Reject a factious man after a first and second warning,Titus 3:10(NASB)
Much of the book of Titus offers instruction on the conduct, integrity and maturity of spiritual leadership, both in the body of Christ and in the home. However, Paul also gives Titus some vital information on the appropriate conduct of a Christian, in this fallen world system, as we live in our local communities and interact with a wide variety of unbelievers.
Throughout the New Testament we are given helpful guidelines on our roles and responsibility, during our sojourn on earth. As Christians, we are in this world, but should not be part of the world, for the whole world system is currently lying under the power of Satan - the wicked 'god of this age'. The devil is already condemned by God, because Christ won an almighty victory over sin and Satan, through His sacrificial death on the cross - but Satan's evil influence is still very much evident in this fallen world - and for that reason, we should be in the world but not of the world.
Our mission from on high, is not to improve the world.. but to act as salt and light within the world. Although it is good and right to help others, we are not instructed to share a social gospel, as so many teach today. We are not called to make the world a better place, but to share the good news of the gospel of grace, so that men, women, boys and girls may be saved out of the world - by grace, through faith in Christ.
The piece of advice that Paul gives to Titus, and to other Christians in this verse, is to reject a fractious man after a first and second warning. Having been justified by His grace and made children of God, we are to reflect the love and kindness of Christ to others... but we are not to seek out arguments or respond to factious and contentious people. Rather, we are called to avoid foolish controversies.
We are to shun strife, legal conflict and futile arguments, and should not be drawn into doctrinal disputes about the law. The Bible reminds us that such interactions are unprofitable and worthless. Reject a fractious man after a first and second warning, Paul continues, knowing that such a man is perverted and is sinning - being self-condemned.
Rejecting a factious man, may appear in contradiction to the biblical instruction of turning the other cheek or forgiving someone seventy times seven, but whether aggressive conflict comes from an unsaved man or even a carnal Christian, whose primary desire is to promote discord, it is absurd to quibble. It is unfruitful and unwise to engage in fractious arguments with someone, who is deliberately acrimonious or has entrenched opinions - like the Scribes and Pharisees of Christ's day. The Lord Jesus likens it to swallowing a camel and straining out a gnat!
Both within the church and in the wider world of the unsaved, there are those that have a particular bee in their bonnet about a certain doctrine or one aspect of biblical truth to the exclusion of everything else, and they consistently drag up their singular theological soap-box, with the intent of entering into mindless arguments, or deliberately causing a disunity in the body of Christ.
Paul describes this sort of person as divisive and fractious, and states very clearly that we are to reject a factious man after a first and second warning. Grace demands that we do not assume someone to be a fractious man or a religious 'nit-picker' with their first quibbling comment. However, he makes if clear that we should be prepared to offer a clear warning, if they continue with their critical attitude, their unbiblical allegorising of scripture or their habitual pre-occupation with some irrelevant issue, which only causes disunity. We are to reject the fractious man who maintains tunnel-vision, which is continuously critical of those that do not agree with his favourite doctrinal, rabbit trails.
It is particularly sad today, to hear of so many Christians that exhibit this fractious attitude towards their fellow believers over non-essential issues, or who delight in theorising truth or accusing others, when presented with an alternative opinion. Indeed, in a world where social media, and other impersonal ways of communicating, has become the accepted norm, it appears to be the preferred medium to deliberately present contentious comments, which are designed to accuse, criticise others or simply instigate a fruitless argument or accusation.
Let us be wise in our dealings with fractious men and divisive women, whether they are saved or unsaved. And although we should always be ready to give an answer for the hope that we have in Christ, we are not bound to respond to any contentious comments... nor should we feel forced to answer some inane question, which is designed to instigate arguments.
We should not waste our valuable time and effort in indulging the divisive tactics of someone whose prime objective is to cause division, within the body of Christ. Let us be wise with our time our talents and our teaching.
Heavenly Father, thank You for this wise advise from Paul.. to reject a factious man after a first and second warning. Lord I confess that too often I have wasted valuable time, trying appease a person, whose obvious aim is to cause division or acrimony within the body of Christ... because of some pet preoccupation with one small doctrinal issue, in pursuit of their cherished ideal or to justify their own unbiblical ideas. Help me to identify those that deliberately seek to cause division in the body of Christ, and give me the grace to remain silent, rather than being pulled into some unfruitful argument - this I ask in Jesus name, AMEN.