God is NOT the Author of confusion, and I cannot allow the devil to use inconsequential issues or subjects to divert from the Glory of the Living God IN or WITH this blog... for such is the stuff debates are created.
With that said, we must recognize some (for he has many) of his (devil's) tactics. Turning our focus to the book of Titus, I encourage everyone to read the whole book for themselves, but I will start with this scripture:
Paul exhorts the Believer to "hold fast to sound doctrine", this absolutely must be in place as a foundation for the Believer:
"Holding fast the faithful word as he hath been taught, that he may be able
by sound doctrine both to exhort and to convince the gainsayers.
there are many unruly and vain talkers and deceivers, specially they of the
circumcision" Titus 1:9-10
When we have SOUND (as opposed to unsound) doctrine, the teachings of God we do not:
"Not giving heed to Jewish fables, and commandments
of men, that turn from the truth."
While there are alot of Jewish references here in this book, Paul speaks in reference of a certain type of people, not necessarily those who kept Jewish customs. For example "specially they of the circumcision" was in reference to those who believed in and promoted "salvation by works (performance) and not by faith". Please refer to Romans 4:11-13 for further clarification. In this light, such people are legalistic, focusing on physical attributes and performance for righteousness with God, as opposed to righteousness by Faith alone.
According to Paul "they of the circumcision" display these characteristics:
"They profess that they know God; but in works they deny him, being
abominable, and disobedient, and unto every good work reprobate." Titus 1:14
But we are to:
"But speak thou the things which become sound doctrine" Titus 2:1
"In all things shewing thyself a pattern of good works: in doctrine shewing
uncorruptness, gravity, sincerity,
Sound speech, that cannot be
condemned; that he that is of the contrary part may be ashamed, having no evil
thing to say of you" Titus 2:7-8
"For the grace of God that bringeth salvation hath appeared to all men,
Teaching us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts,
we should live soberly, righteously, and godly, in this present world;
Looking for that blessed hope, and the glorious appearing of the great
God and our Saviour Jesus Christ;
Who gave himself for us, that he might
redeem us from all iniquity, and purify unto himself a peculiar people, zealous
of good works.
These things speak, and exhort, and rebuke with
all authority. Let no man despise thee." Titus 2:11-15
We are also to:
To speak evil of no man, to be no brawlers, but gentle, shewing all meekness
unto all men.
For we ourselves also were sometimes foolish, disobedient,
deceived, serving divers lusts and pleasures, living in malice and envy,
hateful, and hating one another.
But after that the kindness and love of
God our Saviour toward man appeared,
Not by works of righteousness which
we have done, but according to his mercy he saved us, by the washing of
regeneration, and renewing of the Holy Ghost;
Which he shed on us
abundantly through Jesus Christ our Saviour;
That being justified by his
grace, we should be made heirs according to the hope of eternal life.
This is a faithful saying, and these things I will that thou affirm
constantly, that they which have believed in God might be careful to maintain
good works. These things are good and profitable unto men.
But avoid foolish questions, and genealogies, and contentions, and
strivings about the law; for they are unprofitable and vain."
Let me clarify that the Holy Spirit should always be the Believer's guidance in discernment of scripture and in dialogue with others. 1 John 2:27
However, my focus is on the edification of the Believer in encouragement of Faith and by scripture. Not to determine where one's faith lies, as such is God's business.
He alone is the discerner of hearts.
"For the word of God is quick, and powerful, and sharper than any twoedged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart."--Hebrews 4:12