Are you obedient to your government, the police, and the local authorities? (Romans 13:1 and 1 Peter 2:13-17 concur with this command). There are no examples of civil disobedience encouraged in the New Testament! We are expected to be model citizens of earth, on the basis that our true citizenship is elsewhere (Philippians 3:20). When Paul wrote the above, he was under the rule of Emperor Nero and yet still expected obedience to earthy government. The only occasion when we are permitted to disobey is when the government directly opposes the commands of Christ or genuinely goes against our consciences. In general, though, we should support the government of the day, pray for it, obey its laws, pay our taxes, and set an example to others.
Are you always eager to do good? Free of slander? Are you gentle, peaceable, and considerate? It is interesting that Paul ends the letter with a ‘sign-off’ that reads: “Our people must learn to devote themselves to doing what is good…”. Seven times this phrase appears in the three chapters of Titus, and it is Paul’s vision that the church on Crete puts ‘clear water’ between their lifestyles and those of the unsaved natives of the island. Good works is the goal of the gospel in this age – not in order to become saved, but a genuine fruit of being saved. Salvation is certainly personal, but some of its good effects are emphatically social.
Therefore, what kind of advertisements for the gospel are we? Do people avoid us because we are harsh, critical, argumentative, or unteachable? Is our attitude the very opposite of being peaceable and gentle? Are we a divisive person, creating a ‘them and us’ atmosphere within the church? Paul operates a ‘Three strikes and you are out’ policy towards those believers who sow disunity and division. “Have nothing to do with them”! Let’s take a good realistic look at ourselves and repent if necessary.
In the 3:4-7, we see how, in God’s kindness, he showed us mercy: not by human effort, but by his choice. He did it by washing us clean in the New Birth and renewing us by the Holy Spirit. His kindness was directed towards us – the Unlovely – and he showed such great generosity in the method of our forgiveness. God is our Saviour; Christ is our Saviour. Today we are the inheritors of eternal life!