I think we all struggle to truly believe the Gospel at points in our lives. This is most often evidenced when we fail to be “doers of the Word and not hearers only” (James 1:22). For instance, being fearful of awkward conversation and thus failing to share the Truth of the Gospel with someone, or saying that we love our neighbor and we believe that we should, but failing to help meet their needs. There are tons of examples of saying we believe something, but failing to allow it to change us and failing to live what we believe, or as my pastor said, “We don’t put feet to our faith.”
In order for the Gospel to change us, we have to believe it. In Titus 3:8, the Apostle Paul has just presented the Gospel in a nutshell in verses 1-7, especially 4-7 and is now letting us know that “The saying is trustworthy” “the saying” of course, being the Gospel, and “trustworthy” literally means, in the Greek, “faithful.” How do we know that it is trustworthy? Because as Paul said in 2 Timothy 3:16, “All Scripture is breathed out by God.” As my friend Matt said, “The Scripture is never wrong, we are.” I believe that the Bible is the inerrant, infallible and authoritative Word of God, because its authority comes from God Himself and it never leads us astray. If we read it and know it well AND apply it to our lives, and I can testify to this truth, that my life is not the same, and I can speak for many many others that their lives are not the same as a result of believing, knowing and applying Scripture to their lives.
Paul tells Titus to “Declare these things…with all authority,” in 2:15. So does Paul have authority? Yes, according to Titus 1:1-3. He gives a short version of his credentials here summing it up in the statement in verse 3, “…I have been entrusted (with the Gospel) by the command of God our savior.” If you want an extensive list of his credentials see 2 Corinthians 10:1-12:10.
Ultimately, Paul’s authority comes from our God and Savior Jesus Christ who had all authority in heaven and on earth and He commanded all believers to go and preach the Gospel to the whole world (Matthew 28:18-20). The fact that the Gospel is true is a guarantee from God, and as with any fact, it cannot be changed. He wants us to also guarantee this Gospel and endorse it. We are charged in Titus 3:8 to insist on the truth of the Gospel “so that those who have believed in God may be careful to devote themselves to good works.” If we aren’t insisting on the truth of the Gospel and Scripture, we aren’t going to follow it, and we aren’t going to allow it to change us.
Applying the Gospel to our lives is one of the hardest things about being a Christian. I will be the first to admit, that I love studying and soaking in God’s Word, but have failed to apply it in the past. I can attest to the fact that when I have begun to apply the things I have learned from the truths of God’s Word to my life, it brings about amazing changes. I definitely don’t apply it perfectly, otherwise I would be perfect. Isaiah 58 tells very well how God feels about those who love knowledge but not application and then shows what application looks like. My pastor summed it up as: “Yes, you love to learn, but you do not love to obey or apply!”
The last section of Titus 3:8 says, “These things (good works) are excellent and profitable for people.” Our good works can look like acts of service to others, which is a benefit to them. But hopefully in the meantime, we are also sharing the truth of Scripture and the Gospel with them, so that it is beneficial not only to their physical needs, but to their spiritual needs as well.
Sometimes, I don’t believe the Gospel with my actions. I always believe it in my head. I love studying the Scriptures and now, I love applying them, even though it’s very hard sometimes. Like I said, I don’t always apply Scripture perfectly, but it’s something I’ve really been working on in my life and I encourage everyone to do the same!