Saturday, April 16, 2011

Titus - Part 4

Exercised in faith.1  The life of godliness has at its foundation a belief that “God is and that He is a rewarder of those who seek Him” (Heb. 11:6b).  A believer’s desire in his walk is to honor and please God (2 Cor. 5:9) knowing that Christ Himself will be judge (2 Cor. 5:10).  Our lives, therefore, are to be a testimony of God’s grace and how it works in men.  Paul provides elements of that faith to Titus.

1. Uniqueness (1:1) – In Romans 4 Paul sets forth the proposition that Abraham, before circumcision, was credited righteousness from God on the basis of faith, thereby becoming the father of those who would do likewise (verses 10-11).  One could say that any who had faith could be saved.  However, faith is not of ourselves but is given freely along with grace so that one might be saved (Eph. 2:8), and it so enables us to do those things which God desires (Eph. 2:10).  Only the believer is equipped to “walk by faith, not by sight” (2 Cor. 5:7) and to be assured of things hoped for and convinced of things not seen (Heb. 11:1).

2. Commonality (1:4; 3:15) – There is one faith (Eph. 4:5).  This simple statement has far-reaching implications especially in view of the American mindset that seeks to be inclusive in a pluralistic society.  For years those in this country have spoken of different faiths as equal in status and application.  This concept is faulty. If one faith is true, the others are false.  Some attempt to legitimize the equality by demonstrating all are false in some way.  Paul clearly speaks out against this concerning Christ by pointing to His physical resurrection and explaining how, if this did not happen, we have no true faith and should be greatly pitied (1 Cor. 15:12-19).  And this faith is the same for all who believe.  Paul writes that through Abraham as spiritual father the promise is guaranteed to those of the Law and of faith (Rom. 4:16).  Abraham’s spiritual offspring would be required to have the same faith to be legitimately called such, just as natural offspring must have that which demonstrates the relationship.  The family trait is “like precious faith” (2 Pet. 1:1, NKJV) evidenced by sharing in various ways: love (John 13:34-35); beliefs (Acts 2:44; 1 Tim. 3:16); goods and property (Acts 4:32); and spiritual gifts (1 Cor. 12:7) to name a few.

3. Proper footing (1:13; 2:2) – For His conclusion of the Sermon on the Mount, the Lord Jesus presented two inevitable scenarios which require decisive action by the listeners.  Either they would obey as demonstration of their faith or disobey and suffer loss (Luke 6:47-49; Matt. 7:24-27).  The key to the outcome is not the land upon which the houses were built but the foundation laid. The wise builder dug deep in order to fix on bedrock.  This principle of construction is well known, and rare is a project that has survived an improper foundation.2  By an everlasting foundation (Prov. 10:25) the believer stands firm rather than “tossed here and there by waves and carried about by every wind of doctrine, by the trickery of men, by craftiness in deceitful scheming” (Eph. 4:14).

1 Continuing the series from Part 3.
2 There are numerous examples through history of enduring buildings erected on soft ground.  Gothic architecture (12th through 16th century A.D.) reflects one solution with the combined use of flying buttresses and arches.  As a modern example, the city of Chicago is built on mud, and techniques were developed to compensate.  This does not remove from the necessity of a firm foundation, as alternate methods were required to attain a like result.

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