Titus 1:1-3 Before Time Began.

Paul addresses Titus with his typical greeting. He is a bondservant or slave of God (v. 1a; Cf. Rom. 1:1; Phil. 1:1). Paul had been bought at a price, and it was his duty to serve the Master. Paul served the Master as an apostle, this is what he was called to do, “separated to the gospel of God which He promised before through His prophets in the Holy Scriptures” (Rom. 1:1c-2). As an apostle of Jesus Christ, he was duty bound to deliver His message faithfully, for an apostle is one sent as an ambassador by their master. His message was not his own, stemming from his own imagination. He expounded from the prophets, and was inspired himself for the revelation of the mystery of the fullness of the gospel in Christ Jesus. The KJV and NKJV state that Paul is thus committed, “according to the faith of God’s elect” (v. 1b). However, the NIV gives a clearer meaning here-“to further the faith of God’s elect and their knowledge of the truth that leads to godliness.”

Paul had a definite purpose in life. He was “a servant of God and an apostle of Jesus Christ to further the faith of God’s elect and their knowledge of the truth that leads to godliness.” God had called and commissioned Paul to “further the faith of God’s elect.” The point is, God uses some to plant the seed of the word, and others to water. In some cases Paul was the sower, and in other cases he furthered or watered what was already there (Cf. I Cor. 3:6). In either case God is the planter, and He plants the seed of salvation only for His elect. Also, His elect are not saved by any other means than the faithful preaching of the gospel, and furthered by the ministry of the word. Furthermore, it is the elect alone who will actually acknowledge “the truth which accords with godliness” (v. 1c). Only the true truth of scripture can change a person’s life. Conversely, if one’s life is not changed, that is, directed to godliness, then the truth has not been truly acknowledged.

The ultimate hope that we all have, as the elect of God, is that of eternal life in His presence forevermore. This is the ultimate promise of the covenant of redemption. This is a promise which God, “who cannot lie,” made “before time began” (v. 2c). This promise goes back to the counsel of the Triune God. “Before time began,” speaks to a number of things. Firstly, this promise was made out of grace and not merit, for it was made before anything, including time, was created (Cf. II Tim. 1:9). Secondly, as already noted, time was created, and then man in a place of time. However, this promise was made before the created order, and thus also the fall, ever came into being. Nevertheless, this promise did come to pass “in due time,” God having “manifested His word through preaching” (v. 3a). Preaching this word is the commandment Paul was committed to, as should we. “As author of the covenant of grace, God is Savior (2:10; 3:4; 1Tim. 1:1; 2:3; 4:10)” (NGSB p.1926).”

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