More than Grace and Peace
To Titus, a true son in our common faith: Grace, mercy, and peace from God the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ our Savior. (Titus 1:4)
When we write a letter today – if anyone still writes letters – we start with the name of the person receiving the letter (“Dear So-and-So”). At the bottom of the letter we write or sign our name, so they know who wrote it.
In New Testament times, a proper letter started with the name of the author. That kind of makes sense, because the reader of the Grace, mercy, and peace letter might first want to know who wrote it. After the author gave his name, he or she would then say who the letter was to.
That’s the practice in this letter the Apostle Paul wrote to Titus, his younger associate on the island of Crete. Titus 1:1-3 gives us Paul’s self-introduction, and Titus 1:4 tells us who the letter was written to. It was written to Titus.
It is interesting to find that we don’t know anything about Titus from the Book of Acts. He is strangely absent from that record, though he must have been an associate of Paul during the time covered by Acts.
Though we read nothing about Titus in Acts, we still know something of his character and personality from this letter and from 2 Corinthians 2:13, 8:23, and 12:18.
– Titus was a true son in our common faith (Titus 1:4).
– Titus was a genuine brother to the Apostle Paul (2 Corinthians 2:13).
– Titus was a partner and a fellow worker with Paul (2 Corinthians 8:23).
– Titus walked in the same spirit as Paul (2 Corinthians 12:18).
– Titus walked in the same steps as Paul, in the same manner of life (2 Corinthians 12:18).
– Therefore, Titus could be a pattern to other believers (Titus 2:7).
All this makes us think that Titus was a remarkable man. Wouldn’t you love it if Paul wrote those things about you? I know it would be wonderful if Pau wrote of me that I was a true son in our common faith, a genuine brother, that I had his same spirit and walked in his same steps. The Apostle Paul thought highly of Titus.
At the same time, there is a hint at what might be some imperfection or weakness in Titus. Paul greeted him with this phrase: grace, mercy, and peace. When Paul wrote to churches he often greeting them with the phrase grace and peace (such as in 1 Corinthians 1:3, Galatians 1:3, and Ephesians 1:2). But when Paul wrote to the pastors Timothy and Titus he added mercy to his greeting (1 and 2 Timothy 1:2).
Do you see the hint at imperfection or weakness? Pastors and leaders like Timothy and Titus need lots of mercy right along with grace and peace. Today, receive all three from God – His grace, mercy, and peace. And if you know a pastor or leader in God’s service – pray that God gives them His mercy.
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