5 This is why I left you in Crete, so that you might put what remained into order, and appoint elders in every town as I directed you— 6 if anyone is above reproach, the husband of one wife, and his children are believers and not open to the charge of debauchery or insubordination. 7 For an overseer, as God’s steward, must be above reproach. He must not be arrogant or quick-tempered or a drunkard or violent or greedy for gain, 8 but hospitable, a lover of good, self-controlled, upright, holy, and disciplined. 9 He must hold firm to the trustworthy word as taught, so that he may be able to give instruction in sound doctrine and also to rebuke those who contradict it. (ESV)
What’s on Your List? (Titus 1-2, Part 2)
Grocery lists. To-do lists. Check lists. Wish lists. The list goes on… but when is the last time you stumbled upon this list?
Paul tells Titus: “This is why I left you in Crete, so that you might put what remained into order, and appoint elders in every town as I directed you—” (v5)
That’s pretty clear right? Next comes the list.
Part of Titus’ daunting task was to designate leaders who met a strict set of conditions that set a man “above reproach.” In verses 6-9, Paul describes these leaders as needing to be a “one-woman man” with saved children who are far removed from things such as drunkenness and rebelliousness. In other words, a faithful man with faithful children in the faith.
In addition to requirements on the makeup of a prospective elder’s family, Titus receives a rigorous list of requirements for the prospect himself. There is a list of “must-not-be’s”: not arrogant, not easily angered, not an alcoholic, not violent, not motivated by greed. There is also a list of “must-be’s”: be friendly, be a lover of all that is good, be sensible, be just, be holy, be disciplined, be able to teach, be able to reprove. All these things are under the banner of “above reproach” according to Paul–and the majority of them apply also to any who claim to be children of God.
So then the question begs to be asked… do your day-to-day actions line up with this list?
Well before you go adding another exhausting list of things to your docket, let us remember that God’s commandments are not burdensome (1 John 5:3). You see, keeping the Christian testimony is much like owning a rare, antique Stradivarius violin. You would not exert the effort to keep such a violin in pristine condition in hope that it might be of some value; rather, you maintain it’s impeccable condition because it is already highly valuable.
And so it is with our testimony. We maintain ourselves “above reproach,” not to gain entrance into God’s kingdom, but rather because we already are part of God’s kingdom. Therefore let us run back to, and remember, the gospel of Christ! For in Christ you’ll find a reason not to be arrogant or short tempered, violent or greedy. In Christ you’ll find the best model for hospitality, holiness, discipline, and self-control.
(This was originally posted on the Biblearc blog by Josh Reyna on May 7, 2015.)