Life-Study of 1 & 2 Timothy, Titus and Philemonby Witness Lee
Printed Copy: Available Online from Living Stream Ministry
Printed Copy: Available Online from Living Stream Ministry
When Paul was writing the Epistle of Titus, there were certain basic concepts within him. These concepts were the factors, the elements, of the composition of this book. In writing chapter one of Titus, Paul was deeply concerned for the church. Hence, in this chapter he takes care of the proper order in the church and speaks of establishing the eldership for the administration of a local church, of the termination of the various isms, and of holding to the healthy teaching of the apostles. Paul goes on in chapter two to speak of an orderly human life, which is primarily related to the family life. Then, as we have seen in the foregoing message, he speaks of society, or of the social system. In 3:1-8 Paul speaks of the rulers, that is, the government.
To have an orderly life, we need to take care of four units: the church, the family, the social system, and the government. If we care for these units properly, we shall have an orderly life in every way. When Paul was writing the book of Titus, he had within him a concern for these four units. Unbelievers, of course, care only for family, society, and government. Even the philosophers and thoughtful people throughout the centuries have considered only these three units among mankind. But among us in the Lord’s recovery the most important unit is the church. For us, the church is first. We give the church preeminence in our consideration, for the church is the house of the living God, the pillar and base of the truth. Furthermore, the church is the great mystery of godliness, God manifested in the flesh. Paul covered the matter of the church first in this Epistle, and we follow him to give the church the first place among the four basic units covered in this book.
After the church, the most important unit is the family. Some opposers have tried to defame us by spreading the devilish lie that we do not care for the family life. Next to the church, the family is the most important unit in society. Without a proper family life, how could we have a healthy society or country? A nation is constituted of families as the basic factors. We fully realize that without a proper family life it is difficult to have an orderly church life. But we also realize that without a proper church life it is difficult to have a normal and proper family life. We are here for the church and also for the family. Furthermore, we care for society. We respect others, we honor our neighbors, and we care for the existing social system. We are not here as social reformers, and it is not our intention to change the social system. In the Lord’s recovery we are here to present to others healthy teachings concerning the all-inclusive Christ and the church as the Body of Christ.
In this message we are concerned with Paul’s charge to the saints to maintain a good relationship with the government. According to the healthy teaching in the New Testament, we must respect the government.
In 3:1 and 2 Paul says, “Remind them to be subject to rulers, to authorities, to be obedient, to be ready unto every good work, to speak evil of no one, to be uncontentious, forbearing, showing all meekness toward all men.” To be subject to rulers is to recognize God’s authority and respect His government over men (Rom. 13:1-2). To be uncontentious (v. 2) is to be peaceable, not quarrelsome.
Before Paul could teach the saints to respect the government, he himself had to experience a certain amount of transformation. When he was Saul of Tarsus, he was a patriotic Jew and wanted to be free from the yoke of the Roman imperialists. But here he instructs the saints to subject themselves to rulers and to authorities. According to his word in Romans 13, government officials have been appointed by God. Paul recognized that even those officials appointed by Caesar are rulers appointed by God, His deputy authority. If Paul had not been transformed from a natural person into a spiritual person with spiritual understanding, it would have been difficult for him to give such instructions.
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