9 But avoid foolish controversies and genealogies and arguments and quarrels about the law, because these are unprofitable and useless.10 Warn a divisive person once, and then warn them a second time. After that, have nothing to do with them. 11 You may be sure that such people are warped and sinful; they are self-condemned.
12 As soon as I send Artemas or Tychicus to you, do your best to come to me at Nicopolis, because I have decided to winter there. 13 Do everything you can to help Zenas the lawyer and Apollos on their way and see that they have everything they need. 14 Our people must learn to devote themselves to doing what is good, in order to provide for urgent needs and not live unproductive lives.
15 Everyone with me sends you greetings. Greet those who love us in the faith.
Grace be with you all.
(Titus 3:9-15 NIV)
Previously, we looked at Paul’s reminder of our calling in Christ, and our salvation in Christ. Paul ended his thought (v. 8) by saying that these truths are applicable to and good for everyone who claims to be Christ’s follower, that we can count on these teachings as foundational truths and stake our life on them.
As we look at Paul’s final words in his letter to Titus, Paul reminds Titus to focus on the main thing – the truths he just wrote about – our salvation in Christ and our calling to live like Christ. Paul also offers some personal notes in his concluding remarks.
In contrast to verse 8 where Paul tells Titus to focus on the core truths of salvation in Christ and living for Christ (vv. 4-7), Paul issues a warning in verse 9 to avoid getting sucked into the Judiazers’ arguments about following the Old Testament law and genealogies and other controversies that would waste his time. Paul calls these arguments “unprofitable” and “useless”.
Isn’t that just like the enemy of our souls? If he can’t convince us to walk away from the Gospel of Christ, then he tries to get us entangled in frivolous arguments about stuff that is emotionally charged but really does not matter. And in so doing, the enemy has sidelined us by keeping us from focusing on our main truths – our salvation in Christ and our calling to live for Christ and tell others about Christ.
Paul had already reminded Titus about not getting involved with the Judaizers (1:10-11, 1:14), and had given Titus the authority to deal with these false teachers (1:13, 2:15). Now Paul gives Titus a specific process to follow: give these folks two warnings; if they don’t respond to the Gospel, then have nothing to do with them (vv. 10-11).
Finally, Paul wants to see Titus face-to-face, so he is sending someone (either Artemas or Tychicus) to carry on the ministry in Crete while Paul spends time with Titus as he is in Nicopolis for the winter.
Paul also reminds Titus to fully support others that are laboring for the Gospel – people like Zenas and Apollos. Paul tells Titus to remind the believers in Crete to live out their calling in Christ; that includes caring for others, not just living for themselves like the other Cretans.
Finally, Paul sends his greetings from all who are with him to all who are with Titus in Crete. Paul ends his letter by reminding Titus (and us) to live in and carry God’s grace with us wherever we go and in whatever we do.
May we boldly and lovingly say “no” to things or people that waste our time and keep us from living out our calling in Christ.
May we live out our calling in God’s grace, where our inner lives are reflected in our outer lives and our love toward others.