No more mister nice guy - Hope 103.2

No more mister nice guy

By David ReayMonday 28 Apr 2014LifeWords DevotionalsFaithReading Time: 0 minutes


Read Titus 1:10-16

10 For there are many rebellious people who engage in useless talk and deceive others. This is especially true of those who insist on circumcision for salvation. 11 They must be silenced,because they are turning whole families away from the truth by their false teaching. And they do it only for money. 12 Even one of their own men,a prophet from Crete,has said about them,”The people of Crete are all liars,cruel animals,and lazy gluttons.” 13 This is true. So reprimand them sternly to make them strong in the faith. 14 They must stop listening to Jewish myths and the commands of people who have turned away from the truth.

15 Everything is pure to those whose hearts are pure. But nothing is pure to those who are corrupt and unbelieving,because their minds and consciences are corrupted. 16 Such people claim they know God,but they deny him by the way they live. They are detestable and disobedient,worthless for doing anything good. (NLT)

This is not one of the most heart-warming passages in the Bible. Especially if you happen to come from Crete! Paul doesn’t mince his words or resort to gentle diplomacy. Some might argue that he is simply a bad-tempered egotist who demands his own way and makes wild and hostile statements about his enemies.

However,he is dealing with a serious issue of false teaching in the various churches in Crete which were overseen by Titus. When the basic truths of the gospel were at stake,Paul doesn’t pull any punches. He is so hostile to the false teachers because he cares so much for the people of God. From his writings generally we can see that at times he is gentle and conciliatory and at other times forceful and dogmatic.

It is all too easy for any of us to get this wrong. We are gentle and conciliatory in situations where we need to speak uncomfortable truths. Or we are forcefully dogmatic in situations where there is a need for a bit of give and take.

As for the Cretans: Paul is overstating to make a point. Just as Jesus did at times. Each and every Cretan isn’t a liar: if that were so the prophet he quotes would himself be lying! Rather he is reminding Titus that the false teachers are conforming to a popular conception of the character of Cretans. So they need to be beware and not be gullible or naïve.

Even so,we may assume St Paul is not the patron saint of Crete!

David Reay

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