“Teaching us that, denying ungodliness and
worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly, in this present
world” (Titus 2:12).
commanded Titus that he should live soberly. What does it mean to live soberly?
defines “soberly” as “without intemperance, without enthusiasm, without
intemperate passion; coolly; calmly; moderately, gravely; seriously.”
these definitions are good, Paul is actually painting a more colorful picture
as to how we are to live.
the immediate context we can see that to live “soberly, righteously, and godly”
is preferred to living ungodly with cares for worldly lusts.
we venture into the Greek, we can learn a little more information about what it
means to live soberly. The Greek word translated “soberly” in the KJV is
“sophronos.” Though this word is only found once in its adverb form, it can be
found used in other parts of speech. One of those examples in found in Luke
8:26-36 (verse 35 in particular).
“And they arrived at the country of the
Gadarenes, which is over against Galilee.
(27) And when he went forth to
land, there met him out of the city a certain man, which had devils long time,
and ware no clothes, neither abode in any house, but in the tombs. (28)
When he saw Jesus, he cried out, and fell down before him, and with a
loud voice said, What have I to do with thee, Jesus, thou Son of God most high?
I beseech thee, torment me not.
(29) (For he had commanded the
unclean spirit to come out of the man. For oftentimes it had caught him: and he
was kept bound with chains and in fetters; and he brake the bands, and was driven of the devil into the
wilderness.) (30) And Jesus asked him, saying, What is thy
name? And he said, Legion: because many devils were entered into him. (31)
And they besought him that he would not command them to go out into the
deep. (32) And there was there an herd of many swine
feeding on the mountain: and they besought him that he would suffer them to
enter into them. And he suffered them.
(33) Then went the devils out of
the man, and entered into the swine: and the herd ran violently down a steep
place into the lake, and were choked.
(34) When they that fed them saw
what was done, they fled, and went and told it in the city and in the
country. (35) Then they went out to see what was done; and
came to Jesus, and found the man, out of whom the devils were departed, sitting
at the feet of Jesus, clothed, and in
his right mind: and they were afraid.
(36) They also which saw it told
them by what means he that was possessed of the devils was healed” (Luke
we have a man who wandered around in the wilderness with no clothes. He dwelled
in the caves and in the tombs, and he was considered wild by all of the
townsmen. Any attempt to bind him proved useless. We learn that the source of
this madness was the legion of demons that was within him that Jesus cast out.
After the demons left the man, he returned to living soberly or “in his right
English phrase “in his right mind” is actually only one word in the Greek:
“sophroneo.” It is the same word translated soberly in our Titus passage, but
it is just in a different part of speech: verb.
knowledge gives us some insight as to what Paul meant in Titus 2:12, and why he
contrasted following worldly lusts to living soberly. Before we became
Christians we were subject to the lusts of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and
the pride of life, but when we became a Christian we put off those things and
began to desire those things which are above.
“But now ye also put off all these; anger,
wrath, malice, blasphemy, filthy communication out of your mouth. (9)
Lie not one to another, seeing that ye have put off the old man with his
deeds; (10) And have put on the new man, which is renewed
in knowledge after the image of him that created him” (Colossians 3:8-10).
“Lay not up for yourselves treasures upon
earth, where moth and rust doth corrupt, and where thieves break through and steal: (20)
But lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor
rust doth corrupt, and where thieves do not break through nor steal: (21)
For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also” (Matthew
order to live soberly, we must deny ourselves and follow Christ. We must put to
death the things of the flesh and allow Christ's desires to be our desires. The
man who was possessed by demons was miserable in every way. It was only when
those demons were cast out that he was able to live soberly. We too must rid
ourselves of the demons of lust, covetousness, etc. in order the live soberly.