May 2, 2014 by Stacy McDonald
Proverbs confirms for us that a good reputation is something to be treasured (Proverbs 22:1). However, sometimes we place more value on our own reputation (which is often a façade) than we do on the reputation of our God. We care more about how we look to others than we do on how well we represent our Lord.
By living a life sorely inconsistent with our testimony, we allow God’s name to be slandered—to be blasphemed. We give opportunity to the enemies of the Lord to say, “Look at that! I knew what that preacher taught wasn’t true!”
Of course, that would be likened to knowing of a great math scholar who made a public spectacle of himself by cheating on a math problem or manipulating his students. We wouldn’t then say, “I don’t believe in what that scholar taught anymore. Math is a sham!” The math would be good and true, the mathematician fallible.
It is human nature to place too much trust in man—to allow others to take the place of honor in our lives that only God should own. Yet, even Paul said, “Imitate me, just as I also imitate Christ (1 Corinthians 11:1).
The problem comes when we simply follow the man and not what he represents in Christ—when we create idols out of men—men with hearts of stone and feet of clay.
Yet, because of man’s frequent lack of discernment (we are called sheep for a reason), God holds leaders to a higher standard. They are to humbly view their pupils as those whom they are called to sacredly serve and teach, not as subjects to be used.
When a man is exposed as a hypocrite, opportunists will shout, “False Teacher!” Yet, while a hypocrite may indeed also be a false teacher, it is not necessarily true that the teachings of the hypocrite are all false. If that were the case, every man who claims, “Jesus is Lord!” yet lives like the devil, would be a false teacher as well as a hypocrite. No matter how vile the hypocrite’s sin proves to be, Jesus really is Lord!
Yet, this is just where the danger is when we live a life that lies about the goodness and glory of God.
There are many places where God rebukes His people for allowing His name to be blasphemed among the heathen. One memorable place was in 2 Samuel where David not only committed adultery with Bathsheba, he also murdered her husband to cover his own sin. Remember Nathan saying to David:
“By this deed you have given great occasion to the enemies of the Lord to blaspheme.” (2 Samuel 12:14)
Then in Romans, Paul rebukes the teachers who are marring God’s name with their hypocrisy:
“The name of God is blasphemed among the Gentiles because of you…”(Romans 2:21-24)
In Ezekiel, God rebukes the Israelites for profaning His name with their evil deeds:
“I do not do this for your sake, O house of Israel, but for My holy name’s sake, which you have profaned among the nations wherever you went.” (Ezekiel 36:22)
Now, here is where the irony becomes personal. A man who taught well on the importance of Titus 2 has proved himself to be a hypocrite. He has caused our enemies to rejoice and God’s Word to be blasphemed; yet, to reject all that he taught will cause God’s Word to be grossly misrepresented further. The truth is true in spite of the hypocrite, not because of him.
Remember, the word “blaspheme” in the context of Titus 2:1-8 basically means to slander God’s Word—to communicate something about Him that’s not true. Titus 2:1-8 simplified, says:
“But as for you, speak the things which are proper for sound doctrine… that the word of God may not be blasphemed… that one who is an opponent may be ashamed, having nothing evil to say of you.” (Titus 2:1-8) emphasis mine
Now go back and read the entire segment to see all the areas that may cause God’s Word to be blasphemed.
Again, Paul is describing the way we, as a Church, may cause God’s Word to be blasphemed when we falsely represent His holiness by teaching or living a life counter to His Word. That could be through unrepentant sin or by teaching a distorted view of Scripture.
And, if a teacher of good things is bound up in the inconsistency of a sinful lifestyle, he tempts others to, along with rejecting his sin, also reject those “good” teachings of his, and to embrace the very things that may further blaspheme God’s Word (rather than hallow it).
It’s not all about us. We should indeed care how our brothers and sisters are living and honoring God not only because we need to love them as ourselves, but also because we love the Lord our God with our whole heart, mind, and strength!
So, beware of self-appointed “doctrine protectors.” Any website, blog, or Facebook page that exists for the sole purpose of tearing down other ministries, or discussing, ad nauseam, the sins of someone else has major pride issues.
And, in their glee, they forget they may be just as guilty of blaspheming God’s name as the other hypocrite whose sin they can see so clearly. There is no place in Scripture that condones vigilante justice; and believers who play the judge, jury, and executioner on their blogs may be guilty of just that.
There are those who cloak their slander in a veil of feigned virtue, but in the end, they are no different than the woman who plays the busybody in church or the Pharisee who congratulates himself for not being like “other men.”
“Let us not become conceited, provoking one another, envying one another. Brethren, if a man is overtaken in any trespass, you who are spiritual restore such a one in a spirit of gentleness, considering yourself lest you also be tempted.” (Galatians 5:26–6:1)
But that’s another topic.
We are called to glorify God and enjoy Him forever. Anything that doesn’t glorify Him, speaks falsely of Him.
Titus 2 teaches us that we are to “adorn the Doctrine of God our Savior—the virtual opposite of blaspheming His Word. And when we as a church—and by extension as a society—minimize or reject the importance of women nurturing their families and keeping their homes and all those other things, we open the door to all sorts of problems that could lead to God being slandered by the world. We also play the hypocrite when we claim to love God’s Word, but reject the parts that don’t meet our own self-created worldview.
You see this with latch key kids, burned out moms trying to juggle home and work, husbands not having the support they need in the home, and families so disconnected they don’t have a family identity anymore. It’s a progressive cycle that often leads to more and more breakdown in the family.
When unbelievers observe the Christian life, they should think to themselves, “There is something different there that is pure and desirable. Who is this God who changes men so?” The unbeliever may still cling to his sin; but, at least they’ve been given genuine evidence of His glory. At least His name is being hallowed in us, rather than blasphemed.
“The nations shall know that I am the Lord,” says the Lord God, “when I am hallowed in you before their eyes.” (Ezekiel 36:23)