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Titus 1:1-4

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— 1 Paul, a bondservant of God and an apostle of Jesus Christ, according to the faith of God’s elect and the acknowledgment of the truth which accords with godliness, 2 in hope of eternal life which God, who cannot lie, promised before time began, 3 but has in due time manifested His word through preaching, which was committed to me according to the commandment of God our Savior; 4 To Titus, a true son in our common faith: Grace, mercy, and peace from God the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ our Savior.
“Paul, a bondservant of God and an apostle of Jesus Christ”
“Paul, a bondservant of God and an apostle of Jesus Christ”
In arrogant pursuit of his own righteousness, Paul had become an enemy of Jesus Christ—denying the necessity of the Savior’s sacrifice, breathing out threats against his church, and participating in the murder of his people (see ; ; , ; ).
Now this same persecutor calls himself “an apostle [i.e., a chosen messenger] of Jesus Christ.” That the Savior would and could use Paul reminds us of the measure of God’s grace: very great.
God will pardon the worst sinners and will grant useful service to those whose sin is monstrous, though there is no human reason for such divine love.
“according to the faith of God’s elect”
Here’s the object of Paul’s service, as an apostle. It was to bring about faith in God’s chosen ones. His elect ones. Eternal life is brought about by preaching.
1:2–3 the hope of eternal life … brought to light through the preaching. When people hear and accept that hope, it becomes theirs.
“and the acknowledgment of the truth”
The words in Scripture are more about being in a committed and convinced relationship with God than about having a head full of religious facts. (1 T. 2:4; 2 T 2:25, 3:7; ).
the knowledge of the “truth which accords with godliness”.
The order is absolutely essential to notice. The sequence is “faith” then “knowledge” of the truth. Conversion must lead to growth in knowledge.
Yet this knowledge must not be an end in itself but rather one that is in keeping with “godliness” which is mature Christian character.
truth leads us to godliness. Which sort of brings us to the main purpose of this book.
In the face of false teaching, he is to set in place a strong leadership (1:5–9),
but the main concerns of the letter seem to be the stability (2:1–10) and public image (3:1–2) of the church, each of which requires respectable behavior.
The theological basis given for the ethical instruction (2:11–14; 3:5–7) makes it clear that
the behavior charged to us, was to be understood as
the appropriate outworking of the grace of God in human relationships through various forms of godliness 2:12.
2 in hope of eternal life which God, who cannot lie, promised before time began,
This life is not only everlasting but also shares the qualities of the life of God himself, its indestructibility and its joy. It is anchored in the promise of the “not-lying God”
; ; ; , cf 1 T. 1:10; )
So God cannot lie. He abounds in truth. Lying is against His nature. Thus He is faithful and keeps His Word. All His promises and threats are true.
Lying insults not only your neighbor, whom you may manage to fool,
but also God, whom you can never fool.
A truth-telling, promise-keeping God who “cannot lie” (; also ; ),
and who wants to see in us, His own moral image,
naturally “hates … a lying tongue … a false witness who breathes out lies” ().
Lying is part of Satan’s image, not God’s, and we should not wonder that “everyone who loves and practices falsehood” should thereby exclude himself from God’s city...
— 27 But there shall by no means enter it anything that defiles, or causes an abomination or a lie, but only those who are written in the Lamb’s Book of Life.
— 15 But outside are dogs and sorcerers and sexually immoral and murderers and idolaters, and whoever loves and practices a lie.
There is no godliness without truthfulness. Lord, have mercy!
So our faith and knowledge (as believers) rests on the hope of eternal life from God who cannot lie.
3 but has in due time manifested His word through preaching, which was committed to me according to the commandment of God our Savior;
While issued in eternity past, the “word” (logos) of God’s promise was “manifested” (or “brought to light”; ; ; cf. ; ; ) in history at God’s own “appointed season” (cf. ; ; see also ; ; ; ).
The means of God’s revelation was Paul’s “preaching” of the gospel (cf. ; Paul as a herald, ; ), which the apostle regarded as a sacred stewardship (“entrusted”; cf. ; ; note the emphatic, lit., “which I was entrusted with”).
Paul’s gospel proclamation took place by the “command [cf. 2:15] of God our Savior” (see comments at ).
By identifying God, and then Jesus, as “Savior,” Paul establishes a general framework for the epistle (the pattern recurs in 2:10, 13; 3:4, 6), in which Jesus is presented as both functionally equivalent with God and as the fulfillment of God’s saving promises.
Paul can never get away from the importance of preaching (3) in spreading the news of God’s action, nor from the privilege he felt in being called to serve God in this way.
4 To Titus, a true son in our common faith: Grace, mercy, and peace from God the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ our Savior.
Common faith, expresses the unity between Paul the Jew and Titus the Gentile.
The description of Titus as my true son in our common faith (4) suggests that he was a close associate of the apostle. He is, mentioned in both 2 Corinthians and Galatians.
This peace that Christ’s reconciliation provides is not only the end of the struggle between a rebellious heart and its Creator.
Full understanding of grace also provides relief from the constant striving for status and affection that characterizes the natural human state.
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