To Titus, my true child in a common faith: Grace and peace from God the Father and Christ Jesus our Savior.Titus 1:4(NASB)
It is always a joy when a man or woman trusts in Christ as their Saviour and sets out on their life-journey with Jesus at the helm, but what a thrill it must have been for Paul when Titus, his "true son in the common faith," was ready to take on full responsibility for the establishment of the Christian churches throughout the Isle of Crete.
It is at the start of his letter, that Paul identifies his relationship with Titus as his "true child in a common faith." Titus was an uncircumcised Greek who heard Paul preaching about Jesus many years before and responded to the gospel of grace by faith. He was not only Paul's "son in the faith," but became a loyal and trusted friend and a fellow bondservant of Jesus Christ.
Titus accompanied Paul on some of his missionary journeys, partnered with him in spreading the work of the gospel in various cities, was entrusted with several sensitive ministry responsibilities, and even accompanied him to Jerusalem when Paul went-up to explain to the apostles there about his doctrine, his ministry, and his calling as Christ's apostle to the Gentiles.
It was after his release from a two-year jail sentence in Rome, that Paul and Titus travelled together to Crete and preached about the good news of the gospel of Christ to the Cretans. As the good news spread, churches started to spring up around the island. However, it was necessary for Paul to return to Ephesus and so he left Titus to continue the missionary work in Crete, teaching new coverts and appointing leaders in every new church.
Paul knew how quickly error can creep into a fellowship of believers, and his epistle to Titus is one of three, pastoral epistles giving him personal encouragement, reminding him of important issues in ministry, outlining the criteria and character required in a church elder, correcting doctrinal errors that may arise in a Christian church, explaining the roles and responsibilities of believers in their families and communities, and exhorting the congregations towards godly living and good works, both at home and abroad.
Paul never wanted anyone to become complacent in their faith and always made a point of reminding others of the joy we have in Christ, and so his letter to this 'son in the faith began by reminding him of God's amazing goodness and grace, the privileged peace we have with God through our great salvation, and the perfect peace of God that can guard our heart when our mind is stayed on Him.
And so, early in his greeting to Titus, Paul writes the encouraging truth that has become the privilege of all God's children: "Grace and peace to you, from God the Father and from Christ Jesus our Saviour."
It is by His grace through faith in Christ that we have peace with God, for we have been forgiven of our sins and received eternal life - through faith in Him.
It is also by God's grace that we have the peace of God in our hearts. His peace resides deep within our inner man and is our ever-present possession - when we look to Jesus and focus the eyes of our minds upon HIM.
Heavenly Father, thank You for Paul's letter to Titus and the wealth of information it contains, not only in the selection of church elders, but in the roles and responsibilities we all have in our homes and abroad. Thank You for the grace, mercy, and peace You give to me every day. Thank You that when friends and loved ones are far away, we not only have peace with God because of our great salvation, but we have the peace of God residing in our hearts, when our mind is focussed on Jesus. No matter where I am, You are with me to encourage and guide me. Help me live a godly life, both in my home and in my wider community, for Your praise and glory. This I ask in Jesus' name, AMEN.