1From Paul, a servant of God and an apostle of Jesus Christ.
I encourage God's own people to have more faith and to understand the truth about religion. 2Then they will have the hope of eternal life God promised long ago. And God never tells a lie! 3So, at the proper time, God our Savior gave this message and told me to announce what he had said.
4 Titus, because of our faith, you are like a son to me. I pray that God our Father and Christ Jesus our Savior will be kind to you and will bless you with peace!
Titus is called to serve the Christian community in Crete. His role is to appoint leaders for the church and to build the different parts of the community into a body of God’s people who are “eager to do right” (2:14), who display kindness and gentleness to everyone (3:2), who have faith in God and whose good deeds display their faith in action (3:8).
The key to all this happening is understanding eternal life (v 2). This lies at the heart of the message Paul was given to preach. The hope of eternal life becomes the framework for interpreting all of life, where “eternal life” means entering and sharing the very life of God.
The Christians in Crete are not just a random group of young and old, men and women, slaves and masters who happen to share the same interest. They are bound together as those who have abandoned a ‘this present world’ perspective and who now see themselves as part of God’s eternal purpose which spans the ages and will find fulfillment in the coming again of the Lord Jesus. They have, together, believed the promise of God and found true life – what life was always meant to be.
Eternal life does have a forward looking prospect (2:13) but understanding eternal life transforms present behaviour. Being a leader (1:7), an older person (2:2,3), a wife (2:5), a young person (2:6) or a slave (2:9) is not just about fulfilling functions until Jesus returns. It is about living out eternal life here and now in every area of our lives. We must ask ourselves, “What difference does it make to our work, leisure and responsibilities today that we are heirs of eternal life?”
Father, You are the giver of eternal life. You have shown me, in Jesus, the true meaning of life now and for the future. I pray for friends and family who are trying to make it on their own. Help me to speak and model true life to them. For Jesus’ sake, Amen.