21 July 2015Titus 2:11-14
“For the grace of God had appeared, bringing salvation to all” (v. 11)
Psalm: Psalm 47
Paul's letter to Titus encourages integrity of leadership within a difficult setting, where the display of immoral behaviour is set against the idea that God's grace is already among us "… training us to renounce impiety and worldly passions ... while we wait for the blessed hope and manifestation of the glory of God and our Saviour Jesus Christ" (vv. 12-13).
It is God who redeems, and yet there is a waiting in the gap between what Jesus has achieved and its fruition. Hence Paul's concern for the church in Crete is that it will become a model for others to see and emulate in devoting themselves to good works as a response to the gift already given. The closing line again encourages Titus to exhort and reprove with all authority, that none may look down on him in judgement.
Today we are often inspired by those parts of the Church which face opposition either through religious or political ideology, or where it is more difficult to be a Christian. Often the Church's response is to be as good as it can be in its moral and civil behaviour, precisely offering itself as a community that cannot be criticised.
We also respect churches that have a strong sense of inclusivity or mission to those in their communities. There is a sense in which those who go beyond their comfort zone in order fulfil those kinds of compassionate giving do so recognising that the world is not an easy place to be, imperfect and at times dangerous for the vulnerable. Jesus says, 'The poor will always be with you' (Matthew 26:11) - a phrase reminding us that the Church cannot solve society's problems, but can stand alongside those who are in need. Integrity of purpose enables some to trust 'church' and the God who gives us grace.
- In these times and in your own context how might you become a model or example of Church?