This letter is from Paul, a slave of God and an apostle of Jesus Christ. I have been sent to proclaim faith to those God has chosen and to teach them to know the truth that shows them how to live godly lives. 2 This truth gives them confidence that they have eternal life, which God—who does not lie—promised them before the world began. 3 And now at just the right time he has revealed this message, which we announce to everyone. It is by the command of God our Savior that I have been entrusted with this work for him.Titus 1:1-3 NLT
Over the last couple of months, I have been thinking about the letter of Titus, and primarily focussing on the first chapter.
This letter is one of the pastoral epistles, and is written by Paul to a man named Titus. I need give you little more introduction than that, as I think the text itself is largely self-explanatory.
Paul, as is his custom, gives his name and then a brief description of himself. The first thing he says is “a slave of God.” It is all too easy to just skim over these words and move into the “meat” of the letter, yet we often miss important things if we do so.
This word “slave” is often translated as “servant” as it is more acceptable to our modern ears. Slavery, historically, was a dreadful thing and people treated as commodities in most cases. Paul is a servant indeed, but I wonder how he would feel about swapping out the word “slave” for “servant?” I suspect Paul might prefer the former. I would wager that Paul would be a glad slave of God.
If I had to be a slave, then I would gladly be the slave of our gracious God.
If I had to be a slave, then I would gladly be the slave of our gracious God. #Bible #Jesus #ChristianityTweet
As a slave, we live entirely to please our master. We surrender everything that we have, our freedoms, our privileges, our belongings, and all that we are, to the one in charge over us. To be enslaved to a sinful human master is terrifying and dreadful, but when we come under the Lordship of the unendingly good God of the Bible, there is little distinction between slavery and servanthood.
What price can be put on a human life? Slaves are purchased for but a few coins, as no amount of money can equate to the cost of a person’s freedom. God had indeed purchased us, but not in earthly currency, but in the shed blood of His Own Son – Jesus Christ.
God is without sin, and therefore neither under its curse nor liable for its penalty. He is perfect and holy. We cannot begin to fathom this, in our limited human state, tainted by sins effects. His purity exceeds ours by unimaginable degrees. I say all of this to remind us that if God is indeed that holy, then we cannot comprehend the cost of giving up His Son on our behalf. The price He paid for us is beyond reasonable, and is only explained by the magnitude of His love.
When we look at it like this, surrendering our lives to Him seems absolutely nothing in comparison. It makes me a willing slave, if that is not a contradiction.
What do slaves of God actually do? Earthly slaves prepare meals, clean house or clothes, and run errands for their master. Slaves to God are not required cook or clean, not for their Master at least, so what do they actually do?
This letter, at least in part, will help us answer that question. Paul gives instructions about what an elder or deacon should be like, and even if we are not called to such an office, we can still conduct ourselves in like manner.
Slaves of God put their Master’s needs ahead of their own #Bible #Jesus #ChristianityTweet
In conclusion, slaves of God put their Master’s needs and wants ahead of their own. Slaves do not gossip when their Master wants them to encourage. Slaves do not steal pens from work or surf the web all day, but instead work hard to please their Master and use their pay to give to the work of the Gospel. Slaves do not watch things they shouldn’t on TV, nor should they give in to the temptation of temper, bad language, pride or selfishness. Instead, they serve the Lord with gladness, devoting themselves to prayer and Bible study, and living a life distinctly different to the rest of the world.
Do we do this perfectly? I certainly do not! And I’m humbled by my own words. If you do, then let me know your secret…
Still, we strive on, pressing towards holiness in the strength of God, and we rely on Jesus to change us one day at a time into His likeness.
Slaves have no choice, and for the Christian truly transformed by encountering Jesus, they have little choice either. We cannot comprehend the depths of the Good News without surrendering all we have and are to our wonderful Father.
More on Titus in the days to come, and hopefully we’ll get to the end of verse one! Have a blessed day!