1 Remind them to be subject to rulers and authorities, to obey, to be ready for every good work,
Paul asked Titus in chapter three to challenge all members of the church in Crete in relation to their impact on pagan society.
First, there were instructions about civil authority (v.1).
1 Remind them
Titus was to remind the Cretan church about a number of things. Reminding is a major function of a pastor. It is not enough to tell people something one time. Titus was to remind the church of seven standards for church life.
to be subject to rulers and authorities [delegated authorities],
Christians have an obligation in public life. Civil authorities in God’s economy provide order for society (Ro 13:1-7; 1 Pe 2:13-17). There is no contradiction between allegiance to Christ and loyalty to the state.
History says that the Cretans resisted the Roman yoke. There were wars and conflagrations during that time. Plutarch and Polybius wrote about the Cretans’ unhappiness with Roman rule. The challenge here is for Christians to operate within societal law.
Obedience is something more than submission. Submissiveness is attitude and obedience is actions. It is not enough to obey passively; we are to live actively and constructively in society.
to be ready for every good work,
Christians should comply with the laws of their national entity. To be ready for “every good work” means going beyond legal obligation to include doing anything that benefits others in society.
Christians have an obligation to human government.
A predicament we have as Christians is that we are in the world but not of the world. The Christian citizen should be a good influence in society even though his true citizenship is in heaven.
Although God is sovereign over the universe, He delegated representative governments to have authority over national entities. God designed governments to operate within territorial confines as national entities. As such, they are divine institutions who represent His purposes over a territory on earth. An individual nation is to keep the social order. God deemed that a one-world government is not good for society. God is also in the business of judging nations. We see this clearly in books such as Daniel.
A believer’s personal freedom does not justify anarchy against government. The commands to submit and to obey, however, do not imply blind, unquestioned obedience to the state. If government stands in opposition to God then we are to give God the priority. God never has unconditional allegiance to government. Our first loyalty is to God and second to the state.
Ac 4: 18 So they called them and commanded them not to speak at all nor teach in the name of Jesus. 19 But Peter and John answered and said to them, “Whether it is right in the sight of God to listen to you more than to God, you judge. 20 For we cannot but speak the things which we have seen and heard.”
Ac 5: 29 But Peter and the other apostles answered and said: “We ought to obey God rather than men.
Ac 5: 40 And they agreed with him, and when they had called for the apostles and beaten them, they commanded that they should not speak in the name of Jesus, and let them go. 41 So they departed from the presence of the council, rejoicing that they were counted worthy to suffer shame for His name. 42 And daily in the temple, and in every house, they did not cease teaching and preaching Jesus as the Christ.