Living godly in an ungodly world

Why are the top two major “Protestant” church denominations having so many difficulties of late? The United Methodist Church is on the verge of splitting later this year. The Southern Baptist Convention is having a crisis of faith over some church leaders subscribing to the Marxist Critical Race Theory.

The answer isn’t as complicated as some would make it out to be. Somewhere along the way leaders in these churches dismissed the Holy Spirit-inspired teachings of the New Testament, such as the doctrine Paul taught Titus regarding the conduct and character of God’s ministers in Titus 2. He told Titus:

11 For the grace of God that bringeth salvation hath appeared to all men,

12 Teaching us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly, in this present world;

13 Looking for that blessed hope, and the glorious appearing of the great God and our Saviour Jesus Christ;

14 Who gave himself for us, that he might redeem us from all iniquity, and purify unto himself a peculiar people, zealous of good works.

15 These things speak, and exhort, and rebuke with all authority. Let no man despise thee.

God’s faithful leaders are called to reflect the doctrines of the gospel both in their lives (public or private) and teachings. One’s teachings can prove worthless when they fail to be backed up by the power of a righteous life. Living out a godly example isn’t something to be ashamed of–as some in the church would want us to believe. Instead, being “godly, in this present world” will bring shame to those who would oppose godliness. “Denying ungodliness and worldly lusts” are inseparable, basic parts of the teaching we receive from the grace of God that brings salvation.

We do it with the right spirit, keeping in mind our ultimate goal of looking for our blessed hope, the return of the Lord Jesus Christ. He didn’t make his ultimate sacrifice of giving himself for us so we could continue in our sinful ways, making excuses for them. He did it to make us a purified, peculiar people who go all out to do good works for him.

When leaders refuse to speak, exhort, and rebuke according to these principles, they are seriously compromised spiritually and have forfeited godly authority. Leaders who have the courage by the Spirit to stand firm on these principles are commanded, as Titus was, to not let anyone (regardless of their status) despise them for carrying these things out. May we strive to be the faithful who live out these bold doctrines without compromise.

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