Bible 4 Today: Titus 2 – The Importance of Being Solid and Sane and Nothing Weird or Misguided


Bible4todayLori and I spent time together this morning, enjoying bacon and eggs and tea, and sharing Scripture together, waiting on the Lord, and having the Eucharist together.

TITUS 2 [The Message]

7-8 But mostly, show them all this by doing it yourself, incorruptible in your teaching, your words solid and sane. Then anyone who is dead set against us, when he finds nothing weird or misguided, might eventually come around.

This was a very meaningful passage this morning.  I was struck again by how important our words are.  Words are filled with meaning and intent.  Often we hear others use similar and even the same words, and yet their meaning and intent is not the same. For certain context provides meaning and explains much, as does the foundation upon and from which we are speaking.  We need honest discourse, and civility in our dialog in order to understand the context and meaning.

Words spoken, and tone and inflection of voice can convey the emotions that can cause misunderstanding, confusion and anger. The same can be said about the written word. Be it a book, a letter, an email, our own emotions even as we read what has been written, can trigger emotional responses never intended by the author. The writers of the Bible are no different.  Yet, so many of these writers have elicited all kinds of reactions and responses, and in also with them have been our own interactions with God, for these writers wrote and in our day, still speak “the words of God” and “words about God” to us.

Paul’s words bear repeating:

7-8 But mostly, show them all this by doing it yourself, incorruptible in your teaching, your words solid and sane. Then anyone who is dead set against us, when he finds nothing weird or misguided, might eventually come around.

The Need for A Life of Integrity and Consistency

chestertonWhat struck me today was how important, again, how important to live lives of integrity and consistency and “practicing what we are preaching”, or “walking the talk”.  It is easy to be critical and judging of other, especially in those circumstances where our buttons get pushed and we want to correct another person.  Ironically, the button that is pushed is usually an issue in our own hearts, and our own self-righteous attitude gets in the way of walking circumspectly and in humility and grace toward others.  I am thankful for days like today, where I can reflect upon my own life, and the attitude of my own heart and ask God for mercy and grace for me, so that I may be able to not walk in a critical attitude of others, and walk instead in grace and compassion toward others along life’s journey.  Why be a stumbling block, when you can be a help to others on the journey?

The Influence of Gnosticism On Our Beliefs and Lives

gnosticismWhen we walk out life and engage with other people, are our words “incorruptible in teaching, solid and sane”?  I know that this is important in this hour of the day in which we are living.  There is so much Gnosticism in the Charismatic Church today and it is so deceptive, especially the tendencies to view the flesh (matter) as evil and the spirit as divine.  Gnosticism holds that each person holds a measure of divinity and the life quest to reconnect with that divine source.  Gnosticism proposed that there was “secret knowledge” and by believing and pursuing that “secret knowledge”, one could be saved.

Historians have held diverse views and opinions on the source of Christian Gnosticism, and some argue there are precursors of it in the New Testament, and some include Simon Magus as a pre-Gnostic.  The epistles of the New Testament appear to be confronting those tendencies and beliefs that claim Jesus was divine, and that he never died on the cross, and that he escaped the material world.  Gnosticism never accepted the dual natures of Christ.  Their views emerged and continue to develop even before the advent of the New Testament canon of Scripture.

The influence of Gnosticism, is seen in the various views of Christians today to continue to seek spiritual experiences and “secret knowledge”, and measure the maturity of a person, not by their character, but by the measure of secret knowledge and experiences. While there is a long history within Christianity of mystical encounter and experiences which are indeed spiritual, these are all measured against the plumb line of Scripture, and our understanding of the fundamental beliefs we have come to know and understanding concerning God, sin, salvation, found only in the redemptive love and sacrifice of Jesus Christ, the “God-Man”, as the only mediator between God and man.

The Dangerous Deception of Gnosticism

gnosticchristPerhaps the most deceptive of all, they hold to Jesus as being a spirit that “seemed” to appear as human, which in its core understanding is a complete and utter denial of the Incarnation, the fully human and the fully divine natures of Christ.  Gnosticism holds to the understanding of the creator as being a lower being and not a Supreme Being.  They hold to the belief that all matter as being evil and that our physical bodies are a “prison” from which we need to seek “escape” from.  They hold to a very esoteric view of the sacred Scriptures, and that these Scriptures hold hidden meaning and revelation and that it can only be understood through “secret wisdom.” There have been various incarnations of this Gnosticism throughout the centuries, and they were prevalent in the second to fourth centuries, as well as particular strains of this kind of belief over the last several centuries, most notably in forms of esoteric teaching.

There are many within the Charismatic stream of the Christian Church who promote and advocate variants of this teaching, and it is very dangerous.  So when Paul asks us, asks of me concerning the words I speak and the words that I write, that these words be “incorruptible in teaching, solid and sane” he is asking me to write and speak with my words salted and seasoned by my close walk with Christ Jesus, and with a life of character transformed by the Spirit of Christ.  He wants my words, especially as they matter in life, faith and living, to reflect what is already revealed in Scripture.  This needs to be “incorruptible” and can only be so, when it is rooted biblically in the Christian Scriptures, and solidly upon the essentials of Christian understanding when it comes to Jesus Christ, and our salvation found only in Him, His death, burial and resurrection from the dead.  This is the core of our “incorruptible teaching” and as Paul said, it is “solid and sane”.  The weirdness is not necessary and should not be desired for.  We are looking for solid truth and for sane belief and practice.

Being A Mystical Contemplative Christian

mystical christianI am a “mystical Christian”.  By that I mean, that my understanding and application of the Christian faith, it is experiential, and it is an ongoing relationship between myself as a created being, created in the image of God, and God my Creator, Jesus Christ.  That relationship is through the Spirit of God, which Christians are baptized into when they experience “the new birth from above”, and is commonly referred to as our “salvation experience.”   Christianity, biblical Christianity, is more than a cognitive, mental assent to certain truths about God, life, and purpose. It is as I said an ongoing relationship, that is experienced and lived out 24/7.   That relationships is a “mystical” one.  I can “hear” God, and I can “know” God through my spirit, my mind, my emotions.  I can feel and sense His being and Presence.  I am one with God through the death, and the resurrection of Jesus Christ.  I am one with Christ, and Jesus Christ is One with the Father (see John 17).  I can as the song says, “And He walks with me and He talks with me and He tells me I am His own…”  This is the essence of the “mystical union” I have with Christ.  It is complete. It is whole.  I can know Him, truly know Him, on this side of Heaven, and as Paul said, it is through a “glass darkly”, and it is a “limited knowing” but I can know Him.

Aware And Concerned

gnostic1So as I read this today, from Paul, I get concerned about some Christians I know off, who continue to seek that “secret knowledge” or “divine wisdom” or the next “big experience with God”, when they can have all they can handle in the here and now.  We are not going to get all of God that is promised to us this side of Heaven.  We get the Spirit as a guarantee of what is to come.  We are promised that we are not going to be orphans and left on our own.  Paul mentions this in Romans 8. We have been given the spirit of adoption as sons.  We can know and we can grow into the image of Christ in this life.  It is all a mystical encounter that needs to be embraced and engaged in.  We will know, as we are transformed into His likeness. The more we act and live out our lives like Jesus, and when people hang around us, see and experience Jesus, then we do not have to be concerned about being deceived.

But let us be wary of just seeking more and more weird experiences just for the sake of spiritual experiences.  God does not operate willy-nilly like that. I am thankful for the guiding and leading of both the Word of God and the Spirit.

As Paul said in these verses:

7-8 But mostly, show them all this by doing it yourself, incorruptible in your teaching, your words solid and sane. Then anyone who is dead set against us, when he finds nothing weird or misguided, might eventually come around.

Standing On Solid Ground

solidgroundSo having pursued that which is solid, sane and incorruptible, we will be well armed and equipped to be able to lovingly engage with those are opposed to us, as they find even in their opposition to us, that there is nothing that is weird or misguided, and in that love and mercy demonstrated in a tangible way with them, we may win them over through that love and engagement.

~ Sam

Audio Bible Link:  https://www.biblegateway.com/audio/dolan/msg/Titus.2

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About Sam Buick

A lover and disciple of Jesus Christ. Married to my best friend, Lori-Anne. Father to 3 incredible daughters, Carragh, Caitlin and Erinn, and sons-in-law Alex, and Stephen Davis. An avid reader, a Droid user, a Mac addict, a lover of footy ball and football (there is a difference), and hockey. Once a soldier. Once a youth worker. Once an ordained minister. Once a claims adjuster. Once a charismatic, now a pacifist. A disciple of Christ, Gospel of grace proclaimer, pursuing union with Christ. There is only one way to God, and that is through Jesus Christ. Jesus unites, dogma divides.
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