“Not giving heed to Jewish fables and commandments of men who turn from the truth” (Titus 1:14).
Even though Paul is in the middle of describing the failures of some in the church in Crete, he provides exhortation about dealing with any who either follow the traditions and practices they had before becoming a Christian or who just refuse to submit to the moral teachings proclaimed by the messengers of the gospel.
Paul has just said “reprove them sharply, that they may be sound in the faith,” speaking to church leaders about unruly Christians. Then in verse 14, he gives an example of the kind of teaching that has crept into the church and has made void the commandments of God.
The lesson is clear: the same directive of not giving in to “commandments of men” comes down to us today. Rather than giving in, we are to stay with sound doctrine that is taught clearly in the New Testament.
“For we did not follow cunningly devised fables when we made known to you the power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, but were eyewitnesses of His majesty”
(2 Peter 1:16).
As the Apostle Peter begins this, his second epistle, he addresses those of “like precious faith,” clearly establishing that he is addressing those who have obeyed the gospel and have begun the Christian journey.
In this verse, it is with certainty that he validates the word of God as the only standard these Christians are to follow. He assures that he and his fellows were not teaching the ideas and imaginations of men as they taught the gospel.
Peter further assures his readers that he knows personally the word of God is true because he was among the “eyewitnesses of His majesty,” having been present at many of the Lord’s experiences during His ministry.
Such powerful assurances come down to us today with dramatic force and further confirm that it is not acceptable to follow religious ideas that are created by man—it is only in following the word of God—the New Testament—that we have the assurance of going to heaven.
“Be still, and know that I am God;
I will be exalted among the nations,
I will be exalted in the earth!” (Psalm 46:10)
It must have been a dark day in Israel when the psalmist penned the words of consolation and encouragement found in this psalm. The theme is that God will always be in control, regardless of what men may do; and in this verse, he takes the Israelites a step farther by telling them to take a deep breath and just listen to God.
Like Israel, we as individuals and as the church today need this kind of encouragement at times in our lives—dark times do come, and we need to develop the ability to take a step back and to think deeply about the messages God gives us in His word—the New Testament calls it meditation.
Most of us have life styles that keep us busy both with physical and/or mental activity—we sometimes find ourselves thinking only of what’s coming next. So, as a result, we fail to stop and smell the roses—we fail to spend quiet time in meditation.
Reality is that we can have a fuller and deeper appreciation of God when we are alone and when we allow ourselves the luxury of pondering what is really important in life—that is, our spiritual life here and the indescribable possibilities for eternity. It is at such times that we can really listen in our own minds to God’s messages.
Second of two studies about Paul’s experience in Philippi
“So they said, ‘Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and you will be saved, you and your household.’
“Then they spoke the word of the Lord to him and to all who were in his house
“And he took them the same hour of the night and washed their stripes. And immediately he and all his family were baptized” (Acts 16:31-33).
Hearing the Philippian jailer’s inquiry about salvation, Paul and Silas teach him and all “in his house” what they need to know about obeying the gospel. As a result of this teaching, all who are capable of believing are immediately baptized.
One cannot conclude that a simple verbal acknowledgement of the Lord was all that was necessary for them to be saved because they were taught “the word of the Lord” before being baptized. And we know the preachers taught baptism because as a result of the teaching, the jailer and his household were baptized. Baptism is not otherwise mentioned in this passage.
Furthermore, we know this situation involved a comprehensive faith because verse 34 says the jailer rejoiced, “having believed in God.” This belief had to have been an active process, not just an isolated, one-time verbal confession because his believing included being buried in baptism.
This passage is powerful and convincing as well as being parallel to other accounts of obeying the gospel. All such accounts conclude with the baptism of the believer.