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Titus 1:1-3, 'Our Corporate Mission' is page 3/5 of The Bible Teacher's Commentary on Titus 1:1-4. In this article we take a careful look at how Paul's clear purpose and mission aided His effective ministry.
"Paul, a bond-servant of God, and an apostle of Jesus Christ, for the faith of those chosen of God and the knowledge of the truth which is according to godliness, 2 in the hope of eternal life, which God, who cannot lie, promised long ages ago, 3 but at the proper time manifested, even His word, in the proclamation with which I was entrusted according to the commandment of God our Savior; 4 to Titus, my true child in a common faith: Grace and peace from God the Father and Christ Jesus our Savior" (Titus 1:1-4).
Paul could see what he was called to. The more clearly we see what the Lord wants, the easier it is to accomplish it. As an apostle of the Lord, one which was thrown out upon pagan lands to proclaim God’s truth and start the church, Paul was specially gifted with certain aspects of declaring the gospel. But all of us as His people share a common element of this in our own lives and professions. Remember, we live in light of our general calling as His child.
Paul used a few key phrases here. Each is very helpful. We can see three things that he focused on: The Purpose, Power and Proclamation.
Paul said that he was so equipped by God for two reasons. Note the word “for” used in verse 1. The word ‘for’ here signifies the purpose for which God made him.
“Paul, a bond-servant of God, and an apostle of Jesus Christ, for the faith of those chosen of God and the knowledge of the truth which is according to godliness, in the hope of eternal life" (Titus 1:1).
Ephesians 4:11-16 is a powerful passage that explains the purpose for ministry. You might be surprised as to what he says!
Paul has clarified very clearly who he is serving: other believers or believers to be. It is for the building up of their faith that God has called him. God is effectively carrying out the expansion of His kingdom through Paul’s life. Ephesians 4:11-16 is a powerful passage that explains the purpose for ministry. You might be surprised as to what he says!
A person’s faith is built up by the the faithful teaching and proclaiming of God’s Word without any corrupt motives. Although the world might be tenaciously fighting the Lord, we should not think He is at all frustrated. He is accomplishing all of His great work.
Some people resist the idea of God’s people being chosen. Some are adverse to a chosen people because from their perspective God is not fair. But the truth is, if God is fair then we all must go to hell. It is what we deserve-judgment. That is justice. The word chosen speaks about a concept deeply connected to grace and kindness.
God being just and yet gracious, reached out to mankind through His Son. God was willing for His Son to die for these people. This is love. God did not have to love one person let along a multitude beyond number. But this is what He has done. This is not a new thought. All the way through the scriptures this idea of being chosen is trumpeted about.
“O seed of Israel His servant, Sons of Jacob, His chosen ones!” (1 Chronicles 16:13).
The other reason people resist this idea is because they are counting on their works. They figure if it is by their works, then it is not because they are chosen. They are prideful of their works, wherein fact, they should be boasting of Christ their Savior and see all our works as dead works which could never make one perfect.
This aspect of being chosen is beautiful. No man is faulted for not wanting to marry every young woman. He has every right to choose His bride. God chose the bride. This is clearly stated here. The Lord did not foresee that a certain group would first choose Him, and then respond to them. That is convoluted thinking. He chose them to be owned by Him. And then, in time, God saved them.
This, of course, does not mean that the Christian will not fight with numerous battles. This letter showed how Paul and the Christians in Crete faced many obstacles.
Paul’s calling is not only for building up the faith of the chosen, but also for their knowledge of truth. The real fight is not with swords but with the truth of God. Once we understand that the strength of God’s workers is directly related to how they allow God’s truth to shape their life, then we will perhaps stop playing with the world and start obeying the Word of God.
As a result we are a very secular people. They think they know the truth but that confidence leads them into blindness. Confused by this delusion, the average Christian only encounters casual study of God’s Word. If you are a connoisseur of movies, do you realize that unless you at least balance that with equal time in God’s Word, that the message of the world will get through stronger?
How dare we think that our children, who sit through hours of school classes with a strong bent on humanism, can ever live godly lives? I am not stating that it is impossible for people to come to know the Lord in such situations. But without a deliberate purpose of learning God’s Word and having it influence our lives, we will slide into hell’s mouth with only a form of truth.
The online Godly Man series provides many lessons on pursuing a godly life.
For instance, Paul states two important characteristics of truth. First of all he says truth is according to godliness. In other words, God’s principles have everything we do with how we live our lives. If the truths of God do not shape how one dates, talks, forgives and be full of good deeds, then one can be sure that the truth has not entered that one’s life.
Paul recognized that something else shaped the lives of many Christians in Crete and elsewhere. The truth did not thoroughly affect the people. Most so-called Christians today look and sound like the world. Without the truth of God, there is no freedom from sin. Indeed there is no salvation.
The church must clearly unashamedly identify that it depends on the truth of God. The truth of God goes far beyond what the typical Christian thinks it does and therefore does not occupy a significant place in their lives.
When people accept the truth of God, they also have to reform their lives. Repentance always accompanies the embracing of God’s truth. One cannot separate the two. Many have been antagonistic against the truth but only to defend their wretched lifestyle. If they accept Christ, they must repent. They are right.
We should at least compliment these unbelievers for getting this true. For there are many others, who would insist that they can believe in Christ and go on in their ungodly behavior. Yes, he is getting a divorce. Yes, he lives with a girl. Yes, they lie or steal. These people need to realize that they are living in a delusion that will cost them their lives.
Unless we purposely foster times with the truth of God so that it can enter our minds, we will be shaped more by the secular culture than God’s Word. We need to be more earnest in meeting with God in His Word each day so that we can become like Him.
Paul knows where the battles are fought. It is in the delusion of those around him. It is through their confidence in untrue things that people perish. They brag about their experiences instead of thinking how they are going to get out of there. Indeed, now is the time to repent. Now is the time to see your sins as God sees them.
Call out to Jesus, and He will save you. If you don’t think He hears you, then cry out louder until He does. Remember that the philosophies of the world will not bring you to Christ’s likeness., but God’s truths always do.
We also see another effect of the truth of God. It is “in the hope of eternal life.” We throw this phrase ‘eternal life’ around a lot, but many of us have no real understanding of it.
“The knowledge of the truth which is according to godliness, in the hope of eternal life, which God, who cannot lie, promised long ages ago, but at the proper time manifested, even His word” (Titus 1:1).
First of all, we should see that it is extricably linked to godliness. Without godliness, there is no hope for eternal life. The point is this. If you can be satisfied in some habitual sin, then more than likely you do not have the Spirit of God in you. I know you can say something about some past testimony, but frankly, godliness accompanies eternal life. If you attend a church that doesn’t live above the world, then get out. That is a ship headed for hell.
Secondly, we need to realize that eternal life has to do with the way the truth of God shapes our lives. In this age of toleration, we think we can belief what we want. But the hope of eternal life is anchored to the truth of God. If you do not accept the truth of God, then you do not love God and His Word.
Some romantic liberals pretend they can be like Jesus without believing in the physical resurrection of Jesus, the blood atonement of the cross or the Genesis model of marriage. But their confidence is in a foolish religion, perhaps called Christianity or Presbyterianism, etc., that has nothing, absolutely nothing, to do with the Gospel.
Many people think of eternal life only in the context of an extended life. Eternal life means a life without end. The Moslem thinks like this. For him, eternal life is an opportunity to live out his lusts. But many so-called Christians think like this too. But this is a very incomplete concept of eternal life. This is not eternal life. That is eternal death. These people only want to live out their false ways. They don’t want God’s ways otherwise they would choose them on earth.
Eternal life, rightly speaking, begins on earth when one comes to know God through Jesus Christ. It is here, that this new life begins. The true Christian will go through a transition of throwing off this body (in physical death), but only to gain an immortal one. But what they seek and love will exist only for them in a greater way. They will live in God’s holy presence and only desire God’s ways.
God's purpose for the two trees
Back in the Garden of Eden, there were two trees. We usually focus on the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. There was another tree which Adam and Eve did not choose to eat. That was the tree of life.
“And the LORD God planted a garden toward the east, in Eden; and there He placed the man whom He had formed. And out of the ground the LORD God caused to grow every tree that is pleasing to the sight and good for food; the tree of life also in the midst of the garden, and the tree of the knowledge of good and evil” (Genesis 2:8-9).
“But from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat from it you shall surely die” (Genesis 2:17).
My guess is that when they finally got to the center of the garden and saw the two trees, the serpent attracted them to focus on the tree of the knowledge of good and evil with his pretty colors and soothing voice. Temptation led them astray. Paul says it is the knowledge of truth that saves. They rejected truth for an acquiring of more knowledge. This curiosity to know everything (good and evil) gets us going down all sorts of bad corridors. We should only expect to meet the worse.
Life, however, is that image of what we read of in the garden before sin arrived. Life is that glorious and wonderful relationship with God in which all of His goodness comes to bear itself on your existence. Life is living in light of all His truths. For it is only in His truths, that His goodness can be witnessed, accepted and fully enjoyed.
Evil people are caught up in a pursuit of their own success and can’t stand God’s ways or His truth. Eternal life is not a ticket to heaven but a living out of God’s truth now and forever into the future. The church needs to waken up to the glory of what it has. The Lord says it is so great that it makes itself desirable to those around them.
"The truth which is according to godliness, in the hope of eternal life, which God, who cannot lie, promised long ages ago, but at the proper time manifested, even His word, in the proclamation with which I was entrusted according to the commandment of God our Savior" (Titus 1:2-3).
The power behind the truth is that what God says is always true. Notice the statement, God “cannot lie.” The power behind truth is God HImself. He cannot lie. Once He pledges, He works it through. Truth is the message of redemption that takes man out of his misery and suffering. The truth is the means by which man is recovered from his wayward lives and asked to participate in God’s grand kingdom plans. God has promised this ages ago. Even as early as Genesis 3:15, we see the truth of God planted as a seed in the heart of man.
Most parents are totally surprised to see this enmity at work in their little infants!
Most parents are totally surprised to see this enmity at work in their little infants!
“And I will put enmity Between you and the woman, And between your seed and her seed; He shall bruise you on the head, And you shall bruise him on the heel” (Genesis 3:15).
The tempter with all his plans will be bruised on the head. At the proper time, Christ came into the world just as His Word had proclaimed. We do not have time to go into all the prophecies regarding Christ’s life and ministry, but just read the Book of Matthew or Hebrews and note all the quotes from the Old Testament (usually the quotes are set apart by italics). God was feeding His people more and more leads as to who and what would happen. Hebrews 1:1-2 says,
“God, after He spoke long ago to the fathers in the prophets in many portions and in many ways, in these last days has spoken to us in His Son, whom He appointed heir of all things, through whom also He made the world” (Hebrews 1:1-2).
Paul goes back and speaks how he ended up proclaiming this message. "In the proclamation with which I was entrusted according to the commandment of God our Savior" (Titus 1:2-3). The Lord converted him and told him that he needed to take the message to the nations, that is, the Gentiles.
“But the Lord said to him, “Go, for he is a chosen instrument of Mine, to bear My name before the Gentiles and kings and the sons of Israel; for I will show him how much he must suffer for My name’s sake” (Acts 9:15-16).
Paul as an apostle was of course expected to proclaim the Gospel, the truth of God’s Word that leads to salvation. But we are too! We are not apostles, but we are those who are privileged to know and share Christ. We should always be alert to how God would want us to share His Word.
Scriptures typically quoted from the New American Standard Bible unless noted:
(C) Copyright The Lockman Foundation 1988