Hating or adorning?

Further to my last post on being hated, Jean Williams posted this insightful comment and question on my wall:

Here’s a verse I’ve been reflecting on that came to me as I read the post: “Woe to you, when all people speak well of you, for so their fathers did to the false prophets” (Luke 6:26). Sobering words, and ones that challenge me.

Tony, how do you think this fits with Titus 2, where we’re told to “adorn” the gospel and not allowing it to be spoken ill of by our lives?

I think the answer is hinted at earlier in Titus 1, where Paul says, “To the pure, all things are pure, but to the defiled and unbelieving, nothing is pure; but both their minds and their consciences are defiled” (1:15).

People will see the same thing and come to different conclusions; just as the gospel itself smells differently to different people (2 Cor 2:15-17). Some will view our good works and give glory to God (Matt 5:17), just as others will revile us on account of our allegiance to Jesus (Matt 5:11).

It’s interesting the way Peter puts it: “Keep your conduct among the Gentiles honorable, so that when they speak against you as evildoers, they may see your good deeds and glorify God on the day of visitation” (1 Pet 2:12). It’s as if the acknowledgement that we are not in fact ‘evildoers’ will only be wrung out of them under the searching gaze of God on the day of judgement.

So bottom line: regardless of what people say, just keep on renouncing ungodliness and worldly passions, and  living self-controlled, upright, and godly lives in this present age (Tit 2:12). This truly does glorify God and make his gospel look good, and by the grace of God some will  have eyes to see that. Others won’t. They will hate and revile us for the very same words and deeds.


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