Titus of Crete: Dead to the world to live for God and do good

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For the grace of God has appeared that offers salvation to all people. It teaches us to say “No” to ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright and godly lives in this present age, while we wait for the blessed hope—the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior, Jesus Christ, who gave Himself for us to redeem us from all wickedness and to purify for Himself a people that are His very own, eager to do what is good. Titus 2:11-14

“Great and honorable is the divine promise which the Lord has made with His own mouth to them that are holy and pure: He will bestow upon them “what eyes have not seen nor ears heard, nor has it entered into any human heart.” And from eternity to eternity there will be a race incomparable and incomprehen­sible. Blessed then are those who have not polluted their flesh by craving for this world, but are dead to the world that they may live for God!”

“Pseudo-Titus” reported by Bart Ehrman in Lost Scriptures: Books That Did Not Make It Into The New Testament (New York: Oxford University Press, 2003) 239.

The Letter now known as “Pseudo-Titus” was unknown until discovered late in the nineteenth century in a very badly translated Latin manuscript pro­duced some time in the eighth century, probably from a Greek original.

The author claims to be Titus, the companion of Paul, to whom one of the letters of the New Testament itself is addressed. We don’t know for a fact. But in reading it, I find a strong echo.

Paul’s letter to Titus celebrates God’s grace that teaches us to say “No” to worldliness so we can say “Yes” to doing good. And in this letter attributed to Titus, he echos this sentiment.

This relates to our generosity in this way. We must say “No” to the worldliness around us. We must be dead to it, so we can be alive to God and eager to do what is good.

What would it look like for each of us to die to the world and live a godly life? How might God want us collectively to be an incomparable and incomprehensible race of people, different in unimaginable ways? Ponder this with the Holy Spirit.