“But as for you, teach what accords with sound doctrine” (Titus 2:1)
There are many types of knives: butter knives, slicing knives, butchering knives, machetes, etc. Each has its purpose. Some require more rules and boundaries for safe handling.
Titus 2:1 is God’s inspired Word directing His church to be diligent with our teachings, our doctrine. What we teach is what we believe and confess to be true to the Word of God. Paul was giving Titus a bold, confident approach. The Lutheran Church Missouri Synod follows this bold, confident approach as we believe, teach, and confess the Holy Scriptures and the doctrine drawn from them.
As we are bold and confident, let us be guided with godly mannerisms. For example, “What have I to do with judging outsiders?” (1 Corinthians 5:12). Those outside of Christianity are those with whom we are to associate; let us pray that the Holy Spirit use the Word we share with them to bring them inside. For those within Christianity, Galatians 6:1 directs us, “If anyone is caught in any transgression, you who are spiritual should restore him in a spirit of gentleness.” OLord, guide us to handle safely the souls in our lives with sound doctrine.
Some doctrine can be handed to others any way that we can get it to them, just as I can hand a butter knife safely to almost everyone. For the very young or those without muscular control, I would still help them receive the benefits of the butter knife. With this in mind, let us consider the doctrine of Jesus’ saving work on the cross and His resurrection from the dead—sins forgiven and everlasting victorious life with Christ. This is the Gospel for all people. There will need to be extra involvement on our part for some (the very young, those impacted by bad teachings) to receive this truth.
Slicing and butchering knives are for separating useful food from non-food matter. These knives are to be handled carefully. They are not to be handed to others in a way that would be dangerous. Doctrines that need to be handled carefully like this include the exclusive message of Christianity; “There is salvation in no One else” (Acts 4:12). There are also other doctrines that have been misunderstood that have caused unhealthy growths in doctrine that need to be sliced off.
Machetes are for cutting through a jungle. There is a jungle of false, misleading doctrines (inside and outside of Christian circles) that clog the path for sound doctrine. Handling these situations requires boldness, courage, and a firm foundation.
All Christians receive the “sword of the Spirit which is the Word of God” (Ephesians 6:17). This sword is multifaceted and serves all Christians well as a “butter knife.” This “sword of the Spirit” can also be developed for some to help slice of unhealthy growths or indigestible “bony” doctrine. There are some who are asked to lead the way through the jungle of false doctrines and deceptive teachings. Let us follow these servants as they use their machetes skillfully.
O Lord, continue to work with us as you equip us in the use of the multifaceted Word of God from which we receive sound doctrine.
The Lord be with you,
Pastor Sam Wiseman