Take a look at Titus 1:2. There is a repeated word in the original Greek in which Paul wrote, but for some reason the English translations I looked at don’t repeat it. Here is how verse two would look if that word were repeated:
“in hope of life eternal, which was promised by God, who does not lie, before time eternal.”
See that repetition? And also see the emphasis on God as telling the truth? I mentioned that in the previous post, as Paul is very concerned that Titus and the Christians on the Island of Crete focus on truth. Why does Paul need to say that God doesn’t lie, though? Isn’t that obvious?
Actually, no. In fact, the concept of God as truthful, contrasts to the Greek and Roman gods, who the people in Crete were raised on. One author I read said that “there was never a greater lying trickster than Olympian Zeus, who always seemed to wrap himself in a fog in order to ravish some maiden out of sight of his wife, Hera, and then to lie about the deed.” (Baugh, Titus)
Paul knows his audience. He knows what the Cretans believed, because they were taught it from the days of their childhood, and Paul see how they act. He wants to assure Titus and the church in Crete that the hope they have in Jesus is based on the fact that he is the truth.
What’s more, the truth God promised was from eternity to eternity, that there is hope of life in him! What a wonderful way to start a letter, isn’t it? There is hope in God, hope for life, and God doesn’t lie about this. It is true!
Continue to verse 3. There Paul explains that, “At God’s appointed season, He brought his word to light.” What is God’s Word? His word is the truth that Paul mentioned in verse 1, the truth of Jesus. “He brought it to light” is the idea of revealing it. Paul says that through the preaching, the proclamation, that was entrusted to him, then, he is helping people see the truth of Jesus, shining a light on it so people can see it.
Now this is Paul speaking…he was an apostle…so maybe this is just something that he does? Maybe we don’t have to? Maybe it is just for the evangelists? The missionaries? The pastors?
No, this is for us all! We all can shine a light on who Jesus really is. We recently had a discipleship training event at Faith Church that made this very clear. The mission of God’s Kingdom to make disciples is for all Christians. How do we know this? Think back to Matthew 28:20. There Jesus says that a disciple is someone that is learning to obey everything Jesus commanded the original disciples. One of those commands is “go make disciples”! So it is every disciple’s call to make disciples.
Paul goes on to say that the preaching entrusted to him was by the command of God our savior. Paul repeats this in verse 4 when he refers to Christ Jesus our savior. That repetition means it is an important concept.
How is Jesus our savior?
Savior from what? What do we need saving from?
Savior for what? What do we need saving for?
Paul doesn’t explain these things. He will later in the letter. We’ll get to that. For now, Paul is saying that we have a savior in Jesus, that Jesus is the truth that leads to godliness. In other words, while there are many people and organizations trying to get us to believe that they have truth, Paul is saying that truth is found in Jesus. True hope for life eternal is in Jesus. Throughout the letter we’re going to hear him talk about this more. In this greeting, he just introduces it. So if you are struggling, wondering if there is hope, wondering what is the truth, keep reading Titus. Feel free to read ahead! Comment below. I would be glad to talk further.
Many in our world do not have hope. Paul clearly wanted Titus and the people in his church to know the source of truth that leads to godliness.
Now that Paul has described his role as a servant apostle to proclaim the hope we have in Jesus, he next refers to the recipient of the letter. Check back tomorrow as we learn about Titus.