November 12, 2014

Titus 3:10-11 Warn a divisive person once, and then warn him a second time. After that, have nothing to do with him. You may be sure that such a man is warped and sinful; he is self-condemned.

This is a very interesting, as well as very stern, passage. It is interesting that divisiveness is considered so very bad, but then, Jesus’ Pastoral Prayer before the cross was that we would be one, as He and the Father were one. (John 17:20-21) Church history is in many ways a history of divisions, and that is sad indeed. However, many of those came about because Church groups strayed from the Gospel, and when God raised up people to call them back to the truth, those reformers were excluded. The letters to the seven churches in the first chapters of Revelation indicate that problem started very early on. However, what Paul is talking about here is someone who generates cliques for their own purposes, generally to gain influence and power (as they see it). The description of such a person here is quite interesting. The NIV says “self-condemned,” but the Japanese spells it out more fully, saying “knowing they are in the wrong, they commit sin anyway.” That can apply to much more than divisiveness! Any time we desire something enough to do it even knowing that it is wrong, we are in deep trouble. The more we squelch our conscience, the greater the danger. The Japanese, calling a spade a spade, says that is depravity. Depravity seems to be quite in fashion in some circles! God’s grace and mercy cover every sin, but they require repentance to be received. Repentance means reviving and listening to your conscience enough to make real changes. If we refuse to do that, we have indeed condemned ourselves.

I have encountered this in my own life, and as a pastor I encounter it in others all the time. I must not be quick to excommunicate people (which is what this passage talks about) but neither am I to be wishy-washy. I am to speak the truth in love, even when that means speaking very strongly. I have never liked confrontation, but running from it benefits no one, and certainly not the person who needs to be confronted. I must not confuse unity and control. I want the Holy Spirit to be in control; trying to take the reins in my own hands destroys genuine unity and drives people away. I am to lift up Christ so that He may draw all to Him, not to me. (John 12:32)

Father, thank You for this reminder. Help me walk in genuine humility and faithfulness, accurately representing Christ in every area, so that as many as possible may be drawn into Your family, for their salvation and Your glory. Thank You. Praise God!

About jgarrott

Born and raised in Japan of missionary parents. Have been here as an adult missionary since 1981.
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