πŸ‘‘ An Apostle According to the Faith

In his epistle to young Pastor Titus, the Apostle Paul spoke of his apostleship in a unique way, saying,

“Paul…an apostle…according to the faith of God’s elect…” (Titus 1:1)

What could Paul have meant when he said that he was made an apostle “according to the faith of God’s elect?”

Well, the word “elect” meansΒ chosen,Β of course. When we have an election, we choose a candidate to be our leader. And when it comes toΒ God’sΒ elect, even the Lord’s enemies knew thatΒ HeΒ was God’s chosen (Lu. 23:35). You yourself becameΒ partΒ of God’s elect when you believed the gospel and God placed you “in Christ” (I Cor. 1:30). That’s how it has always worked, in every dispensation. Isaiah identified the Lord Jesus as God’s elect (Isa. 42:1 cf. Mt. 12:18,19), but later identifiedΒ believersΒ in Israel as God’s elect (65:9,22).

But when Paul said that he’d been made an apostleΒ according to the faith of God’s elect,Β that can’t be talking about the faith that we put in Christ to become part of the elect. Our faith didn’t come along until longΒ afterΒ Paul was made an apostle, so he couldn’t have been made an apostle according toΒ thatΒ faith. Whatever faith he’s talking about here, it must have existedΒ beforeΒ Paul was an apostle, and he wasΒ madeΒ an apostleΒ according to it.

Here it helps to remember that the phrase “the faith” can refer toΒ a body of truth,Β as it does when Paul and Barnabas “returned again to Lystra, and to Iconium, and Antioch…exhorting them to continue inΒ the faith”Β (Acts 14:21,22). We see this same definition of the phrase “the faith” when Paul later helped some churches become “establishedΒ in the faith” (Acts 16:5). In these verses “the faith” clearly referred to the body of truth given to Paul. That’s the thing in which believers should be established, and that’s the thing in which they need to continue, as those verses–and others–insist (cf. Rom. 16:25; Acts 13:43, I Tim. 4:16, II Tim. 3:14).

And that’s what the phrase “the faith” means in Titus 1:1 as well. The body of truth that was given to Paul existedΒ in the mind of GodΒ before the world began, and Paul was made an apostleΒ according to it. That is, he was made an apostle toΒ revealΒ that faith andΒ preachΒ it, and make known that body of truth. Paul calls it “the faith which should afterwards be revealed” (Gal. 3:23) because while it existed in the mind of God before the world began, he says that God “manifested His word through preaching, which is committed unto me” (Tit. 1:3). It is the message of God’s grace, and it is the reason Paul wrote that he had “received grace and apostleship,Β for obedience to the faithΒ among all nations” (Rom. 1:5).

Have you been obedient to the faith, and “obeyed from the heart that form of doctrine which was delivered you” through Paul (Rom. 6:17)? Paul says that God will impute His very own righteousness to us “if we believe on Him that raised up Jesus our Lord from the dead. source

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