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It is The Will Of God That You Suffer (1 Peter 3:17-4:6)

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After some great opening chapters about how we can move deeper into the holiness God has given us by living lives of honor and integrity, and how that movement can silence critics and point people toward Christ, Peter follows up with another important truth about life in the Kingdom:

17 “For if it is the will of God that you suffer, then it is better to suffer for doing what is right than for doing what is wrong.” 

In other words, living with integrity does not promise people will like you. It will just not justify their dislike of you. Now comes the theological explanation of why this will happen: it’s the pattern Jesus demonstrated.

18 The Anointed One suffered for sins once for all time—the righteous suffering for the unrighteous—so that He might bring us to God. Though He died in the flesh, He was made alive again through the Spirit. 19 And in the Spirit, He went and preached to those spirits held captive. 20 It was these who long ago lived in disobedience while God waited patiently as Noah was building the ark. At that time, only a tiny band—eight people—was spared from the flood.[1]

 21 The water through which the ark safely passed symbolizes now the ceremonial washing through baptism that initiates you into salvation. You are saved not because it cleanses your body of filth but because of your appeal to God from a good conscience, through the resurrection of Jesus the Anointed, our Liberating King. 22 Now He has entered heaven and sits at the right hand of God as heavenly messengers and authorities and powers[2]submit to His supremacy.

I could probably spend an entire morning talking about that passage, but for our purpose, note that the main point is that the Jesus suffered to free those who are unrighteous, captive to sin, and doomed. Now, back to the narrative.

 (4:1) Since the Anointed suffered in the flesh, prepare yourselves to do the same—anyone who has suffered in the flesh for the Lord is no longer in the grip of sin—2 so that you may live the rest of your life on earth controlled not by earthly desires but by the will of God.

What does it mean that ‘if we suffer in the flesh for the Lord we are no longer in the grip of sin’?

There seem to be two main ideas about how to understand this:

  1. It implies that if we take a stand and do not deny Jesus in the midst of persecution, it is a sign that our allegiance to God is a far greater power in our lives than the ‘grip of sin’ that would cause us to reject God to escape pain.
  2. If we resist the strong urge of temptation, it will be clear that the sins that once enslaved us no longer do.

I suspect Peter was referring to our struggle against temptation, since he follows with a specific contrast of their former life of sin and their current life in Christ. However, that is a form of ‘not denying Jesus’ as well, so I think it’s safe to say that what Peter wrote covers all the ways in which we pay a price for taking a stand for Jesus. Back to the text:

You have had enough in the past of the evil things that godless people enjoy--their immorality and lust, their feasting and drunkenness and wild parties, and their terrible worship of idols.4 Because of this, they consider it strange of you not to plunge with them into the same flood of reckless indiscretion, and they heap abuse on you. Someday they will have to give an account of themselves to the One who judges the living (those alive in Christ) and the dead (those dead in their sin).[3] This is why the good news had to be brought to those who are now (spiritually) dead so that although they are currently judged by their life in the flesh, they have the opportunity, because of Christ, to live in the spirit in the way that pleases God.[4]

We will talk about this in a bit, but I want to back up first.

“…prepare yourself to suffer in the flesh for the Lord…that you may live the rest of your life on earth controlled not by earthly desires but by the will of God.”

Why would we be willing to suffer? Because the will of God for our lives is amazing. It’s for our good and His glory, and it serves as a witness to those far from Christ that God’s design for life is beautiful and holy, and thus the God who designed it is as well. We see this become clear as we look what Peter highlights from the sinful pasts of those in his audience. Peter is not doing this to shame, but to contrast.

They walked in immorality and lust (strong appetites of all kinds).They were controlled by their urges. They were addicted to sin. One of the things the #metoo movement has brought to light is the reality of so many people who cannot seem to control their sexual urges. There is no filter, no self-control. They cannot seem to stop themselves. That’s a biblical notion, by the way. God sometimes gives people up in the lusts of their hearts. (Romans 1:24)

That’s what it means to be a slave to sin. We can reach a point where we so give ourselves over to our habits and lusts that God gives us over to them. This is not life. This is death.

If you have ever been there, you know the haunting despair this brings. You are never satisfied; you are always on the prowl, always on edge.  You always know you are going to go to porn again no matter how long you fight temptation. You are always covering up, always wondering how long you can maintain this. Maybe it was worse: you stopped worrying, because you didn’t care. This is death, not life.

Feasting, drunkenness, and wild parties.Literally, they were inflamed continually by what they brought into their bodies and then expressed theirinternalchaos with external chaos. Loud, chaotic, empty, angry, meaningless parties, followed by a bitter fruit of excessive drinking and drunken hookups.

The terrible worship of idols.In Peter’s context, this was typically temple orgies. It was not just a rejection of God; it was a debasement of people, the ruin of personal lives on the way to toppling an empire (just read the history of how Rome fell from within)[5]. Ultimately, people worshiped at the idol of ME, and the idol of “ME” will dominate and destroy everything around me.

  • Who suffers most:The one who indulges as Peter described, or the one who, with God’s help, resists this, ‘suffering’ by denying themselves for the sake of Christ? Who has “abundant life”?
  • Who suffers most:those who live around the self-indulgent and destructive worshiper, or the one who lives around those surrendered to the will of God and the path of life?[6]

God’s design for our good reflects reality– it should, because God created and designed it all, so he knows how it’s meant to work. I’m thrilled that the message of Christianity is entirely counter-cultural on these issues.

  • God’s commands, not earthly pleasures, revive our souls. (Psalm 19)
  • Life is found not when we indulge, but when we take up a cross. (Luke 9:23)
  • Life is found not in selfishness, but in laying down our lives for others. (John 15:13; Eph. 5:25)
  • Self-control, not indulgence, is a fruit of the Holy Spirit in our lives. (Galatians 5:22-23)
  • Life is found not in lawlessness but in the boundary of good moral laws. God’s commands are a ‘school master’ to guide us in the path of life, not keep us from the good stuff. (Galatians 3:24)
  • It's when we reject the life of the world that we find eternal life. (John 12:25)
  • It’s in service, not power, that we find an honorable life. (John 12:26)

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So, ’suffering’ by resisting sin - even at the cost of being mocked or persecuted -  is a small price to pay in exchange for living in the goodness that God has offered to us. Christ offers life; the Kingdom of God is meant to be a place where humanity flourishes as they are saved by Christ, filled with His Holy Spirit, guided by His word, and connected with His people.

“Would that men might come at last to see that it is quite impossible to reach the thicket of the riches and wisdom of God except by first entering the thicket of much suffering, in such a way that the soul finds there its consolation and desire. The soul that longs for divine wisdom chooses first, and in truth, to enter the thicket of the cross.”  - St. John of the Cross

  • We ‘suffe'r by resisting the desire to gossip, but the fruit is friendship. Our suffering is redemptive rather than destructive.
  • We ‘suffer’ by confronting our addictions, but the fruit is all kinds of health.
  • We ‘suffer’ by forgiving those who are hard to love, but the fruit is internal peace rather than anger and bitterness.
  • We ‘suffer’ by being generous with money we want to keep, but the fruit is that we will worship God, not money.
  • We ‘suffer’ by biting our tongue when we want to lash out, but the benefit is not burning bridges and wounding others.
  • We ‘suffer’ by humbly repenting of our failures, sins and stupidity, but the fruit is maturity.
  • We ‘suffer’ by aligning our sex lives with God’s design, but the fruit is honor and purity.
  • We ‘suffer’ by taking a stand for our faith in the midst of criticism and mockery and even persecution, but the fruit is that we “live the rest of your life on earth controllednot by earthly desires but by the will of God.”

But it’s not just about us. Peter has been making the argument for several chapters that our lives open the door for our words. He’s been saying this for the entire letter, and I think he closes this section in the way he does to remind us that this isn’t just for our good and God’s glory, it’s part of our fulfillment of the Great Commission. Our lives open the door for us to bring the good news of salvation so others, too, can live in the in will of God through the blood of Jesus and the power of his Holy Spirit.

Someday they will have to give an account of themselves to the One who judges the living (those alive in Christ) and the dead (those dead in their sin).[7] This is why the good news had to be brought to those who are now (spiritually) dead so that although they are currently judged by their life in the flesh, they have the opportunity, because of Christ, to live in the spirit in the way that pleases God.

We have the opportunity to preach the good news of the Gospel, a gospel which will lead to a righteous, healthy and holy life lived in the power of the Spirit now and in the glorious presence of Jesus

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[1]3:19 “The three most common views on this passage are: (1) Between Jesus’ death and resurrection, he preached to the dead in Hades, the realm of the dead (the view of many church fathers, citing 4:6)… (2) Christ preached through Noah to people in Noah’s day (the view of many Reformers). (3) Before or (more likely) after his resurrection, Jesus proclaimed triumph over the fallen angels (the view of most scholars today, citing v. 22) Early Christians nearly always used “spirits” for angelic or demonic spirits rather than human ones, except when explicitly stating the latter. The Spirit raised Jesus; by the Spirit (and thus, in this context, presumably after his resurrection) Jesus “made proclamation”; in v. 22, his exaltation declared his triumph over fallen angels. Most ancient Jewish readers believed that Ge 6:1 – 3 refers to angels who fell in Noah’s day (v. 20); after the flood, they were said to be imprisoned (so also 2Pe 2:4Jude 6).”  (NIV Cultural Backgrounds Study Bible)

[2]“Angels and authorities and powers - That is, all creatures and beings… are put under subjection to Jesus Christ…He alone can save; and he alone can destroy…. Well may his enemies tremble, while his friends exult and sing…If angels and authorities and powers be subject to him, then he can do what he will, and employ whom he will... We can conceive nothing too difficult for Omnipotence. This same omnipotent Being is the friend of man. Why then do we not come to himwith confidence, and expect the utmost salvation of which our souls and bodies are capable?”  (Adam Clarke Commentary)

[3]“There are four main interpretations of the "dead" in this passage (cf. comment on 3:18-22). (1) Christ, while in his three-day death, went and preached salvation to all the dead, offering salvation to those who lived in pre-Christian times. (2) Christ, while in his three-day death, went and preached salvation to the just of OT times. (3) The apostles and others on this earth preached the Gospel to those who were spiritually dead. (4) The dead are Christians, who had the Gospel preached to them and who then died (or were put to death). (Expositor's Bible Commentary (Abridged Edition): New Testament) I am partial to #3, because it makes sense in light of the next verse, which is best translated as, “the good news had to be brought to those who are now dead…”

[4]Three possible translations of this confusing verse:

  • "For this indeed was the effect of the preaching of the Gospel to the dead, (the unconverted Gentiles), that some will be punished as carnal men; but others, (those converted to Christianity), lead a spiritual life unto God." - Wakefield.
  • "For this purpose hath the Gospel been preached even to the dead, (i.e. the Gentiles), that although they might be condemned, indeed, by men in the flesh, (their persecutors), yet they might live eternally by God in the Spirit." - Macknight.
  • "For this cause was the Gospel preached to them that were dead; that they who live according to men in the flesh, may be condemned; but that they who live according to God in the Spirit, may live." - Knatchbull.

My rendering seeks to do justice to all the ideas bouncing around :)

[5]"Edward Gibbon (1737-1794) in his Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire, said that the following five attributes marked Rome at its end: first, a mounting love of show and luxury (that is, affluence); second, a widening gap between the very rich and the very poor (this could be among countries in the family of nations as well as in a single nation); third, an obsession with sex; fourth, freakishness in the arts, masquerading as originality, and enthusiasms pretending to be creativity; fifth, an increased desire to live off the state. It all sounds so familiar."Francis Schaeffer- How Should We Then Live

[6]Living a lifestyle of sin is notthe good life. We don’t even need to read the Bible to see this. I could talk about a lot of things, but I will just point out the things Peter specifically calls out to demonstrate that when the Bible talks about life, the Bible tells you the truth about life.Even those outside of the church see what the Bible revealed long ago.

[7]“The interpretation of this verse is often linked to 3:19, but the vocabulary of the text and its context differ. There are four main interpretations of the "dead" in this passage (cf. comment on 3:18-22). (1) Christ, while in his three-day death, went and preached salvation to all the dead, offering salvation to those who lived in pre-Christian times. (2) Christ, while in his three-day death, went and preached salvation to the just of OT times. (3) The apostles and others on this earth preached the Gospel to those who were spiritually dead. (4) The dead are Christians, who had the Gospel preached to them and who then died (or were put to death). (Expositor's Bible Commentary (Abridged Edition): New Testament) I am partial to #3, because it makes sense in light of the next verse, which is best translated as, “the good news had to be brought to those who are now dead…”

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THE PURE AND THE POLLUTED (Titus 1:1-15)

A little background on Crete is in order as begin our series on the book of Titus.

Most of the people there came from a mercenary background. Violence, greed and sexual corruption were everywhere. When Paul said that all Cretans were liars, he was quoting a Cretan writer named Epimenides who said that about his own people. The Greeks actually used the word ‘cretize’ as a synonymn for ‘lying’.   Look at the list of elder qualifications again and you will see that the explanation accompanying the list seems to target the stereotypical behavior of Cretan men. As you might expect, the gods the Cretans worshipped (primarily Zeus) were characterized by the same things that characterized the people. This was where the church was trying to grow.

Paul, servant of God and emissary of Jesus, the Anointed One, on behalf of the faith that is accepted by God’s chosen people and the knowledge of the undeniable truth that leads to godliness.

We rest in this hope we’ve been given—the hope that we will live forever with our God—the hope that He proclaimed ages and ages ago (even before time began). And our God is no liar; He is not even capable of uttering lies. So we can be sure that it is in His exact right time that He released His word into the world—through the preaching that God our Savior has commanded into my care.

 To you, Titus, my dear son birthed through our shared faith: may grace and peace rest upon you from God the Father and Jesus the Anointed, our Savior.

One of the first things Paul reminds Titus of is that God is not a liar. The second is that God is trustworthy, and we can confidently place our hope in Him.  God is involved with the world, and His plan and His timing are perfect. Then Paul starts to put structure in place (this will continue throughout the letter). The church community is going to need both moral and communal guidelines if they are going to move into the freedom Christ offers and establish a compelling outpost of the Kingdom in a remarkably needy place. 

 I left you on Crete so you could sort out the chaos and the unfinished business and appoint elders over communities in each and every city according to my earlier orders. Here’s what you should look for in an elder: he should be above suspicion; if he is married, he should be the husband of one wife, raise children who believe, and be a person who can’t be accused of rough and raucous living. It is necessary that any overseer you appoint be blameless, as he is entrusted with God’s mission. Look for someone who isn’t pompous or quick to anger, who is not a drunkard, violent, or chasing after seedy gain or worldly fame. Find a person who lovingly opens his home to others; who honors goodness; who is thoughtful, fair, devout, self-controlled; and who clings to the faithful word that was taught because he must be able, not only to encourage people with sound teaching, but also to challenge those who are against it.

You see antagonists everywhere; they are rebellious, loose-lipped, and deceitful (especially those who are from the circumcised lot). Their talk must be quashed—their mouths sealed up because impure teaching is flying out of their lips and overturning entire families for the sake of their own squalid gain.  I’ll tell you, even their own prophet was heard saying, “Chronic liars, foul beasts, and lazy gluttons—that’s who you’ll meet in Crete.” And he’s right! This is why we have to scold them, sometimes severely, so they will be sound in the faith  and be able to ignore Jewish myths[i] as well as any commandments given by those who turn away from the truth.

He warns about false teachers:[ii] specifically, the Judaizers ("those of the circumcision”), though there were others. These teachers insisted that keeping external rules – diet, circumcision, washing - equaled purity.  And while these weren’t in and of themselves bad things, these false teachers were saying these outward actions had the power to save or to make righteous. This didn’t address issues of the purity of someone’s heart.[iii] 

This is a problem (think of how Jesus challenged the heart in the Sermon On The Mount). People become pure from the inside out after God does a work inside.  They become "new creatures in Christ" (2 Corinthians 5:17) who are "born anew" (John 3:3). We don’t become pure by scrubbing the outside.

 Listen: to those who are pure, all things are pure. But to those who are tainted, stained, and unbelieving, nothing is pure because their minds and their consciences are polluted. They claim, “I know God,” but their actions are a slap to His face. They are wretched, disobedient, and useless to any worthwhile cause.”

* * * * *

That’s a claim that would have rattled his Jewish audience – and frankly, it's a phrase that can be easily misunderstood by our 21st century ears.[iv]

1. Christian purity is moral purity.

John Gill’s Expository On The New Testament references a Jewish commentary on the issue of pure and impure people:

`The flesh of the most holy things is forbidden to strangers, though pure; the flesh of things lightly holy is free to strangers that are pure, but forbidden to them that are defiled.''

This is one of many teaching you can find on the privileges and restrictions for pure and impure people. The more ceremonially clean you were – the more outward appearance of purity -  the more privileges you got.  When God said He was looking on the heart while people were looking on the outside (1 Samuel 16:7), I believe he was referring to situations like this.

Titus has the task of re-teaching the concept of genuine purity. Genuine purity is the internal purity of the heart and soul that only Christ can bring, and it will manifest itself in pure living.  Once again, that will be about morally pure living, not ceremonially washing your hands and not touching dead things.

2.  Morally Impure Things Don’t Become Pure Because Our Heart Is Pure.

To understand this better, let’s establish what biblical, spiritual purity is. In 1 Timothy 4:4, Paul stated that "every creature (everything?) created by God is good, and nothing is to be rejected.” Barnes’ Notes On The Bible gives a good clarification on what this means:

“It is good in its place; good for the purpose for which God made it. But it should not be inferred that a thing which is poisonous in its nature is good for food because it is a creation of God. It is good only in its place, and for the ends for which he intended it.”

When something is existing in its God-given intent and purpose – when it is unmixed or unalloyed with anything else (the literal translation of the word ‘pure’) -  it is pure.  Paul insisted in his letter to the Roman church that there is nothing that, when used with the intent and purpose for which God created it, is unclean in itself (Romans 14:14, 20).

To the pure (people who live in their God-designed intent and purpose and are unalloyed with the world), all things are pure (they recognize and use everything within God’s design).

Notice this is very different from saying that even impure things become pure with our magical pure touch. Two examples should suffice.

  • Pornography  or promiscuity do not become miraculously okay because Christians think that they are pure enough to make it okay.
  • Christians can’t naively dabble in the occult and walk away unscathed. Being a Christian doesn’t change the nature of a Ouija board or a tarot card reading or seances.

There is no sense whatsoever anywhere in Scripture that suggest we can engage in sin and somehow sanctify it because we are good people deep inside.[v]  Paul is not excusing sin. He’s saying that we are pure or impure because of the state of our heart.  Our lifestyle flows from our heart; our heart provides the lenses through which we see everything. That’s why we must guard our hearts; they are the “wellspring of life” and determine the course of our lives (Proverbs 4:23).

Eating bacon and shrimp won’t make your heart impure, and eating kosher food or washing your hands just right won’t purify your soul. If you haven’t been cleansed by Jesus on the inside, you can do everything right externally and still be defiled.

3. Even Pure Things Can Become Impure To Us If Our Heart Is Impure

When I was a baby, I didn’t know what things were for or where they were supposed to be, and I left a trail of chaos behind me. I ate dirt. Seriously. It was not one of my better moments. 

I don’t eat dirt anymore (!), but I have a remarkable capacity to clutter things.  Really, I can leave a mess anywhere relatively quickly. You should see the interior of my truck, or the floor on my side of the bed. But I know I have this capacity because I know what clean is. I know what a ‘pure’ kitchen and bathroom should look like.

When you know what clean is, at least you have a frame of reference for how you are doing. If you don’t know what clean is, everything you touch becomes unclean.

If our soul is not clean (purified by God so that we know and love the intent and purpose for all things God has created), we will make everything we touch unclean because we won’t understand how God designed it.

  • If we don’t know God’s intent and purpose for money, we will use it selfishly rather than for God’s glory.
  • If we don’t know God’s intent and purpose for sex, we will use and abuse others rather than delighting in and honoring them as part of married life.
  • If we don’t know God’s intent and purpose for marriage, we will keep thinking it’s about happiness when it’s actually about holiness.
  • If we don’t know God’s intent and purpose for language, we will think we have the right to say anything we want and we will destroy people with our words.
  • If we don’t know God’s intent and purpose for education, the arts, work…

This isn’t just about things. This is relevant to what we believe as Christians; specifically, how we understand the Bible. The Judaizers were distorting God’s Law. We can do this with Scripture today as well if we aren’t careful. We can take good and true teachings and distort them.

  • “Love covers a multitude of sins (1 Peter 4:8); God is always faithful when we are not (2 Timothy 2:13); God’s grace abounds (Romans 5:20)” can remind us that God is so, so good and motivate us to greater worship… or it can be used as an excuse to do whatever we want. 
  • “Ask and you shall receive (Matthew 7:7); God gives good gifts to His children (Matthew 7:11); give and see if I won’t open up the storehouses” (Malachi 3:10) can remind us that God takes care of us and blesses our faithfulness for His glory and the sake of His Kingdom… or it can make us think God is a cosmic slot machine where if we pull the right levers we get rich.
  • “You will have none of these diseases (Exodus 15:26) and He heals our diseases” (Psalm 103:3) can be seen as a get-out-of-sick-jail free card… or it can be seen as a reminder that God cares for us and works miracles in His time and for His purposes for our good and His glory.

To those whom God has made pure, everything – the Scriptures, our bodies, the things around us - is pure; that is, they are understood, valued and used and God intended them to be. To those not made pure by God, everything becomes devalued and misused outside of God’s created design.

  • Why do our minds wander when we see someone attractive?
  • Why is the first thought after our bonus on how we can spend it on ourselves rather than how God can be glorified?
  • Why can we turn ordinary comments into, “That’s what she said”?
  • Why do we daydream about how we could have humiliated someone in that argument we had?
  • Why do we use food and entertainment to avoid life?
  • Why do we use work as an excuse to avoid resolving conflict at home?
  • Why do we twist Scripture to make it say what we want it to say?

Becaus are hearts, while undergoing ongoing purification by God, will never be perfetly pure on this side of heaven. God does a miraculaous work of purification throught the act of salvation (read 1 Timothy - Paul uses the language of purity everywhere!), and God continues this purification process through what we call sanctification. But this life is marred by sin, and even our gloriously new hearts are under attack from the sins that so easily beset us. It's part of why we mourn will all of creation (Romans 8) as we wait for the New Heaven and Earth. 

In Psalm 24:3-4, David asks who can stand in the holy presence of God. His answer? “The one who has clean hands and a pure heart.” The one whose entire life is characterized by purity. This is bad news in one sense: on our own, we can never purify our hearts; even after God gives us a new heart (Ezekiel 36:26), we still manage to soil it. Is it any wonder that David also asked God to do what is impossible for us to do: “Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a right Spirit within me” (Psalm 51:10)?

While God has given us agency- we are called to participate in our purity by living within God's path for lifen(1 Peter 1:22) -we must have that miraculous work of God in us so that our hearts are renewed and our eyes are opened in ways that only God can do it. Then we will see the goodness of God and His creation – we will see how He designed the world to be – and we will be able to live in our God-given purity through the power and for the glory of God.

[i] After the Babylonian Captivity, many rabbis began to assign mystical meanings to numbers and apply it to the Hebrew Scriptures and the Talmud,  the rabbinical interpretations of Scripture. By the time Paul was writing, they were also taking ideas from Hebrew and Greek numerology and arriving at increasingly fanciful interpretations.

[ii] For previous sermons on the biblical focus on false teachers, see two sermons from our 1 Thessalonians series: Teachers Good And Bad (Part 1) https://clgonline.org/teachers-good-and-bad-part-1-2/ and Teachers Good And Bad ({Part 2) https://clgonline.org/teachers-good-and-bad-part-2-2/

[iii]  “It is sin, and that only, which takes its rise from the heart, lies in thought, and is either expressed by the mouth, or performed by some outward action, which defiles the man, and renders him loathsome, abominable, and odious in the sight of God. The heart is the source of all evil; the pollution of it is very early, and very general, reaching to all the powers and faculties of the soul; which shows the ignorance of some, and folly of others, that talk of, and trust to the goodness of their hearts; and also the necessity of new hearts and right spirits being formed and created; and that the sinful thoughts of the heart, and the lusts thereof, are defiling to men; and that they are sinful in God's account, and abominable in his sight; that they are loathsome to sensible sinners, and are to be repented of, and forsaken by them; and need the pardoning grace of God or otherwise will be brought into judgment. Sinful words, which, through the abundance of wickedness in the heart, come out of the mouth, have the same influence and effect: words are of a defiling nature; with these men pollute both themselves and others: the tongue, though a little member, defiles the whole body; and evil and corrupt communication proceeding out of the mouth, corrupts the best of manners, and renders men loathsome to God, and liable to his awful judgment. And this is the nature of all sinful actions; they are what God can take no pleasure in; they are disagreeable, to a sensible mind; they leave a stain, which can never be removed by any thing the creature can do; nothing short of the blood of Christ can cleanse from it; and inasmuch as they are frequently committed, there is need of continual application to it. These are now the things men should be concerned about, as of a defiling nature; and not about meats and drinks, and the manner of using them, whether with hands washed, or unwashed.”  (Gill’s Exposition Of The Entire Bible)

[iv] Check out Precept Austin’s explanation of this passage. http://www.preceptaustin.org/titus_114-15

[v] The Children of Israel entered Canaan were commanded to avoid the practices of the pagan religions (Deuteronomy 12:30). Paul wrote to the Romans, "I want you to be wise in what is good, and innocent in what is evil"  (Romans 16:19). The Bible warns us to "flee the flesh" (2 Timothy 2:22) and to avoid things that could “entangle” us (Hebrews 12:1)