Sent to establish faith in God's people
This letter is personal and pastoral, giving an important insight into the complex and challenging task of church leadership. Paul had commissioned Titus to help establish churches throughout Crete. Although the gospel had spread through the island, and there were believers in every city, they did not know how to live and work together in a godly way. Of course, the Apostle was not the ultimate authority behind the letter: he was also a servant of God and accountable to Him, and personally commissioned by Jesus Christ to bring people to faith in Jesus.
The truth that Paul preached was intended to have a practical effect - godliness. The astonishing thing about the gospel is that the truth changes people. As Paul will write later in the letter, "For the grace of God that brings salvation has appeared to all men. It teaches us to say "No" to ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright and godly lives in this present age, while we wait for the blessed hope--the glorious appearing of our great God and Saviour, Jesus Christ, who gave himself for us to redeem us from all wickedness and to purify for himself a people that are his very own, eager to do what is good." (Titus 2:11-14)
Believing in Jesus brings us into a relationship with Him; and He changes our whole view of life and the future. We know that we should please Him, and that desire ought to help us to live differently - seeking His glory and not our own ... His character and not our old corrupted one. When God calls people through His gospel, He also transforms them as they grow in faith and develop confidence to trust His promises. This letter to Titus can also be our opportunity for a personal spiritual audit. How much more do I trust His promises now than last year? Am I more eager to be godly now than before? If the answer is positive, then we have trusted God's truth ... if negative then that is what we have yet to do. So let this letter help us affirm our faith and learn how to please God in everyday life. Let's make progress every day!
© Dr Paul Adams