Titus 1:1–2 (HCSB)
1 Paul, a slave of God and an apostle of Jesus Christ, to build up the faith of God’s elect and their knowledge of the truth that leads to godliness, 2 in the hope of eternal life that God, who cannot lie, promised before time began.
These four verses comprise the introduction to the letter to Titus. The author’s identity, Paul, is immediately revealed. The introduction then touches on a couple big topics, before finally addressing the intended audience of the letter.
The first thing that we are hit with is the purpose of the writing from Paul. First Paul identifies himself, he stages his position, as a “slave of God and an apostle of Jesus Christ”. Paul provides some credentials, some background of who he is, and what he is about. We should be seeking the input and voice of men who are slaves to God and apostles of Christ. Shouldn’t these be the people we chose to influence us rather than someone who identifies as a “follower of self”, or a “denier of God”?
And look at his purpose: “to build up the faith of God’s elect and their knowledge of the truth”. Paul is writing for us, not for himself. This is one of the signs of Paul’s apostleship: he is working to bring others closer to Christ, to bring them to know Him. Shouldn’t we, also as slaves to God, be striving to do the same? Just as we are in need of the nurturing words from God, via Paul, are there not others, a step behind us in their walk, that need the same? I think we should enter into this letter from Paul not just for the growth it provides, but also for the guidance it provides to help us help others.
And what a wonderful goal, the hope of eternal life with God! This is what Paul is working to draw people to through a relationship with Jesus. This is what our goal should be as well, as it is perfectly in line with God’s desire.
Secondly, we are given a grand and wonderful truth about God: His timely revelation, and His control over its transmission. It is worth noting that Paul recognizes his letter, his “proclamation”, as being God’s message. Again, we are reminded that we are followers of Christ, of God, not of man, not of Paul.
And God reveals this message “in His own time”. God is not working on our time table, by our schedule. In fact, I think it is fair to say that God has little concern for our schedule unless it aligns with His! We ought to be very careful and cautious when we start moving out ahead of God, or falling behind Him, those are unsafe areas.
Finally, we might notice that Paul was recruited by God with authority. God commanded Paul’s involvement with spreading the Good News. This was not an initiative of Paul’s, this was an initiative of God. Certainly we should seek God, we should take steps to draw near to Him, but those steps should be the ones He has commanded.
Lord, thank You for working out a plan for eternal life with You, for us, since before there was a beginning! I pray You would keep working in and on us, mold us like You did Paul, to walk in that sweet spot next to You, not out in front, and not far behind, and be constantly attuned to Your command. Amen.