These, then, are the things you should teach. Encourage and rebuke with all authority. Do not let anyone despise you. (Titus 2:15, NIV)

 

I find it interesting that Paul instructs Titus not only to encourage but to also rebuke. And not just to simply encourage and rebuke, but to do so with all authority. I have to assume that the authority of which Paul writes is the authority of one who preaches and teaches the good news of Christ as based on the authority of scripture. Perhaps there is more to the authority than my simplified understanding, but for now it will serve us well.

We tend to shy away from rebuking in our culture. Let me rephrase that a little bit. There are certain things that we are free to rebuke and many others that we are cautioned not to rebuke. It is okay for us to rebuke racism and that is a good thing. It is also okay for us to rebuke poor stewardship of the earth’s scarce resources and that is not an entirely bad thing either. However, it has become almost forbidden to rebuke anyone for immoral living and that is truly unfortunate for our nation. Sure, certain types of immorality are “cleared” for rebuking: pedophilia, murder, etc. Other immoral behavior almost gets a free pass from being rebuked: pornography (unless it’s child pornography), lying, cheating, sexual deviancy.

What happened to our culture (speaking of American culture, specifically) that causes us to cry “judgmental” when the authority of scripture is brought to bear in revealing certain types of immorality? Almost all rebuking has been rendered invalid because of the imperfectness of the one delivering the rebuke regardless of what standard they use to levy the charge. The standard of God’s word, however, is becoming especially irrelevant in our culture. Even in the adherence to the law set forth in the United States Constitution, our ability to rebuke is being challenged because of any imperfection found in the rebuke. We are slowly slipping away from a culture based on the rule of law if we can’t point to an establish law and, regardless of our own success or failure with the law, declare someone to be in violation. If, in order to rebuke someone in the law, I need to be in perfect compliance with the law, then the law is doomed. I am not, nor will I ever be, apart from the grace of God, perfect. And nor is there anyone living today that claim the title of being perfect. If no one can rebuke because of their imperfectness, then what happens to the law of God? I will maintain that it will gradually slip into obscurity as is happening today in the United States.

Once the Law of God has slipped into cultural obscurity we can look forward to the laws of the United States to crumble not long afterward.

I don’t pretend to have all the answers in turning the tide in restoring God’s moral law to our precious nation and nor do I have the most stinging and in depth critique. I only offer observations and a hope that God willing, He will restore His law to the forefront of our hearts and minds and that men and women across the country will enthusiastically embrace it. Of course, we cannot impose the law on anyone, we will only be able to encourage and rebuke as Paul instructed Titus. Let us embrace those whose authority lies with scripture and not despise them. Celebrate God’s perfect law and rejoice in Jesus Christ who fulfilled the law that we might lead a life of eternal joy and not of eternal damnation.

Below is an excerpt from Psalm 19 about the glory of God’s law.

Psalm 19:7-11

 

 The law of the LORD is perfect,
       reviving the soul.
       The statutes of the LORD are trustworthy,
       making wise the simple.

 The precepts of the LORD are right,
       giving joy to the heart.
       The commands of the LORD are radiant,
       giving light to the eyes.

 The fear of the LORD is pure,
       enduring forever.
       The ordinances of the LORD are sure
       and altogether righteous.

 They are more precious than gold,
       than much pure gold;
       they are sweeter than honey,
       than honey from the comb.

 By them is your servant warned;
       in keeping them there is great reward.

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