Titus 2:1 says, "But speak thou the things which become sound doctrine." For a Christian or a church to be healthy, there must be sound doctrine, but that alone is not enough. There must also be a "living out" of the sound doctrine that is taught. Doctrine and duty always go together. Romans chapters 1-11 contain a lot of doctrine and truths. Beginning with Romans 12 there are the duties we are to do because of the truths in the first 11 chapters. The Lord wants us to know truth and then have that truth influence the way we live.
What value does truth have if it does not change the way we live our lives? What good is it doing people to go to church for years but not have their lives changed? We are told to be holy as our Lord is holy. If the truths of God are not transforming us more into the image of Christ, something is wrong with the doctrine or there is disobedience in the people hearing it.
Titus 2:15 says, "These things speak, and exhort, and rebuke with all authority. Let no man despise thee." Scripture is not a book of suggestions. It is a Book of commands from our Lord. We are to continually speak these truths and exhort people to live in accordance to them. Our Lord wants a healthy church produced by healthy teaching and a call to live according to that truth.
We know obedience to God's word brings personal blessings to us, but it also has a great impact on the lives of other people. Titus 2:5 says to women, "To be discreet, chaste, keepers at home, good, obedient to their own husbands, that the word of God be not blasphemed." When these women live in obedience to God's word, the word of God is not blasphemed. If they live in rebellion to Scripture, God's word and His church will be blasphemed.
The way a Christian lives will make Christianity either appealing or appalling. Our lives as believers will attract people to our faith or cause them to turn away from it. How we live will determine how others feel about the Lord, His word and His church. The world does not judge us by our theology. It judges us by our behavior. They judge the validity of scripture by how we act. A professed Christian who does not live a godly life brings reproach on God. Why should people think scripture can change a person's life if it has not changed yours?
God's word is scandalized when people say they believe it but do not live by it. The credibility of the gospel is tied to the integrity of those who claim it. King David is an illustration of this. He lusted, committed adultery and had Bathsheba's husband killed. After being found out, David said, "I have sinned against the LORD. And Nathan said unto David, The LORD also hath put away thy sin; thou shalt not die. Howbeit, because by this deed thou hast given great occasion to the enemies of the LORD to blaspheme, the child also that is born unto thee shall surely die" (2 Sam 12:13-14).
King David was forgiven, but because of his ungodly behavior, not only was a family destroyed and a child died, but he had given the enemies of the Lord a reason to blaspheme God. It was because of the bad behavior of the whole nation of Israel the our Lord said in Romans 2:24, "For the name of God is blasphemed among the Gentiles through you." They were to be a witness for the Lord so that His name would be glorified, but because of bad behavior, it was blasphemed.
Our Lord tells us in Matthew 5:16, "Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven." Our light shines as we do good works that others can see. When that happens, our Lord is glorified. When there are no works or the works are bad, our Lord is blasphemed. Our behavior has a great impact on others as they observe us.
If we do live godly lives, we can count on others saying evil things about us, but we are to make sure that when people say bad things that it is not true. Don't give any reason for them to slander you. First Peter 2:12 tells us why, "Having your conversation honest among the Gentiles: that, whereas they speak against you as evildoers, they may by your good works, which they shall behold, glorify God in the day of visitation."
How can God get glory in the day of visitation? The answer is that when someone hears the gospel and receives the Lord Jesus as Savior, God is glorified. When a person who has criticized you sees your life of faith, which is learning and obeying God's word, their criticism will be turned to curiosity. As they learn the gospel, your holy life will be a tool God uses to turn the curiosity into conversion. That is the reason we are to live holy and godly lives. We are not to be a stumbling block to people being saved but a stepping stone.
May all Christians live in such a way that God is not blasphemed. If you are criticized, make sure it is unjust. Why? "That they may adorn the doctrine of God our Saviour in all things" (Titus 2:10). We are to live in such a way that Scripture is attractive to others. God is our Savior. We must live like we have "saved" lives. Lives characterized by purity, holiness, joy and peace adorn the gospel.
What we believe is linked to how we live and how we live is directly linked to people getting saved. If we are going to have an impact on this world, it will because of God's truth going into our minds and living it out in righteous behavior.
Arnold Martin is the pastor of the Immanuel Baptist Church in Teetersville. He can be contacted by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org