knowing that such a man is perverted and is sinning, being self-condemned.Titus 3:11(NASB)
Paul gave us many faithful sayings and offered some wise instructions in his epistles, and as this short but masterful letter to Titus is drawing to its close, Paul exhorts him to make sure that those that have put their faith in God, "devote themselves to good actions," and are eager to do good and help other people.
Such fruit of the Spirit should be evident in the lives of all Christians, but there are also many traps to avoid and snares to circumvent, and Paul's final words of instruction to this younger brother in the faith was to recognise and avoid many of the heresies, unbiblical teachings, and legalistic rituals, that were infiltrating the Christian Church of his day.
Paul knew that pre-occupation with such things was detrimental to a believer's spiritual growth and could easily act as a trap which could trip up a spiritual believer in their Christian walk. Paul knew that disputes over unclean food, Sabbath regulations, observing feasts, and other holy observances, together with debating about genealogies and other Mosaic practices, were a hindrance to spiritual growth, and unprofitable for the man or woman of God.
Other practices that Paul warned against, in this passage, were developing a lop-sided view of the truth, allegorising Scripture, politicising religion, and engaging in petty quarrels over unimportant theological issues, because they divert the believer's attention away from their focus on Jesus and the important issues of our faith and living for Him.
It was not only in Paul's days that such divisive practices were evident within the Church, but today, similar divisive things are taking place which promote division within the Body of Christ and criticism of other Christian brothers and sisters, which causes confusion in the congregation.
Paul clearly teaches that those that engage in such divisive tactics within a church congregation should receive appropriate warnings from the elders. However, should such a person continue in their disruptive behaviour, then they should be removed from the church, "knowing that such a man is perverted and is sinning, being self-condemned."
In his epistle to Titus, Paul gives much excellent instruction and great encouragement, but he also considers it necessary to give wise advice on how to deal with those that become divisive within a church fellowship. Not only does such a one become unprofitable in a congregation if he will not mend his ways, but his very behaviour condemns himself and identifies him as unteachable.
How important that the wise teachings of Paul, on division within the church, are applied in congregations today - if men and women are to grow in grace and in a knowledge of our Lord and Saviour, Jesus Christ.
Heavenly Father, thank You for the wise instruction of Paul about division within the church and the need to address those that are divisive. Keep me from becoming entrapped in any form of legalism, and help me to recognise and avoid many of the heresies, unbiblical teachings, and legalistic rituals, that are infiltrating so many congregations today. Give church elders the wisdom and discernment to address any division within the Body of Christ, speedily, wisely, and biblically, so that others may not be misled. This I ask in Jesus' name, AMEN.
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