Faith, Knowledge and Godliness

This week we are looking into Titus 1:1-4. If you missed our introduction you can read it here.

God ordained that He would be manifested in the proclamation of the word.  Paul was entrusted with this proclamation.  Be wary–do not take that as a promise that all God’s children are to proclaim in the exact same sense–we must guard against Neo-orthodox tendencies that viewed this so mystically that the actual act of preaching was believed to be magical, the preaching being god-that the preaching of the Word on a Sunday morning was “God” and when the preaching ended our time with Him was ended.  Not all Neo-orthodoxy seems this blatant, but the mistake is there.

And yet, God gave His apostles the job of proclaiming and writing and–He is made manifest, made known, through the proclamation.  We do not worship the proclamation, nor put faith in the moment of preaching.  Rather, we delight in knowing Him, the One True God, as He has revealed Himself! And Jesus Christ whom He has sent!  We read, listen, and take heed.    

Paul the apostle wrote, we read and hear, and God is made known. 

No new word–no magical conjuring.  The Spirit–the promised Spirit, the Spirit of Truth and of revelation and of compassion and of comfort, works in and through the proclamation to give us understanding.  We do not ask for more, or seek to become the conduit of a new word.  We do not become as those who sit and wait, expecting God to speak apart from His Word.  

A few notes as we walk through Paul’s introduction, phrase by phrase.

Paul, a slave of God, not on his own mission or agenda, but in humility, serving, controlled by love, see Ephesians 6:6 and 2 Corinthians 5:13-21.

And apostle of Jesus Christ–a truly high calling, not one anyone today can aspire to, he was called, and this should remind us of the time Paul was blinded and his heart changed.  

For the faith of those chosen of God  (many are called, few are chosen)  A slave of God, yet serving for the sake of spreading the faith–with others in mind.  We too serve, for the sake of the chosen yet never knowing who the chosen are.  We serve, trusting God to be a work.  Paul worked knowing God would produce the fruit.  

And the knowledge of the truth–stop and read 2 Cor 11:1-6; 2 Peter 3:14-18.  We all ought to rejoice with Paul saying “me too!  Not so in knowledge!!!  We are ever growing in knowledge too!!!

For faith AND knowledge! 

Faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the Word of God.  Without faith, it is impossible to please God, for he who comes to God must believe that He is!!!  And that He rewards those that seek Him.  We believe what we’ve heard, what we’ve come to know.  What we have knowledge of.  

That leads to godliness; knowledge leads to godliness.  Knowing God leads to walking with Him, and being sanctified by Him, and becoming more like Him.  Imitating Him (Ephesians 5:1).  

So what is godliness?

Godliness is to be pursued–this is a command for all disciples.    I’ve known Christians who want to leave this word behind because “it is divisive” or “it is vain” or “to claim godliness is prideful.”  If we are faithful disciples, we must learn to love this word.  So, what does godliness include, how does Scripture define it, and how do we pursue it?   We cannot join those who claim to be so “woke” that they edit Scripture and cut out all the talk of “godly” and “godliness.”  

In the hope of eternal life…faith and now hope–both linked inseparably to knowledge.  Our knowledge of the hope is by listening, not by seeing.  We trust what He’s promised.  

Which God, who cannot lie, promised long ages ago–alluding to the eternality of God’s plans and purposes; and as He is unchanging, so His character and promises can be trusted. 

But at the proper Kairos manifested…the moment of time, not the chronos or chronological time.  The full, ripe, beautiful moment prepared for the manifesting of His word.

Manifested even His word, in the proclamation–the proclamation that came through the apostles.  The faith and doctrine handed down to us (see Jude, and also 1 Timothy–yes, the whole of 1 Timothy).  

The proclamation with which I was entrusted  read 2 Cor 4:1-4.  Paul was entrusted, we read it rather than asking God to give us our own version.  We delight in what has been proclaimed!  We seek to be nourished in it, rooted and grounded in it.   

According to the commandment of God our Savior–Thus, we cannot be the next Paul, no pastor is the next Paul; no more apostles; it was according to God’s commandment that Paul wrote what we have, and what we cling to and abide in; Sola Scriptura.  

GOD OUR SAVIOR!!! 

Often we see “Jesus Christ our Savior,” including the two occasions in this epistle, but here we are reminded of the unity within the Godhead.  That God the Father (who is frequently referred to as “God”)  is Savior.  The Trinity always at work together, never separate though distinct in roles, together in purpose and work.  

To Titus, my true child in a common faith.  Common faith.  Read through all the introductions of the Epistles and you will notice this over and again–we share in the faith.  Americans have the temptation of wanting to be too individual.  And while there is an aspect of “Because He loved me and died for me” yet it is always also a sharing in the “common faith.”  We are called into One Body, united to Christ, together.  

Grace and peace!  Anyone who knows me knows this is how all my emails are signed.  I started this in 2001, before social media was booming, in a time when we happily gathered in fellowship and called one another on the phone, and frequently wrote emails to friends.  What a joy to not simply say “peace out” or “bye” but something that turns our hearts to the common faith–to what we share in and stand firm in.  

“Therefore, having been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom also we have obtained our introduction by faith into this grace in which we stand; and we exult in hope of the glory of God.  And not only this, but we also exult in our tribulations, knowing that tribulation brings about perseverance; and perseverance, proven character; and proven character, hope; and hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out within our hearts through the Holy Spirit who was given to us.”   

Romans 5:1-5

Photos by Aaron Burden available on Unsplash.

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