“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
“I pray that the sharing of your faith may become effective for the full knowledge of every good thing that is in us for the sake of Christ.” Philemon 1:6
Paul’s salutation to Titus discloses the certainty of his identity and raison d’être. He opens the letter as a gate to reveal that he knew his God, and he knew his calling, and the aim of his letter was to open up and further that purpose for his young protege. His life goal was to live out and share the gospel for the sake of the faith of God’s children, a worthy endeavor and calling for every believer.
Sake: Purpose; motive. Advantage; good. Personal benefit or interest; welfare. What does it mean to live for the sake of the faith of God’s own? Paul knew it entailed teaching the truth so they could understand, encouraging godliness, establishing hope, exalting God for who He is, and blessing with grace and peace. He also knew that sharing a common faith engenders bold and effective sharing of our faith, so more and more know what life in Christ means and provides. He sharply rebuked, practiced tender mercy, developed the immature, and built up the weak. He spent himself for the spiritual good of others, and preached to the end that they do the same, for the sake of faith which builds up the church. (Romans 14:1; 1 Corinthians 16:13-14; Ephesians 4:12-15; 1 Thessalonians 5:11,14; Titus 1:13)
How clearly do we understand our purpose in Christ? If we struggle with an identity crisis, have we loosened our tether to the One who called us to Himself and saved us to bear lasting fruit? Are we habitually turning in on ourselves instead of to our Master? Do we tune in too often to the voices around us, the culture’s buzz and beckon, and neglect regular reading God’s word to hear His voice of truth? (John 15:16)
What do our days and activities and expenditures and conversations tell about the ‘faith-sake’ of our living? Whose benefit drives us? Are we more concerned with our own bodies than the Body of Christ? Do we make our many choices based on selfish temporal advantage, or others’ eternal welfare?
Would we open wide the gate of our hearts each day and invite the Lord in to spread His fragrance, ignite our minds, and impassion our efforts for the sake of faith? What habits, mindset, or tendencies need godly correction, restoration, or re-creation, in order that our faith, and others’, may flourish?
Lord Jesus, thank You for every good thing You are and entrust to me. May I plan and serve and work and live for the sake of the faith of Your people, and exalt You in doing so.