“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,” (Titus 1:1 (ESV)
In describing himself as a servant of God and as an apostle of Jesus Christ, Paul acknowledged two truths; he was to be obedient to not only the LORD as his master but also obedient to the Master’s message; the message of the Gospel.
The Gospel is truth. It is a message rooted in reality and containing the following knowledge: God exists; sin exists; salvation from sin exists; and only one Savior exists; Jesus Christ (John 1:1-14). There is no other Gospel (Gal. 1:6-10).
Paul’s obedience to the Gospel was rooted in his prior obedience to the LORD and the LORD’s message. Paul did not create the Gospel. God commissioned him to declare it.
The apostle gave us the reason for his obedient service unto the LORD. It was for the sake of the faith of God’s elect and their knowledge of the truth, which results in godliness.
Faith (πίστις; pistis) is trust in, commitment to, dependence upon and worship of Jesus Christ as Savior and Lord. The word elect (ἐκλεκτός; eklektos) refers to God’s chosen ones unto faith and salvation (Matt. 22:14; Mark 13:20; Luke 18:7; Rom. 8:33; Col. 3:12; 1 Tim. 5:21; 2 Tim. 2:10; 1 Peter 2:6, 9; Rev. 17:14).
God chose His chosen ones before the foundation of world (Eph. 1:3-6). The choice was based upon His sovereign grace alone (Acts 13:48; Rom. 3:21-26; Eph. 2:1-9). In fact, even one’s faith to believe the Gospel is a sovereign and gracious gift from God (Eph. 2:8-9; Phil. 1:29; 2 Peter 1:1-2).
“By ‘the elect’ he means not only those who were at that time alive, but all that had been from the beginning of the world,” explains John Calvin.
Saving faith is based upon knowledge (ἐπίγνωσις; epignosis) of the truth (ἀλήθεια; aletheia) of the Gospel. This understanding of God’s truth is solely by the regenerating work of the Holy Spirit (John 3:1-8; I Cor. 2:1-14; Titus 3:1-7).
Saving faith in the truth of the Gospel results in godliness. This is true for each believer in Christ. There are no exceptions (James 2:14-26). Godliness (εὐσέβεια; eusebeia) is the devout practice and appropriate beliefs of God. It is practical and practiced righteousness (Acts 3:12; 1 Tim. 2:2; 3:16; 4:7, 8; 6:3, 5, 6, 11; 2 Tim. 3:5; Tit 1:1; 2 Peter 1:3, 6, 7; 3:11). It is a dominant doctrine in the Pastoral Epistles (I & 2 Timothy; Titus).
“Paul had in mind gospel truth, the saving message of the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ (1 Tim. 2:3–4; 2 Tim. 2:25). It is that saving truth that leads to “godliness” or sanctification (see Titus 2:11–12),” states Dr. John MacArthur.
Is your faith and knowledge of the truth of the Gospel evidenced in your godliness? Take time today to confess sin, repent of the same, and commit to be godly in every aspect of your life. I’m committed to do the same.
Have a blessed day in the Lord.
Soli deo Gloria!