Tag Archives: grace

Seeing beyond our circumstances to share grace and peace – Philemon 1-7, Part 2

20 Aug
Photo by Bud Helisson on Unsplash

How are you viewing your life? Are things going well? Are they difficult? If they are going well, my guess is that you probably view them in a positive light. But they are difficult, your view could be negative. In the middle of the difficult, it can be hard for us to think and feel anything but self-loathing, wanting an escape, or anger and despair. In the previous post, though, we saw Paul, though a prisoner, demonstrate an ability to see beyond his circumstances. As we continue studying Philemon 1-7, Paul’s at it again, and this time he not only sees his personal difficulty hopefully, he has a message to share.

After introducing himself as the letter writer, Paul includes Timothy as a cosigner to the letter, because Timothy was in Rome with Paul.  Next he refers to the recipient of the letter, Philemon, calling him a “dear friend and fellow worker,” so we learn just a bit about how Paul felt about this guy.  Clearly Paul feels a close relationship with Philemon.

Then Paul greets two other people. Apphia, who most scholars believe could be Philemon’s wife, and Archippus. Some have speculated that maybe Archippus is Philemon’s son.  We don’t know. 

Interestingly Paul calls Archippus a “fellow soldier.”  “Soldier is a word that refers to “one who serves in arduous tasks or undergoes severe experiences together with someone else—one who struggles along with, one who works arduously along with, fellow struggler.”  Scholars tell us that a “strictly literal translation of that word could imply that Paul himself was a soldier and therefore, in a sense, a secret agent of some military force.” Because we know that wasn’t the case, we need to see Paul as saying to Archippus that Archippus is one, “who works like a fellow soldier or one who experiences great hardships along with us.”[1]

Finally at the end of verse 2, Paul greets “the church that meets in your home.”  Because this is a personal letter to Philemon, it seems best to understand this as Paul referring to a church that meets in Philemon’s home.  Remember that at this time, churches all met in homes.  There were no church buildings. 

Then in verse 3 Paul gives a greeting that is very typical for him: “Grace and peace from God our Father and Lord Jesus.”  But these are not just throw-away words.  Paul means them.  He uses them over and over in his letters, and so we know he takes this greeting seriously.  

Grace came up a lot in Titus.  It comes up a lot in all of Paul’s writings. So we could assume that we all know what it means.  But let’s not.  Instead let’s talk through what grace is.  In the original language that Paul wrote in, ancient Greek, he is using the word, “charis.” In English, “charis” is often translated as “gift”.  You can see how that relates to grace, because we often call it “God’s gift of grace.”  A gift is something that is given, not earned.  That is how we see grace, right? 

Next Paul says “Peace.”  Peace is the Greek word “irene”.  So we have two women’s names in Paul’s greeting: Charis and Irene.  Peace, or irene, refers to a favorable set of circumstances involving tranquility.   

Now add in the rest of the greeting and we see that the grace and peace is “from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.”  This is not human grace and peace, it is from God.  He wants the people receiving this letter to have quite a wonderful blessing from God.  A blessing of grace and peace.

What is so amazing about this, is to consider Paul’s situation as he writes this.  Imagine Paul, in chains, trying to encourage people who are not on house arrest!  He wants them to experience grace and peace when it seems like they should be encouraging him!  Doesn’t it seem like Paul is the one who should be getting a blessing of grace and peace?  And yet here again, Paul does not allow his circumstances to dictate his message.  He wants grace and peace to be communicated anyway.  He doesn’t want his house arrest to destroy the work of God.  He easily could have allowed his chains to ruin his ministry.  But he doesn’t.  Paul allows Jesus to transform his situation.

And Jesus has a really important purpose for this letter, which we will see in the next post in this series.


[1] Johannes P. Louw and Eugene Albert Nida, Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament: Based on Semantic Domains (New York: United Bible Societies, 1996), 447.

God’s purpose for your life – Titus 3:1-8, Part 4

8 Aug
Photo by Tyler Nix on Unsplash

Stop! Don’t read this post. (I know. That’s not an advisable way to start a blog post.)

Before continuing with this post, thought, if you haven’t read the previous post, part 3, please go back and read it here. In this series of posts, we’re studying the amazing teaching of Titus 3:1-8, so actually, I would recommend you start with the first post. But at the very least, please take a few minutes and scan through part 3 in this series, as you need to have a grasp of the verses in Titus 3 that post covered in order to see the significance this one will cover.

What I talked about in the previous post relates to the next phrase in verses 5-6, “renewal by the Holy Spirit.” Paul has been teaching about the transformation that God works in our lives. Christians often call it salvation, and in that amazing gift of grace, Paul says, God pours the Holy Spirit into our lives, further causing renewal to take place.  That means God himself enters our lives to renew us.  I don’t know that I can understate how important that is. 

I get the sense that we need to think and contemplate an awful lot more on the fact that the Spirit of God has been poured out on us to renew us. 

In the midst of busy lives, of work, of sports, of Netflix, of TV, of all that you do, have you pushed the Spirit to some tiny corner of your lives?  Intellectually, I would agree the Spirit is with me.  But in the reality of my day to day life, to what degree do I have a relational connection with the Spirit?  If I’m honest, I rarely think about or attempt to interact with the Spirit.  How about you?  Because God is with us, by his Spirit, however, wouldn’t a deeper connection with the Spirit be something we should look into? 

But Paul is not done.  Look at verse 7.  His thought continues, and there is more incredible news.  All this amazing mercy and love and kindness of God, that saved us, washed us, and renewed us from an old way of life, is for a reason.  God has a purpose. 

Before telling us the purpose, Paul has one more important phrase to set the stage. 

Paul says, “Having been justified by his grace.”

“Justified” is a really important biblical theological word, rich in meaning.  Oftentimes scholars debate as to how we should understand it.  The word that Paul used has the idea of putting things in right relation, or making things right.  That’s what God does through Jesus.  He is making things right between us and God.  Another English word that might be an even better fit is “rectification.”  By his grace, God rectifies the situation, he makes it right. As we’ve already seen in the previous post, God makes us into new people, and earlier in this post, God generously pours his Spirit into our lives. God is at work making things right in our lives.

Why would God do this?  If it wasn’t because of anything we did, and it wasn’t, why would he do this?  As I said, he has a purpose.  Paul now puts it all together telling us why God’s kind, loving, merciful gracious salvation appeared into our darkness, saving us, transforming us, even to the point of pouring out his Spirit on us through Jesus.  Why would God do all that?  Why would Jesus go through the incredible 33 years of his birth, life, death and resurrection?

Paul tells us in verse 7: “so that we might become heirs having the hope of eternal life.” 

This is amazing good news! 

Paul is using family language here.  God wants us to be his heirs.  That means he wants to adopt us into his family.  This is exactly what he said in Titus 2:14, that he was making a people for himself.  God wants you to be in his family. Stop reading this post, and just dwell on that thought a minute. God wants you to be in his family. Do you know that? What do you think about that?

But wait, there’s more, Paul says! God also wants you to have the hope of eternal life.  As I said in the series of posts on Titus 2:11-15, though in that section Paul was teaching about good news in Jesus, he surprisingly didn’t talk about eternal life. He does now.  God wants us to have hope of new life with him now and for eternity. That’s how much God wants you to be in his family.

So look really closely at what God has done.  Into our mess, God appears and does a work of transformation, giving us the gift of himself, so that we can be a part of his family and have hope for eternal life.  That’s good, good news.  That’s worthy of jumping, shouting, cheering, praising, and getting on iMessage, Instagram, Facebook or your phone or walking around your neighborhood and saying, “People, do you realize what God has done???” Paul is describing the revolutionary work of God that is available to all: he wants you to become new, so that you can be a part of his family now and for eternity.

Hope when life is very dark – Titus 3:1-8, Part 3

7 Aug

Do you have a dark past? Is life feeling messy or difficult right now? If you answered “Yes” to either of these questions, you’re not alone. All of us go through really troubling times. In the middle of it, we can feel a confusing mixture of fear, sadness, pain, longing, despair, and we wonder if things will ever change. Usually we think they won’t.

As we continue studying Titus 3:1-8, Paul is thinking about those dark days in the past when in verse 3 he says, “At one time.”  After talking about how the Christians in Crete should be subject to the authorities and live Christianly in the world, Paul has a shift in his flow of thought, drawing their attention to the past.  He wants them to be totally different people than he used to be, than they used to be. 

When he says, “we too,” he could be talking about himself, which is important because, as a leader, he is owning and admitting his past faults.  Paul lists the way he used to live:  foolish, disobedient, deceived, enslaved by passions, living in malice and envy, being hated and hating one another.

Paul could be talking about himself because before he became a Christian, he was pretty rough, persecuting Christians.  This is very much connected with what he just said in the previous verse about being humble.  Christians should be willing to admit our faults.  Leaders especially, we need to be committed to admitting where we mess up.  It’s hard to admit our faults, though, isn’t it?  I sense that in our society we have moved toward less admittance of our faults.  It seems to me that people are much quicker to blame others, and not accept fault.  We have too few examples of people who screwed up, owned it, confessed it, and strove for penance, reconciliation, healing.

Paul is also not saying that everyone used to horrible, though.  But maybe there is at least something on the list that describes how you and I used to be. 

Verse 3 is difficult.  Who likes to remember our dark pasts?  And yet Paul is leading us there, so let’s follow his lead.  Look at the words he uses in verse 3 to describe the dark past.  Take a moment to dwell on them.  For the most part Paul is describing those times when we made a mess of our lives.   What was that for you?

A choice to indulge an unhealthy relationship.  To engage in addictive behaviors.  To cross the line into illegalities, because maybe you were angry, you were hurt, you were maybe trying to impress someone.  Maybe people pushed you to act a certain way, and you wanted to be included in their group.  Maybe you were deceived by someone and they hurt you.

As Paul says, remember those times when you felt malice, which is a feeling of wanting to hurt someone.  Remember those times when you were envious.  Maybe a family member or friend was prospering or gaining accolades, while you are working super hard long hours, and seeming like you are not advancing.  And envy creeps in.   Maybe you had someone at work hate you.  Maybe you have someone you hate. 

It can get dark, can’t it?  Remember the darkness? It’s no fun.  Maybe you have some of that darkness even now in your life.  Maybe you feel like you are living it now. 

And into the darkness something happens.

Look what Paul says in verse 4.  God intervened! His kindness and love appeared.  It wasn’t us.  We didn’t do it.  God stepped in.  This is so similar to what he said earlier in 2:11 – the grace of God appeared!  Praise God!  He steps into our darkness! 

When we are in the mess and muck of life, even if it is a situation of our own making, we can feel hopeless and alone.  But Paul says, God our Savior is loving and kind.

What’s more, Paul says in verses 5-6, God saved us!  He steps into our mess and saves us.  Not because of our righteousness. Remember the darkness in verse 3, which says we were far from him, the furthest thing from righteousness.  Paul says God saved us because of his mercy.  We need to spend time dwelling on that too.  God is merciful.  Even when we used to be living in a mess of our own making, he is still merciful.  We don’t deserve it, but he is loving and kind and gives us mercy.

What does mercy involve?  Just words?  Maybe just a pat on the head?  Oh no.  Paul says, God saves us so deeply, so thoroughly, from the inside out.  We’re talking transformation here.  Look at these words he uses:

He saved us through the washing of rebirth

He saved us through renewal of the Holy Spirit whom he poured out on us generously through Jesus Christ our Savior.

Rebirth and renewal.  We need to talk more about these two! 

Paul calls it the washing of rebirth.  This is symbolized in the celebration of baptism.  The water and act of baptism symbolize the reality that God is doing within us.  All that junk we read about in verse 3, all of it is washed clean, and we are reborn.  So not only are we cleaned, but we are reborn.  We are new people.  A new beginning.  We’re not the same as we used to be.  What Paul is describing is incredibly similar to what we saw him teach last week in chapter 2, verse 14, when he talked about redeeming and purifying us.  When Jesus gets in your life, he makes a change!

Check back in as we’ll continue talking about this change in the next post.

What Christians need to say “No” to – Titus 2:11-15, Part 3

31 Jul
Photo by Zach Ilic on Unsplash

How are you with saying “No” to people or opportunities or temptations in life? It can be difficult, especially for those of us who have people-pleasing tendencies or addictive personalities. Being able to say “No” is vital in many areas of life, and in our series on Titus 2:11-15, Paul brings it up.

In verse 12 Paul says that God’s grace teaches us to say “No” to ungodliness and worldly passions. Because we need to learn to say “No” to them, in this post we’ll take a closer look at what they mean.

First, what is ungodliness? What one person thinks is ungodly another might not, so we need to be clear as to what Paul is referring to.  The word Paul uses is defined as “to live in a manner contrary to proper religious beliefs and practice.” (Louw & Nida)

Sounds technical, doesn’t it? What is Paul talking about?  Well, before you can know what is “contrary to proper religious beliefs and practices,” you have to know what are proper religious beliefs and practices.  Thankfully, Paul has already told us. In a Bible or Bible app, look at verses 1-10 of Titus chapter 2.  Remember that section?  There Paul describes how the older people in the church are to set the example for the younger people. (You can read my series of posts on that section starting here.)  Paul says that the older people in a church family are to teach the younger people how to live.  In other words, in Titus chapter 2, verses 1-10, Paul is teaching right practices. 

Ungodliness, therefore, would be the opposite of everything you read in Titus 2:1-10.  Look at Titus 2:2, for example, and turn all the godly practices listed there into opposites, and you will get a description of ungodliness: getting drunk, being disrespectable, lacking self-control.  Now scan down to verse 3 and do the same. Ungodliness is found in people who are irreverent, slanderers, and addicts. Keep going and you find more descriptors of ungodliness: impurity, unkindness, lacking integrity, talking back, stealing, untrustworthy.  These are all evidences of ungodliness. Therefore, in Titus 2:11-12, when Paul says we receive God’s gift of grace, that grace is teaching us to say “No” to all those various descriptions of ungodliness.  It is also teaching us to say “No” to worldly passions.

What are worldly passions?   Passions are desires, lusts, or cravings.  Our bodies are created to have these desires.  Desires are not automatically evil, however, as we can also desire goodness, beauty, and truth.  But look at the word that Paul attaches to desire or passion: “worldly”.  The most literal translation of this phrase is “the desires that people of this world have.” (Louw & Nida)  If that was all Paul meant, he would be talking about passions in a very neutral sense via the basic human biological desire that we all have.  But Paul is not talking about neutral desire here.  Otherwise he wouldn’t have said that God’s grace teaches us to say “No” to it. 

Some people across the ages have actually misinterpreted Paul here (and in other biblical teaching), believing that all desire is evil. Thus they teach that the best way to live is to abandon or deny all desire.  That’s not what Paul is saying.  We know this because Paul specifically mentions that God’s grace teaches us to say “No” to worldly desire. Paul is referring to negative or evil desire that is not in line with God’s grace.  Because he spent plenty of space in verses 1-10 of chapter 2 on this, we aren’t going to cover it again.  Instead, I encourage you to make time this week to dwell on chapter 2, verses 1-10, read the posts on those verses (linked above), and seeking to answer the primary questions we asked in that series of posts: Who is teaching you?  Who is discipling you?  And in turn, who are you discipling?  Who is helping you to say “No” to ungodliness and worldly desire, and who are you helping to do the same?

As I mentioned above, and blogged about previously, there are plenty of disagreements between Christians as to what is godly versus what is ungodly.  In Titus 2, Paul is not so much focused on making lists of rules as he wants to encourage the people that God’s grace has appeared to teach us to say “No” to what is ungodly.  As a result, Paul continues his teaching in Titus 2:12 by pointing us to focus on what is important: “living self-controlled, upright, godly lives in this present age.” 

The best example of that kind of godly life is Jesus himself.  I encourage you to spend time reading the stories of Jesus and learning from him how to live.  Remember that Jesus himself lives in you, through the filling of his Spirit, and wants his kind of life to enliven and energize your life to look more and more like his. 

So often we think about how close we can get to the line of ungodliness without crossing it.  Paul here is saying that we should focus on becoming more godly!  Let’s turn our gaze away from how close we can get to being ungodly, and look to Jesus, asking him to teach us how to live self-controlled, upright, godly lives in the here and now. 

Maybe you desire that kind of life, but you struggle. Maybe you admit that it is difficult to be good. As we continue this series, Paul will talk about a vital process that needs to happen in our lives if we want to live a godly life. Check back in to the next post!

Do you really know God? Titus 2:11-15, Part 2

30 Jul
Photo by Federico Vespini on Unsplash

As we continue studying Titus 2:11-15, Paul says that salvation has appeared to all.  “Appeared” is the Greek word where we get our English word, “epiphany.”  Epiphany gives us the idea of light appearing in the darkness, like at sunrise.  Here “epiphany” refers to God’s grace like a new light of truth in Christ appearing in the darkness.

This reminds me of the story of the first Easter morning. Jesus had been dead for Friday, Saturday, and now into Sunday, and his followers are distraught.  Do you remember that moment where Mary from Magdalene is in the garden where Jesus’ tomb was located, and she discovers that the tomb is empty, and assumes that someone must have taken the body?  She wanders in the garden, confused, bumping into a man whom she thinks is the gardener.  Through tears, she asks him where the body of Jesus is.  And the gardener simply says one word, her name, “Mary.”  At that moment Mary has an understanding.  An epiphany.  It was not the gardener who stood before her, but it was Jesus. 

Now back in Titus, Paul is saying that salvation is revealed to all.  How has the grace of God that brings salvation appeared to all men?  The word “to” can also be translated “for”.  Either works.  It is salvation for all and to all. Paul is not saying that all are automatically saved.  Instead he saying that the scope of salvation is that it is revealed to all. 

So before we continue, let me ask a question: do you know that God wants to be in a relationship with you?  His grace has appeared.  He has initiated it.  He has done it.  He is reaching out.  He really wants to know you and be known by you.  Do you know him?  Do the people in your family really know him?  How about your neighbors?  Friends? 

When I think about really knowing him, I go back to our Faith Church Logo and that vertical black line in the middle of the four squares.   We call that the Matthew 7 line because of the short parable Jesus tells in Matthew 7:21-23. He describes people who thought for sure they were going to enter Jesus’ Kingdom, but he shocks them saying, “Depart from, I never knew you.”  Do you really know him?  Or do you think you know him, but he would say, “I never knew you.”  And how do you know if you know him?

As we continue walking through this passage in these series of posts on Titus 2:11-15, we’ll see how Paul answers these questions. For now, think about the questions I’ve asked. How would you answer them? Have you experienced the epiphany, the revealing of God’s grace in your life?

When you forget to save your work – Titus 2:11-15, Part 1

29 Jul

I was listening to a podcast recently that was talking about research into the mob.  Organized crime families.  What the research revealed was fascinating: most mobsters don’t want to be mobsters.  In fact, even when they themselves cannot break free from a life of crime, they will go to great lengths to help their kids and grandkids do so.  While you are likely not living a life of organized crime, you have likely felt frustration about the difficulty of being good and doing good in your own life.  It might be a struggle with addiction.  It might be that difficult family member or friend.  It might be a bad habit.  It might be a money problem, stress at work, the difficulties of school, of parenting.

Even though we make fun of goody-two-shoes people, as if there is something uncool about do-gooders, and even though we humans have a natural tendency to sin, we also have a desire to be and do good.  Often we forget that very first chapter of the Bible, which tells the story of God creating the universe, we read that after God would create something he said over and over again, it was good, it was good, and it was very good. Yet we can struggle to be good. How, then, do we become good?  As we continue studying Paul’s short letter to his friend Titus, Paul talks about this very concept of being and doing good. 

I encourage you to open your Bible or Bible app to Titus 2:11-15. As you turn there, remember that Paul and Titus had previously started churches on the island of Crete.  He then sent Titus there to appoint leaders in the churches, and now in this short letter, he is giving Titus important instructions for the churches in Crete.  We’ve heard how the people in Crete were known for being wild and crazy, and Paul is very hopeful that these new Christians will be different.

In verse 11 Paul starts off with the word, “For.”  That’s one of those connecting words, meaning he has a flow of thought, where one idea leads to the next.  So glance up at verse 10 to see where his flow of thought is coming from. 

He has just talked about how Christians who were slaves could behave honorably, so that they would make the teaching about God our Savior attractive.  When we studied that passage, I suggested it can apply to us too, maybe especially in our workplaces.  How we act, how we live, how we make choices, what we say, all of our life choices, make the teaching about God either attractive or repulsive. 

What Paul is saying in verse 10 is that oftentimes actions speak louder than words.  So live in such a way as to give people a compelling reason to want to hear the words of the story. Because the story of the Kingdom of God has important words, concepts, and ideas, what are the words?  That’s where Paul goes next in verse 11, and thus we now have an idea of his flow of thought.

He begins verse 11 with a foundational concept to the story of good news: the Grace of God. What is grace?  Paul says that whatever grace is, it is “of God.”  There is, then, a unique grace that comes from God.  It is not human.  It is the grace of God.  

This grace is best understood and favor or kindness coming from God.  It is not earned.  It is God’s choice to act with kindness to us, based solely in his desire to be that way.  He doesn’t owe it to us.   

This is why the word Paul uses for “grace” is also translated “gift” in many other places.  In that idea we see something important about grace.  God’s kindness or favor to us is a gift he gives us. And what is the gift he gives us?  Paul says God’s grace brings salvation.  So in his kindness to us, God gives us the gift of salvation.  We Christians throw around this word “salvation” a lot.  But what does it mean to be saved? 

We save things that are in danger of being lost.  We save things to preserve them for the future.  How many of you have had the agony of working on an email or paper for school or maybe you were playing a video game, and you have made so much progress, and the something happens, there is a glitch, or you accidentally turn off the computer, and you forgot to hit the “save” button?  Your work, your progress is gone!  Whew, that hurts right? 

That’s very similar to the salvation Jesus brings.  There is the real possibility that people, because of their willing choice to not believe in Jesus and not follow his way, are separated from his Kingdom, not a part of his covenant family.  But God is gracious to us, making salvation available to us.

At this point in verse 11 Paul only tells us that salvation is available to us by God’s choice to be gracious.  How does grace bring salvation?  Keep following this week’s posts, as Paul will get to that! 

What Christians need: Grace, Peace…and Titus? Titus 1:1-4, Part 5

14 Jun

What do you need? A million bucks? I often daydream about how a million dollars would free up my life. But that’s not really what I need. What do we need? We conclude this week’s blog posts on Titus 1:1-4 today looking at what Christians need.

If you haven’t read the previous four posts, I encourage you to pause reading this one, and jump back to part 1 and start there. The previous posts will set the stage for this one.

Then turn to Titus chapter 1, verse 4, and you’ll see that the author of this letter, Paul, mentions a name: Titus. Who is Titus?  Titus is the guy that PUal is writing to, and in the previous posts we saw that Titus was one of Paul’s most trusted associates in ministry. Paul dispatched Titus to go to the Island of Crete in the middle of the Mediterranean Sea, where previously they had traveled and helped establish churches. Titus has a mission to help those churches, a mission that we will learn about much more next week when we study Titus 1:5-9. For now Paul greets Titus in this letter, calling him, “My true son in our common faith.”

Titus was not Paul’s biological son, but instead Paul led him to faith in faith in Jesus.  Paul was his spiritual father.  Fascinating, isn’t it, that we can have sons and daughters in the faith?  Paul had reached out to Titus to help him understand that there is hope in Jesus.

Who is your Paul?  Who is your Titus?

Church attendance across the country is declining.  People are less and less interested in Christ.

What do we do?

Some stats say that 80% of people who are invited to church will say yes, especially if you commit to be there with them, pick them, go out for breakfast, and then go to the worship service together.  But a vibrant relationship with Jesus is about much more than one hour per week at a worship service.  Paul calls Titus a son.  That’s a deep family word that means Paul was deeply invested in Timothy’s life.

Faith Church recently had an excellent Discipleship Training session, and our trainer, Clint led us to conclude that discipleship involves the following: Meet weekly with a few other people to study and apply the Scriptures with the aim of multiplication. Here is what each part of that description looks like.

Meeting weekly – needs at least this frequency to build momentum and relationship

With a few other people – beyond 3-5 people is too large. Also team up and have two leaders. Recommend same gendered groups.

Study & applying the Scriptures – the Bible is essential to disciple-making.

With the aim of multiplication – keep growing and splitting the group.  Initial group can be to study one book of the Bible, and then re-eval.  But have heart to grow.

And what does Paul say to Timothy?  He starts with “Grace and Peace,” a very typical Pauline greeting.  What does Paul mean?  Why does he share this?  Is it just perfunctory?

Grace is defined as “a favorable attitude toward someone or something—‘favor, good will.’ (Louw & Nida).  Paul is saying to Titus, “may you have favor, may you have good will.”

And may you have peace, which is defined as “a set of favorable circumstances involving peace and tranquility.” (Louw & Nida) Sounds very good, right?

Grace and Peace.  We need that. 

Notice that these are not grace and peace from Paul.  Instead Paul says that the grace and peace are from God our Father and Christ Jesus our Savior.

Though Paul calls Titus his son, he properly refers to God as their Father.  Paul is not truly father to Titus.  God is father of them both. 

And from God, from Jesus, there is grace and peace.

Let those words settle on your heart and mind today.  In one sense it was just a customary greeting.  In another sense, there is something deep and important grace and peace.  We need grace and peace from God.

I’m reading the story of Brian Johnson of Bethel Music, and his struggle with anxiety.  He said that it was a struggle for him as a child, but for 15 years he experienced grace and peace, until adult life and ministry got intense, especially as Bethel Music started growing.  The anxiety returned.  Maybe you’ve felt that with work, with raising a family, with finances, with school, with friendships.  There are many pressures in the world.  Do you need grace and peace? 

Paul reminds Titus that grace and peace are rooted in God our Father and Christ Jesus our Savior.  Brian Johnson says that for him, in the moment of panic and anxiety, that is when God became real.  I sense Paul would say the same thing.  Jesus is the truth, and in Christ alone we have the source of grace and peace.  Turn to him in prayer, in his Word, not alone, with others (with your Titus!). Turn to Jesus, the source of grace and peace.