Monday after the Fifteenth Sunday after Trinity Sunday
Scripture: Titus 3:8-15 (NKJV)
3:8 This is a faithful saying, and these things I want you to affirm constantly, that those who have believed in God should be careful to maintain good works. These things are good and profitable to men.
9 But avoid foolish disputes, genealogies, contentions, and strivings about the law; for they are unprofitable and useless. 10 Reject a divisive man after the first and second admonition, 11 knowing that such a person is warped and sinning, being self-condemned.
12 When I send Artemas to you, or Tychicus, be diligent to come to me at Nicopolis, for I have decided to spend the winter there. 13 Send Zenas the lawyer and Apollos on their journey with haste, that they may lack nothing. 14 And let our people also learn to maintain good works, to meet urgent needs, that they may not be unfruitful.
15 All who are with me greet you. Greet those who love us in the faith.
Grace be with you all. Amen.
The Apostle Paul shows us two opposing ideas: faithful sayings and foolish disputes. These differ from each other with regard both to content and to fruit.
The two previous verses define the content of St. Paul’s “faithful saying” as the fact that we are justified by grace through faith in the Lord Jesus Christ, through the work of the Holy Spirit. A faithful saying is especially that which concerns our salvation, for Scripture has revealed these things in clear, certain, and trustworthy terms. St. Paul desires that the daily life of the Christian would be saturated with the faithful sayings of Scripture.
The fruits of faith are words—the good confession of the Lord Jesus Christ—and good works, which benefit the fellow man. St. Paul urges good works because they are the necessary fruit of true faith, and because they are commanded by God. The Augsburg Confession likewise teaches “that faith is bound to bring forth good fruits, and that it is necessary to do good works commanded by God, because of God’s will, but that we should not rely on those works to merit justification before God” (Article VI:1).
Foolish disputes, however, are concerned with worldly matters—genealogies and strivings about the Law. Such things are uncertain and unedifying, for they teach distractions from eternal truths or do not offer eternal blessings. The fruit of such is sinful division. It is deplorable how often Christians are divided over political opinions or over disputes of Christian freedom. But faith and good works are preserved by faithful doctrine.
We pray: O Lord, we beseech Thee, let Thy continual pity cleanse and defend Thy Church; and because it cannot continue in safety without Thy help, preserve it evermore by Thy help and goodness; through Jesus Christ, Amen.
Scripture taken from the New King James Version®. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson. Used by permission. All rights reserved.