Titus 1.4 – A Common Faith

Having introduced himself and the foundation for the letter Paul now addresses the recipient,

To Titus, my true child in a common faith…

Titus 1.4

We read of Titus a few times in the New Testament. He pops up in 2 Corinthians a couple of times (2.13, 8.23, 12.18) and in Galatians 2. He is suggested by tradition to be the brother of Luke, author of Luke and Acts

Paul addresses him as my true child in a common faith. The same faith that Paul had, the same things that Paul believed in (1 Corinthians 15.1-11) was the same faith that Titus had. Paul describes their faith as common, and he means that this belongs ‘equally to several people‘. Often we think of common to mean cheap, regular, kind of boring, but the word Paul uses here is very similar to the word often translated as fellowship, or partnership

Simply, Paul is reminding Titus of the truth that faith in Jesus is common in that it belongs equally to all who profess it. It is common too in that it brings a common salvation (Jude 1.3), and that was just as true for Paul, as it was for Titus, and as it is for you. 

The same faith that Paul had was held by Titus, and this same faith is available for you too. Same object, same outworking, same conclusion. The common faith that believes in the birth, life, death, resurrection, ascension, and second coming of Jesus, the common faith that believes that He died for us whilst we were sinners to offer us reconciliation to God, this common faith in Jesus is the same yesterday, today, and will be the same tomorrow (Hebrews 13.8).

How encouraging this is for us, that we are joining those who went before us in professing faith in something so ancient, so established, something that belongs equally to us as much as it did to them, and will do to those who come after us. 

Today, take a moment to think on this; have I truly accepted that my faith allows me to be part of something so much bigger, longer standing, and eternally reaching that myself?

Living a Life of Words

There are things for us to do now we are believers in Jesus, and, sure, choosing words carefully is one of them; kind, loving, caring, encouraging, edifying, counselling, and consistent (James 3.1-12).

Imagine that Jesus was taking another walk on the road to Emmaus (Luke 24.27) with the New Testament in hand, how would He explain this part of James in relation to Himself?

I’m gonna suggest that He would say this – Words of life are found in one place only.

In John 6 Jesus said 

It is the Spirit who gives life; the flesh is no help at all. 

Basically, you will never tame your own tongue in your own power and never. 

Edwin Blum wrote that

The Holy Spirit, poured out in the world, gives life (salvation) to those who believe. Without the Holy Spirit, man (flesh) is utterly unable to understand Jesus’ person and His works [and then act accordingly].

Jesus continues and says

The words that I have spoken to you are spirit and life.

He was talking about eternal life, how it is only found in Him, that we must partake of His life and work and sacrificed body to truly inherit eternal life, and that we must look beyond the physical rituals of religion to the words that He is saying and the things He is teaching. His Words carry meaning and truth, and because this is hard, some left Him. We read,  

After this many of his disciples turned back and no longer walked with him. 

So He asked the 12, are you leaving as well? He had said some tough truths and people left Him…imagine that. Do you know what the 12 said to Him?

“Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life, and we have believed, and have come to know, that you are the Holy One of God.”

Jesus’ words lead to life. No one else, nobody else’s words lead to eternal life.

It’s so easy to look at passages like James 3.1-12 and be very moral: You need to be in control of your tongue and your speech. Words are powerful, words can heal, words can cut down, words matter, your words matter. 

That’s not incorrect, but it’s incomplete. 

Rather than be all moral and preach-y, we ought to look at passages like this with a Christ-centred lens: Your words do matter, but Jesus has the words of eternal life.

So yes, work hard to choose your words carefully, but ultimately let us rest in the promises of eternal life found in the words of Jesus.

1 Timothy 4.7-10 – Temporal or Eternal

Lots of people nowadays seem to put energy and effort into things that have no eternal benefit, don’t they. 

Have nothing to do with irreverent, silly myths. Rather train yourself for godliness; for while bodily training is of some value, godliness is of value in every way, as it holds promise for the present life and also for the life to come. The saying is trustworthy and deserving of full acceptance. 10 For to this end we toil and strive, because we have our hope set on the living God, who is the Savior of all people, especially of those who believe.

Having talked of the witness given by God’s people through the centrality of the Word, today Paul talks about the other side of the coin, have nothing to do with irreverent, silly myths.

Paul then taps into the culture of the day and says, look, stop worrying so much about how you look, how strong you are, for while bodily training is of some value, godliness is of value in every way, as it holds promise for the present life and also for the life to come.

For us now, this could be so many things. People are so concerned with and caught up in things that have no eternal value. This could be the politics of the day, the latest tv/movie release, the favored sports team, the new relationship, the new car, the new house…

Let’s be clear, none of those things are inherently sinful, but when they take over and become the number one concern, priority, and passion in our lives, that’s wrong.

Rather than working towards these temporal treasures, we ought to be focused on the eternal reward that is the object of our hope, which is set on the living God, who is the Savior of all people, especially those who believe