Recently I read on a popular Christian blog that we all exercise faith when we trust in our fellow man during our interactions with him, that all will be well and that he will be just as careful and concerned about our well-being as we are about his. However, this is not the definition of true biblical saving faith; biblical faith is not as simple as having confidence in those around us, because we are at heart rebels and alienated from God and so cannot believe what He tells us in the Bible. This fifth final faithful saying written by Paul in his pastoral epistles was written to Titus, his true son in the common faith and it addresses the dynamics of biblical saving faith.
1Remind them to be subject to rulers and authorities, to obey, to be ready for every good work, 2to speak evil of no one, to be peaceable, gentle showing all humility to all men. 3For we ourselves were also once foolish, disobedient, deceived, serving various lusts and pleasures, living in malice and envy, hateful and hating one another. 4But when the kindness and the love of God our Savior toward man appeared, 5not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to His mercy He saved us, through the washing of regeneration and renewing of the Holy Spirit, 6whom He poured out on us abundantly through Jesus Christ our Savior, 7that having been justified by His grace we should become heirs according to the hope of eternal life. 8This is a faithful saying, and these things I want you to affirm constantly, that those who have believed in God should be careful to maintain good works. These things are good and profitable to men. 9But avoid foolish disputes, genealogies, contentions, and strivings about the law; for they are unprofitable and useless. 10Reject a divisive man after the first and second admonition, 11knowing that such a person is warped and sinning being self-condemned. Titus 3:1-11
Genuine faith in our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ will result in a life lived to please God. We will no longer be driven by our sin and fleshly desires, instead we will be ready for every good work, and be characterized by gentle humility which seeks to be at peace with others. This faith does not have its origin in the heart of the sinner, but is a result of the secret work of God in the heart of His elect child. True doctrine always accords with the faith of God’s elect, as taught by Paul in Titus. This common faith is given to all of those predestined for salvation by God before the foundation of the world. This common faith is found and taught only in the Holy Bible. Paul speaks of this saving biblical faith in the opening verses of Titus as does Peter in the opening verses of his epistles, he also speaks about election and faith given through Jesus Christ.
1Paul, a bondservant of God and an apostle of Jesus Christ, according to the faith of God’s elect and the acknowledgement of the truth which accords with godliness, 2in hope of eternal life which God, who cannot lie, promised before time began, 3but has in due time manifested His word through preaching, which was committed to me according to the commandment of God our Savior; 4To Titus, a true son in our common faith: Grace, mercy, and peace from God the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ our Savior. Titus 1:1-4
1Peter, an apostle of Jesus Christ, To the pilgrims of the Dispersion in Pontus, Galatia, Cappadocia, Asia, and Bithynia, 2elect according to the foreknowledge of God the Father, in sanctification of the Spirit, for obedience and sprinkling of the blood of Jesus Christ: Grace to you and peace be multiplied. 1 Peter 1:1-2
Simon Peter, a bondservant and apostle of Jesus Christ, To those who have obtained like precious faith with us by the righteousness of our God and Savior Jesus Christ: Grace and peace be multiplied to you in the knowledge of God and Jesus our Lord, as His divine power has given to us all things that pertain to life and godliness, through the knowledge of Him who called us by glory and virtue, by which have been given to us exceedingly great and precious promises, that through these you may be partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust. 2 Peter 1:1-4
These verses verify that the faith we receive from the Word of God by the Holy Spirit, is the faith that accords with godliness and creates us in Christ Jesus to be people zealous for good works which God predestined that we should walk in them. By God’s gracious promises and divine power we have everything necessary for life, through faith in Jesus Christ, and godliness. By the kindness and mercy of God we are saved, the Holy Spirit washes us from our sin and regenerates us in Christ Jesus because we have believed in Him. We have believed the gospel of our salvation that Jesus Christ died on the cross for our sins and rose again from the dead that we too should have eternal life. This wonderful grace that provides salvation for us through faith in Jesus Christ justifies us so that we stand before God holy, blameless, spotless, and perfected in the holiness of our God and Savior Jesus Christ. We share in Christ’s glory and we are heirs with Him, being the recipients of eternal life. (Titus 3:4-7)
The good works that God calls us to perform as His beloved children are for His glory, our blessing and the blessing of others. Brothers and sisters, our lives must reflect the holiness and love of our Savior Jesus Christ in order for unbelievers to give us a hearing. If our lives do not match our profession then there is little reason for anyone to listen to our gospel message. Obedient believers in Jesus Christ will align their lives with the doctrine which accords with godliness taught in Titus chapter 2.
1But as for you, speak the things which are proper for sound doctrine: 2that the older men be sober, reverent, temperate, sound in faith, in love, in patience; 3the older women likewise, 4that they be reverent in behavior, not slanderers, not given to much wine, teachers of good things-that they admonish the young women to love their husbands, to love their children, 5to be discreet, chaste, homemakers, good, obedient to their own husbands, that the word of God may not be blasphemed. 6Likewise, exhort the young men to be sober-minded, 7in all things showing yourself to be a pattern of good works; in doctrine showing integrity, reverence, incorruptibility, 8sound speech that cannot be condemned, that one who is an opponent may be ashamed, having nothing evil to say of you. 9Exhort bondservants to be obedient to their own masters, to be well pleasing in all things, not answering back, 10not pilfering, but showing all good fidelity, that they may adorn the doctrine of God our Savior in all things. 11For the grace of God that brings salvation has appeared to all men,12teaching us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly in the present age, 13looking for the blessed hope and glorious appearing of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ,14who gave Himself for us, that He might redeem us from every lawless deed and purify for Himself His own special people, zealous for good works. 15Speak these things, exhort, and rebuke with all authority. Let no one despise you. Titus 2:1-13
Walking by faith in Jesus Christ and obeying His Word will give us opportunity to share the gospel with those who are around us. Unfortunately many within the visible church are not engaged in obeying this exhortation, instead they are involved in futile arguments about worthless disagreements. There are many who are divisive trying to foist their brand of “Christianity” upon those around them rather than living quiet lives dependent upon the Holy Spirit, walking by faith in Jesus Christ, obeying the Bible. Those who oppose the sound doctrine of the Scriptures should be exhorted with God’s word and brought to either repent from their error or they should be rejected as warped sinners who are self-condemned. The faith that God brings us to through the sound teaching of His Word by the Holy Spirit will result in His children rejecting ungodliness and worldly lusts and then live sober, righteous and godly lives looking for the joyful return of our wonderful God and Savior Jesus Christ. The faith of God’s elect will produce special people who are zealous for the good works of Christ, taught to us in His Word and engendered by His Holy Spirit. Praise God for the common faith that generates believers who are new creations where the old has passed away and all things are new.
Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new. 2 Corinthians 5:17