And Jesus came and said to them, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.”
By Gary Wilkerson
In his epistle to Titus, Paul left behind powerful instructions for us regarding Christ’s Great Commission to preach the gospel. He had just left the island of Crete, where he had encountered persecution, and when he departed to evangelize in other cities, he left behind Titus and some other leaders.
Crete was a wicked city, overrun with sensuality, and the young leaders’ hearts told them to leave. But Paul instructed them to stay, explaining to them that it was for good reasons: “This is why I left you in Crete” (Titus 1:5). He then stressed the necessary, practical working out of salvation in the daily lives of both the elders and the congregation.
The dilemma in Crete parallels ours today. America has seen a vast decline in religious faith in the last few decades; in fact, our nation’s transformation has been dramatic. We are no longer a Christian society that has moved to secularism, but a secular society moving rapidly toward paganism.
These young leaders in Crete had gone there to raise up a church, appoint elders, and establish a Christian presence, all of which they accomplished, but only with great difficulty. Paul trained them and acknowledged their hardship: “One of the [prophets] of their own said, ‘Cretans are always liars, evil beasts, lazy gluttons’” (Titus 1:12). Why would Paul leave them in a culture so dark and evil? To display the life and light of Jesus Christ.
God always has a remnant people in a darkened culture. Even in the worst of times, he continually raises up a testimony of light amid darkness. As Jesus says, we are to be salt, an agent that preserves life in a decaying environment. “You are the salt of the earth, but if salt has lost its taste, how shall its saltiness be restored? It is no longer good for anything except to be thrown out and trampled under people’s feet” (Matthew 5:13).
We are the ones God has appointed to be lights in a darkened place and time. You may not want to live in a sin-filled culture like America’s or bring up your children in a society that rages more and more against God, but Jesus has a design for your life in this time and place. You are here right now for a divine purpose: to show forth the glory of God to this generation.