For there are many rebellious people, full of meaningless talk and deception, especially those of the circumcision group. 11 They must be silenced, because they are disrupting whole households by teaching things they ought not to teach—and that for the sake of dishonest gain. 12 One of Crete’s own prophets has said it: “Cretans are always liars, evil brutes, lazy gluttons.”]13 This saying is true. Therefore rebuke them sharply, so that they will be sound in the faith 14 and will pay no attention to Jewish myths or to the merely human commands of those who reject the truth. 15 To the pure, all things are pure, but to those who are corrupted and do not believe, nothing is pure. In fact, both their minds and consciences are corrupted. 16 They claim to know God, but by their actions they deny him. They are detestable, disobedient and unfit for doing anything good.
They say they know God, but their actions speak louder than their words. (The Message)
There is a repeated emphasis on good works in this short letter. It’s not that we are saved by works, but we are saved for them. The new birth creates a new person with a new heart and character (3:3-8). Good deeds are the outward expression of the Spirit’s inner work.
At the beginning of the chapter we saw that knowledge of the truth leads to godliness. At its conclusion we find that it is possible to claim to know God but fail to back it up in the way you live. It is by our fruit that we are known.
These words remind me of a story I heard about the famous author Edgar Wallace. Wallace lived in the same street as a sincere elderly Christian man. (In fact, I think he may have been a clergyman). Apparently, the writer said, ‘As long as I live in the same street as that old man I cannot doubt that there is a God.’
PRAYER: Lord I ask that my life may be living evidence for your reality