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Sent to establish faith in God's people

Titus 1:1
Paul, a servant of God and an apostle of Jesus Christ to further the faith of God’s elect and their knowledge of the truth that leads to godliness - (NIVUK)

Paul wrote this letter to Titus.  It is both personal and pastoral, giving an important insight into the complex and challenging task of church leadership.  Paul had appointed Titus to help establish the embryo churches throughout Crete (Titus 1:5).  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.  Indeed, the island’s culture of laziness, superstition and argument was also rife in the church (Titus 1:10-16).  Titus was to teach the church so that they might become Christ-like and be able to sow gospel seeds into the community (Titus 2:1-10).  

Of course, the Apostle Paul was not the ultimate authority behind the letter.  Paul was also a servant of God and accountable to Him; personally commissioned by Jesus Christ to bring people, and particularly those who has no Jewish background (Gentiles), to faith in Jesus (1 Timothy 2:7).

The truth that Paul preached was intended to have a practical effect – godliness, or god-likeness.  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 has appeared that offers salvation to all people. 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 appearing of the glory 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.  When God calls people through His gospel, He also transforms them to desire and be able to grow in faith and to trust His promises (Philippians 2:13).  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?  Let this letter help us affirm our faith and learn how to please God, more and more, in everyday life.  Let's make progress every day!

God of truth and love. Thank You for letting me know how much You love me, and showing me the truth about Your holiness and my sinfulness. Thank You for the gospel truth which explains how I can be forgiven. I am sorry that I have not grown in my faith as I might. Please forgive me when I have not longed to share Your character, nor desired to please You, because my horizon was centred on myself. Please help me to have a fresh desire to grow in godliness, so that those around can see how wonderful You are. In Jesus' Name. Amen.
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© Dr Paul Adams