God promised to give Gentiles eternal life before the world began (Titus 1:1,2), but didn’t make that promise “manifest” until Paul (v.3). But what made it the “due time…”?
That phrase is used when God sees that our power is gone (Deut. 32:35,26; Romans 5:6). When God gave the Law to Israel, they claimed they could keep it (Ex.24:3-7), so God gave them 1500 years to try! When they proved they were “without strength” to keep it (Rom. 5:6), He had Christ die for them “in due time.”
But as far as anyone knew He only died for Jews (Isa. 53:8). And that didn’t change in the New Testament, where the Lord claimed He only died for the “many” in Israel (Mt. 20:28). It isn’t until Paul that we learn He gave His life a ransom “for all” (I Tim. 2:5,6). Christ died for the ungodly in due time, but the fact He died for ungodly Gentiles wasn’t something that was testified until the “due time” given to Paul.
What made it the due time? The Gentiles knew they couldn’t save themselves. In time past they had to become Jews to be saved—true Jews, believing Jews, by believing on Israel’s God.The Lord sent the 12 to get them to do that (Luke 24:47) but they couldn’t get past Jerusalem till the children of Israel in that city were “filled” with the salvation of God (Mark 7:27). It looked like they were without strength to save themselves. But that’s when Paul testified they didn’t have to become Jews to get eternal life, because God had promised them eternal life too, knowing Christ would die for them too.
“Manifested” (v.3) means to make something known that had been secret or hid (cf. Lu. 8:17). That’s what Paul’s message was (Col. 1:25,26). It involved more than just the fact that Christ died for Gentiles, it involved “the fellowship of the mystery (Eph. 3:9), “that the Gentiles should be fellowheirs and of the same body” as Jews in the Body of Christ. “Fellow” means equal (cf. Zech. 13:7), and for God to make Jews and Gentiles equal He had to create a whole new program called “the dispensation of the grace of God” (Eph. 3:2) featuring a new creation called the Body of Christ.
God “committed” (v.3) it to Paul (I Cor. 9:17) “as” the kingdom gospel was committed to Peter (Gal. 2:7). That is, he was the dispenser of it, it was committed to his trust (I Tim. 1:11), then to Timothy’s (II Tim. 1:14) then to ours (II Tim. 2:2).
When Paul said God committed the message to Paul’s trust “according to the promise of God our Saviour” (v.3), he was talking to a Gentile (Gal. 2:3). That’s new with Paul too! God was Israel’s Savior in the Old Testament (Isa. 43:3), but Paul talked to a Jew about “God our Saviour… who will have all men to be saved (I Tim. 2:3,4). That explains how he could talk to Titus about the “common faith” (v.4 cf. Rom. 1:11-13). Jews and Gentiles didn’t have anything in common before that, especially not their faith! And when Paul talked about “Christ our Saviour” (v.4), that was new with Paul too! Before Paul, Christ was Israel’s Saviour (Acts 13:23), but now He’s the Saviour of the Jews and Gentiles in the Body of Christ (Eph. 5:23).
Titus was saved by “grace” (Tit. 1:4), but grace is a way of life, as we reflect God’s grace to others. “Mercy” (v. 4) is what Paul offered Titus and Timothy so they could remain single in the distress of persecution they were enduring (I Cor. 7:25,26). “Peace” (v. 4) was also something Titus had (Rom. 5:1), but peace is also a way of life (Rom. 12:18).
There’s no record of Paul visiting Crete in Acts, and Paul was imprisoned at the end of Acts and later died in prison. So we know he was released briefly and re-imprisoned. The “cause” (v. 5) or reason Paul left Titus in Crete was to “set in order the things that are wanting.” God loves order (Col. 2:5). When the Corinthians were selfishly out of order in church (I Cor. 11:20,21), Paul vowed to set “the rest” in order later (v. 34), indicating such selfishness was out of order. They were speaking in tongues in a disorderly way so Paul said to “let all things be done… in order” (I Cor. 14:40)
He was talking about order in the church service. Things were out of order in the church services in Crete too. Paul didn’t mean for Titus to be the permanent leader there (cf. Tit. 3:12), but setting things in order was his strength, and God believes in capitalizing on our strengths. What’s yours?