1:6-8: God’s Grace to us in Shaping our Character
In Titus 1:6-9, we are told what we are to look for in elders of a local church. Such individuals are to be “above reproach”, exemplify godly character in their marriage, family, life, and hold fast to the Bible (1:6-9). Yet, the qualities described for elders are not only to be held by elders, but all believers are called into Christ-likeness described here.
Here is another example of God’s grace to us. God in His grace saves us and makes us spiritually alive and reconciled to Himself (Eph 2:8-9; 2 Cor 5:18-21). By His grace he continues to transform us to be more like Christ and reflect His glory in our lives. His grace “trains us” (Titus 2:11-14), and our character is shaped and formed.
This shaping takes place as we look at God’s Word and learn what godliness looks like. We see in Titus 1:6 that it includes faithfulness in marriage and in the home. We see our character is to be formed in a particular way: rejecting arrogance, rejecting short-temperedness, rejecting drunkenness and overindulgence, rejecting violence against our spouse/children/others, rejecting greed. As we turn from these things we become like Christ and like God (Eph 5:1). Here we experience a greater joy and freedom, and a delight in God and others.
The shaping continues as we embrace the qualities and characteristics of our new identity. A Christian has been brought from spiritual death to spiritual life. Now growth in godliness is a process akin to putting off the clothing of the old self and putting on clothing of the new (Col 3:5-17). We are to live out who we really already are, not try to be something new. A Christian already is a “new creation” (2 Cor 5:17), and so as our character is shaped to be more like Christ, we reflect this truth more fully. Growing in godly character is in a real sense for a Christian growing into who they truly ALREADY are! A Christian is to be hospitable, a lover of what is good, self-controlled, righteous, holy, and self-disciplined (Titus 1:8).
All of this character shaping is an example of God’s grace in our live. God in His grace is making His people more and more like Christ, leading us to enjoy Him more and experience to a greater degree the truth of our new identity in Christ. God has not just saved us to experience eternity with Him—he certainly has done that (John 3:16)—he also saved us to experience a new life today, a life that shaped to be like Christ and to be filled with good works (Eph 2:10).