Ravinia made cupcakes. She followed a recipe, and they turned out well, so yummy that I pretended to cry after a nibble because I can’t have cream cheese (it’s not worth what it does to my stomach!).
She asked me to help measure batter into cupcake liners, and as I worked I thought about how the Bible is like a recipe, and how it isn’t! It says love your neighbor as yourself, but it doesn’t say you have to make a casserole, or brownies, or cut grass or shovel walks or drive someone who can’t…it’s not specific like a recipe. Yet it does clearly define what is good and what is not.
Here in Titus, Paul launches in to a description of what is not good, and what Titus needs to do about it. Let’s read: (Titus 1:10-16)
For there are many rebellious people, mere talkers and deceivers, especially those of the circumcision group. They must be silenced, because they are ruining whole households by teaching things they ought not to teach—and that for the sake of dishonest gain. Even one of their own prophets has said, “Cretans are always liars, evil brutes, lazy gluttons.” This testimony is true. Therefore, rebuke them sharply, so that they will be sound in the faith and will pay no attention to Jewish myths or to the commands of those who reject the truth. To the pure, all things are pure, but to those who are corrupted and do not believe, nothing is pure. In fact, both their minds and consciences are corrupted. They claim to know God, but by their actions they deny him. They are detestable, disobedient and unfit for doing anything good.
Starts out with a statement that there are many rebellious people. I don’t think anyone disagrees with that. But is he describing the rebellious as mere talkers and deceivers?
Rebellious, because what we are commanded to do is to obey. Not just say stuff. Jumping back to James, “Do not merely listen to the word and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says.” (1:22)
I just never thought of that as rebellious.
But it means they know the truth and refuse to do it. Their hearts rebel and they are both self-deceived (thank you James) and therefore deceiving others.
What does the recipe say to do?
Silence those mere talkers!
He explains why: They are ruining whole households.
Why would they do that? For the sake of dishonest gain.
They are liars, brutes, gluttons.
But there is hope. Rebuke them sharply so that they will be sound in the faith and will pay no attention to Jewish myths or to the commands of those who reject the truth.
Now, I don’t really like sharp rebukes. I’m all about gentle loving rebukes! Or firm ones, but not sharp! Yet there are times I realize sharp rebukes are called for, and I am impressed that this is one of them. This is life threatening, spiritually.
Again, I tend to camp out on the positive side of “To the pure, all things are pure, but to those who are corrupted and do not believe, nothing is pure.” But it is clearly here for a warning. For those who are corrupted, in both their minds and consciences, sharp rebuke is needed. It’s what the recipe calls for.
I’m glad I’m not Titus, being told to rebuke them!
But am I like those deserving the rebuke? Is this my gentle loving one?
They claim to know God, but by their actions they deny him.
Open my eyes, Lord, guide my life to right action.