February 06, 2017
From the desk of A.J. Higgins
The Goal for a Man
“Showing thyself a pattern of good works …
sound speech that cannot be condemned …
having no evil thing to say of you.”
In Titus 2, Paul, through Titus, is exhorting various classes in the assembly to live so as to “adorn the doctrine of God our Savior” (v 10). The older men and women are instructed in behavior consistent with their maturity. The older sisters are, in turn, to guide the younger sisters in home-life and how to be exemplary wives and mothers. Young men are to display self-control and a sense of purpose in life.
Titus is reminded that his behavior as well, as a man amongst them, is to be marked by works that are beneficial and words that are a blessing. The goal for a man, moving amongst men, is established by Paul in this terse reminder of Titus’ responsibility.
Apply these standards to the Lord Jesus and consider His life. We are reminded that He “went about doing good” (Acts 10:38). His life is, indeed, an example or pattern of good works. He never “began” to do good works and He never ceased doing good works. All that He did was good. They were done with the right motive – the honor of His Father and the blessing of men. They were done in the right manner – selflessly and tenderly. He not only did “good,” but did it in the most effective manner possible, in the kindest way imaginable. His fruit was always “in season” (Ps 1:3) and, as a thief expressed, “not one thing out of place” (Luke 23:41 Newb). Nothing He did could have been improved upon. Nothing ever had to be redone. Each deed was a monument to His skill and wisdom.
His works and life were displayed – the stress being upon them prior to any stress upon His words. His words: – God intends a life to precede and be consistent with our words and teaching. “All that Jesus began both to do and teach” (Acts 1:1). The order mentioned by the Spirit of God is significant!
But what of His words? “Sound speech” really means healthy or health-giving speech. His words were always with a view to the spiritual health of the listener. They marveled at His gracious words. John says that He was full of grace and truth. The Bride owned that His mouth is “most sweet” (S of S 5:16).
Never were there hasty words spoken in uncontrolled anger; no word had to be recalled or refined; no empty words to “fill in the time.” Every word was the result of His ear having been opened to hear as the “instructed One” and thus able to speak a “Word in season” to the needy.
His words repelled the powers of evil, released the grip of disease and illness, removed the shackles of sin and bondage, and invaded the realm of death. His word was with power and authority. The Word of God never came to Him as it did to Old Testament prophets and John. It never “came to Him” because He is the Word of God incarnate. Men pressed upon Him to hear the Word of God (Luke 5:1).
“That cannot be condemned.” They examined His words and works; and Pilate, Herod, a Centurion, and others had to own that in both word and deed, He was free of condemnation.
1. Can you conceive of a life in which every word was calculated for the blessing of someone else? Think about the times He rebuked others; even these contained the seed of blessing for those who would bow and “hear.”
2. Can you conceive of a life in which no word was ever spoken to evoke self-pity, attention, or praise? His words never manipulated or unduly embarrassed.