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Strolling Through the Book of Titus October 13, 2013

Posted by flashbuzzer in Books, Christianity.
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I’ve recently started reading through the Epistle to Titus with the aid of a commentary by John Calvin. I should note that I’ve previously read through Titus. As in my recent stroll through the book of 2 Timothy, I hope to comprehend Titus as a whole. In particular, I would like to compare and contrast 1 Timothy and Titus.

I plan to blog about this experience as I read through both the epistle and Calvin’s commentary. Each post will correspond to a specific section in the NIV translation.

For starters, here are my thoughts on Titus 1:1-4.

Summary: Paul begins by referring to himself as a minister who has been given the office of an apostle; as an apostle, he teaches a doctrine that agrees with the faith of all believers who have ever lived. This faith holds to what is true, as it furthers the proper worship of God. His teaching causes believers to meditate on the life of heaven, which is founded on the unchangeable truth of God – many ages have passed since He first promised salvation to mankind. At the right time, God openly manifested life via the spreading of the Gospel: the Father has redeemed all believers by the death of the Son, and the Son has shed His blood as a pledge and price of their salvation.

Paul concludes by greeting Titus, whom he begot spiritually; they do share the same heavenly Father, though. He wishes Titus God’s unmerited favor and its attendant blessings.

Thoughts: In verse 2, Paul states that his ministry is designed to lead believers to look toward eternal life. Calvin offers some insights on this point:

So all good teachers should turn people away from the world so that they look up into heaven. I readily agree that God’s glory should mean more to us than our own salvation, but we are not now concerned with the question about which of these comes first. All I am saying is that people never truly seek God until they have confidence to approach him, and so they never apply their minds to godliness until they have been instructed in the hope of a life in heaven.

Now some unbelievers assert that Christians – while they claim to live for God’s glory – are mainly concerned with eternal life. This is a difficult argument to refute, especially since I am sure that if Christians had no hope of an eternal reward, they would never have converted to Christianity in the first place. One could conceive of a scenario where God states that nobody will receive eternal life – even if they place their faith in Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior – yet they must live for His glory since He is God. Would anyone choose to live for God’s glory in that case? How do we, as believers, balance 1) living for His glory with 2) “resting” on our hope of the eternal life that He has promised us?

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