Read Titus 1:1-4.
Paul says here that his mission as an apostle is “to further the faith of God’s elect and their knowledge of the truth that leads to godliness …” That statement is also particularly descriptive of Paul’s vision for what his lieutenant, Titus, is to be about in a difficult setting, the Christians living on the island of Crete (1:5)
What Paul and Titus both are to clearly be about is the furtherance of two things among God’s people: faith and knowledge. Those two items, faith and knowledge, are not the objective, but are means to the goal of Christian faith: godliness. That is, our faith, directed by God’s truth, is designed to result in a life like the ways of God. The Christians in Crete were having a hard time with that at this point. And Paul perceived Titus, one of his converts from years past (1:4) to be the right man for the job, a man with a track record of living and leading in godly ways in difficult contexts.
- When Paul had discussed the essence of gospel with the Jewish leaders in Jerusalem, Titus was right there with him (Gal. 2:1-3), serving as a living example of what Christian faith among Gentiles could result in (Gal. 2:3-5).
- When Paul wrote the most severe words he had to share with the church in Corinth, it was Titus who carried “the severe letter” to them (2 Cor. 7:6-7,13-14), serving not merely as the letter carrier, but as a model to troubled Christians of what a real Christian was to look like.
- Further, and a little later, it was Titus who brought the letter we have come to know as 2 Corinthians to the church at Corinth and it was he who reaped the collection in Corinth for the impoverished Christians in Jerusalem (2 Cor. 8:6,16-17).
So now, as Titus is in Crete and working in a situation where “there many rebellious people full of meaningless talk” (1:10), he is “the man of the hour.” God has prepared him for this ministry with his prior experiences in ministry. He has used Paul to shape him so for such. And the two main tools Titus now has in his hands – faith and knowledge – are for hard work in living a genuine, eternal life of hope among God’s people, no matter the surrounding or circumstances.
God my Father in heaven, take my faith in you and my knowledge of the truth about you further. Move me along the way so that my ways obviously reflect your character and behavior. Use me however you will in preaching and practice to further these things among all the people you have chosen for yourself. Use me to spread the hope of your eternal life among the lives of all, I pray in Jesus’ name. Amen.