They claim to know God, but by their actions they deny him.They are detestable, disobedient and unfit for doing anything good. (Titus 1:16)
Wow! On occasion in the scriptures Paul is tactful, and when needed, full of compassion. Not this time.
Is there any question how he feels about the false teachers in the churches in Crete? Detestable…disobedient…unfit for doing anything good? Paul is ruthless!
But then, so are the false teachers. They think nothing of putting the work of the kingdom in jeopardy in pursuit of their personal ambition. And they are more concerned with pleasing their critics than loving their brothers and sisters in Christ.
Not only this, but they deny their knowledge of God’s grace by trampling on the cross and reverting to a crude form of self-righteousness.
They are blinded by worldly success and given over to divisive behavior.
Unfit for doing anything good!
And yet, there is hope, not only for good people who are being harassed in the churches of Crete but for these who reject the truth. Remember, Paul wants Titus and the elder’s he selects to rebuke them, for the purpose of turning them back to sound doctrine.
So do they really know God, or not?
I think they do. I believe in their hearts, they know better. If one were to give them a theology test or interview them for a position in the church, I think they could say the right things. But somewhere along the way they have been misled into thinking the church is a vehicle to be used for their own purposes. And so, while they know God, they have grown distant from his heart.
Now their claims do not match their actions.
Paul’s words are a challenge. They are a challenge to Titus to rebuke the false teachers before it is too late, and a challenge to the false teachers to turn back.
On occasion all of us need to test our beliefs against our behaviors. Do the things we do match up with the things we say…the way we see ourselves…the way others see us?
If Paul’s words accurately describe those who fail to walk the walk, I am going to be a lot more careful how I live. “Unfit for doing anything good?” Man, that harsh!
Dear God, test me for my own good. In Jesus’ name, Amen.