“Set in order the things that are wanting.” [Titus 1:5]
Through Paul’s ministry, the Mediterranean island of Crete heard the Gospel, and many Cretans were converted. Later Paul left Titus on the island to nurture the young converts and supervise the church. Later, he sent a letter to Titus to help him establish order in the new work. It was a difficult ministry for troublemakers had tried to subvert the church from within.
This epistle is well worthy of detailed study by churches, for it gives God’s ideal for a church. There is to be soundness of faith and morals, practical works of piety, and all with orderly organization. For the individual, there is also God’s ideal for the Christian – a healthy and living faith, a love of order and method, modest appearance, and chaste speech.
Note Paul’s emphasis on order. The early followers of Christ were called disciples. It is a good word, carrying with it the idea of a disciplined life. That was what Paul was trying to impress upon the Cretan church collectively, and the believers individually.
One of the reasons so many Christians lead such poor lives is their lack of personal discipline. Living by faith in Christ does not remove the need for determined action. We must discipline ourselves to read and pray, to witness, to attend the church services, to be in our place on prayer meeting night. We must also discipline ourselves not to do those things that are Christ-dishonouring.
Paul’s secret for a sound church on Crete was sound faith [2:2], sound doctrine, [1:9, 2:1], sound discipline, and sound practice. And that is sound advice for us all.