My wife and I are living in the midst of the terrible twos with our daughter. Many within our church family have been quick to point out that in their experience the terrible twos lasted until the age of 5, or sometimes, until adulthood and beyond. Regardless, I am witnessing the doctrine of total depravity playout through a daughter who frequently exemplifies the idea that you do not have to teach children how to sin.
Yes, I love my daughters very much and they are amazing, but they are little sinners who sometimes rebel. In those moments, I could yell, spank, do timeouts, take stuff away, or any number of parenting strategies to correct behavior until I get the desired conformity. However, my goal with my daughters is not only right actions. I want them to have a right heart attitude.
I’m not saying our parenting strategy is the best or that we even execute it the way we should. What I am saying is that as a student of theology, correction ought to align with our belief about God. That’s why we repeat things like:
“What is obedience?” “…Doing the right thing, the right way, all the way, with a happy heart.”
“What does it mean to love someone?” “…To want their absolute best.”
(Josie will sometimes cry because mommy or daddy is at work) “Why do we work?” “…To serve our family and help people.”
“Mommy and Daddy want to bless you and give you good things, but we can’t reward disobedience… What is obedience?”
Both rebellion and the discipline that follows has theological implications. Thus, our parenting strategy should cultivate good theology from a loving Father that we can trust. Looking at Titus 3, Paul has a lot to say about correcting behavior. But like with a child, correcting behavior is only part of the issue.
Verse 4 begins what Bible scholars refer to as a “preformed tradition” (this is why the NLT has it as a separate indented paragraph).
“4When God our Savior revealed his kindness and love, 5 he saved us, not because of the righteous things we had done, but because of his mercy. He washed away our sins, giving us a new birth and new life through the Holy Spirit. 6 He generously poured out the Spirit upon us through Jesus Christ our Savior. 7 Because of his grace he made us right in his sight and gave us confidence that we will inherit eternal life.”
If you ask, “Why should I submit to authorities in government?” (1a) “Why should I obey?” (1b) “Why should I watch how I talk?” (2) The answer is because we are sinners saved by grace, and inheritors of eternal life. This hope that we have should change how we live. That means dealing with false teaching that leads to corrupt worship, which is one of the primary things Paul is addressing in this short letter.
Ask yourself today:
Does my salvation change how I live? At home? At work? Etc.
What is one theological truth that needs to be communicated through action today?
By: Tyler Short — Connections Ministry Associate