctrine” does not produce change in lives, it cannot be said that the teaching has been believed or accepted. The test of a person’s orthodoxy is not what he professes to believe, but what he lives both publicly and privately (what a person does in privacy is the real test of his orthodoxy). That is what is meant by the words “that they may adorn the doctrine of God our Saviour in all things” in Titus 2:10.

The word “purloining” in Titus 2:10 is from the Greek word nosphizomai (nos-fid'-zom-ahee). Servants are not supposed to embezzle from their masters (today, employers) by failing to work hard or by taking what does not belong to them. “Shewing all good fidelity” could be translated “demonstrating or displaying the faith (belief in the right doctrine) through the practice of life.” “The faith” is not a written doctrinal statement of our belief system. It is a living testimonial of our beliefs. So when the Word of God speaks of being “sound in doctrine” or “sound in the faith” it is not talking about what be believe intellectually. It is talking about the way we live out those beliefs in the everyday circumstances of our lives.

“13 This witness is true. Wherefore rebuke them sharply, that they may be sound in the faith; 14 Not giving heed to Jewish fables, and commandments of men, that turn from the truth. 15 Unto the pure all things are pure: but unto them that are defiled and unbelieving is nothing pure; but even their mind and conscience is defiled. 16 They profess that they know God; but in works they deny him, being abominable, and disobedient, and unto every good work reprobate” (Titus 1:13-16).

The believers of every local congregation are commanded to live out this orthodoxy (manifested by a transformed life) in the various interpersonal relationships of life and they are commanded to admonish one another to live out this orthodoxy. That is what fundamentalism is all about. Fundamentalism is about translating the written, fundamental truths of the Word of God into the language of life changing, living truth. When I talk about fundamental truths I mean the truths of God’s Word, which must be lived and that are absolutely essential to being right with God. The ultimate goal of the translation of the spoken Word of God (preaching) and the written Word of God into the language of living truth is what the Bible calls “godliness.”

“6 If thou put the brethren in remembrance of these things, thou shalt be a good minister of Jesus Christ, nourished up in the words of faith and of good doctrine, whereunto thou hast attained. 7 But refuse profane and old wives’ fables, and exercise thyself rather unto godliness. 8 For bodily exercise profiteth little: but godliness is profitable unto all things, having promise of the life that now is, and of that which is to come” (I Timothy 4:6-8).

The word “exercise” in I Timothy 4:7 is from the Greek word gumnazo (goom-nad'-zo). It literally means to exercise without clothing. The metaphorical use of the word means that the end goal of spiritual exercise (“godliness”) is achieved when we have stripped ourselves of everything pertaining to the carnal lust of our flesh. This word “godliness” defines both the goal and the struggle of the Christian life with the “flesh.” This struggle with the lusts of our eyes, the lust of our flesh and the pride of our lives (I John 2:16, the three avenues of sin into our lives) is detailed even further in Hebrews chapter 12.

“1 Wherefore seeing we also are compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us, 2 Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God. 3 For consider him that endured such contradiction of sinners against himself, lest ye be wearied and faint in your minds. 4 Ye have not yet resisted unto blood, striving against sin” (Hebrews 12:1-4).

The instruction of Paul to Titus (and all pastors) is that no one is to be allowed to lower the standard of holiness. We are not to be pursuing closeliness. Every believer, regardless of his station in life, is to live in such a way as to make the teachings of the Word of God appealing to the lost.

The reality is that the Bible is an instruction book written from our loving, heavenly Father to His children living in a foreign land. It is a book about do’s and don’ts. It is also a book about trust. If we believe God is Who He says He is, we will accepts His do’s and don’ts because we believe He loves us and knows what is best for us. However, if we do not trust Him with our lives, we will be constantly complaining about the strictness of God and how much Christianity costs us in personal sacrifices. When that is our attitude towards God, we will be constantly struggling with His Word. One thing will be sure; our lives will not be a living appeal to the lost to become Christian.

If God’s expectations for holiness in your life are viewed as too restrictive on your lifestyle, the issue is not about the strictness of God’s commands. The issue is about your unwillingness to trust God with what needs to be done in your life so God can use you to maximize fruit production.

“1 I am the true vine, and my Father is the husbandman. 2 Every branch in me that beareth not fruit he taketh away: and every branch that beareth fruit, he purgeth it, that it may bring forth more fruit. 3 Now ye are clean through the word which I have spoken unto you” (John 15:1-3).

Secondly, if living the way God commands His children to live is a great big hassle to you, the real problem is that you do not love the Lord. You love yourself more than you love God and therefore are more concerned about what gives you pleasure than about what you need to do in order to be a fruit bearer for God’s glory.

“1 Whosoever believeth that Jesus is the Christ is born of God: and every one that loveth him that begat loveth him also that is begotten of him. 2 By this we know that we love the children of God, when we love God, and keep his commandments. 3 For this is the love of God, that we keep his commandments: and his commandments are not grievous” (I John 5:1-3).

The word “for” in Titus 2:11 is a critical word to the meaning of the text. It draws together all the previous statements in the first ten verses and brings the potential for the reality of their fulfillment in the manifold “grace of God.”

The word “grace” is from the Greek word charis (khar'-ece). It refers to the merciful kindness of God by which He exerts His holy influence upon souls, turns them to Christ, keeps, strengthens, increases them in the Christian faith, knowledge, affection, and kindles them to the exercise of the Christian virtues. In the simplest sense, “grace” refers to the supernatural enablement of God in the believer’s life empowering the believer who has yielded his will to God’s will to live the way God wants him to live.

This enabling grace of God was fully made manifest in the life of Jesus Christ (Titus 2:11). The words “that bringeth salvation” in Titus 2:11 are from the Greek word soterion (so-tay'-ree-on), which literally means the embodiment of salvation. The words “hath appeared” are from the Greek word epiphaino (ep-ee-fah'-ee-no), the word from which we get our English word epiphany.

Jesus Christ was the visible manifestation of the enabling grace of God in human form. Jesus Christ was enabled by the Holy Spirit to translate the Word of God into living. Therefore, Jesus Christ is the personification of God’s enabling power to live out God’s commands in this life. God’s command for “godliness” is a command for all believers to be the personification of this enabling power (“grace”).

Just as salvation is a gift of God’s grace, the ability to live the Christian life is a gift of God’s grace. This enabling power of God is freely available to all believers. This happens when the believer cooperates with the Holy Spirit in a joint effort (as communicated by the Bible word “fellowship”).

The word “teaching” is from the Greek word paideuo (pahee-dyoo'-o), which means to train through instruction or chastisement. God’s continuing ministry in our lives, is a gift of His grace. Just as a Father is responsible in every aspect of his children’s training, God makes Himself responsible to train His children to be like Him (“godliness’). His grace constantly involves Him in our training through instruction (the Word of God) and chastisement when we fail or refuse to be obedient to His Word.

The first area of God’s instruction in our lives, according to Titus 2:12, is to train us (through the instruction of His Word and through chastisement when we fail) to deny “ungodliness and worldly lusts.” The word “ungodliness” is from the Greek word asebeia (as-eb'-i-ah), which refers to any practice or thought that is contrary to the nature and character of God and, therefore, manifests irreverence towards God. That is what grace teaching is all about.

Grace teaching is not about freedom to do anything we want in any way we want to do it. Grace teaching is about training believers to accept the gift of the power of the indwelling Holy Spirit that is available to enable them to do what God wants in God’s way.

The word “lusts” in Titus 2:12 is from the Greek word epithumia (ep-ee-thoo-mee'-ah). It refers to a desire for things that are forbidden by God. Grace teaching teaches the believer how to say No to the carnal desires of his own sin nature in its desire for worldly pleasures. Grace teaching teaches the believer how to live victorious over sin and to maintain a right relationship with God through the continuity of the moment-by-moment discipline of self-denial.

To call one’s self a disciple of Jesus Christ is to acknowledge that you have submitted yourself to this grace teaching. To call yourself a disciple of Jesus is a commitment to learn how to say No to the kind of irreverent, purposeful ignoring of God and His will for your life that you had as an unbeliever and to say No to the constant pursuit after the so called happiness that comes from the pleasures of sin. Discipleship means training in self-discipline by God’s enabling grace.

To become a disciple of Jesus Christ is much more than calling one’s self a Christian. To become a disciple of Jesus Christ is a commitment to a way of living. Early believers were known as Followers of the Way before they were ever called Christians. Are you a grace living Follower of the Way?

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