Titus was in Crete, an island in the Mediterranean Sea. Paul had been to Crete and knew what kind of people they were. He wrote to Titus about the Cretans in Titus 1:12-14 “One of them, a prophet of their own, said, ‘Cretans are always liars, evil beasts, lazy gluttons.’ This testimony is true. Therefore rebuke them sharply, that they may be sound in the faith, not giving heed to Jewish fables and commandments of men who turn from the truth.” Paul instructed Titus to rebuke the Cretan Christians sharply, that they would be sound in the faith. Sometimes people need to be rebuked sharply if they are not sound in the faith but have actions such as “liars, evil beasts, lazy gluttons” or if they give heed to fables and commandments of men.
Paul continued in Titus 1:15-16 “To the pure all things are pure, but to those who are defiled and unbelieving nothing is pure; but even their mind and conscience are defiled. They profess to know God, but in works they deny Him, being abominable, disobedient, and disqualified for every good work.” This message “they profess to know God, but in works they deny Him” is a message that some believers today also need to hear. Do you profess to know God but in your works you deny Him?
The book of Titus contains much instruction by the Apostle Paul of the things that he wanted Titus to teach. Paul told Titus in Titus 2:1 “But as for you, speak the things which are proper for sound doctrine.” Then Paul gave some sound doctrine.
For the older men: Titus 2:2 “That the older men be sober, reverent, temperate, sound in faith, in love, in patience.”
For the older women: Titus 2:3 “The older women likewise, that they be reverent in behavior, not slanderers, not given to much wine, teachers of good things.”
For the younger women: Titus 2:4b-5 “The young women to love their husbands, to love their children, to be discreet, chaste, homemakers, good, obedient to their own husbands, that the word of God may not be blasphemed.”
For the younger men: Titus 2:6-8 “Likewise, exhort the young men to be sober-minded, in all things showing yourself to be a pattern of good works; in doctrine showing integrity, reverence, incorruptibility, sound speech that cannot be condemned, that one who is an opponent may be ashamed, having nothing evil to say of you.”
For bondservants: Titus 2:9-10 “Exhort bondservants to be obedient to their own masters, to be well pleasing in all things, not answering back, not pilfering, but showing all good fidelity, that they may adorn the doctrine of God our Savior in all things.”
I wish to use these examples of sound doctrine to illustrate what I think it would mean to “profess to know God, but in works they deny Him.”
For the older men. If they were drunkards or irreverent or not temperate but were unsound in the faith, or didn’t show love or patience. These actions would be a denial that they knew God.
For the older women. If they were irreverent in behavior, slanderers, or given to much wine or didn’t teach good things. These actions would be a denial that they knew God.
For the younger women. If they didn’t love their husbands or their children of if they were not discreet or chaste, not homemakers, not good, or were disobedient to their husbands. These actions would be a denial that they knew God.
For the younger men. If they were not sober minded or did not demonstrate good works or did not show integrity or reference or if they were corrupt or spoke evil words. These actions would be a denial that they knew God.
For bondservants. They would be like employees today. If they were disobedient to their bosses or didn’t seek to please them but were disrespectful or if they stole from their bosses or didn’t show good fidelity. These actions would be a denial that they knew God.
I have used the sound doctrine that the Apostle Paul gave Titus to hopefully illustrate how it is possible for believers today to deny that they truly know God, because their actions prove otherwise. There is much more sound doctrine given to us by Jesus and the apostles in the New Testament beyond these statements for men, women and bondservants. Are our actions consistent with the faith that we profess? We all sin; none of us is perfect before God. We make mistakes and are sometimes weak in having our thoughts and actions inconsistent with what we know we should do. But when we sin, the Holy Spirit within will convict us of our sin. When we know that we have sinned, we should repent and seek to change our thoughts and actions. We should humble ourselves and confess our sin to God. 1 John 1:9 “If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.”
The apostle Paul further instructed Titus in Titus 3:8 “This is a faithful saying, and these things I want you to affirm constantly, that those who have believed in God should be careful to maintain good works. These things are good and profitable to men.” I encourage you to test your works, thoughts, and actions. 2 Corinthians 13:5 “Examine yourselves as to whether you are in the faith. Test yourselves. Do you not know yourselves, that Jesus Christ is in you? — unless indeed you are disqualified.” As a Christian, your works should demonstrate that you know God.