IT’S ALL ABOUT MOTIVATION
Lord, keep me in the stream of sound doctrine.
Read TITUS 1:1–4
1 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.
New International Version (NIV)
Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.
Think of times when you have experienced God’s grace and peace. Give thanks. Open yourself to receive more.
Timothy and Titus have each been left temporarily to oversee a church: Timothy in Ephesus; Titus on the island of Crete, where the embryonic Christian community lacks elders. Titus seems to be an older, more robust character than Timothy and has been entrusted earlier by Paul with demanding and delicate work among the Corinthians. Titus is a Gentile. Paul has insisted that he need not be circumcised, a clear indication that Gentile followers of Christ are free from the Jewish Law.
As in 1 and 2 Timothy, the importance of “sound doctrine” is a prominent theme in this letter. Along with the rest of the New Testament, this epistle emphasizes that “teaching” is more than the impartation of theological truth, but rather it always includes lifestyle implications: truth “leads to godliness” (1). In Titus, each chapter focuses on a setting in which the truths of the Gospel are to be lived out: in chapter 1 the setting is the church community, in chapter 2 the household, and in chapter 3 society at large.
Since the Jewish Law is not binding on Christians, our motivation to live authentically as believers needs to come from within. In today’s passage, we gain insight into Paul’s motivation for godly behavior, both for himself, for Titus and for the Cretan disciples. Three internal motivations are mentioned. First, in verse 1, Paul refers to himself as a “servant of God,” implying that his lifestyle is determined by this calling. Second, in verse 2, the “hope of eternal life” is cited, a frequent motivation in New Testament ethics: we are called to begin living the life of the future kingdom now. Third, verse 4 reminds us of the basis of the Gospel, “Grace and peace from God.” Out of our benefit from blessings, obedience flows.
Consider your motivation to live an authentic Christian lifestyle. Do the three internal motivations above apply to you? Are there others?
Lord, thank You for appointing leaders in the Church so that we can operate under a sense of order and discipline as we move Your kingdom forward.
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