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Imprisoned as a criminal, in one of Rome’s most repugnant jails, the Apostle Paul makes one of the most striking statements of the Pauline writings. “The word of God is not bound ”. The great Apostle and Missionary of the Christian Front sees the Gospel going forward to accomplish its “mission” of calling the Elect unto Salvation.
Paul makes it perfectly clear that it is for reason of the Gospel propagation that he is in “chains”. He is a prisoner of the Roman government and deemed an “enemy of the state”; all because he has been faithful to the mission. There are some that claim that the Pastoral Letters do not have a significant missiological tone in them. They claim that Paul is setting up the church for the “long haul” and the immanent eschatological hopes are fading. This could not be further from the truth. Paul claims that he suffers “all things for the elect’s sake, that they may also obtain the salvation” 2 Ti 2:10. By this it is clear to me that the Apostle had in mind that the Church “The Pillar and Foundation of Truth”; which by the way IS the Gospel, would continue on in her mission to reach the Elect. To be clear, “The Elect” are those for whom Christ died and not a just a certain few.
Hear the exhortation of the Apostle as he pleads with young Timothy, as he fights Hell by the Acre. “Be sober in all things, endure hardship, do the work of an evangelist, fulfill your ministry”2 Timothy 4:5. The city of Ephesus, where Timothy was stationed, was steeped in paganism; the Church was rifled with heresy and Paul was encouraging Timothy to do the work of an Evangelist. In common language, that means to reach the lost with the Gospel!
It is made unusually plain within the Pastorals that God is described as the Savior. We have always deemed Christ as the Savior, since He is the one who finished the work of redemption upon the cross of Calvary. But in the PEs it is “God our Savior”. This title given to God demonstrates that it was in the economy of the Father to work out the redemptive plan of man. Therefore, He is Savior. It is then clear to realize the saving intention of God and to underscore the missionary character of Yahweh. If the Church is the ransomed possession of God it goes without saying that she must continue the work of redemption by propagating the “Good News” of God’s saving Grace.
There is a motif of “Good Works” that runs through the letter to Titus. It has the sense of being an habitual activity of the redeemed. Paul also uses the same motif when speaking of the heretical teachers when he states, “they are unfit for any good work”. The work of correcting any notion of heresy, contains within it the practical work of housekeeping; however, the good housekeeping idea is crucial for the continuity of the Gospel mission. This is the same mind-set for the good works of the Bride. She is to be adorned with them. Not only for the purpose of getting along with the society around her but to have the “above reproach” seal upon her as she invades the dark sector with the penetrating Light of the Gospel.
Let it never be said that the Apostle was content with a maintenance ministry of putting out fires within the already established Churches. He was consumed with starting Evangelical fires with this missionary Gospel that is ever “Unchained”.
Craig Layton is pursuing a BA in Christian Studies with a Great Commission Minor. He is a conference speaker and Revivalist who speaks to issues from Christian Worldview issues to how to prepare for genuine revival within a body of believers. He is senior pastor of Leary Baptist Church in Leary Georgia; which is presently experiencing a protracted season of true God sent revival.. Married for 6 years to his wife Kimberly, they have two children and two grandchildren. You can follow Craig on Twitter at twitter.com/Pastor_COLayton. And on Facebook at facebook.com/craig.layton72