Friday, July 22, 2011

A Familiar Yet Unusual Greeting Pt. 3 - Titus 1:1-4

It has been a long while since I last posted on the book of Titus, but I am back at it tonight.  My hope in this post is to smoothly transition from the first verse, which ended the second part of this four-verse passage, into the third verse.  It is a monumental task.  However, I need to back my way into the first verse for a much-needed brief review not only for myself, but for all of you--- my faithful followers.  So, as we march half a step backwards, we recognize from my last post on the book of Titus that we saw an out of the ordinary combination, which ultimately revealed the unusual markings of a Pauline greeting.  This crazy combination consisted of the predestining beams of the elect of God merging with the beams of human responsibility that focused on man’s knowledge of the truth in accordance with godliness. 

In this last post, I argued that Paul wants us to see that the faith of our election stems from our acceptance of the knowledge of truth that is bound together by the firm chords of godliness.  Our acceptance of the knowledge of truth, which is firmly held by godliness, is the mere choice of human freedom.  We must accept it if we have any shot at reaching the status of the elect in God’s eyes.  However, God was, is, and has been working on the specific person’s heart from the initial moment of searching for Him to the initial greatness of finally finding salvation in Him alone.  The Holy Spirit’s work of regeneration starts with Him and ends with Him.  Therefore, the Holy Spirit is working in you, if you are one of the elect, as you ultimately count the costs of whether you will persevere in the faith as a potential disciple of Jesus Christ.  Not too difficult to see from the first verse, right?   

Now, we can efficiently chug our way into verse 2.  Verse 2 reads as follows, “in hope of eternal life, which God, who never lies, promised before the ages began…”.  Wow!!!!!  Can you see where verse 2 is headed after the mega extraordinary happenings in verse 1?  Paul, at the beginning of verse 2, is relaying a very significant truth, because he does not intend to leave us stranded in the dust as selling ourselves short in JUST being among the elect of God.  The key word is just.  Remember when I iterated in the last part that Paul’s purpose for writing this letter was to encourage the elect of God as they continued to strive towards godliness.  Well, we have come upon the strengthening portion, the encouragement.  Paul’s encouragement is that the elect of God would see that their knowledge of the truth wrapped up in godliness is not a means to an eventual dead end.  It is a means to the end, in which hope bursts onto the scene--- the hope that is only found through the atoning self-sacrifice of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ upon a hill called Calvary.  Nothing else will be able to offer you the hope of everlasting life.  Only Jesus can offer you this hope.  Paul’s encouragement is timely. 

We can now await eagerly with confident expectation that eternal life is ours, because of the precious blood of the Lamb.  But, how can we now for certain?  Can God be trustworthy?  For historical context sake Titus 1:12 reads, “One of the Cretans, a prophet of their own, said, ‘Cretans are always liars, evil beasts, lazy gluttons.’”  Then, Paul goes on to say in verse 13 that the testimony of this Cretan prophet is true.  We know that Paul is writing to Titus (v. 4) in order to strengthen and encourage the brethren of the Island of Crete.  So, we can clearly deduct from verse 12 that some Cretan believers would have a difficult time trusting anything anybody would say since they have lived to experience such constant untruthfulness in their society.  Should they then truly trust God when eternal life sounds too good to be true?  Let’s continue on in verse 2 as Paul reveals the answer.  It reads, “…. which God, who never lies, promised before the ages began..” 

Okidokie, so God does not lie and He promised eternal life before the ages began.   Sounds exactly what the Cretans needed and those of us who struggle in trusting the very words of God.  God does not lie.  There is not even a hint, a small iota of evil within His being.  He is completely impeccable.  He is light and in Him there is no darkness at all (1 John 1:5).  Can we trust Him even when our minds can’t literally fathom what He has in store for us?  Of course, He reminds us in Proverbs to trust Him with ALL our hearts and lean not on our own understanding.  If we fearlessly trust Him without abandon, our lives would reflect the magnitude of His glory at its height, which in turn strips any and all unbelief.  So, with that in mind, let’s trust in the very words of God as He shows us how to live our lives to the fullest in order to further His glory and kingdom like the Cretans needed to trust that God doesn’t lie for the sake of them believing that eternal life is really real. 

Now, before I close, I will briefly touch on verse three.  I have already provided you with a lot of information in this post and I do not want to bombard you with more information than you all can handle.  Thus, I will swiftly make my way through verse three.  Titus 1:3 says, “…… and at the proper time manifested in his word through the preaching with which I have been entrusted by the command of God our Savior;...”.  In reality, this verse means exactly what you think it means.  He has manifested, at the proper time, in His word the only way to heaven, the only way to gain entrance into everlasting life, which is in the repentance of sins and the placement of Jesus as your only Lord and Savior.  He alone can save you.  So, this is the message that Paul has been entrusted with by the ultimate command of the Savior himself when He opened Paul’s eyes to the absolute beauty and spectacular wonders of the Gospel on the Damascus road in Acts 9.   And, we have been entrusted with this message as well.  I will close with this verse--- the calling of every Christian…..

Matthew 28:18-20 says, “And Jesus came to them and said, ‘All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me.  Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you.  And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.’”

Sola Deo Gloria!!!!!!       




Debbiehere said...


Seminary graduates shy away from Titus (& many other passages pertaining to predestination & God's Sovereignty)!

But why? It's VERY Biblical - spread throughout both Testaments! Paul states clearly why (please read the entire text to keep it in context).... I Timothy 4: 3-4 "For the time is coming when people will not endure sound teaching, but having itching ears they will accumulate for themselves teachers to suit their own passions, and will turn away from listening to the truth and wander off into myths."

To say that we're there is obvious. Keep up the good work Josh; don't waiver - we need to hear the truth!!!


Joshua said...

Aunt Debbie,
You are so right. It is funny that you would bring this up because I was talking to my friend Justin about it today. Many people shy away from predestination because they can't really comprehend why God would predestine some and not others. Really, why are some headed to hell? I gave him this reason. It is in Romans 9.

Romans 9:22-24 says, "What if God, desiring to show His wrath and to make known His power, has endured with much patience vessels of wrath prepared for destruction, in order to make known the riches of His glory for vessels of mercy, which he has prepared beforehand for glory."

God gives us the answer. He has prepared some for eternal destruction, so that God's glory can shine forth in the midst of our appreciation of why He decided to choose us. Did God have to choose us? No, but He did to make known the riches of His glory to the elect. That is the best answer we can give.

You, my friend, were headed to hell, but I, God, chose you so I could reveal my glory, my love, my grace, my mercy, and my justice to you. It is nothing we have done. It all comes from Him. Regeneration begins with Him and ends with Him..... :)