Q. I came across Titus 1:15-16, and I can’t help but wonder … was Paul referring to unsaved people, or was he referring to “legalistic” Christians … today’s Pharisees, if you will?
A. Paul was referring specifically to Jews who were teaching the need to remain under the restrictions of the Law in order to be pure. Aside from the fact that keeping the Law only made people pure in their own sight, Christians don’t require such restrictions because we’ve been purified by the Blood of Christ.
Paul pointed to their attitude toward the people of Crete, where these things took place, as an example of their detestable and disobedient behavior. In verse 12 he had told Titus to rebuke these “Judiazers” for calling the locals liars, evil brutes and lazy gluttons for accepting the Grace of God into their lives.
This attitude can be found among Christians today, since legalistic practices often produce arrogance and a superior attitude toward those believers who don’t live as they do.