Putting the first two verses of Paul’s letter to Titus together, we can see Paul’s three-fold focus regarding his life’s mission. Titus 1:1-2 says, “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, in hope of eternal life, which God, who never lies, promised before the ages began.” Paul calls himself a “servant” of God “for the sake of the faith of the elect.” This is “Evangelism.” Paul’s primary role as God’s servant is to bring those chosen to their full stature as believers in Jesus Christ. The mission always begins with evangelism. Paul is God’s servant in this respect. The second aspect is “Edification.” Paul is God’s servant, not only for the sake of the faith but also for the “knowledge of the truth which is according to godliness.” This speaks to me of building up the faith we profess through learning God’s word and growing in our understanding which will change the way we think and live. Paul wants to lead others to faith in Jesus and then help them grow in that faith. Thirdly, it’s “Encouragement.” Paul is God’s servant for evangelism, edification “in the hope of eternal life.” Paul charges those with growing faith to live their lives with an eternal perspective.

The resurrection is the key theme of Paul’s ministry. He preached it wherever he went. It was considered foolishness by the Greeks. He found himself laughed off of the stage at Athens. People listened to him until he got to the resurrection. People want to live for today. It’s hard to convince non-believers that there is something “more” than what this short time on earth offers. However, if Christ did not rise from the dead, there would not be any church. His closest disciples, Peter, James, and John had gone back to fishing after the crucifixion. The two disciples on the road to Emmaus were discussing their disappointment at Jesus’ death when he appeared to them. The resurrection was the event that set the church on fire through the power of the Holy Spirit. It is the resurrection that gives us hope. Jesus not only rose from the dead, he promised that we would rise from the dead also. That is our hope. Paul explained that to those in Thessalonica who had lost loved ones. In 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18, he says, “But we do not want you to be uninformed, brothers, about those who are asleep, that you may not grieve as others do who have no hope. For since we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so, through Jesus, God will bring with him those who have fallen asleep. For this, we declare to you by a word from the Lord, that we who are alive, who are left until the coming of the Lord, will not precede those who have fallen asleep. For the Lord, himself will descend from heaven with a cry of command, with the voice of an archangel, and with the sound of the trumpet of God. And the dead in Christ will rise first. Then we who are alive, who are left, will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air, and so we will always be with the Lord. Therefore encourage one another with these words.”

Campbell says, “Hope, of course, in everyday speech refers often to something uncertain. You know how often we hope for something that we have no guarantee will happen—especially if it has to do with the weather! In the Bible, however, hope is always something certain. And that is how it is with the hope of eternal life. We can be certain that one day the more will be ours—the blessings of salvation in their fullest measure to be enjoyed forever and ever. For the God who does not lie promised eternal life to his elect before this world began. That was his eternal plan and purpose.” If then we believe in Jesus and trust His promise, “we can be certain that this eternal life will be ours.”[1]

[1] Campbell, David. 2007. Opening up Titus. Opening Up Commentary. Leominster: Day One Publications.