15 “To the pure, all things are pure, but to the defiled and unbelieving, nothing is pure; but both their minds and their consciences are defiled. 16 They profess to know God, but they deny him by their works. They are detestable, disobedient, unfit for any good work.” (Titus 1:15–16 (ESV)
The Apostle Paul initially instructed Titus about the character of godly elders (Titus 1:5-9). He then expounded on the characteristics of ungodly false teachers (Titus 1:10-14). Today’s text continues with this examination.
False teachers profess to know God. The word profess (ὁμολογέω; homologeo) means to declare, admit and assert. False believers in Christ maintain they know Jesus Christ as Savior and Lord (Matt. 7:23; 14:7; John 1:20; Acts 7:17; 24:14; Titus 1:16).
However, their behavior belies their declaration. They deny Christ by their works. The Scriptures teach their behavior is inconsistent with a godly life. It indicates that their faith in Christ is suspect (Matt. 7:16-20; James 2:14-16; I John 3:17).
Additionally, false teachers are detestable, disobedient and unfit. More than what they do, the following three adjectives describe what they are by nature (Eph. 2:1-3). The words describe a continual and active disposition and behavior.
To be detestable (βδελυκτός; bdelyktos) means to be abhorrent and abominable. “In some languages ‘detestable’ may be rendered as ‘thought to be extremely bad’ or even ‘that which should never even be seen,” explains one commentator.
False believers are also disobedient (ἀπειθής; apeithes). This literally means to go beyond the bounds of biblical instruction. They do not obey God and His Word.
Finally, they are unfit for any good work. Unfit (ἀδόκιμος; adokimos) is to be worthless, valueless and disqualified. Consequently, whatever good or generous work they do in the church God evaluates as the same.
“The apostle’s teaching points out the irony inherent in the position of the false teachers. Of all people, first-century Jews prided themselves in their knowledge of the one, true creator God. Whether or not the legalists were of Jewish descent, they certainly allied themselves with certain Jewish traditions. Their arguments implied that the Christians who did not follow their particular code of ethics, in addition to believing in the Messiah, lacked a saving relationship with the covenant Lord of Israel (vv. 10–15). Yet the false teachers’ own works proved otherwise, for they were not the good works of love for God and neighbor that demonstrate one’s salvation (Titus 2:7–8; 3:8; Matt. 22:34–40),” explains Dr. R. C. Sproul.
Let us make every effort in encouraging believers in Christ to confirm their calling and election in Christ (2 Peter 1:3-11). Have a blessed day in the Lord.
Soli deo Gloria!