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Titus 3:3 black&white

31-08-2023 - Posted by Hans

…For we also were once foolish, stubborn, deceived, slaves of various desires and gratifications, leading a life in malice and envy, detestable, hating one another.

The ‘picture’ that is sketched here is very black and white. It shows humanity without the one God in dark colors only. Fortunately, humanity without God still shows prudence, docileness, self-control and kindness in practice. Even in the darkest places, remnants of God’s light can still be found. But to paint the contrast, Paul omits that nuance here.

The ‘picture’ here is also black and white in another respect. For the past tense assumes (“we too were once…”) that those who do know GOD have left behind all these evil qualities. So that believers should not be foolish, stubborn, deceived, enslaved or hating each other. That would be nice, of course, but if we are honest, we know that this would be too rosy a picture of things. But Paul is also not describing the practice of believers here, but their position. This letter in particular shows how the two can sometimes be at odds with each other (1:16). The gap between confession and experience. The point here is that believers are justified in God’s eyes (3:7). That is our position and that is how we can reckon.