In Paul’s letter to Titus he calls him his true child in a common faith. When we consider the fact that Paul was in the upper echelon of Jewish society, that he was trained by one of the greatest Jewish scholars of their age and was therefore a pharisee who disciplined himself to adhere to the Jewish law strictly. Titus on the other hand was a gentile, raised in a radically different culture and background, he would have been exposed to all manner of idolatry and pagan worship. It’s no small thing that Paul would even be around Titus, much less claim him in any way, and to claim his as his son is almost impossible to fathom. This is possible only because the blood of Christ covers all and makes all of us who were far off near and adopts us into the family of God. But when Paul says that Titus is my true child in a common faith, what does he mean by that? Well there are at least three ways our faith is common.
Common Throughout the Church
While our faith is certainly a personal decision that we must make on our own, we do not get autonomy over what faith in Jesus looks like. We cannot say that we will follow Christ but do it our way. The faith that we have, we have in common. We have God’s Word as our standard, and we cannot say that we are following Christ or believing in Him if our faith is not in accordance with that Word. This means that each and every one of us in the church, if we have trusted Jesus, we have a common faith that unites us. A church then may very well be made up of people who have very little in common, they’re not the same age or from the same social or economic background, they may not be the same color or have kids that play the same sports, they may not have even voted for the same person in the last election, but what we have together that supersedes all of that is a common faith. One of us could even have been raised as a Jew and have become a pharisee and the other have come from a pagan gentile background, but we are brought together by our faith in the Gospel.
Common Throughout the Generations
There is an intentional aspect of the relationship with Paul and Titus, and even what Paul is going to encourage Titus to push for in Crete in just a few sentences, that pictures an entrusting of one believer to a younger generation. We see that the faith that is handed down is not a changed faith, it’s not as if each generation needs to examine for themselves how the gospel might be reimagined for them, but it’s the same good news throughout each and every year. This is what the reformers discovered 500 years ago, that God’s Word is sufficient for us and that it calls us to hold fast to God through faith in Christ. There’s no need to “modernize” our faith, to mutate it into some acceptable version for our world, rather we should hold fast to the Gospel that Jesus proclaimed as he proclaimed it.
Common Throughout our Lives
Our faith is not compartmentalized into only the time when we are gathered together as a church or only the time when we are in prayer or reading the Bible. But our faith is common throughout all of our life, it influences our relationships, our work, our study and even the most insignificant mundane. There is not a single corner of your heart that the gospel doesn’t touch, and faith means that we allow it to have a transforming effect on all of it. We don’t merely change our religious status when we come to faith in Christ, we change. There was an old person who by the blood of Christ has been transformed into a new person, the sins have been washed away and the Holy Spirit has been breathed into them. This means we should lay every area of our life, every relationship and every decision at the feet of Jesus and trust that our faith will shine a new light on each of these. This is good news, because it means that our faith in Christ will have just as much significance in our life at the office or at the dinner table as it does in the pew. Faith in Christ is gloriously common throughout every area of our life.