Does God have a plan for the church and society through the salvation accomplished by Jesus Christ? Yes, He has! And part of this plan can be understood by reading the letter of the apostle Paul to Titus.
Paul left Titus in Crete, Greece, so that he might put what remained into order, and appoint elders in every town. In the letter to Titus, Paul explains how that order should look like. At first he gives guidelines for believers in the church. Then he instructs men and women regarding godliness in their marriages, family life and slaves – people who have to submit to a master.
God’s salvation plan
In chapter 2, we see Paul explaining God’s purpose for bringing salvation in Jesus:
“For the grace of God has appeared, bringing salvation for all people, training us to renounce ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright, and godly lives in the present age, waiting for our blessed hope, the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ, who gave himself for us to redeem us from all lawlessness and to purify for himself a people for his own possession who are zealous for good works” (Titus 2:11-14).
Reading the entire epistle of Paul to Titus, we can see how he uses these four verses as foundation for his instructions to the called saints in the churches:
Instructions for people inside the church (Titus 1:6-15):
- The elders must be above reproach, the husband of one wife, and their children must be believers who are not open to the charge of debauchery or insubordination.
- An overseer must be above reproach as well. He must not be arrogant or quick-tempered or a drunkard or violent or greedy for gain, but hospitable, a lover of good, self-controlled, upright, holy, and disciplined. He must hold firm to the trustworthy word as taught, so that he may be able to give instruction in sound doctrine, and also to rebuke those who contradict it.
Instructions for believers in society:
- Older men are to be sober-minded, dignified, self-controlled, sound in faith, in love, in steadfastness (Titus 2:2).
- Older women likewise should be reverent in behavior, not slanderers or slaves to much wine. They are to teach what is good and so train the young women (Titus 2:3).
- Younger women must be trained to love their husbands and children, to be self-controlled, pure, working at home, kind, and submissive tot heir own husbands, that the word of God may not reviled (Titus 2:4-5).
- The younger men must be self-controlled. Titus himself has to be a model of good works (Titus 2:8).
- Slaves are to be submissive to their own masters in everything; they are to be well-pleasing, not argumentative, not pilfering, but showing all good faith (Titus 2:9-10).
The reason for the instructions Paul has given, is explained in Titus 2:10: “So that in everything they may adorn the doctrine of God our Savior“.
The core message of the letter to Titus
What, then, is the foundational teaching of the letter to Titus? Grace has appeared to all men (Christ purchased and secured our eternal redemption by dying on the cross and His resurrection from the dead), so that in faith God’s children obey the commandments God has given us in His Word – both inside the church and outside the church. The Name of God will be honored and glorified.
Christian, be courageous and submit yourself to God, do good to other people and glorify your Father, who is in heaven!