Sometimes we treat certain verses in the Bible as filler. We skim the genealogies and miss relationships and facts that would open up the ‘more interesting” parts. We treat the addresses and farewells in the epistles the same way.
All who are with me send greetings to you. Greet those who love us in the faith. Grace be with you all, Titus 3:15.
I was working on some class material on faith when I read that passage and nearly skipped over it as useless. Then I found an alternate translation, one of those I seldom look at because they are just a bit too loose, but it opened my mind to the possibilities in this verse. Greetings to you from everyone here. Greet all of our friends who share in our faith. I pray that the Lord will be kind to all of you! (Contemporary English Version)
Look at that middle sentence: Greet all of our friends who share in our faith. Now read the other one again. Greet those who love us in the faith.
How many of your friends and neighbors will tell you that you can be a Christian without participating in what they sneeringly call “organized religion?” What they mean by that is they can have faith in God without having to worry about being members of a church, answering to the ordained authority in that church, or being obligated to serve anyone else in that church. Yet Paul told Titus that part of being in the faith was recognizing (greeting) the others who share that faith with you, those who, because of that shared faith, love you.
Those friends will tell you, “Of course I love people,” but John said, “Let us not love in word or in talk, but in deed and in truth,” 1 John 3:18. You can’t sit at home in your easy chair and love anyone.
The New Testament tells us in passage after passage that our lives are judged by how we treat “one another.” Love one another, we are told. Be at peace with one another. Welcome one another. Instruct one another. Wait for one another. Care for one another. Comfort one another. Agree with one another. Serve one another. Bear one another’s burdens. Be kind to one another and forgive one another. Bear with one another. Submit to one another. Encourage one another. Show hospitality to one another. Confess your faults to one another. Consider one another. Exhort one another. Do good to one another. I defy anyone to do these things outside the fellowship of a group of people.
And I pity anyone who has not experienced the joy of bumping into a brother or sister as you run your daily errands, who has not felt instant camaraderie with people you have never met before when you walk into a meetinghouse in an unfamiliar city, the absolute sense of haven and relief that spreads through you simply because you and someone else are bound by the grace of God. As Paul seems to imply in that “filler” of a verse, it cannot help but affect your faith.
…and the Lord added to the church daily such as were being saved, Acts 2:47.