Relationships in the Faith
1. Recognize the context: Literary Context- The Christian experience, which is characterized by faith and knowledge of the truth, leads to godliness.The ultimate goal of the Christian life is the hope of eternal life with God. True biblical hope is not merely wishful thinking; rather, it is “certainty” ( Rom. 5:1–5; 8:18–25). Certainty of eternal life is based on God, who is truthful and does not deceive (Num 23:19, 1 Sam. 15:29). God planned and promised this everlasting life with him before the beginning of time.
God’s commitment to eternal life was currently being realized at the appropriate time, in Paul’s day, through the gospel message entrusted to him to preach by the command of God. Here, God is referred to as “our Savior.” Reference to God as Savior was common within the Old Testament and was familiar in the Greco-Roman world. However, it grabs our attention here because Paul more often referred to Jesus as the Savior than God the Father. However, we shouldn't be surprised by Paul's language here since he had much to say about God in the introduction to this letter. Additionally, we know from the rest of Paul’s teaching that the Triune God (Father, Son, and Holy Spirit) was active in the work of salvation.
When reading and studying Scripture, we should always ask, “What does this passage say about the Triune God (Father, Son, and Holy Spirit)?” Here Paul has taken the time to tell Titus, and through him, us a great deal about God.
God has had a chosen people throughout history.
God desires for his people to grow in faith, know the truth, and live a godly life.
God has designed everlasting life with him before the beginning of time.
God is truthful and does not lie or deceive.
God brought the gospel message at his appointed time.
God brought about salvation, and he is our savior.
God is our Father (v. 4).
2. Read the Scripture: Titus 1:1-4
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—2 in the hope of eternal life, which God, who does not lie, promised before the beginning of time, 3 and which now at his appointed season he has brought to light through the preaching entrusted to me by the command of God our Savior, 4 To Titus, my true son in our common faith: Grace and peace from God the Father and Christ Jesus our Savior.
3. Reflect on the Scripture:
The recipient of this letter, Titus, is identified explicitly in verse 4. Paul acknowledged the faith he and Titus shared in common by using a familial analogy. Paul considered Titus a true son in the faith, exactly like Timothy (1 Tim. 1:2).
This familial mentoring relationship was essential for Paul. It was how the Christian faith was passed on to others, and it was how individuals matured in the faith. Discipleship through relationships is how Christianity has continued throughout the centuries.
A practical note:
When reading and interpreting Scripture, we should ask the question, “what does this passage reveal about humanity (in its fallen or redeemed state)?” Other questions include, is there an example to follow? Is there a principle to apply?
By way of application, we should consider Paul’s relationship with Titus and others. Do we have a “Paul” who can help us mature in our relationship with God? Do we have a “Titus” we can encourage in the faith? It can be challenging at various ages and stages of life, but these are two essential relationships vital to maturing faith in the body of Christ.
4. Relate to life:
Remember, it is important to be a doer of God’s Word, not merely a hearer or reader (James 1:22-25). Here are some practical ways to actively respond to God’s Word. Consider these or create other ways you can apply the message.
Today, prayerfully consider the practical questions and suggestions above.
Today, prayerfully ask God to help you find a “Paul” to help you grow in the faith. Ask God to help you find a “Titus” to encourage in the faith.
To do: (Actions with the Holy Spirit's help)
Given the prayer suggestions above, how do you need to respond today? Think about your attitudes, actions, and words. Think about your family, friends, church community, and co-workers.