Monday after the Fifteenth Sunday after Trinity Sunday
Scripture: Titus 3:8-15 (NKJV)
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.
[v.10:] “…an instigator of sects…”
That is, a person who follows other ways and teaches people to follow those ways rather than sound doctrine and that unique righteousness of faith and who is unwilling to come to his senses after receiving a warning from the sound words of Christ. Judge him according to the Gospel (Matt.18) until he should come to his senses and be ashamed, and “not as an enemy, etc.” (2 Thess. 3:15).
You have here the heretics, that is, those who despise the Word of God, who create sects, and keep themselves apart as if they were better than others. Even after receiving the warnings of God, they are unwilling to come to their senses. These must be cast out of the Church and considered as non-Christians and as heathen publicans, such as are all who have abandoned the Gospel and have found more perfect ways outside every Word of God. Today, as these people repay an egregious favor, they call “heretics” those who cling to the Gospel and try to kill them so that the blood of Christ and of all the upright people whom they have killed falls upon them. May God open the hearts of them all! Amen.
Johannes Bugenhagen, Annotations on Paul’s Epistles (1525)