Avoid foolish controversies. (Titus 3:9)
Oh, what wise and wonderful counsel we have before us today! “Avoid foolish controversies.” Why? The passage goes on to explain that “these are unprofitable and useless.” I call this “majoring in the minors,” and sadly, the church is full of those who do exactly that.
To be sure, there are some major things that we should hold on to with all our might—things that matter most concerning our salvation. The Bible alone is the Word of God. Jesus is fully God and fully man. He was born of the Virgin Mary, lived a sinless life, died a sacrificial death, and was raised supernaturally from the grave on the third day. He ascended into heaven, and even now sits at the right hand of God the Father, making intercession for us. Jesus is the way, the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father except through trusting in Christ’s atoning work alone for eternal life. This is “keeping the main thing the main thing,” and to these truths we must hold fast.
Yet there are so many minor things that we make major! When we do, we find ourselves sowing in so barren a field. Think about all the controversies that Christians attend to where the Scriptures are silent. Some have spent their lives studying and debating the return of Christ, even making predictions as to the day He will return . . . despite the fact that Jesus said only the Father knows when the Son will return (Matthew 24:36). Rather than focusing on the when, Jesus tells us to focus on how we live our lives: in a posture of being prepared for His return at any moment, so that we may be “unashamed before him at His coming” (1 John 2:28).
Think of all the foolish controversies that have hurt the witness of the church when it comes to human ceremonies and religious traditions. How foolish to sow in so barren a field! But our adversary, the devil, loves to see the saints of God muddling around in the mud-flats of man-made rites and rituals, arguing over matters that matter not, instead of advancing the cause of the kingdom of Christ. In the end, the final result can be summed up as “high heat” and “low light” . . . with no one involved the wiser.
So how do we keep from sowing in so barren a field? We must remember that our time here is brief and that we are to invest what little we have in the work Jesus has set before us. When Jesus said to the man He healed of demon possession, “Go and tell how much God has done for you” (Luke 8:39), He was telling the man to keep the main thing the main thing. His call was clear: that man was to spend his life telling others about Jesus, which would keep him from falling into foolish controversies which are unprofitable and useless. You see, when we are advancing the kingdom of Christ, we are sowing in a field that will return 30, 60, and 100-fold.
May that be the confession of our lives!
This is the Gospel. This is grace for your race. NEVER FORGET THAT . . . AMEN!