“For the grace of God has appeared, bringing salvation to all, training us to renounce impiety and worldly passions, and in the present age to live lives that are self-controlled, upright, and godly, while we wait for the blessed hope and the manifestation of the glory of our great God and Savior, Jesus Christ.” (Titus 2:11-13)
Paul writes to his good friend Titus, to encourage him and sustain him. Actually there is a bit of a division of thought; whether Paul wrote this book or someone else, possibly after his death, wrote it. Not being an expert on the nuances of Paul’s writing (especially not read in the more original Greek) I cannot say whether it is authentic Paul or not. This passage does exhort the reader in the same way that a more original/authentic Paul does. And the theme of waiting for the return of Jesus, showing the attributes of an authentic Christian life also sounds like Paul.
“He it is who gave himself for us that he might redeem us from all iniquity and purify for himself a people of his own who are zealous for good deeds.” (Verse 14)
And it has the hallmarks of the slightly confusing grammar that Paul would use at times; but for all I know, that may also be a clue that such passages are NOT Paul. Does it have an impact that Paul might not have written this letter? Does it invalidate the hope and anticipation for salvation? Does it mean that what is set out that the Divine and Jesus Christ have done for humanity is not true? No, of course not. It just means that Paul’s theology was very popular and had been decimated far and wide.
“But when the goodness and loving kindness of God our Savior appeared, he saved us, not because of any works of righteousness that we had done, but according to his mercy, through the water of rebirth and renewal by the Holy Spirit. This Spirit he poured out on us richly through Jesus Christ our Savior, so that, having been justified by his grace, we might become heirs according to the hope of eternal life.” (Titus 3:4-7)
Good news, beloved reader, is good news – whoever tells it. The gospel is the gospel – whoever it is that is relating the story. That there are variations speaks to the diversity that is the Divine. That each person makes it their own, has it instilled in their hearts, and lives it out as the Holy Presence guides them. We can say, “That is not how I understand it and live it” but unless and until we have a measure to gauge authentic Christianity, we can only measure it by the fruits in produces. If hope is kindled and true salvation is experienced, we must testify to it being a gift and blessing from the Divine.
As we make our way through the last days before Christmas, may the hope of the season be with you and the gift of salvation encourage you to live an accountable life. Shalom & Selah!