Unto the pure all things are pure: but unto them that are defiled and unbelieving is nothing pure; but even their mind and conscience is defiled. — Titus 1:15
A young student caught my eye as I stepped into the classroom. His frown and hostile manner seemed so out of place in a Christian school. I sent a smile his way hoping he would respond, but his frown only deepened. Over the course of the next several weeks, I observed his words and actions. It seemed he could not find anything good to say. His attitude was negative. He daily said how bad the school was and how learning Bible verses would not benefit him. Often, he incited the younger students to speak inappropriately or unkindly, and then would laugh about it.
His conduct seemed to illustrate the second part of our focus verse, which states, “but unto them that are defiled and unbelieving is nothing pure.” I prayed and sought the Lord’s help in how to deal with him, but initially things did not seem to improve. Then one day the classroom was quiet and peaceful, and everyone was working. When I looked over at this young man, he shyly smiled at me. Amazingly, a glow almost seemed to radiate from him! After asking permission, he walked over to me, and in a quiet and respectful voice, told me he had been saved the day before!
Through the following days, he did not say anything bad about anyone, and his smile never went away. As part of an assignment, he read about a missionary and told me how much he admired this worker for Christ. When we talked about future careers, he said he might like to be a minister. He also told me that he had started reading his Bible and that he especially loved the stories of Jesus. The difference in him was like night and day, and the other students commented on the change. As I rejoiced over this new Christian, the first part of the devotional focus verse came to mind, “Unto the pure all things are pure.”
If we are serving the Lord with all our hearts, and our thoughts are centered on Him, we will find the good and pure in things even when the world around us is evil. The reverse is also true: if we are serving the devil, our minds will focus on evil, and we will act on those thoughts. This contrast was illustrated by my student when he became a Christian.
Once we have been saved, we should fill our minds with what is good. Then we will have little room for what is evil and defiles the mind.
Paul wrote this letter to guide Titus in instructing the churches on the island of Crete. Roman soldiers were trained in Crete, and consequently, pagan influences were strong. Thus, the Christian churches needed strong leaders. Titus was a Greek who had traveled with Paul and had proven himself dependable. He had demonstrated ability in leadership, so Paul left him in Crete to help lead and encourage the new churches.
The Christians of Crete worshiped and prayed together, but they needed guidance in church policy and structure. Paul told Titus to appoint elders and, beginning at verse 6, outlined the qualifications for church leadership. Most of these qualifications involved character, not knowledge or skill. It was important for those leading the churches to live God’s Word and be examples for others to follow. An elder was to have one wife and raise children who were well-behaved and loved the Lord. He was to be faithful and truthful, and not a person who was easily angered. He needed to be a lover of all that was good and have a temperate spirit. He also needed to hold firmly to the teachings that he had learned.
The false teachings that were prevalent in Crete needed to be refuted. False teachers were misleading many by attacking the foundation of truth upon which the Christian faith was built. Some continued to teach Jewish law rather than the Gospel of grace (see Titus 1:10). Others were motivated by personal financial gain (1:11). They would not subject themselves to authority and needed to be stopped in order to prevent the ruin of the innocent by their teachings.
In our focus verse, Paul reminded Titus that defilement and purity are intrinsic conditions that exist in the heart, not the results of external forces. It would have been easy for the Christians of Crete to compromise their convictions because of the lifestyle around them, but through Paul’s letter, they were firmly instructed not to do so. They were kept by their determination to maintain a pure heart and conscience.
(Hannah’s Bible Outlines - Used by permission per WORDsearch)
I. Introduction (1:1-4)
A. The author (1:1-3)
1. His position and service (1:1-2)
2. His standard (1:3)
B. The addressee and salutation (1:4)
II. Conduct in the church (1:5-16)
A. The “how” of ordering the church: the elders (1:5-9)
1. Their desirability (1:5)
2. Their character (1:6-8)
a. Blameless in home life (1:6)
b. Blameless in public life (1:7-8)
3. Their functions regarding themselves, the saints and sinners (1:9)
B. The “why” of ordering the church: the false teachers (1:10-16)
1. Their character (1:10-12)
2. Their rebuke by the elders (1:13-14)
3. Their predicament (1:15-16)
In the world today, our Christian foundation is threatened by evil. However, if we put the Lord first in our lives and keep our minds on things that are pure, our lives will reflect God to those around us.