Older Men: Be Strong in Faith, Love, and Steadfastness

men_5743cFourth, you are to be “sound in faith, in love, and in steadfastness” (Tit. 2:2). The word “sound” (hugiaino) means “be in good health, be healthy or sound.” (Gingrich) It is the opposite of sickness. (Marshall)

One day, Levi, a tax collector turned Christ-follower, prepared a great feast in his house for Jesus. Many tax collectors joined them in that party. The Pharisees complained at Jesus saying, “Why do you eat and drink with tax collectors and sinners?”

“And Jesus answered them, “Those who are well [hugiaino] have no need of a physician, but those who are sick” (Lk. 5:31).

To be sound is to be healthy. Soundness is the reverse of sickness.

How does Paul define spiritual sickness in the Pastoral Epistles (1 and 2 Timothy, Titus)? He wrote in 1 Tim. 6:4-5,

He is puffed up with conceit and understands nothing. He has an unhealthy craving for controversy and for quarrels about words, which produce envy, dissension, slander, evil suspicions, and constant friction among people who are depraved in mind and deprived of the truth, imagining that godliness is a means of gain.

These are the symptoms of spiritual sickness. To be sound then is to avoid spiritual sickness. (Marshall) Older men are to be sound in three contexts—in faith, in love, and in steadfastness. To be sound in faith is to be healthy in faith. It is to be healthy in trusting God.

To be sound in love is to be healthy in love. Love is patient and kind. It does not envy and boast. Love keeps no record of wrong. To be sound in love is to avoid sickness in the context of love.

To be sound in steadfastness is to stay strong in steadfastness. The word steadfastness (hupomone) means “patience, endurance, fortitude . . . perseverance.” (Gingrich) It is the “capacity to continue to bear up under difficult circumstances.” (Louw-Nida) To be steadfast is to stay steady against discouragement.

In the Pastoral Epistles, steadfastness is endurance against difficulties caused by other people (2 Tim. 3:1-10; 4:2). To be sound in steadfastness is to stay strong against discouragement and opposition. It is to stay strong in patience and perseverance in Christ.

Older men, that is how you are to live in this ungodly world.

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