Just like someone who smokes that can't smell the stale odor of smoke that reeked from all their clothing, car or home—so these former pagans couldn't smell all their fleshly habits that needed change. Like garbage left to rot smells until it is disposed of and cleansed away, so Titus was to start a spiritual search and dispose mission into the lives of the Cretans.

God wanted to shine the spotlight of His Word into their lives corporately, and then individually. As any garbage was exposed it was to be denied, and the area exposed to that garbage cleansed and freshened by the power of the sanctifying Spirit of God through His Word. That is the essence of Titus 2:12-14.

Titus 2:12-14 teaching us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly in the present age, 13 looking for the blessed hope and glorious appearing of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ, 14 who gave Himself for us, that He might redeem us from every lawless deed and purify for Himself His own special people, zealous for good works. NKJV

Two words stand out in v. 12. The word God chose for "teaching" is the word paideuo which speaks of training a child using discipline as needed. God wants us to be instructed, taught, trained, and whatever else is needed until we say no to sin.

The word "denying" is arneomai and means 'to refuse, reject, not accept, not take an offer of'. This is the word used for Peter's denials of the Lord after Gethsemane (Matthew 26:70, 72); and it is the same word for Moses when he refused to be called the son of Pharaoh's daughter (Heb. 11:24). God wants us to not accept any stinking garbage from the world, He wants us to refuse anything that will foul the fragrance of the worship we are to offer.

The mission Paul sent Titus out to do was to take the new believers and have them scrape off their lives anything that clung to them of the old life, mortify, sanctify, and purify away anything that was not pleasing to God.

The Cretans as new believers were out of whack in one way or another and smelled bad spiritually--their lives, their marriages, and their homes. And that is just the type of material God can use for His marvelous work of salvation. What they needed was long-term sanctification. They were just children-in-the-faith in need of a long bath in God's Word, administered by mothers and fathers-in-the-faith!

This need for removing remnants of garbage that stinks confronted me on Thursday night. I walked into our house for the first time in ten days and it smelled like a dumpster. I prowled around looking for where that horrible smell was coming from. Trash cans were checked, pantry potato bags, fruit bowl, and all came up clear. Then I saw a dark circle on the floor in front of the fridge. When I pulled open the door of that trusted 12 year old appliance there was the finest collection of colorful molds and layers of decay available anywhere in the city. Our compressor had died, and the result was a stinking mess. But because I value that appliance I had only one choice—to get rid of the garbage.

For the next six hours I bagged, hauled, washed, scraped, bleached and scrubbed that old friend in the kitchen until it was pure white again and mold and stink free. Refrigerators have no smell of their own; they just hold objects that begin to smell if allowed to. All it needed was to be washed and renewed and it would be back as good as new.

When Titus came to Crete to pastor Christ's church, it was sometime in the early 60's AD. As he arrived the churches were filled with spiritual lives that smelled like a dumpster. The old rotted flesh of their former ways stood in the way of their progress in Christ. They were bought and paid for but needed the washing of sanctification through God's Word.

There were stinking lives, stinking marriages, and stinking families. Paul proposed to Titus a two-part plan: regular systematic teaching in the church gatherings and private one-on-one discipling sessions for focused applications of the sanctifying Word.