‘For there are many rebellious people, full of meaningless talk and deception,’ Titus 1:10a
There was nobody so bad or so ill that Jesus would not have mercy on him. Yet, people are mentioned in the Bible, who were clearly rejected. Those, who were seemingly pious, yet not devoted to God with all their hearts, were rejected by John the Baptist by his words in Matthew 3:7: 'You brood of vipers! Who warned you to flee from the coming wrath?’ At the end of His life, Jesus proclaimed a sevenfold woe over these pious hypocrites (Matthew 23).
In today’s passage, Paul warns us about these so-called godly men in no uncertain terms: ‘Keep away from them!’ (:17). How do we recognize these obviously dangerous people, who cause divisions and put obstacles in the way? Paul says: ‘For such people are not serving our Lord Christ, but their own appetites,’ which might here be more aptly translated with ‘their own ego’.
People, who are frankly self-centred, do not pose a threat to the community of Christ, on the contrary, God asks us to accept them in our midst with the love of Christ, so that they will be so delighted by Jesus that they will be spontaneously released from their self-centredness. For is this not the redemption Jesus offers us all?
But many Christians are not really redeemed from that terrible bondage to their ego, because the love of Christ cannot convince them. They are so enchanted by their own smooth talk and flattery, they do not even consider coming into God’s light with their unrepentant hearts. These are the horrible blemishes in the community, but if we are eager to walk in the light, their darkness cannot remain hidden.