Click here for the reading: Titus 2:11-14.

Paul exhorts Titus to teach true doctrine and also all Christians to do what is godly. He calls for us to be sober-minded and self-controlled, because this is fitting for those who are in Christ. Godliness thus adorns true doctrine and glorifies God in everything. Why is orthodoxy insufficient if not paired with good works? In what ways are we tempted to exalt one over the other? How should pastors teach what accords with sound doctrine? Why does James warn teachers about the necessity of self-control in James 3?

Godliness is rooted in the reality of Christ coming into the world. The grace of God has appeared, bringing salvation, and this salvation expresses itself in good works. Jesus redeems us from all lawlessness, as Paul says, and purifies us for Himself. If salvation is by the grace of God, why does Paul exhort us so fervently to good works? How do we avoid the temptation of exalting one over the other? How does Paul address this question in Romans 3:21-31?

God’s revealed grace in Christ trains us to renounce evil and to live according to what is good. Faith transforms the heart, renewing our minds and causing us to walk in a new way. What are examples of ungodliness and worldly passions in our time? Why are they such a danger for us, especially if we consider the first part of Titus 2? What are examples of self-control, uprightness, and godliness? What do these things mean, especially in contrast to the present lawlessness in the nation and the world? Compare what Paul says to Titus with the Proverbs, especially the first several chapters.

Training is never an end in itself, but it looks forward to what is to come. God’s grace trains us to watch and wait for our hope, the appearance of the Lord Jesus Christ. When He appears, we will see the purpose of this discipline, especially when it is difficult or unpleasant. Why should we emphasize that good works are a preparation and not an end in themselves? How do they train us for the Second Coming of Jesus? How do ungodliness and lawlessness work against such training? Consider Paul’s athletic metaphors, especially passages like 1 Corinthians 9:24-27, and how they help us understand the purpose of good works.

Christmas has become a deeply secularized holiday, so that it can be difficult to separate the day from everything that surrounds it. Consumerism grows with each passing year and makes us have to remind ourselves of the “reason for the season.” Yet Paul’s words to Titus help us to teach what it means to be a Christian even in the midst of Christmas. Why should we emphasize Christian virtues during Christmas? How do we avoid treating going to church on Christmas as a side thing or an obligation to fulfill and see it rather as the point of the day? How does Paul address these issues, especially consumerism, in 1 Timothy 6?