1 Paul, a bondservant of God and an apostle of Jesus Christ, according to the faith of God’s elect and the acknowledgment of the truth which accords with godliness,
The salutation of Titus runs through the first four verses. This is a long introduction for such a small epistle. Paul identified himself as the sender in verses one to three, and Titus as the object of the epistle in verse four.
The first four verses are one long sentence. There are two landmarks in these verses: Paul and Titus.
Paul began his letters with his name, giving authority for what he was about to write. He identified himself as the source of the epistle. Thirteen books of the New Testament begin with the name “Paul.” He wrote 13 of the 27 books of the Bible. If we include the book of Hebrews, then he wrote 14 of those books.
a bondservant [slave] of God
Paul gave two descriptions of his God-given role: (1) a slave of God and (2) an apostle of Jesus Christ.
This is the only place where Paul used the expression “bondservant of God.” The idea of Paul being a slave of God is unique and not found elsewhere in the New Testament. He called himself the servant of Jesus Christ (Ro 1:1; Ga 1:10; Ph 1:1).
Ac 16: 17 This girl followed Paul and us, and cried out, saying, “These men are the servants of the Most High God, who proclaim to us the way of salvation.”
Re 1: 1 The Revelation of Jesus Christ, which God gave Him to show His servants—things which must shortly take place. And He sent and signified it by His angel to His servant John,
Re 15: 3 They sing the song of Moses, the servant of God, and the song of the Lamb, saying: “Great and marvelous are Your works, Lord God Almighty! Just and true are Your ways, O King of the saints!”
He said in effect, “I am God’s slave. I have no rights of my own. I wave preferential treatment. Here I am. Do with me what you wish.” Not many of us have come to that place.
Paul did not designate himself as a scholar, a traveler, a theologian; he identified himself as a slave. He saw himself in bondage to God with no will of his own. All his purposes and plans revolved around the Lord. Everything was subject to God’s will.
Slavery was widespread in the Roman Empire. Slaves had no rights or freedom. Paul used this horrific title in the positive sense for himself (Ro 1:1; Ga 1:10; Ph 1:1). He felt that he owed that kind of service to God because of what the Lord had done for him.
Commitment to the mastery of God over our lives is fundamental to Christian living.
A slave serves with disregard for his own interests. Paul served God with abandon. He lived before the Lord with self-sacrifice. Paul viewed himself as bought, owned, and directed by God. He lived with high commitment to his Lord. Is it our aim to live our lives to serve God? A committed Christian sees himself under God’s authority in everything that he does.
Ac 20: 24 But none of these things move me; nor do I count my life dear to myself, so that I may finish my race with joy, and the ministry which I received from the Lord Jesus, to testify to the gospel of the grace of God.
Have we come to the place where we say to God, “I have no rights of my own. I am at your disposal. You can do anything you want with me. You have my physical life, my bank account, my children, my job or profession”?