“That they may teach the young women to be sober, to love their husbands, to love their children, to be discreet, chaste, keepers at home, good, obedient to their own husbands, that the word of God be not blasphemed.”
Titus was laboring among the new Christians on the island of Crete. He was to preach and teach God’s Word with a view to God’s elect acknowledging the truth and living in godliness (). False doctrine and an ungodly lifestyle are to be condemned with words—spoken and printed. But they are also condemned by the godly life of the Christian. Godliness adorns the truth, giving evidence of the correctness of the truths of sovereign, particular grace.
Paul begins the second chapter: “speak the things which become [are consistent with, harmonize with] sound doctrine.” He then becomes specific, showing what godliness is for the various members of the Christian churches on Crete. In this article we consider Paul’s presentation of godliness for young Christian women. This godliness is what the older Christian women are to teach them.
The Chief Calling of Christian Young Women
The young Christian wife/mother is to be a “keeper at home.”
Some simplistically say that this means that she must stay in the home and may not work outside her house. That would make us lose much of what God is teaching through the use of this Greek word. This inspired word describes her from the viewpoint of her duties toward the home: “caring for the home.” She is to make the house a home. It is implied that this young woman is married and has been given children. This Christian young woman is to care for the home by taking care of household affairs, by watching over the home, and by guarding it. There is no doubt that in order to care for the home in this way, the wife/mother is to be in it. It would be very difficult to do so when not in the house.
Older Christian women are to teach the young married mothers that the lifestyle that is consistent with her faith in Jesus Christ is one of caring for, keeping, or guarding the home. The Christian home is surrounded by a most ungodly world. That this was the case for the Christian homes on Crete is clear from what Paul has to say about Cretians in the first chapter. And it certainly is true today! The Christian young woman must be aware of the spiritual enemies that are attacking the Christian home. She is also to be aware of the enemies of godliness that arise from within the home. The sinful natures of all the residents of the home are a most powerful force against which the young Christian wife and mother has to be on guard. It is these enemies that make so difficult her calling to care for the home.
The young Christian woman’s responsibility is to make the home a safe and secure place. She is to do all the things necessary to create and maintain an atmosphere of a safe and comfortable haven for her husband and for her children. She does this by making everyone in the home aware of the standard of God’s law (over against all self-centeredness) and of the presence of Jesus, the loving and forgiving Savior. Specifically, in light of the presence of sin, she demonstrates this by confessing her sins and by quickly and sincerely forgiving those who sin against her. Also she makes it obvious that prayer is an essential element of home life. She prays fervently to Him who alone can keep a home spiritually safe (). She constantly reminds herself, her husband, and her children of the duty to resist the devil and to draw nigh to God. She wants faith to be evident in her home.
How Christian Young Women Are to Exhibit Their Godliness
How does the young Christian wife and mother keep her home? Our text gives five ways.
First, she keeps her home by loving her husband and loving her children as God loves her. This duty to love is taught her by older Christian women. This means that love for husband or wife and children is something to be taught and learned. It is not only an emotion one falls into. Salvation teaches about a love that is much more than emotions and feelings. The feeling of love for someone, while legitimately called “love,” is not taught, nor is it commanded. When God commands love, He is not commanding a feeling, but a knowledge that can be taught and learned. This is the meaning and significance of the Greek word agape. Agape (love) is emphatically, first of all, knowledge. It is commanded by God (; ) and it is learned from God ( ). It is a knowledge of God’s love for us. When the knowledge of faith experiences God’s love, then it wants to reflect God’s love. And then we know ourselves and others as God knows us. We know that God’s love is to be reflected as sacrificial, selfless, and giving (not demanding or possessive). We know that God’s love is unconditional (not dependent on the object being nice or good). Agape is a knowledge of someone that finds its energy source in the one loving, not in the one loved.
The second way the younger Christian women are to care for their homes is by being “sober” (4) and “discreet” (5). Note that this attribute is also to be a part of the godliness of both the older and the younger Christian men (2, 6). Both words (sober and discreet) are derived from the same Greek word, which conveys the idea of “wisdom.” To be sober is to be in control, to be moderate and self-disciplined. To be discreet is to exercise wisdom by being of sound mind and self-controlled. The idea of these words is that she is to hold herself to her duties in the home. Sobriety and discretion enable her to realize that this is the time of her life when her focus must be on the home.
Faith in Jesus Christ brings balance and perspective to the life of a wife and mother. The faith that holds for truth what God has revealed in His Word frees her from romanticism and unreal dreams. By faith she knows herself to be a horrible sinner who must confess her sins, deny herself, and control her desires. She resists the natural desire to make something of herself in the world, because faith tells her that God places highest value on the woman who cares for her home. It is faith that makes her realize that the all-wise and loving Father gave her the husband and children she has—and it is He that she is to obey. She is to be sober and discreet.
Third, the godliness of young Christian women is manifested in their being “obedient to their own husbands” in all lawful things. The Greek word used speaks of a voluntary submission, a subjecting of oneself. This voluntary subjecting of herself flows only from obedience to her Savior and Lord. Her faith in Jesus gives her this willingness to strive to live in the consciousness of what He has done for her and of what He wants her to do. Faith gives her to know that her husband is God’s gift to her, given by Him to be her head.
This submission does not make her personally inferior. She is equally saved in the same blood of the Lamb, and she is equally a spiritual heir. Her faith teaches her that God will judge her husband for any failures on his part to do his duty, and He will judge her too for any failures on her part to do what He commands her to do.
Fourth, her godliness is evidenced in her being “chaste.” Chastity refers to moral purity and cleanliness, modesty. It is not to be without sin. Rather, it stands over against a flaunting of oneself, a putting of oneself ahead of others, a striving to get attention for oneself by words, actions, or clothing. The young Christian woman strives to be faithful to God and to her husband in thought, word, and deed.
Fifth, the young Christian woman is to be “good,” that is, useful, striving to fit her purpose by being beneficial to those around her. Every wife/mother is naturally selfish and self-centered. She is concerned about herself, as if the world centers around her. The good Christian wife, on the other hand, realizes that salvation in Jesus Christ puts her into His body, so that she is one member of the large body, the church. When any member of the physical body calls attention to itself, we think of it as a pain! Likewise, every member of the church is not to call attention to himself, but be busy in service to the other members. God calls the Christian wife to submit herself and her desires to God by being useful to the others in her home.
The Purpose of the Godliness of Christian Young Women
The purpose of this godliness flowing from the Christian faith in young Christian women is that “the word of God is not blasphemed.” Something is “blasphemed” when it is spoken against, reviled, slandered, or insulted.
A professing Christian who is selfish and self-serving makes a mockery of her professed Christianity. This, in turn, makes a mockery of God and His Word. It gives occasion for unbelievers to mock Him. The truth of God’s Word is to have the effect of self-denial and humility on those who confess it.
Humble confession of sins and sinfulness, along with a striving to be obedient to God and to His Word, occasions the glorifying of our Father in heaven (). The wicked always want to mock and blaspheme. But the godly actions of God’s people show that their mockery is only lies. Let the quiet lives of young Christian wives and mothers contradict and silence these lies! Honor is given to God and to the teachings of His Word by the godly conduct of the Christian wife.