Monday, February 14, 2011

A Slave of Christ

The apostle Paul understood that there was a purpose for his life. This purpose is what drove Paul. It was the reason that he endured hardships and faced persecution. The purpose that Paul lived was to take the Good News of Christ Jesus to the Gentiles. This is what Paul told the elders of Ephesus:
"But my life is worth nothing to me unless I use it for finishing the work assigned me by the Lord Jesus—the work of telling others the Good News about the wonderful grace of God." (Acts 20:24; NLT)
It was God’s calling on his life that gave Paul his purpose. This calling caused Paul to see himself as both God’s servant and Christ’s apostle. Those are the titles Paul uses when he sat down to write a letter of encouragement and instruction to his student Titus. This is what Paul writes:
This letter is from Paul, a slave of God and an apostle of Jesus Christ. I have been sent to proclaim faith to​​ those God has chosen and to teach them to know the truth that shows them how to live godly lives. This truth gives them confidence that they have eternal life, which God—who does not lie—promised them before the world began.  And now at just the right time he has revealed this message, which we announce to everyone. It is by the command of God our Savior that I have been entrusted with this work for him. 
I am writing to Titus, my true son in the faith that we share.
May God the Father and Christ Jesus our Savior give you grace and peace.
 (Titus 1:1-4; NLT)

Being a slave and an apostle Paul saw that his job was to build of the faith of Christians, to instruct them on what it means to live a righteous life, and to remind them of promise of God—eternal life. This is what I want us to take some time to consider. God has promised us life! Not just existence, but life, eternal life. That is reason to have hope.

Eternal existence isn’t reason to have hope. Because of sin existence is what we come to call life. Why would we want an eternal existence of sickness, hardship, bills, confusion, fighting, and a host of other problems that crowd our days? We wouldn’t. Eternal life is much more than just going from one day to the next. It would have to be, otherwise it wouldn’t something for us to hope for. The promise of eternal life should give us hope.

We don’t have a description of eternal life in this paragraph, but we are told that it is the promise of God. Why can we trust this promise? Because God has revealed the source of eternal life. This message, Paul says, had been entrusted to him. This message Paul proclaimed centered on God’s grace as found in Christ Jesus. We can trust God’s promise because God promised long ago to send a Messiah to set people free. Thousands of years past between God’s initial promise and Jesus, but in His timing God did exactly what He promised He would do. Jesus is the evidence we need so we can know that God will keep His promise of eternal life.

It is important for us to reflect on the promise of God and the life of Jesus. The difficulties of life, even the mundane routine of life, have a way of robbing us of the hope of eternal life. We can wonder: “Where is this eternal life? If I am a new creation, why do I still feel like the old creation?” Reflecting on God, His Word, His Son, and His promise will reorient our lives and fill our hearts with hope. We need hearts full of hope if we are going to survive this life of existence with our faith intact.

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