Sound Doctrine - Titus 2:1

"Most Pitiable"

Bryan Matthew Dockens

"If in this life only we have hope in Christ we are of all men the most pitiable" (1 Corinthians 15:19).

Those who anticipate charmed lives as Christians are sorely deceived. Jesus made no such promise. On the contrary, He warned of the ceaseless controversy to be endured by the faithful.

"Do not think that I came to bring peace on earth. I did not come to bring peace but a sword. For I have come to 'set a man against his father, a daughter against her mother, and a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law'; and 'a man's enemies will be those of his own household.' He who loves father or mother more than Me is not worthy of Me. And he who loves son or daughter more than Me is not worthy of Me. And he who does not take his cross and follow after Me is not worthy of Me. He who finds his life will lose it, and he who loses his life for My sake will find it" (Matthew 10:34-39). The Lord dispelled any notion that following Him is a cakewalk. His disciples can expect nothing less than family strife and persecution. Paul affirmed, "all who desire to live godly in Christ Jesus will suffer persecution" (2 Timothy 3:12).

Moreover, the godly must forego many of the pleasures enjoyed in the world. Moses is commended for having chosen "to suffer affliction with the people of God than to enjoy the passing pleasures of sin" (Hebrews 11:25). The worldly love to indulge in such things as drinking and partying (Luke 21:34; 1 Peter 3:4), extra-marital sex (1 Corinthians 6:9-18), gambling (1 Timothy 6:6-10), and the like (Galatians 5:20). But the godly sacrifice all this at the cross, knowing it is through pleasure that the Devil tempts us (Genesis 3:1-6; 1 John 2:15-17) and that those who live in pleasure are dead while they live (1 Timothy 5:6).

Clearly, there is little on earth to be gained by submitting to Christ. The goal of obedience to the gospel, therefore, lies beyond this realm. Thus Jesus preached, "Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal; but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal" (Matthew 6:19-20).

The people of God look beyond this life for our reward. Paul wrote that "to die is gain" (Philippians 1:21). Accordingly, the deaths of the righteous are described as "precious" (Psalm 116:15) and "blessed" (Revelation 14:13).

Those who seek instant gratification will never be satisfied in Christ and those religions that offer it are full of deceit. God offers tremendous rewards, but only to those who patiently await the promise of His coming (2 Peter 3:1-13).

Our "hope in Christ" (1 Corinthians 15:19) yet awaits fulfillment, for "hope that is seen is not hope; for why does one still hope for what he sees? But if we hope for what we do not see, we eagerly wait for it with perseverance" (Romans 8:24-25).

"Jesus Loves Me" Is Not A Children's Song

Bryan Matthew Dockens

Adults rarely sing it, but when they do it is often preceded by words such as "We'll sing this one for the kids". However, "Jesus Love Me" is not a children's song!

"Jesus loves me! This I know,
For the Bible tells me so;
Little ones to Him belong,
They are weak but He is strong."

Who are the "little ones" referred to in this first verse? May we never forget what Jesus taught concerning the need for childlike innocence as a prerequisite for salvation.

"At that time the disciples came to Jesus, saying, 'Who then is greatest in the kingdom of heaven?' Then Jesus called a little child to Him, set him in the midst of them, and said, 'Assuredly, I say to you, unless you are converted and become as little children, you will by no means enter the kingdom of heaven. Therefore whoever humbles himself as this little child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven. Whoever receives one little child like this in My name receives Me" (Matthew 18:1-5).

Having established that we are the ones who must be converted and become as little children, Jesus went on to refer to "little ones" three times in the context (6, 10, 14), including a specific reference to the possibility of such a little one sinning (6). In this vein, the song continues:

"Jesus loves me, He who died,
Heaven's gate to open wide;
He will wash away my sin,
Let His little child come in."

Little children have no sin to wash away. They lack both understanding and malice (1 Corinthians 14:20), having "no knowledge of good and evil" (Deuteronomy 1:39).

It is good and proper that children know and love this song, but it is not reserved for them. It is, in fact, intended for us, the adults who must learn to "be imitators of God as dear children" (Ephesians 5:1).

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