Titus 3:5-11 – “He saved us, not on the basis of deeds which we have done in righteousness, but according to His mercy, by the washing of regeneration and renewing by the Holy Spirit, 6 whom He poured out upon us richly through Jesus Christ our Savior, 7 so that being justified by His grace we would be made heirs according to the hope of eternal life. 8 This is a trustworthy statement; and concerning these things I want you to speak confidently, so that those who have believed God will be careful to engage in good deeds. These things are good and profitable for men. 9 But avoid foolish controversies and genealogies and strife and disputes about the Law, for they are unprofitable and worthless. 10 Reject a factious man after a first and second warning, 11 knowing that such a man is perverted and is sinning, being self-condemned.” NASB
Interesting translation of the word in v 10 “hairetikos”. The KJV translates it heretic and the NASB uses factious. On the surface, they do not seem the same but when you examine the word in the Greek the word is “itself and schismatic” coming from the word that means ‘to make a choice’ or ‘prefer’. In that light, I can see both renderings for this individual is one who has made the choice to make self, more important than truth and promotes schisms in the Body of Christ.
Titus was instructed to ‘reject’ which would be to ‘shun’ or ‘avoid.’ That identifies a root problem in the Church that is too often avoided rather than confronted. That was one of the purposes of Paul leaving Titus behind. He was to ‘set in order’ the church and establish godly leadership which included church discipline, a foreign element in the modern church world. We are too busy trying to keep everybody happy to address issues that separate, divide, and diminish the testimony of the church and hinders the spiritual progress of the members.
We are Saved not based on ‘what we have done’ even righteous acts but by Grace through God’s incredible Mercy! We have experienced the washing of regeneration and renewal by the ministry of the Holy Spirit. It is by Grace that we become heirs of God and granted the Hope of Eternal Life. In our pursuit of God there are times when we must ‘separate’ from people and things in order to pursue God and His righteousness and to maintain a testimony before the world.
The devil likes nothing better than the church or churches to engage in unanswerable questions, hair-splitting, straining at gnats, and debates that do not produce life or win souls. Thus, we come to the issue of church discipline and marking individuals who continually engage in division.
Notice, he said that this person was to be warned twice before this drastic action took place and that is in perfect harmony with the instructions of Jesus in Matthew 18:14-20 as He gives the directive on dealing with divisions. You go to the one who sins or offends and, with a heart of love with the objective or restoration in mind, discuss the matter with him/her. If that is rejected, you take one or two more with you. You do not take people on your side but on God’s side who meet the qualifications
Paul lists early in his instructions for leadership. If that is rejected, you then (third time) take it to the church and if that admonition or plea is rejected and not repentance results you “reject” or “shun” that individual. Your purpose is never to prove a point but with a heart of redemption.
We need godly people speaking into our lives to reveal our blind spots or in those times we drift from the pathway God has designed and become factious or heretical and cause division and disruption. We are The Body of Christ and the Body needs all its members to function in a manner that builds up the entire body in love.
God, bless you as you enjoy this day in Jesus!