Paul, a servant of God and an apostle of Jesus Christ for the faith of God’s elect and the knowledge of the truth that leads to godliness– a faith and knowledge resting on the hope of eternal life, which God, who does not lie, promised before the beginning of time, and at his appointed season he brought his word to light through the preaching entrusted to me by the command of God our Savior, (Titus 1:1-3)
Today we begin the study of the short book of Titus. The book of Titus was written by the Apostle Paul to encourage a young church leader…a leader by the name of Titus. We will understand the significance of Paul’s opening words as we get into our study. But for now it is good to note his focus on “faith and knowledge.”
Faith and knowledge have been compartmentalized by our culture. Many assume knowledge has to do with things that can be scientifically proven, and faith involves those things for which there is no proof. This notion reinforces the idea that people take “leaps of faith” when they come to a crossroads in their lives and choose to move ahead with insufficient data.
I personally don’t like the term “leap of faith.” I have taken some big steps of faith in my life, but I have never leaped into the darkness, with no knowledge of what I might encounter, or why.
No, in my life, faith has always been rooted in knowledge. I don’t mean to suggest my faith is based on complete knowledge, no more than someone who lives in the world of scientific research can honestly say he accepts nothing by faith.
Sometimes I tell people, “the vast majority of things I know about God make it easier to accept by faith the minority of things I have yet to discover.” Please understand, I too struggle with the existence of evil in the world, and God’s answers to my prayers that defy logic. And sometimes, when I am under great stress in my life, God pushes my patience and tests my trust in His providential hand.
Yet, in my better moments, when I consider the handiwork or the universe, observe the behavioral differences in those who love God, analyze circumstantial evidence, and cross-check everything with the scriptures, I can only hypothesize the existence of a great God who is weaving history together and moving it toward a willed destination. The facts that could conceivably point in the other direction just don’t add up for me.
Paul speaks of the hope of eternal life promised by God since the beginning of time. In fact, in the Garden of Eden He did tell Satan (the serpent) that one of Eve’s offspring would one day crush his head (Genesis 3:15). That prophecy was fulfilled in Jesus who broke the power of sin on the cross and then proclaimed victory over both sin and death when He rose on the third day.
The importance of these things will become clear as we study Titus. And our faith in the things we do not completely understand will be strengthened by the things we do understand.
Dear God, thank You for building my faith. In Jesus’ name, Amen.