The proof is in the pudding . . . and child of God, we’re all pudding! This morning, that’s what I’m picking up from what Paul is laying down.
Reading in Titus 2 this morning. While Paul has been the church planter throughout Crete, he leaves Titus to be the church establisher. Titus was to appoint men of the highest character, calling, and capability to be elders who would shepherd these new found flocks (1:5-8). Among their other responsibilities, they were to “hold firm to the trustworthy word taught” so that they could “give instruction in sound doctrine” (1:9). Instruction not so much on what to know, but on how to live. Less about systematic theology and more about authentic “walk-ology.” And this because there were already those in their midst who professed to know God but denied Him by their works (1:16).
The truth of the word is testified to by the reality of the walk. The validity of the way of God is established by those who follow the way. In essence, the proof is in the pudding. And so, Paul charges his young co-worker to charge God’s people to be that pudding.
But as for you, teach what accords with sound doctrine. . . . that the word of God may not be reviled. . . . Show yourself in all respects to be a model of good works, and in your teaching show integrity, dignity, and sound speech that cannot be condemned . . . so that in everything they may adorn the doctrine of God our Savior.
(Titus 2:1, 5b, 7-8a, 10,b ESV)
Though we are saved by faith and not by good works, nevertheless, we are saved by faith for good works (Eph. 2:8-10). A real salvation will make a real difference. If the word of God is really the way of God, then those who say they’ve believe that word should walk in a manner consistent with that word. For what’s at stake is the reputation of the word.
Paul exhorts Titus to instruct the older men on how older men in Christ should conduct themselves. Likewise, he says, there is a behavior fitting for older women. Younger women also were to be taught, and that on how to do family life. And younger men aren’t left out either as they are exhorted to be marked by self-control. Everyone has a “to do” list. How come? Because Paul didn’t want anyone looking down on God’s word because of the behavior of God’s people. In fact, the lives of the family of God are to enhance or “add luster” (MSG) to the truth of God.
Paul’s longing for the people of God was that in everything they would “adorn the doctrine of God our Savior.” That they would be the garnish, the trim, the embellishing reality testifying to the power of the gospel as salvation for all you believe. That, in how they conduct themselves, they would be “the bling” that draws the eyes of those in darkness to know that “if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come” (2Cor. 5:17). That, by their lives, they would so “decorate” the truth of God’s saving grace that others would know saving grace.
A real salvation is only real if it is real. The proof is in the pudding. And we’re all pudding!
Might God’s set-apart people testify to the reality of God’s life-giving word as they, by God’s powerful Spirit, seek to live lives consistent with sound doctrine.
By His grace. For His glory.