Dead flies make the perfumer's ointment give off a stench;
so a little folly outweighs wisdom and honor.
A wise man's heart inclines him to the right,
but a fool's heart to the left.
Even when the fool walks on the road, he lacks sense,
and he says to everyone that he is a fool.
If the anger of the ruler rises against you, do not leave your place,
for calmness will lay great offenses to rest.
There is an evil that I have seen under the sun, as it were an error proceeding from the ruler: folly is set in many high places, and the rich sit in a low place. I have seen slaves on horses, and princes walking on the ground like slaves.
He who digs a pit will fall into it,
and a serpent will bite him who breaks through a wall.
He who quarries stones is hurt by them,
and he who splits logs is endangered by them.
If the iron is blunt, and one does not sharpen the edge,
he must use more strength,
but wisdom helps one to succeed.
If the serpent bites before it is charmed,
there is no advantage to the charmer.
The words of a wise man's mouth win him favor,
but the lips of a fool consume him.
The beginning of the words of his mouth is foolishness,
and the end of his talk is evil madness.
A fool multiplies words,
though no man knows what is to be,
and who can tell him what will be after him?
The toil of a fool wearies him,
for he does not know the way to the city.
Woe to you, O land, when your king is a child,
and your princes feast in the morning!
Happy are you, O land, when your king is the son of the nobility,
and your princes feast at the proper time,
for strength, and not for drunkenness!
Through sloth the roof sinks in,
and through indolence the house leaks.
Bread is made for laughter,
and wine gladdens life,
and money answers everything.
Even in your thoughts, do not curse the king,
nor in your bedroom curse the rich,
for a bird of the air will carry your voice,
or some winged creature tell the matter.
(Ecclesiastes 10 ESV)
But as for you, teach what accords with sound doctrine. Older men are to be sober-minded, dignified, self-controlled, sound in faith, in love, and in steadfastness. Older women likewise are to be reverent in behavior, not slanderers or slaves to much wine. They are to teach what is good, and so train the young women to love their husbands and children, to be self-controlled, pure, working at home, kind, and submissive to their own husbands, that the word of God may not be reviled. Likewise, urge the younger men to be self-controlled. Show yourself in all respects to be a model of good works, and in your teaching show integrity, dignity, and sound speech that cannot be condemned, so that an opponent may be put to shame, having nothing evil to say about us. Bondservants are to be submissive to their own masters in everything; they are to be well-pleasing, not argumentative, not pilfering, but showing all good faith, so that in everything they may adorn the doctrine of God our Savior.
For the grace of God has appeared, bringing salvation for all people, training us to renounce ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright, and godly lives in the present age, waiting for our blessed hope, the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ, who gave himself for us to redeem us from all lawlessness and to purify for himself a people for his own possession who are zealous for good works.
Declare these things; exhort and rebuke with all authority. Let no one disregard you.
(Titus 2 ESV)
Titus 2: The apostle Paul mentions that Christ has appeared, and that Christ will appear again. Christ has appeared in grace, and one day He will appear in glory. Now first, we must come to understand that these two appearings must always be considered together. The work of Christ must always be taken as a whole. We begin to lead ourself astray the moment we begin to consider one part of His work over the whole scope of His mission.
There are many who simply look at His birth and view Christ as still gentle, harmless and unthreatening. There are others who look simply at His life and teaching and view Christ as the great moral teacher who can help us in our manners and ethics. There are others who look only to His death and view Christ as the misunderstood radical who couldn’t overcome the force and violence of those who opposed Him. There are others who only look at His resurrection and view Christ as still alive and therefore able to help us when we need Him. And then there are others who only look to His return and view Christ as the resolution to all life’s concerns and the remedy for all the evil that’s spread rampant throughout. To dissect the work of Christ in this way runs the risk of distorting the work of Christ as described in the gospel.
Christ has appeared in grace and will one day appear in glory. That is the gospel and the basis for living a life of godliness in the present.
We can rest assured in the salvation that Christ has brought for His people, and we wait with hope for the glory that Christ will bring when He comes again. Therefore, the motivational basis for living out our Christian duty is found in our realization that we live in between these two appearings of Christ. We live encouraged by His grace and excited about His glory.
As we live between the already and not yet appearings of Christ, our hearts must be tenderized as we are captivated by what Christ has already accomplished for us, and our hearts must be energized as we are motivated by what Christ has in store for us. Christianity is not simply something God has said, but it is something definitive that God has done and will do in the future. Therefore, a clear understanding of our doctrine gives us a clear direction in our mission. May we “declare these things” among the world and live our lives in such a way that it leads others to “adorn the doctrine of God” that we declare.