Paul established a church in Crete and left Titus there to finish what he had begun: to put the churches in order, seeing that they had proper pastors, leaders, doctrine and practice; to refute the false teachers and Judaizing preachers who made holiness to consist in certain foods and ceremonies; and to exhort believers to the discharge of their responsibilities by arguments based on the grace of God and the gospel of Christ (v.9; Titus 2:6,9,10).
Titus was an uncircumcised Greek of great grace and gifts who was very dear to the apostle. He is mentioned frequently in the apostle's writings (2 Cor. 2:13; 8:6,16,23; Gal. 2:1-3).
This was not a private epistle to Titus, but a public epistle to the Cretans, and thus to all believers! (2 Tim. 3:15-17.)
(Vs. 1.) "A servant of God" a humble but high title by which Peter, James and Paul wished to be known. Paul was once the servant of sin (Titus 3:3), but being called by grace, he became a willing, loving servant of God and righteousness (Rom. 6:16).
"And an apostle of Jesus Christ" called, qualified and sent by Christ to preach his gospel; one who had his doctrine, commission and special girls (to confirm his mission and ministry) directly from the Lord Jesus (Heb. 2:3,4).
"According to the faith of God's elect." His message was the message of Moses, Abraham, Isaiah and all the elect of God of every dispensation! The foundation of the prophets and apostles is redemption and resurrection by the grace of God through the merits and blood of Christ (Rom. 1:1-3).
"And the acknowledging of the truth." This clause explains the nature of the faith of God's elect. It rests on, trusts in and holds to the truth of God as revealed in the Scripture! Faith can find no strength, comfort or assurance in feelings, ceremonies, or tradition only in the truth of Scripture! (John 16:13; 17:17; Col. 1:5; John 8:32.)
The gospel is "a doctrine of godliness". The truth of it and experience of it have an influence that promotes internal and external godliness, leads to the worship and fear of God and results in a sober, honest and sincere conduct and way of life (2 Cor. 5:17).
(Vs. 2.) "In hope of eternal life" resting in the hope of eternal life. Our hope is not in anything now seen or possessed (physically or materially), but something future! Our hope is the life of Christ, begotten in us by the Holy Spirit, secured in the hands of Christ and laid up for us in heaven (Col. 1:5; 1 Peter 1:3,4).
1. Eternal life is a promise, and so of free grace; not a reward or a wage, but a promise!
2. Eternal life is the promise of God, who is faithful to his Word and cannot lie (being the God of truth).
3. Eternal life was promised before the world began. Life and redemption were given in Christ from the beginning (2 Thess. 2:13; 2 Tim. 1:9; Eph. 1:3,4).
(Vs. 3.) Now in his own appointed time God has made known his Word either Christ, his essential Word; or the word of truth, the gospel of our salvation; or the word of promise of eternal life in Christ; or all three for are they not all one? Christ is the Word; Christ is our life; Christ is the gospel! God has revealed the message of eternal life in Christ through the preaching of the gospel which was committed to Paul and other faithful apostles and preachers (Mark 16:15,16; Rom. 10:13,14; 1 John 1:1-3). The Word is the seed by which life is given (James 1:18; 1 Peter 1:23).
(Vs. 4.) Titus was not Paul's natural son, but Paul, being the instrument of his conversion, his teacher and his spiritual leader, calls him his "son".
"After the common or general faith." Paul immediately adds that this faith is common to them both and to all who knew the Redeemer; for though Paul was a great apostle and leader of men, in himself he was nothing and could do nothing. Our sufficiency is Christ (1 Cor. 3:4-9).
Here is Paul's usual salutation: "May you have a fresh discovery of God's grace, love and free favour in Christ. May you have a fresh application of the pardoning mercy of God through Christ. May you have peace of heart through the blood of Christ." Let this be our sincere prayer for every believer.