“They profess to know God, but in works they deny Him, being abominable, disobedient, and disqualified for every good work.”
The church in Crete was like most churches. It had a pastor, who was seeking to minister to the spiritual needs of the people, while facing many struggles from within and without. It had members who were growing in the Lord and seeking to serve Him, and members whose growth was stunted, due to a variety of lingering and tolerated personal sins. Then there were others, who only pretended to be Christians. Paul describes this group as ones who claim to be followers of Christ, yet they fail to really follow Him.
“They profess to know God…”
The word “profess” is a very important word. It is used in Romans 10 to describe personal responsibility in salvation. We are told, in order to be saved, we must “confess with our mouth the Lord Jesus” (Romans 10:9). The word “confess” is the same word translated profess in our text. It is used again in 1 John 1:9 where we are told “If we confess our sins He is faithful and just to forgive us”, and is also used in Hebrews 11 to describe those who lived lives committed to the Lord. Those individuals are also described as men of whom the world was not worthy. Paul is suggesting there are people in the church who look like they are believers. When we see them on Sunday mornings we assume they are living lives committed to Christ. They say all the right things, speak the language, know the songs, maybe even lift their hands in worship, or hand out bulletins at the door. The problem is, their lives from Monday through Saturday don’t back up the profession of their lips. They are only pretending, play acting, putting on a show in order to hide the fact that they have never surrendered all to Christ.
“in works they deny Him…”
The word “deny” is also a very important Biblical word. Jesus used it in Luke 12:9 when He said, “But he who denies Me before men will be denied before the angels of God.” Paul also used the word when writing to Timothy stating “If we deny Him, He will also deny us.” (2 Timothy 2:12) The word “deny” means to reject, and was used to describe those, who on Palm Sunday raised their voices in praise, but on Friday cried out “crucify Him.” Paul explains in this verse, the word means more than a simple statement. While it is necessary to confess Christ with our lips, it is also necessary that our lives back up our profession. Coming forward at the altar call is an important step in your Christian life, but it does not stop there. We must move on to walking after Jesus in our daily lives. If you are putting on your best Christianity to show up at church each week, only to live a double life throughout the week, you are not only in sin, but in grave danger. Deception is always dangerous, but self-deception is deadly.
Don’t wait another minute to lay down your sin and get things right with the Lord.
Questions for Titus 1
- How does Paul describe himself to Titus?
- According to verse 3, how is the Word of God made known to others?
- What are the qualifications listed for a person who wants to serve in ministry? How do you measure up?
- Who does Paul say must have their mouths stopped?
- Is there anything from verse 16 that applies to you?