Where the Soul Finds Its Worth
Despite declines in rates of unwed pregnancy in the U.S., about 820,000 unwed become pregnant each year. If a percentage is calculated statistics show 34 percent of teenagers have at least one pregnancy before they turn 20. Most American’s would say that unwed pregnancies are problematic to society. These women are looked down upon in society. Parents are sometimes supportive, but sometimes they are not. These factors result in women being homeless, hungry, embarrassed, and feeling worthless. When homeless, pregnant and parenting young women interpret Titus 1:9-16 out of context, they may feel like they have no part in God’s Kingdom. But, when Titus 1 is interrupted in the context of the whole New Testament, the women can be assured their worth does not change in God’s eyes because of the actions they have made.
Many women in our community become pregnant very young. They are faced with the challenge of how they are going to provide for god’s gift of a child. With this in mind, I served at Sparrow’s Nest in O’Fallon Missouri for my service hours. Sparrow’s Nest is a resource for homeless, pregnant or parenting young women, in need of assistance. This is a Christ centered shelter to educate women on good decisions to make for themselves and their children. Sparrow’s Nest provides a strong leadership in their home to lead spiritual oversight, fiduciary responsibility, and help financially with fundraising efforts. They also provide, a 5 bedroom, 4 bathroom house nestled on one acre of deep woods to meet the requirements for food, fire, and state licensing all while maintaining the warmth and welcome of a family home. Sparrow’s Nest’s home can help up to 8 children, at once, under the age of 19.Volunteers are a huge support for this organization. They are used as mentors, to event coordinators, to bible study leaders, to administrative help; in which I used my hours towards. During my time at Sparrow’s Nest I helped organize the supplies donated; as well as break down boxes, than move the boxes to the a local recycling facility. I finished my hours by moving things from a shed, to the supply garage. In the supply garage they’re where many items to help women. Things such as; baby wipes, bibs, binkies, bottles, diapers, clothing for babies and women, lotions, towels, toys, and more. This showed how much help the community gave to the women in need. Items where new and old, serving the same purpose of help for those in need.
When young, unmarried women are given a blessing of a child they fear that they will not receive God’s gift of eternal life, do to their actions. Many young women also take bible verses out of context, to justify there statements of non-righteousness do to their actions. Such as Titus in 1:16 states “They profess to know God, but they deny him by their works. They are detestable, disobedient, unfit for any good work.” (Titus1: 16) This verse can explain how women going through young pregnancy feel, but this is not true with out the context of Titus 9-16. Titus 1:14 states, “not devoting themselves to Jewish myths and the commands of people who turn away from the truth.” Gentiles at this time where enriching people on false teachings, such as Titus 1:16. As the bible states, these myths turn us away from the truth. During this time the myth of circumcision was also about. “For there are many who are insubordinate, empty talkers and deceivers, especially those of the circumcision party”(Titus 1:10). Colossians 21-23 states,
“Do not handle, Do not taste, Do not touch” (referring to things that all perish as they are used)—according to human precepts and teachings? These have indeed an appearance of wisdom in promoting self-made religion and asceticism and severity to the body, but they are of no value in stopping the indulgence of the flesh.”
These verses reassure our understanding of Titus 1:14 to not refer to the commands of people who turn away from the truth, even though they may have the appearance of wisdom. The bible also states, “Look out for the dogs, look out for the evildoers, look out for those who mutilate the flesh” (Phil 3:2) In the case of Titus 1:16 look out for the Jewish false teachers, those who prevent the gospel for commandments of men. Law and gospel are seen all through out scripture as well as Titus 1:9-16.
Law is stated Titus 1: 13, “…rebuke them sharply, that they may be sound in faith.” This is very important to scripture. To be sound in faith is to know the true Law of god, not the commands of people who turn away from the truth. True law of god that should be seen in this case, is written in John 3:16”…that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life” Women taking verses out of context, to justify their statements of unjust, are justified solely on this word of god. Those who believe in Jesus Christ our savior will not perish but have eternal life. To reassure this we also look to Galatians 2:16;
“Yet we know that a person is not justified by works of the law but through faith in Jesus Christ, so we also have believed in Christ Jesus, in order to be justified by faith in Christ and not by works of the law, because by works of the law no one will be justified.” Works justify no man but through gospel man is justified.
Gospel justifies man, “To the pure, all things are pure, but to the defiled and unbelieving, nothing is pure; but both their minds and their consciences are defiled.” Titus 1:15 to those who do not believe, nothing is pure. But to those who do believe in Jesus, all things are pure. It is not by works, that all things will be pure to those, but by belief in Jesus Christ our savior. Luke states “For the Son of Man has come to seek and to save that which was lost.” (Luke 19:10) Jesus Christ is our gospel but also our Christ centeredness. Jesus, the savior to those who are unbelieving-but also to those with false teachings, enriches with the truth and the word of God. Jesus is the answer to the women who take verses out of context and feel of no worth because of their actions. John 3:16 is seen as gospel and reassurance to these women, ”…that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life” leading us to Christ Centeredness.
Christ tells us that we are not justified by actions. “He must hold firm to the trustworthy word as taught, so that he may be able to give instruction in sound doctrine and also to rebuke those who contradict it.” Titus (1:9) It is sound in doctrine that Christ is the cause of our salvation. Christ dying on the cross so we have salvation is shown in John 14. Jesus said, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me. (John 14:6) “Jesus here speaks positively, to reassure his followers” (Miller231). This verse of script should cause rejoice. Rejoice, because it is because of Jesus Christ we may have eternal life, we are not justified by physical actions.
Theology of the cross is a theology by Martin Luther that depicts who God is and how God saves, ultimately turning sinners to the cross. We where saved by Jesus Christ and Jesus Christ alone, not by the verses out of context that make us feel as if, “They profess to know God, but they deny him by their works. They are detestable, disobedient, unfit for any good work.” (Titus 1:16) Jesus explains this to his disciples before he leaves by stating, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me. (John 14:6) The way to receive eternal life is by believing in Jesus. The truth is the word of Jesus. The life of Jesus saved us all. It is all because of Jesus’ death on the cross that we, sinners, are saved. You could not receive eternal life with out the death of Christ, but because Christ has died we have been granted salvation.
When homeless, pregnant and parenting young women, such as the ones that rely on Sparrow’s Nest, interpret Titus 1:9-16 out of context, they may feel like they have no part in God’s Kingdom. But, when Titus 1 is interrupted in the context of the whole New Testament, the women can be assured their worth does not change in God’s eyes because of the actions they have made. This brings gospel, a savior has been sent and the Word of God written, proof that these women will not be declared unjust due to their actions. Even though society, and unsupportive parents un-rightly judge pregnant women, women can turn to God’s truth and evidence to their worth. Besides, “There is only one lawgiver and judge, he who is able to save and to destroy. But who are you to judge your neighbor?”(James 4:12)
10 November 2014
Miller, Robert J. The Complete Gospels: Annotated Scholars Version. San Francisco: HarperSanFrancisco, 1994. Print.
Titus. N.p., n.d. Web.
“Sermon Search Results for Titus 1:16.” Sermons on Titus 1:16, Preaching on Titus 1:16 ? SermonCentral.com. N.p., n.d. Web. 15 Dec. 2014.