To the pure, all things are pure; but to those who are defiled and unbelieving, nothing is pure, but both their mind and their conscience are defiled.
S. W. | Asia
Paul has been warning Titus about the characteristics of false teachers and apostates beginning in verse 10 of Titus 1. Here he focuses on the crucial issue—the corruption of their hearts. In this context, the phrase “to the pure, all things are pure,” describes the opposite of apostates. True believers have a life of productivity in holiness. False teachers are often marked not by what they are for, but what they are against. In other words, they are not thinking about what is evil, but are setting their minds on that which is God-centered and useful. On the other hand, false teachers are impure of heart and without faith in Christ. Because of this they see nothing as pure, but are legalistic and condemn even the practice of good and pure things. In context, Paul is thinking about the Judaizers who follow “Jewish myths and commandments of men” (Titus 1:14). A mark of false teaching is an overemphasis on rules and legalistic regulations. False teachers are often marked not by what they are for, but what they are against. The ultimate reason Paul gives for this is that their minds and consciences are defiled. They have hidden sin in their thinking and hearts, and their legalism is often a smokescreen to cover and perpetuate their sin. Let us then be on guard, and avoid letting our minds and consciences become defiled. Our lives should not be marked primarily by the lists of things we are avoiding, but instead by our singular devotion to and following after Christ.