Sound Doctrine - Titus 2:1

"The Children Of One's Youth"

Bryan Matthew Dockens

The name Jamie Lynn Spears was unknown to me until the sixteen-year-old actress and younger sister of Britney Spears recently announced that she is expecting a child. This news has predictably brought increased attention to the issue of teen pregnancy. Allow me to submit for your consideration, however, that the problem in this case is not teen pregnancy, per se.

By God's word, a young person with child is blessed. "Behold, children are a heritage from the Lord, the fruit of the womb is a reward. Like arrows in the hand of a warrior, so are the children of one's youth. Happy is the man who has his quiver full of them; they shall not be ashamed, but shall speak with their enemies in the gate" (Psalm 127:3-5). Of course, the foregoing blessing is predicated on the assumption that the "children of one's youth" are the product of the marriage of one's youth. A youthful marriage also receives God's blessing, as it is written, "Let your fountain be blessed, and rejoice with the wife of your youth" (Proverbs 5:18).

Teenage pregnancy is not the problem; fornication is. Fornication is included among the "works of the flesh" the practice of which precludes entrance into God's kingdom (Galatians 5:19-21). Young and old alike are under command not only to abstain from it (1st Thessalonians 4:3), but even to flee fornication (1st Corinthians 6:18). Thus, teen pregnancy is not at issue, but unwed pregnancy, which is inappropriate regardless of age.

"Who Made You...A Judge Over Us?"

Bryan Matthew Dockens

When faced with the unpleasant but necessary task of correcting another's error, the common retort is "Who made you the judge?" or some slight variation on that theme: "Don't judge me!" or "Why are you so judgmental?" Such efforts to deflect criticism aren't new at all.

Thirty-four centuries ago, Moses was observing his countrymen in Egypt when he witnessed an assault. Confronting the aggressor, he asked, "Why are you striking your companion?", only to be rebuffed with the words: "Who made you a prince and a judge over us?" (Exodus 2:13- 14).

Hundreds of years earlier, Abraham's nephew Lot was dwelling in the city of Sodom when his homosexual neighbors attempted to gang rape his houseguests. Lot implored them, "Please, my brethren, do not do so wickedly!" (Genesis 19:6), following which they remarked, "This one came in to stay here, and he keeps acting as a judge" (Genesis 19:9).

Since opposition to beatings and sexual crimes was dismissed as judgmentalism in ancient times, it should come as no surprise that the same tactic is employed by sinners today. People just don't like to be told they're wrong.

Exercising judgment is an essential element of godly behavior. Jesus did not forbid judging; He just taught how it is to be done: "Do not judge according to appearance, but judge with righteous judgment" (John 7:24). Indeed, it is a defining characteristic of spiritual maturity that one is able "to discern both good and evil" (Hebrews 5:14).

Paul commented, "Do you not know that the saints will judge the world?" (1st Corinthians 6:2). Scripture teaches that Noah "condemned the world" when he prepared the ark to save his household from the flood (Hebrews 11:7), and Jesus said, "The men of Nineveh will rise up in the judgment with this generation and condemn it, because they repented at the preaching of Jonah; and indeed a greater than Jonah is here" (Matthew 12:41). Whenever one does right, he implicitly condemns those who err.

"Naked...And...Not Ashamed"

Bryan Matthew Dockens

I was recently contacted by a woman expressing interest in learning more about God's word, for which I am thankful. If the opportunity to teach her ever materializes, however, we will need to discuss a major obstacle to her obedience: she makes her living as an exotic dancer (read "stripper") and enjoys her work.

This potential Bible student needs to learn the fundamental lesson that nakedness must be covered. When God created, then joined Adam and Eve "they were both naked, the man and his wife, and were not ashamed" (Genesis 2:25), but when they ate the fruit of "the tree of the knowledge of good and evil" (Genesis 2:17), "the eyes of both of them were opened, and they knew that they were naked; and they sewed fig leaves together and made themselves coverings" (Genesis 3:7). With the knowledge of good and evil comes the knowledge that nakedness must be covered.

She must learn the meaning of the word "lewdness", variously translated "lasciviousness", "licentiousness", "sensuality", or "debauchery". This "work of the flesh" for which the punishment is exclusion from God's kingdom (Galatians 5:19-21) is defined, in part, as "indecent bodily movements, unchaste handling of males and females, etc." (Thayer's Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament).

She should also realize the sinfulness of looking at women lustfully (Matthew 5:28) knowing that those who lead others astray stand condemned in the sight of God (Matthew 18:6).

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