Paul instructs Titus on the importance of silencing those false teachers who attempt to add some religious or cultural ritual, rite or practice to the Gospel message of Jesus Christ. The specific legalists that Paul is addressing are referred to as the “party of the circumcision.” They are called a “party” because they cut themselves off from others who do not have their particular characteristic. It could be anything. It could be Baptism as the deed added to salvation by grace through faith in Jesus. It could be attending services on Saturday instead of Sunday, or just Church attendance as a whole could be promoted as an additional requirement for salvation. The problem is that whenever something else is added to the essential ingredient of salvation, you have divisions, or parties, in the church. They are in and of themselves very divisive in nature. That’s why Paul tells Titus that it’s extremely important to silence them because they are destroying “whole households.”

When anything is added to the message of salvation by grace through faith, there is always division. The division has its essence in the issue that’s added to faith. You see the very essence of legalism is putting confidence or faith in a religious activity rather than putting faith or confidence in God. It trusts a practice rather than a person. Practices focus on our abilities and understandings rather than focusing on our Savior. Whenever that’s done the practice becomes the focal point of relationships rather than the person of our Lord and Savior. We love the practice more than the person. Or we trust the leader’s ideas and interpretations rather than trusting God’s Word only. Jesus alone is to be the central focus of our confidence and faith. He’s the one who purchased it for us and He’s the one only true savior. False teachers are always presenting different ideas and fresh thoughts and alternative methods but none of them can save us.

Two construction workers once fell into a deep pit. One said to the other, “Save me from this wretched place. Please get me out of the dirt and mud.” The other replied, “You idiot, how can I? I am in the same plight as you.” Since they were both in the pit, neither one could help the other. Then they heard a voice from above calling to them to grasp a rope. A third worker had not fallen into the pit, so he was the only one who could save them. He brought help from above.
The very best man among the prophets could not save us from the pit of sin because he, too, was a sinner just as we are. He landed in the same pit we did. But Jesus was God and thus was not sinful. He came from above to save us from the horrible mess we are in. Like the two workmen, we cannot save ourselves. Only Jesus Christ can save us.

“At the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord.” Philippians 2:10-11