v 16 Such people claim they know God, but they deny him by the way they live.
Speaking up and claiming to know and follow Jesus is not the only test of a genuine faith. Titus was having to deal with people who had all the right language – and that was a good sign in itself – but words and actions did not match up. These people did not deny the faith and they were not heretics either with a false interpretation of faith, they would probably have been welcomed in a congregation as thoroughly orthodox. Just one problem, their lives told a different story – they continued with a pre-Christian life of sin. Now this can be a difficult issue; a new Christian often comes to faith with baggage of all kinds and it takes time to change behaviour. Some of us struggle with this for years; holiness is a long term aim and we don’t always get it right for a long time. Holy living is an aspiration and we might move slowly towards it – but it is fundamentally important to be aiming at it, even when we have to repent of our poor endeavours and frequent failures. Not one of us moved into the Christian life of following Jesus and suddenly became wonderfully holy! (At least, I didn’t and I’ve not met others who made this change immediately.) It probably takes a lifetime of learning, changing and becoming Christ-like in our behaviour.
Don’t be discouraged by failure or plain lapses in right living; but do learn to recognise this when it happens and ask God for forgiveness as you repent of it and reset your course to following God’s way.