Models of Good Citizenship, Part 1
Topic: Citizenship Scripture: Titus 3:1-8
In addition to the behavior of church leaders (Titus 1) and church members (Titus 2), Paul teaches Titus that the gospel motivates the actions of Christians in society (3:1-15). The gospel has profound implications in all areas of the Christian’s life, including his or her vocation as a citizen. The Apostle Paul shows in his letter to Titus how the gospel civilizes the church in important ways (2:11-14), leading to a fundamental transformation of how the Christian conducts himself or herself in society.
In Titus 3, Paul issues four directives to help believers live as models of good citizenship so that they may facilitate rather than hinder the evangelistic mission of the church and thus positively benefit their unbelieving neighbors (3:8).
We begin today in Titus 3:1-2 where Paul lists seven civic duties he desires for believers to remember and model. These seven duties can be divided into two parts: (1) the believer’s duties to government authorities (v. 1) and (2) the believer’s duties to fellow citizens (vv. 1-2). Together, these seven civic duties model what a faithful Christian life looks like in society. We will look specifically at 3:1a and the believer's duties to government authorities.
As we consider these seven civic duties we are called to remember and model, it is vital to keep in mind that these exhortations are grounded in a larger gospel-context (3:4-7). The source of godly citizenship (Ch. 3), just as the source of godly church leadership (Ch. 1:9) and godly church membership (Ch. 2:11-14), is the gospel of the Triune God. All of the duties Paul lists in Titus 3:1-2 of good citizenship are the fruit of the gospel and must be understood clearly as such. Otherwise, the alternative is to preach virtue lists and moral imperatives in a legalistic fashion.