Good character is motivated by our desire to please God our Father. Christ is our example of proven character and our leader. God’s grace helps us grow up in all ways into Christ. The Holy Spirit helps us walk in the way of our Lord. The community of His people is conducive to character development. Paul instructed Titus what to tell lovers of God what to be in character, in accord with their age, sex and role.
Character of older men
Tell older men to be sober. Tell them to be men of good character, to use good judgment, and to be well-grounded in faith, love, and endurance. Titus 2:2 GWT
Be sober. The literal meaning of the Greek word is, not intoxicated. Here, in context, the meaning is: sober-minded, sensible, self-controlled, level headed.
In a more extended sense than the bare literal meaning of the word would give. Let the elder men be “thoughtful,” in contrast with the thoughtlessness of careless youth. Ellicott
We who have gray in our hair should by now have learned to be spiritually prudent, discrete and sagacious; worthy of our years of experience.
Be men of good character. Other translations put the Greek word translated good character: worthy of respect, dignified, serious or grave. Good character is developed through perseverance (Ro 5:3-4) by partaking of the divine nature (2 Peter 1:5) and flowing in the fruit of the Spirit (Gal 5:22-23). Good heart and good character are closely related in meaning. A great example is with God and David. “The LORD has sought out for Himself a man after His own heart” (1 Samuel 13:14b NASB).
Paul wrote highly of the character of Demetrius characterizing it as the approval of all men and of the truth itself.
The character of Demetrius has the approval of all men, and of the truth itself. We also express our approval of it, and you know that we only give our approval to that which is true. 3 John 1:12 WNT
Use good judgment—be temperate; be sensible. Good judgment is to think in accord with our God given new creature (2 Cor 5:17) nature, free from any mixture of flesh in the formation of our thoughts.
Good judgment comes by being transformed by the renewing of our minds.
I beseech you therefore, brethren [brothers and sisters], by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service. And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God. Ro 12:1-2 KJV
Good judgment comes from growing up in all ways into Christ.
And He Himself [Christ] appointed some to be Apostles, some to be Prophets, some to be evangelists, some to be pastors and teachers,in order fully to equip His people for the work of serving—for the building up of Christ’s body—till we all of us arrive at oneness in faith and in the knowledge of the Son of God, and at mature manhood and the stature of full-grown men in Christ. Eph 4:11-13 WNT
Be well-grounded in faith. Faith is a gift of God’s grace (Eph 2:4-9).
“Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen” Heb 11:1 NASB
Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who in His great mercy has begotten us anew to an ever-living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, to an inheritance imperishable, undefiled and unfading, which has been reserved in Heaven for you, whom God in His power is guarding through faith for a salvation that even now stands ready for unveiling at the End of the Age. Rejoice triumphantly in the prospect of this, even if now, for a short time, you are compelled to sorrow amid various trials. The sorrow comes in order that the testing of your faith—being more precious than that of gold, which perishes and yet is proved by fire—may be found to result in praise and glory and honor at the reappearing of Jesus Christ. Him you love, though your eyes have never looked on Him. In Him, though at present you cannot see Him, you nevertheless trust, and triumph with a joy which is unspeakable and is crowned with glory, while you are securing as the outcome of your faith the salvation of your souls. 1 Peter 1:3-9 WNT
Be well-grounded in love.
Love is a deep affection for, a delight in, and a commitment to act for the welfare of another without regard for their loveliness that often comes at great sacrifice to oneself. Or again, love is the overflow of our delight in God that joyfully cherishes and seeks the best interests of another regardless of the cost to oneself. Sam Storms definition of love
In the same context, Sam writes:
Let me put it in slightly different terms. Paul is saying as clearly as he can that character always trumps gifting. The virtues of the Spirit, or the fruit of the Spirit, are always to be valued above his gifts.
Be well-grounded in endurance—also translated perseverance, patience and steadfastness. It takes God given fortitude and foresight to endure. An extreme example was given by Abraham. His faith was proven. He endured.
Through faith Abraham, as soon as God put him to the test, offered up Isaac. Yes, he who had joyfully welcomed the promises was on the point of sacrificing his only son with regard to whom he had been told, ‘It is through Isaac that your posterity shall be traced.’ For he reckoned that God is even able to raise a man up from among the dead, and, figuratively speaking, it was from among the dead that he received Isaac again. (Heb 11:17-19 World English Bible).
We are exhorted to the examples of faith shown by saints of old and fix our gaze on Jesus, who endured the cross for the joy set before Him.
Therefore, surrounded as we are by such a vast cloud of witnesses, let us fling aside every encumbrance and the sin that so readily entangles our feet. And let us run with patient endurance the race that lies before us, simply fixing our gaze upon Jesus, our Prince Leader in the faith, who will also award us the prize. He, for the sake of the joy which lay before Him, patiently endured the cross, looking with contempt upon its shame, and afterwards seated Himself—where He still sits—at the right hand of the throne of God. For the joy set before Him, Jesus endured the cross. Heb 12:1-2 WNT
Notice particularly the trust Abraham exhibited and the joy Jesus had. Both were motivated by their eternal life view. They were looking by faith for the permanent city.
You see, we don’t have a permanent city here but look for the one that’s coming. Heb 13:14 AAT
That eternal perspective is first revealed in Hebrews 11. In Revelation 21, we see the city is the new Jerusalem to be located in the new heaven and new earth God has prepared for us (Heb 11:16; Rev 21-22) and has reserved for us in heaven (1 Pe 1:1-12). The permanent city is in the kingdom of God. “Therefore, since we are receiving a kingdom that cannot be shaken, let us be thankful and worship God in reverence and fear in a way that pleases him. For “our God is an all-consuming fire.” (Heb 12:28-29 ISV). The kingdom of God is our inheritance (Mt 25:31-46). Looking forward to living in the kingdom that is coming sustains our faith and inspires us to endure in our walk in Christ Jesus, our Father’s Son.
Character of older women
In the same way tell older women: Behave as holy women should behave. Don’t slander. Don’t be slaves to to much wine. Teach what is good, in order to train young women. Titus 2:3 AAT
Holy women behave as saints, God’s consecrated holy ones, chosen, called and made God’s children and heirs. They don’t slander, gossip, nor become slaves to to much wine. They are women of character, who are to be highly valued; held in high esteem.
Who can find a wife of noble character? For her value is far more than rubies. Proverbs 31:10 NET Bible
A wife with strength of character is the crown of her husband, but the wife who disgraces him is like bone cancer. Proverbs 12:4 GOD’S WORD® Translation
A woman with strength of character can certainly teach young women what is good in order to train them for their role as wives, mothers and homemakers.
Character of young women
Teach what is good, in order to train young women to love their husbands and their children, to use good judgment and be pure, to keep house, to be good, to submit to their husbands, so that people don’t slander God’s Word. Titus 2:4-5 AAT
A young woman’s role as wife, mother and homemaker is challenging to say the least. But, with God’s help and holy woman’s nurture, they will find fulfillment in their role. Here, we see the need for love, good judgment, purity, keeping house, goodness and submission.
Character of young men
In the same way urge the young men to use good judgment. Titus 2:6 AAT
Paul sites good judgment as a desirable character trait for old men, young women and young men. I guess it is understood that holy women have good judgment. Good judgment is thinking in accord with our God given new creature (2 Cor 5:17) nature, free from any mixture of flesh in the formation of our thoughts.
Apparently, Paul ranks young men’s use of good judgment as their highest priority, with the most chance of failure. Developing enough character to withstand sinful pulls of the flesh, peer pressure and overconfidence is a huge challenge for young men. Young men have a tendency to think they have it all together when they still have a lot to learn. In our society, many men never grow up, certainly not in all ways into Christ.
Nevertheless, the firm foundation of God stands, having this seal, “The Lord knows those who are His,” and, “Everyone who names the name of the Lord is to abstain from wickedness.”
Now in a large house there are not only gold and silver vessels, but also vessels of wood and of earthenware, and some to honor and some to dishonor. Therefore, if anyone cleanses himself from these things, he will be a vessel for honor, sanctified, useful to the Master, prepared for every good work. Now flee from youthful lusts and pursue righteousness, faith, love and peace, with those who call on the Lord from a pure heart. But refuse foolish and ignorant speculations, knowing that they produce quarrels. 2 Tim 2:20-23 NASB
We know Jesus died for our sins and God raised Him from the dead. But, few believers reckon themselves dead to sin and living for God, freed from sin by God’s grace. If you haven’t identified yourself that way, now you can. It’s better than trying to work up enough human strength of character to overcome sin. Our lower nature doesn’t have that strength. So, God made us dead to sin and gave us the power to kill what is left of the deeds of our old carnal self so we can let righteousness use our organs as slaves in order to live holy. (Ro 8:12-13; Col 3:5-10).
Young men learn mostly by example. Thus Paul advises Titus to train by example, incorruptibility, nobility and sound talk.
In everything be and example of good works. Don’t let anything corrupt your teaching. But be noble, and give a sound message that can’t be condemned, so that anyone who opposes us will feel foolish because he can’t say anything bad about us. Titus 2:7-8 AAT
Character of slaves [employees]
Tell slaves: Obey your masters in everything, please them, and don’t talk back. Don’t steal, but show you can be trusted in every way, so that in everything you show the beauty of the teaching of God, who saves us. Titus 2:7-8 AAT
What does a Word directed to slaves have to do with us? In America, we live as free people. Do we? If we work for a wage or salary, we are in much the same work environment as servants in the Roman culture. Some servants were treated with respect. Some were given management responsibility over fellow servants and the household of their master. Some were treated as a disposable commodity. In spite of our high estimation of the career of our choice, we would do well to recognize the similarities.
Our American culture trains us to believe we will be successful if we zealously apply ourselves to college and a career in a corporate, political or academic environment. All of those run on cultures of the world. Such is success in the short-term worldly view, not in the long-term kingdom view. Still, many believers find their identity in their education and career instead of in Christ.
If we would heed Paul’s exhortation, all labor and management problems would be solved. Our workplace would be a new environment. Old-fashioned godly integrity would insure an honest days work for an honest day’s pay, kind treatment of all employees and respect for our masters. Perhaps America would again become a nation known for godliness, creativity, ingenuity, service, workmanship and productivity.
Summary and conclusion
God has shown His grace. It brings salvation to all people and trains us to say no to ungodliness and worldly lusts. to use good judgment , and to live right and godly in this world as we look for the blessed One who is our hope, for our great God and Savior Christ Jesus to show Himself in glory. He gave Himself as a payment for us to free us from all wickedness and cleanse us to be His own people, eager to do good works.
Talk and urge these things, and correct with full authority—nobody should ignore you. Titus 211-15 AAT
WNT = Weymouth New Testament