Remind them to be submissive to rulers and authorities, to be obedient, to be ready for every good work, to speak evil of no one, to avoid quarreling, to be gentle, and to show perfect courtesy toward all people.

Titus 3: 1, 2

 

Paul is giving instruction to his younger disciple Titus in how to lead a fellowship of followers of Christ. Central to Paul’s teaching is the fact that Christians should be actively different than others in their culture so that Christ in them shows clearly to the world by their words and their deeds. Nothing has changed since those days for those of us who know Christ. The wise words that Paul laid out for Titus should resonate with us, and we should live in a manner that causes Christ to be heard clearly through the conduct of our days. This way of life is unceasing and unrelenting, and God doesn’t really grant to us any situational exceptions.

 

So, when it comes to a Christian’s conduct in the arena of government and politics, we are tasked by God with a responsibility for the words that we speak and for the tone with which we deliver them. This is true for those who hold office, desire to do so, and for those who are governed by them. Unfortunately, the description of what a follower of Christ looks like that Paul gives to us here is very different from much of what is seen in our world. People who hold office and who are aspiring to be elected are held to this standard of respectful engagement in so far as they know Christ, and the ability to engage in the battle for office while living out this sort of Christ-like behavior should be an indicator of a person’s spiritual state of being.

 

For the majority of us who are not office holders or seekers, the standard of behavior that Paul sets forth needs to be our guide. When we speak about those who govern us, we are tasked by Christ to be courteous, respectful, and gentle. This does not mean that we are to avoid speaking out against that which is wrong, unjust, or contrary to God’s Word. We are to stand for God’s truth, and He is instructing us to do so in the counter-cultural manner described here so that Christ’s love and peace can stand out as light against the darkness of our world’s political environment. In this setting, the good work that we are to prepare for is to be engaged citizens while doing so with Christ’s truth, grace, and love as the visible signs of our allegiance to the one true King.

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