Dealing with Greedy Legalists in God’s Household (Titus 1:10-16)

Translation:

(10) For there are also many insubordinate ones, empty-talkers and deceivers (especially out of “the Circumcision”), (11) whom it is necessary to silence, which persons undermine whole households, by teaching what they must not, on account of filthy gain.

(12) A certain one from them said—a prophet of their own, “Cretans are always liars, worthless beasts, lazy gluttons.” (13) This testimony is true. Rebuke them sharply because of this crime, in order that they may be healthy in the faith, (14) not paying attention to Jewish fables and commandments of men that pervert the truth.

(15) All things clean for the clean! But for they who are contaminated and unfaithful, nothing is clean. Rather they are defiled in both their understanding and conscience. (16) They confess to understand God, but their works contradict, being abominable and disobedient and unapproved for every good work.

Outline:

  1. (10-11) For there are also many insubordinate ones, empty talkers and deceivers, especially from “the Circumcision”
    1. (11) It is necessary to silence them.
    2. These persons undermine entire households
      1. They undermine by teaching
        1. They are teaching what they must not.
        2. They are teaching for the sake of filthy gain.
      2. (12-14) Rebuke false teachers to promote sound doctrine.
        1. A certain one from them—one of their own prophets—said,
          1. Cretans are always….
            1. Liars
            2. Worthless beasts
            3. Lazy gluttons
          2. (13) This testimony is true.
          3. Rebuke them sharply because of this crime.
            1. The purpose of rebuking them is that they may be healthy in the faith
              1. (14) Healthy in the faith, they may not be paying attention to Jewish fables and commandments of men
                1. Jewish fables and commandments of men pervert the truth
  • (15)
    1. All things are clean for the clean!
    2. But for the contaminated and unfaithful, nothing is clean
    3. Rather, they are contaminated in both their mind and conscience.
    4. To know God they profess, but in their works they deny.
      1. They are
        1. Abominable
        2. And disobedient
        3. And unapproved for every good work.

Notes: 

While some are fit to be overseers, some others are very unfit—especially those of the so-called Circumcision group. Their false teaching leads to the fall of whole families. Their true goal is self-promotion and profit—they don’t even really care about holiness!

 The job of Titus is to look out for these false teachers who promote “supergodliness” by making people adhere to the Old Covenant Law—supplemented heavily by manmade traditions and requirements. When he sees this false teaching at work, he is to rebuke them sharply. The goal is for them to come around to sound doctrine.

 These legalists are always trying to force people to adhere to their standards of purity—but in calling everything impure, they are actually revealing that they themselves are impure. If Christ has made you clean, then you are clean and nothing is impure for you. So stop worrying about ritual defilement. Go out into the world—cling to the truth, promote it, and rebuke false teachers.

These false teachers put loads of manmade requirements on erstwhile Christians, but this is all a sham for them to gain followers, and by that profit and fame. These selfish, worthless beasts must be rebuked—but even then the goal in rebuking them is not to destroy them but rather to return them to the true faith.

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Author: Joel Settecase

Joel Settecase has served in pastoral and teaching roles at Grace Pointe Church in Plainfield, IL, as well as Chicago Hope Academy and Park Community Church in Chicago. He is the author of the New Covenant Catechism for Little Ones and the Settecase Student Ministry Learning Standards, and he has been blogging on ministry and apologetics since 2013. Joel is the proud husband of Aliza and father of three children.

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