Conduct Unbecoming a Christian

by Pastor Ricky Kurth

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“…speak thou the things which become sound doctrine” (Titus 2:1).

The word “become” here means fitting or appropriate. Even if you never served in the military, you have probably heard that if an officer misbehaves he can be charged with “conduct unbecoming an officer.” That serious charge is levied against an officer who has not been conducting himself in a manner that is fitting or appropriate for his rank and position.

And the word become is used that way in Scripture as well. Paul told the Romans,

“I commend unto you Phebe…a servant of the church which is at Cenchrea…receive her in the Lord, as becometh saints, and…assist her in whatsoever business she hath need of you…” (Rom. 16:1,2).

The reason Paul had to tell the Romans to receive a sister in Christ was that women in those days were not always well received in Roman society. That is, they weren’t always as welcomed as a man would be. But Paul says to not receive a sister like Phebe would constitute conduct unbecoming a saint of God.

By the way, this is one of many examples in Scripture that show how those who say that Christianity puts women down are wrong. Christianity lifts women up, as you can see from Paul’s words here, and from the words found in many other places in Scripture as well. If you want a religion that puts women down, and teaches that it is okay to mistreat them, look to Islam, not Christianity.

Of course, having said that, there are Christian men who mistreat women as well, and Paul says that behavior like that isn’t very becoming to men who claim to be saints of God.

The word “becoming” also means to make someone look good. A husband might say to his wife, “That dress is very becoming on you.” At least that’s what he says if he knows what’s good for him, right ladies? But what he means when he says that is that the dress makes his wife look good.

And the Bible uses the word that way as well. Paul told the Philippians,

“…let your conversation be as it becometh the gospel” (Phil. 1:27).

Two of the Philippian women were feuding like the Hatfields and the McCoys (Phil. 4:2), and Paul’s admonition for the church to be “of one accord” (Phil. 2:2) suggests that some in the church were siding with Eudoias and some with Syntyche. As far as God is concerned, that’s conduct that is unbecoming to the gospel! They were making the gospel look bad in the eyes of the lost sinners in Philippi, not good.

So when Paul tells Titus to speak the things which become sound doctrine, he was telling him to speak to believers and tell them how to act in a way that was fitting for someone who embraces the sound doctrine found in Paul’s epistles. He then went on to tell “aged men” how to do that (Titus 2:2), “aged women” (2:3), “young women” (2:4), as well as “young men” (2:6), and even “servants” (2:9).

Beloved, no matter what your age, gender, or position in life, it’s not enough just to believe sound doctrine, and it’s not enough just to teach it. God wants us to live sound doctrine—live it in such a way that makes sound doctrine look good. If that’s the burden of your heart, why not make it the prayer of your heart?

You’ll be eternally glad you did.

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