They claim to know God, but by their actions they deny him. They are detestable, disobedient and unfit for doing anything good. (Titus 1:16 NIV)
As the early church spread out from Jerusalem and away from the influence of those who had personally known Jesus, it was increasingly challenged by those who attached themselves to the church for their own gain. These folks did not leave behind their prior lifestyles or their earlier belief systems. And they were a serious threat to the young church. The doctrinal purity, as well as the harmony of the body, were being challenged. Paul’s letter to Titus is, at least in part, to give him direction on handling this threat.
Our Actions Reflect Our Heart
The church today is much more established, with a doctrinal tradition that extends back nearly two thousand years. Yet it is still not immune to the threat faced by the church in Crete that Titus was working with. Men, and women, who claim to know God, but whose lives and beliefs do not reflect that. People who use the church for their own gain. Or people who are trying to mold the church into what they believe it should be. We need to be careful of those who draw attention to themselves, or who seek to make the church more relevant to our culture by modernizing, or discarding, the teachings of the Bible.
But there is a personal challenge in this verse as well. Do people recognize Jesus as my Lord, not just when I am at church, but also throughout the rest of my week: at work; at home; and in my leisure time? Or do my actions, words, and attitudes deny that I know him?
Love the Lord your God with all your heart, soul, mind and strength. And your neighbor as yourself. (Luke 10:27 NIV)