What should the experience of the Orthodox Christian be like? (Titus 2)

After giving a definition of true orthodoxy in chapter 1 of the Epistle to Titus, the Apostle Paul, in chapter 2 of the same epistle, shows how the living of the believers is expected to be according to orthodoxy, that is, with right or sound teaching. 

The Orthodox Christian servant (priest)

He who professes the true (Orthodox) faith is called to teach men only the things that are in accord with this sound teaching of the Word of God. Titus was such a servant, and the Apostle Paul wrote to him:

But as for you, proclaim the things which are fitting for sound doctrine. (Titus 2:1 NASB)

Sound teaching is the Word of God, as said in chapter 1 of the same epistle when it speaks of the qualities of a man who can be ordained to serve the church. This candidate must… 

hold firmly the faithful word which is in accordance with the teaching, so that he will be able both to exhort in sound doctrine and to refute those who contradict it. (Titus 1:9 NASB)

The Orthodox priest must study deeply and systematically the Holy Scriptures in order to be able to meet the command or exhortation given by the apostle when he says:

in all things show yourself to be an example of good deeds, with purity in doctrine, dignified, sound in speech which is beyond reproach, so that the opponent will be put to shame, having nothing bad to say about us. (Titus 2:7-8 NASB)

How sad it is when we see some priests not living up to their calling and then people speak ill of them, speak ill of us, the other priests, and speak ill of the Way of God. That is why God asks us to do our job well, as He asked Titus when He said: 

These things speak and exhort, and rebuke with all authority. No one is to disregard you. (Titus 2:15 NASB)

The power of the message of a priest (pastor, preacher) lies in the knowledge of the Word of God, the extent to which this Word is preached and in the living example of the priest. If the priest’s words do not coincide with his deeds, people end up saying “Do what the priest says and not what he does” but by this, in fact, they come to ignore the church, the priest and the true faith.

Elders of the Orthodox Christian faith

They are the next category in the church to which the apostle Paul also speaks, but he also tells Titus and all the servants to remind them of the Christian life that is expected of the elders, namely: 

Older men are to be temperate, dignified, self-controlled, sound in faith, in love, in perseverance. (Titus 2:2 NASB) 

When the elders behave in this way, they become and are worthy examples to follow for the young, and the Christian faith advances. How much we need such elders, that is, mature people in all respects. What a great blessing it would be for our Christian country to have such politicians.

Older women have an important role and position in the church

because they are expected to teach others and younger women how to live according to sound teaching. Here is what priests need to teach older women:

 Older women likewise are to be reverent in their behavior, not malicious gossips nor enslaved to much wine, teaching what is good, so that they may encourage the young women (Titus 2:3-4a NASB)

You can’t just teach with words. You must behave appropriately according to the message you want to convey to children or others.

Young Christian women need to learn from older women

Young women need the teaching of older women on how to live the faith that is appropriate for sound teaching. That is why the apostle Paul asks Titus and the other servants to urge spiritually mature women…

…so that they may ]encourage the young women to love their husbands, to love their children,  to be sensible, pure, workers at home, kind, being subject to their own husbands, so that the word of God will not be dishonored. (Titus 2:4-5 NASB)

Love is learned, and younger women need to be taught how to express their love for their husbands and children. In the same way, they need to learn how to manage their household chores, how to be pure. The Christian faith is not limited to going to church and lighting candles, but must be seen by people in every aspect of our life. What great need do women and men have to know how to live the faith in the family, in the church, at work, in society, etc.

Young Christians are urged to be sensible

Likewise urge the young men to be sensible (Titus 2:6 NASB)

Temperance is a quality of character which is manifested in the fact that man knows the measure of all things and can keep his balance. Temperance is the character quality of the spiritually mature man. Spiritual maturity is expected of young Christians. The opposite of temperance is when young people go from one extreme to another. One of the temptations of man in his youth is to go to extremes and that is not good. Young Christians are expected to remain sensible and maintain a healthy balance in life. 

The Orthodox Christian employee will behave in such a way as to fully honor the teaching of God our Savior.

He avoids pointless quarrels about true faith, but rather shows a beautiful attitude that will convince people of the truth and power of sound Christian teaching. At the time of writing the Epistle to Titus, there was a slave order in the Roman Empire, but all the advice given by the apostle Paul in this chapter to the slaves applies directly to the employees and is very relevant.

Urge slaves to be subject to their own masters in everything, to be pleasing, not argumentative, not stealing, but showing all good faith so that they will adorn the doctrine of God our Savior in every respect. (Titus 2:9-10 NASB)

God’s grace is the motivation for the living of the Orthodox Christian.

As a conclusion to all the exhortations given to Christians who belong to different categories, the Apostle Paul says why we must live beautifully and fully honor the teaching of God, our Savior:

For the grace of God has appeared, bringing salvation to all people, instructing us to deny ungodliness and worldly desires and to live sensibly, righteously, and in a godly manner in the present age, looking for the blessed hope and the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior, Christ Jesus, who gave Himself for us to redeem us from every lawless deed, and to purify for Himself a people for His own possession, eager for good deeds. (Titus 2:11-14 NASB)

What category do you belong to? How is your living in the light of God’s Word? Is your life a living letter on which true faith is written? 

Translated by Liza Birladeanu