“Paul, a servant of God and an apostle of Jesus Christ, for the sake of the faith of God’s elect and their knowledge of the truth, which accords with godliness, in hope of eternal life, which God, who never lies, promised before the ages began 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;
To Titus, my true child in a common faith:
Grace and peace from God the Father and Christ Jesus our Savior.” Titus 1:1-4
In any introduction, to a letter, a publication, a message, it helps to have an aim, to know why we are presenting what we are. To Paul, his motive is singular, his purpose clear. His letters are as his life, wholly composed and communicated for the sake of faith in those God had entrusted to him. In everything he did and spoke and preached, he endeavored to open the way for others to grow in their understanding of the gospel, apply its truths, and walk more closely with God. The faith that had captivated him, by which he was drastically saved and set free, now shaped the mission of his days on earth. (Acts 9:3-18; Romans 1:16-17; 5:1-2; Ephesians 2:8-9; 1 Timothy 1:5)
Paul was encouraged by and delighted to hear of lively faith within the churches, and thanked God for it. He rejoiced in their development and expression of faith, and urged that people continue in it so it would grow abundantly. He commended them to take it up as a potent shield in waging spiritual battles. He counted it a privilege to suffer for the sake of others’ faith. He encouraged unity and cooperation in the faith, and prayed that it would be shared effectively. He encouraged Timothy to set an example of faith and to train others in it. (Romans 1:8,12; Ephesians 1:15-16; 6:12-13,16; Philippians 1:12-14,27; Colossians 1:3-4,23; 1 Thessalonians 1:2-3; 2 Thessalonians 1:3-4; 1 Timothy 4:6,12; Philemon 4-6)
What about me? What do my words and conversations reveal about my real inspiration and intentions? How clearly do I live and speak for the sake of Jesus and faith in Him? Where can I be more deliberate in introducing the concept of faith to a spiritual novice, or encouraging faith in someone less practiced or knowledgable?
With whom in my family and church and the places I minister can I invest in developing faith, taking opportunities to speak of God’s ability and trustworthiness? How faithful am I to cheer them on to be strong and not to waver? In what situations at home, work, or in my community, can I better exemplify faith with courage and joy, even if it seems subversive or strange? (Romans 4:20)
Lord, may my words unlatch the way for Your gospel, that others hear of You and Your gift of salvation. May my love for others open wide Your arms to them, that they sense Your limitless and grace-filled affection. May every aspect of my life invite others to behold the beauties of Your mercy and faithfulness. O God, may I live and breathe for the sake of faith, and keep it all my days. (2 Timothy 4:7)