To Titus, my true son in our common faith: Grace and peace from God the Father and Christ Jesus our Savior. Titus 1:4 (NIV).
As far as we know, Paul didn’t have any children. Yet he refers to both Titus and Timothy as his sons. That’s not uncommon. You and I, perhaps we’ve felt a familial affection for people to whom we aren’t related yet have been caring, strong examples for us. I’ve had mentors in the Air Force, and at jobs, and in my church and family. How about you?
It’s the common faith that puts us on common ground. The bottom line of that is, as always, Jesus Christ. It seems pretty impossible to think that God, the supreme being, could have created everything and then not consider Him to be the fundamental we all share in common. It simply defies logic.
And Paul was a logical man, using human experience and reason to appeal to a culture familiar with common experience and human reason. He lived in a world ruled by Romans but largely shaped by the faith of the Jews and the Hellenistic culture of Greece. The people of Paul’s day were familiar with faith, both Jewish, this nascent Christianity, and a hundred other faith practices of pagans. They were familiar with the idea of God, even the common but radical idea that God would make Himself incarnate among us out of love, grace and peace.
That was a radical concept then; it’s still radical today. It’s still contrary to a world where the strong survive. Paul saw that real strength, however, came not from a sword or political power but, instead, from the grace of God. He would greet his fellow believers in the language of their shared faith, and he would then pray over them the grace and peace from God the Father and His Son, Christ Jesus.
Common ground from which Paul would mentor and teach. Paul’s people needed the common ground of believing there was a God who loved them, who endured their pain, who identified with their plight, who provided a way out. The people of our time need that exact same reassurance. Over a billion people (out of 7 billion) currently hold that faith, share that common ground. That means a huge majority of our world either doesn’t know or doesn’t accept our common ground. It means that we have a shared mission from Christ. Share Him through how we live our lives. Give an answer when asked. More than that, give an answer by the things we do with and for others. If we want to invite others onto the common ground of faith in Jesus, let’s do so by praying for them the grace and peace of Jesus by how we live today. Let’s be mentors in the faith.
For further reading: Romans 1:7, 2 Corinthians 2:13, 1 Timothy 1:2, Titus 1:5
Lord Jesus, help me to share You in how I live today.