Can there be anything worse than being called a glutton? Apparently so. How about a “lazy glutton”?
I suppose as the new year approaches many of the local gyms will begin to cash in on appealing to the “lazy gluttons” who will pay big bucks for an annual gym membership that will only get used for a few weeks. Do they expect “normal” gluttons to use their gym membership more than the “lazy gluttons”? I wonder if there is a price break if you sign up under the “lazy glutton” plan?
I like to be refreshed and reminded of biblical standards for elders/bishops/pastors/shepherds on a regular basis. A way of attempting to stay spiritually fit for the duties I have. Today I was reading this passage from Titus and was more struck by the qualifier “lazy” than ever before.
Then I began to look at all of the adjectives. The Text became very uncomfortable. Because I’m a poor grammarian I hesitate to put the exercise in print but I’ll attempt.
Titus Chapter One, verses ten through sixteen reads like this…
10 For there are many rebellious men, empty talkers and deceivers, especially those of the circumcision, 11 who must be silenced because they are upsetting whole families, teaching things they should not teach for the sake of sordid gain. 12 One of themselves, a prophet of their own, said, “Cretans are always liars, evil beasts, lazy gluttons.” 13 This testimony is true. For this reason reprove them severely so that they may be sound in the faith, 14 not paying attention to Jewish myths and commandments of men who turn away from the truth. 15 To the pure, all things are pure; but to those who are defiled and unbelieving, nothing is pure, but both their mind and their conscience are defiled. 16 They profess to know God, but by their deeds they deny Him, being detestable and disobedient and worthless for any good deed. (NASB)
I’ll first take out all the qualifiers and just read the text. This is an exercise I use in personal study that helps me see how strong the text becomes with the adjectives.
10 For there are men, 11 who must be silenced, 11 teaching things they should not teach. 12 One of themselves said, “Cretans are liars, beasts, gluttons.” 13 This testimony is true. For this reason reprove them so that they may be sound in the faith, 14 not paying attention to Jewish myths and commandments of men who turn away from the truth. 15 To the pure, all things are pure; but to those who are defiled and unbelieving, nothing is pure, but both their mind and their conscience are defiled. 16 They profess to know God, but by their deeds they deny Him.
I then read this again and begin to put the adjective back (I’m sure I missed some and didn’t see some.) But this is what began to happen as I read this again.
Paul wasn’t telling Titus that [some] men must be silenced or that all men must be silenced. But that there were many men who were rebellious [and would refuse to recognize the spiritual authority of the elders in the church] who must be silenced. Wow.
These rebellious men were empty talkers and deceivers. Meaning, by talking with impressive words they were able to say things that meant nothing and empty of any clarity and by doing so, theses rebellious men were able to deceive. (I’ll examine who they were able to deceive later.) There’s more about these men though, Paul isn’t done describing who these rebellious, empty-talking, deceivers are. Most of them [many] are of the circumcision. Meaning Jews and/or self-righteous and were rebelling against the Lord’s elect with empty words with the intent to deceive. Meaning further, they knew what they were doing. They knew that if they were going to deceive others they would have to do so with language that was familiar but lacking clarity and with fuzzy definitions in order to deceive; in order to get a following; in order to continue practicing their sin without being exposed to others as weak spiritually.
As Paul identified who these men were and addressed some of their motives, it then makes sense why he instructs Titus that they must be silenced. This goes back to who these rebellious, empty-talking, deceivers were upsetting; [whole families]. They [must] be silenced. Not because they are doing right but because they are leading [whole families] away from truth (they are deceivers after all) with teachings (doctrines) that have no place in the Church of the Lord Jesus Christ to get personal, prideful gain.
Then the apostle identified one of these rebellious, empty-talking, deceivers and exposes him with his own philosophy that carried truth, but likely didn’t want Paul exposing the entire truth.
When Paul said that their testimony of the Cretans was true he wasn’t saying it as a racial or ethnic attack. He was explaining to Titus that the Cretans’ sin nature had to be confronted and reproved so that they may be sound in the faith. They were not only liars, they were always liars. They were not only beasts, they were evil beast. They were not only gluttons, they were lazy gluttons. These rebellious, empty-talking, deceivers were not looking to bring the Cretans into light with the gospel, they wanted to leave them in their sinful state to continue proving how righteous they were compared to the Cretans. If they can say what is true about others without having to say what is true about themselves then they are able to win over whole families
The attention gets laid back to the Rebellious, empty talking, deceivers. When the apostle Paul finishes testifying to Titus that this is true not only of the Cretans, the Rebellious, empty-talking, deceivers, but by implication true of all natural men.
Spiritual men must not give ear Jewish myths and commandments of men who turn away from the truth, namely the rebellious, empty-talking, deceivers. They are defiled and unbelieving. Yet they are left in leadership role in churches. To them, the only thing pure or true is what they claim to be pure and true. Proving that both their mind and their consciences are diseased. They make claim to know the mind of God, but their actual behavior denies their claim. They are obviously Rebels, empty-talkers, and deceivers. In every effort to do good they prove to be frauds. They are being detestable and disobedient and worthless for any good deed.
Arise, church of the Lord Jesus Christ and be the church. Put off your rebellious, empty-talking, deceiving ways. Put on His righteousness and go forth as obedient slaves, speaking words of life, leading many to truth.