Titus 3

 

 

1 “Put them in mind to be subject to principalities and powers, to obey

magistrates, to be ready to every good work,”  Put them in mind .

(ὑπομίμνησκεhupomimnaeske – be you reminding); as II Timothy 2:14.

To principalities and powers.  To rulers, to authorities. Many uncials, which the

Received Text follows, omit the kai< - kai – and -  but it seems necessary to the sense.

The change from “principalities and powers” to” rulers” and “authorities” does

not seem desirable ἈρχάιArchaisovereignties – (from ἀρχή archae

beginning, government, rule - is used of supramundane beings who exercise rule,

called “principality); and ἐξουσίαι exousiai – authorities -  (denotes freedom

of action; when used of God, it is absolute, unrestricted; right to act;  is a favorite

juxtaposition of Paul’s (I Corinthians 15:24; Ephesians 1:21; 3:10; 6:12; Colossians

1:16; 2:10, 15). It occurs also in I Peter 3:22. In all the above examples the words,

it is true, apply to the angelic hosts, but the words are elsewhere applied separately

to human government, and in Luke 20:20, they are applied together to the authority

of the Roman governor. To obey.   (πειθαρχεῖνpeitharchein – to be yielding);

only here and in Acts 5:29, 32; 27:21. It follows here its classical use, “to obey a

superior,” well expressed in the Authorized Version “to obey magistrates.” The

simpleto be obedient” of the Revised Version does not express the sense. To be

ready to every good work. Paul is still speaking with especial reference to

magistrates and the civil power. Christians were to show themselves good

 citizens, always ready for any duty to which they were called. Christianity

was not to be an excuse for shirking duties, or refusing obedience where it was due.

The only limit is expressed by the word “good.” They were to give tribute to

whom tribute was due; custom to whom custom; fear to whom fear; honor

to whom honor (Romans 13:7); but, if ordered to do evil, then they must resist,

and obey God rather than man (Acts 4:19). (See the similar limitation in ch.2:10,

note, and compare, for the whole verse, the very similar passage, Romans 13:1-7.)

 

 

 

                                                Political Duties (v. 1)

 

The apostle now turns to the duties which Christians owe to the pagan

world around them.

 

·         THE NECESSITY OF THE INJUNCTION TO POLITICAL

SUBMISSION. “Put them in mind.” The words imply that the duty was

already known, but needed to be recalled to Cretan memory. It is but too

certain that the injunction was needed. Once a democratic state, now for

over a century under Roman law, and always remarkable for a factious and

turbulent spirit, the Cretan impatience of authority was reinforced by the

spirit of insubordination which was such a characteristic of the Jewish part

of the community.

 

·         THE DUTY OF SUBMISSION TO CONSTITUTED AUTHORITY.

“Put them in mind to be subject to authorities, to powers, to obey the

magistrate, to be ready towards every good work.” The very redundancy

of words used here is significant, as if to exclude the possibility of an

evasion of the command.

 

Ø      Government is of God. “The powers that be are ordained of God”

(Romans 13:1; I Peter 2:13).

 

Ø      The form of government does not affect the duty of obedience.

Monarchies, republics, oligarchies, have in them alike the ordination and

power of God for the welfare of society.

 

Ø      There are limits to this obedience, but the apostle does not fix them.

The exceptional cases are not mentioned, because they are summed up

either in the primary law of self-preservation, which is antecedent to all

government, or in the supremacy of conscience, which must always obey

God rather than men. A king may become insane and murder his subjects,

but the first principles of nature justify their resort to force in self-protection

(Acts 5:29; 4:9, 20). The king may command his subjects to

practice idolatry. In that case, if the Christian cannot resist, he must die.

 

·         POLITICAL DUTY IN THE CASE OF CHRISTIANS INCLUDES

MORE THAN SUBMISSION. They must be “ready toward every good

work.” As the magistrate is appointed to be a terror to evil-doers and the

praise of them that do well (Romans 13:3), the disposition of Christian

subjects to every good work has a tendency to make government easy and

light.

 

2 “To speak evil of no man, to be no brawlers, but gentle, shewing all

meekness unto all men.” To speak evil of no man (μηδένα βλασφημεῖν

maedena blasphaemein).  Probably especially pointed in the first place at a natural

tendency of oppressed Christians to speak evil of their rulers (II Peter 2:10; Jude 1:10),

but extended into a general precept which might be especially needful for the rough and

turbulent Cretans. To be no brawlers.  (ἀμάχους εἴναι - amachous einainot to

be contentious; to be pacific); as I Timothy 3:3, note. But be gentle.  (ἐπιεικεῖς

 epieikeis to be gentle); coupled, as here, with ἀμάχουςamachousnot

contentious; not a brawler (see above) in I Timothy 3:3.  Shewing (ἐνδεικνυμένους

endeiknumenous – showing; displaying); a word of frequent occurrence in Paul’s

vocabulary (Romans 2:15; 9:17.22; Ephesians 2:7, etc.; see above, ch. 2:10, note).

Meekness (πραότητα - praotaeta); another Pauline word (I Corinthians 4:21;

II Corinthians 10:1; Galatians 5:23; I Timothy 6:11; II Timothy 2:25). The precept

is given its widest extension by the double addition of “all” and “to all men.”

The roughness, or want of courtesy, of others is no excuse for the want of meekness

in those who are the disciples of HIM WHO WAS MEEK AND LOWLY IN HEART!

(Matthew 11:29). All men, whatever their station, the highest or the lowest, are to

receive meek and gentle treatment from the Christian.

 

 

Society has reached no ideal perfection in government, nor has God

Himself laid down any outward form as an ideal. All nations are justified in

variety of choice. There has been government by judges, and governments

monarchical, republican, autocratic, and constitutional. All that we need to

notice is that society needs to be governed. Lawlessness always ends in

anarchy, misery, and desolation.  Let us learn:

 

  • Subjection to the State.  This is beautiful. Restraint is better than the liberty

of licentiousness. (As America is finding out in the 21st century – CY – 2013)

Compare a river that keeps its bounds to one that overflows its banks. Men

are justified in resisting tyrannies, whether of autocrats or mobs; but they must

not forget that all well-ordered societies exist only by subjection.

 

  • Self-Conquest.   Controlling the tongue, avoiding all bitterness and “brawling,”

and showing that there is

Ø      a magistracy of the heart as well as

Ø      a magistracy of the state.

 

 

 

            The Right Deportment of Christians Toward All Men (v. 2)

 

It is described first negatively, then positively.

 

·         THEY MUST NOT BE REVILERS. “To speak evil of no man.”

 

Ø      What evils spring from the wrong use of the tongue! “It is an unruly

evil (James 3:8).

 

Ø      If the evil we speak of others is false, we are slanderers; if it is true, we

sin against charity. It usually betokens a malignant spirit.

 

Ø      It is to forget the example of Christ“who, when he was reviled,

reviled not again;” and the precepts of Christ, who taught us “to love our

enemies.” Let Christians, therefore, guard their tongues, and let their

words be few and well-ordered.

 

·         THEY MUST NOT BE CONTENTIOUS. “No brawlers.”

 

Ø      Such a disposition mars the influence of Christian people.

Ø      It is inconsistent with the spirit of Him who did not strive, nor was

      His voice heard in the streets.

Ø      It leads to unseemly retaliations from the world, to the dishonor of

Christ.

 

·         THEY MUST BE FORBEARING. “But gentle.” It suggests the idea

of giving way, of taking wrong rather than of revenging the injuries we

receive.

 

·         THEY MUST BE MEEK TO ALL MEN. “Showing all meekness to

all men.”

 

Ø      Meekness is a fruit of the Spirit. (Galatians 5:22-23.)

Ø      It is precious in Gods sight. (I Peter 3:4.)

Ø      It is a characteristic of true wisdom. (James 3:17.)

Ø      It is necessary to a Christian walk. (Ephesians 4:1-2.)

Ø      It is specially needed in our conduct toward our fellow-men

      (James 3:13); in our efforts to restore the erring (Galatians 6:1) and

to instruct opposers of themselves.  (II Timothy 2:24-25).

 

3 “For we ourselves also were sometimes foolish, disobedient, deceived,

serving divers lusts and pleasures, living in malice and envy, hateful, and

hating one another.”  Foolish (ἀνόητοιanoaetoi); a Pauline word

(Galatians 3:1, 3), found also in Luke 24:25 (see I Timothy 6:9); of frequent use

in classical Greek. Disobedient (ἀπειθεῖς) apeitheis unpersuadable;

stubborn); as ch.1:16. In Luke 1:17 it stands, as here, absolutely, meaning

disobedient to God and His Law. Deceived (πλανώμενοιplanomenoi -

led astray, made to wander from the path of truth and right); either by

false systems of religion, or by our own evil affections and appetites (see II Timothy

2:13; I Peter 2:25; II Peter 2:15, etc.). Serving.  (δουλεύοντεςdouleuontes

slaves to); II Peter 2:19 (see above, ch. 2:2). Lusts.  (ἐπιθυμίαιςepithumiais);

not always in a bad sense, as here, though usually so (see Luke 22:15; Philippians 1:23;

I Thessalonians 2:17; Revelation 18:14). Pleasures. (ἡδοναῖςhaedonais

gratificationsthis word is the origin of the idea behind the modern philosophy of

Hedonism [the pursuit of pleasure; sensual self-indulgence] – CY - 2019); always in a

bad sense in the New Testament (Luke 8:14; James 4:1, 3; II Peter 2:13).  Living. 

(διάγοντεςdiagontes); see I Timothy 2:2, where it is followed by βίονbionlife

which is here understood. Διάγειν τὸν βίον αἰῶνα χρόνον σάββατονDiagein ton

bion aiona chronon sabbaton etc., are common phrases both in the Septuagint and

in classical Greek for passing or spending one’s life, time, age, etc. But it is only

found in the New Testament here and in I Timothy 2:2. Malice (κακίᾳ - kakia ). This

word is sometimes used of wickedness generally, as Acts 8:22; James 1:21;

I Corinthians 5:8; and probably Romans 1:29; and even of badness in things,

as Matthew 6:34. But it frequently in the New Testament denotes malice,

 the desire to do harm to others, as Ephesians 4:31; Colossians 3:8, etc.

Envy (φθόνῳ phthono|); almost always found in Paul’s enumeration of sins

(Romans 1:29; Galatians 5:21; I Timothy 6:4, etc.). Hateful.  (στυγητοί

stugaetoi); only here in the New Testament, not found in the Septuagint

(though the verb στυγέω - stugeo – to hate - occurs once or twice in the

Maccabees), but used in good classical Greek. The above is a sad but too

true picture of human life WITHOUT  the sweetening influences of

GOD’S HOLY SPIRIT!

 

 

 

Duty (vs. 1-3)

 

“Put them in mind to be subject to principalities and powers,” etc. “Very

careful,” says Dean Spence, “and searching have been the apostle’s

charges to Titus respecting the teachers of the Church, their doctrine and

their life; very particular have been his directions, his warnings and

exhortations, to men and women of different ages, on the subject of their

home life. But with the exception of a slight digression, in the case of a

slave to a pagan master, his words had been written with a reference

generally to Christian life among Christians. But there was then a great life

outside the little Christian world: how were the people of Christ to regulate

their behavior in their dealings with the vast pagan world outside? Paul

goes to the root of the matter at once when he says, ‘Put them in mind,’

etc.” We have here duty in a threefold relation — in relation to civil

government, in relation to general society, and in relation to moral self.

Here is duty:

 

·         IN RELATION TO CIVIL GOVERNMENT. “Put them in mind to be

subject [in subjection] to principalities [rulers] and powers [authorities], to

obey magistrates [to be obedient].” It is here implied, and fully taught

elsewhere (Romans 13:1-7), that civil government is of DIVINE APPOINTMENT!   “There is no power but of God,” says Paul. That the principle of civil government is Divine is not only revealed but implied in

the very constitution of society.

 

Ø      Mans social tendencies indicate it. Some men are royal in their instincts

and powers, and are evidently made to rule. Others are servile, cringing in

tendency, feeble in faculty, and made to obey. There is a vast gradation of

instinct and power in human society, and it is an eternal principle in God’s

government that the lesser shall serve the greater.

 

Ø      Mans social needs indicate it. Every community, to be kept in

order, must have a recognized head — one who shall be allowed to rule,

either by his own will or the organized will of the whole. Hence man, in his

most savage state, has some recognized chief. The principle of civil

government is, therefore, manifestly of Divine appointment. We may rest

assured that, civil government being of Divine appointment, it is for good

and good only. Indeed, we learn that Paul’s idea of a civil ruler is that he is

a “minister of God to thee for good.” But what is good? The answer in

which all will agree is this obedience to the Divine will. What is the

standard of virtue? Not the decree of an autocrat, not public sentiment,

even when organized into constitutional law; but the will of God. “Whether

it be right in the sight of God to hearken unto you more than unto God,

judge ye.” (Acts 4:19)  The civil government, therefore, that does not harmonize with His will, as revealed by Christ the infallible Logos, is not the government

of which Paul speaks. Taking Christ as the Revealer of God’s will, we may

infer that the infringement of human rights is not in accordance with the

will of God, and therefore not good. Also that the promotion of injustice,

impurity, and error is not according to the will of God, and therefore not

good. The Bible never teaches, nor does moral philosophy, that we are

bound to obey laws that are not righteous, to honor persons that are not

honorworthy. If we are commanded to honor the king, the precept implies

that the kings character is worthy of his office; Some kings it is religious

to despise and loathe. If we are commanded to honor our parents, the

language implies that our parents are honorworthy. Some parents display

attributes of character suited to awaken the utmost hatred and contempt.

In like manner we are commanded to be subject to the higher powers, and the

injunction implies that what these higher powers enact is right. The

obligation of obedience is ever dependent upon the righteousness of the

command.

 

·         IN RELATION TO GENERAL SOCIETY. There are three duties here

indicated which every man owes to his fellows.

 

Ø      Usefulness. “Be ready to every good work.” The law of universal

benevolence which we see in nature, our own instincts and faculties, as

well as the written Word, teach us that man was made to serve his brother;

the grand end of each is to promote the happiness of others. No man fulfills

his mission or realizes his destiny who is not an altruist, who is not ever

actuated by regard for the happiness of others. Altruism is God’s social law

and is binding on every one; disregard to it is the source of all social

disorders and miseries. “The soul of the truly benevolent man does not

seem to reside much in its own body. Its life, to a great extent, is a mere

reflex of the lives of others. It migrates into their bodies, and, identifying its

existence with their existence, finds its own happiness in increasing and

prolonging their pleasures, in extinguishing or solacing their pains.”

 

Ø      Charitableness. “To speak evil of no man.” “This,” says a modern

author, “imports more than to speak evil in the ordinary sense: it is to act

the part of a reviler or slanderer; and when used of conduct from one man

towards another, always betokens the exercise of a very bitter and

malignant spirit. Titus was to charge the Christians of Crete to give no

exhibition towards any one of such a spirit, nor to show a quarrelsome

disposition, but, on the contrary, to cultivate a mild, placable, and gentle

temper.” There are evils of some sort or other attaching to all men, and in

some men they are of the most hideous and heinous character. To ignore

them, if possible, would be wrong; to feel them is natural to the pure, and

to denounce them is right. But to speak of them before others, to parade

them before the eyes of others, argues a base and malignant nature. Should

occasion require us to speak of them, it should be in the saddest tones of

tenderness, and even with compassionate indignation.

 

Ø      Courteousness. “To be no brawlers [not to be contentious], but gentle,

showing all meekness unto all men.” How much there is in society, how

much in every department of life — mercantile, mechanical, and mental —

one meets with to annoy and irritate, especially those fated with an irascible

nature. Still, amidst the strongest provocations, courtesy is our duty, yes,

and our dignity too.

 

·         IN RELATION TO OUR MORAL SELF. The apostle urges the duty

of forbearance to what was wrong in government and society, by

reminding them of the wrong in their own past lives. “We ourselves also

were sometimes foolish “ — we had no proper understanding of the true.

“Disobedient”indisposed to do what is right. “Deceived” — swerving

from the true mode of life. “Serving divers lusts and pleasures slaves

of impure passions, reveling in the sensual and the gross. “Living in malice

and envy, hateful, and hating one another “ — we once spent our days in

the atmosphere of hate and malign passions. It is a duty which every man

owes to himself to remember all the wrong of his past life — remember it:

 

Ø      That he may be charitable towards others.

Ø      That he may be stimulated to efforts of self-improvement.

Ø      That he may adore the forbearance of God in His past dealings.

Ø      That he may devoutly appreciate the morally redemptive agency of

Christ.

Ø      That he may realize the necessity of seeking the moral restoration of

others. Two things may be inferred from Paul’s language concerning the

past moral condition of himself and others.

 

o       The possibility of the moral improvement of souls. The

     rough stone can be polished, the unfertile soil can be made

fertile, the wilderness can blossom as the rose.

o       The obligation of the moral improvement of souls.

 

·         CONCLUSION. Let us find out our duty and follow it, through storm as

well as sunshine, even unto death. “After all,” says Canon Kingsley, “what

is speculation to practice? What does God require of us but to do justly, to

love mercy, and to walk humbly with him? (Micah 6:8)  The longer I live this seems to me more important, and all other questions less so. If we can but live

the simple, right life, do the work that’s nearest, though it’s dull at whiles,

helping, when we meet them, lame dogs over stiles.” In the realization of

our duty is our strength, our nobleness, our heaven.

 

“Yet do thy work: it shall succeed.

In thine or in another’s day;

And if denied the victor’s meed,

Thou shalt not lack the toiler’s pay.

“Then faint not, falter not, nor plead

Thy weakness: truth itself is strong;

The lion’s strength, the eagle’s speed,

Are not alone vouchsafed to wrong.”

                                                            (Whittier)

 

 

                                    A Humiliating Retrospect (v. 3)

 

The apostle adds, as a reason for the duties first specified, that “we also,”

including himself with the Gentile Christians, were once in a similar

condition to the heathen, and had received mercy. It is a dark picture of

men in their natural state, proceeding from a description of the inward

source to the outward facts of this evil life.

 

·         HUMAN NATURE DEPICTED AS TO ITS MORE INWARD

CHARACTER. “For we ourselves” were once foolish.

 

Ø      It is foolish. As wisdom is the choice of proper means of attaining our

ends, so folly must be the direct contrary.

 

o        The fool despises instruction and wisdom, and hates knowledge

(Proverbs 1:7, 22).

o        He walks in the darkness of a false education (Ecclesiastes 2:14).

o        He is self-sufficient and self-confident and a self deceiver

(Proverbs 14:8, 16).

o        He makes a mock at sin (ibid. v. 9).

 

Ø      It is disobedient. The word implies that the root of all true obedience is

faith. Human nature is without faith, and is therefore disobedient.

 

o        Disobedience forfeits God’s favor (I Samuel 13:14).

o        Provokes His anger (Psalm 78:10, 40).

o        Forfeits promised blessings (Joshua 5:6).

o        Brings a curse (Deuteronomy 11:28).

o        There are many warnings against it (Jeremiah 12:17).

 

Ø      It is deceived. Because it is separated from Christ, who is the Light of

the world. It is easily led astray by all sorts of delusion. It has no pole-star

or compass to steer by, and is therefore in constant danger of shipwreck. It

is deceived by itself as well as by the devil.

 

·         HUMAN NATURE DEPICTED AS TO ITS MORE OUTWARD

CHARACTER.

 

Ø      Its service was impure. “Serving divers lusts and pleasures.” This

      was the character of heathen life in an island like Crete, where the propensities of human nature would have free scope. The pleasures

      of this life were of a sinful and debasing nature. Such a service was           bondage (Romans 6:6, 16; 16:18).

 

Ø      It implied a life of malice.

 

o       The wicked speak with malice (III John 1:10), and

are filled with it (Romans 1:29) and visit the saints with it

(Psalm 83:3).

o       God requites it (Isaiah 10:14).

 

Ø      It implied a life of envy.

 

o       Envy is a work of the flesh (Galatians 5:21).

o       The wicked are full of it (Romans 1:29).

o       It leads to every evil work (James 3:16).

o       It is hurtful to its possessors (Job 5:2).

o       It will be punished (Psalm 106:16-17).

 

Ø      It implies hatefulness. “Hateful;” that is, possessing the qualities that

excite hatred and dislike.

 

Ø      It implies a return of hate for hate. “Hating one another.”

 

o       It is characteristic of those without love to God (I John 2:9, 11).

o       It is a work of the flesh (Galatians 5:21).

o       It stirs up strife (Proverbs 10:12).

o       It embitters life (Proverbs 15:17).

o       It will be punished (Psalm 34:21).

 

4 “But after that the kindness and love of God our Savior toward man

appeared,”  Kindness (χρηστότηςchraestotaes), used by Paul only in the

New Testament, and by him frequently in the sense of “kindness,” whether of

God (as Romans 2:4; 11:22; Ephesians 2:7) or of man (as II  Corinthians 6:6;

Galatians 5:22; Colossians 3:12). In Romans 3:12, where it has the wider sense

of “good” or “right,” it is the phrase of the Septuagint, who use χρηστότης

for the Hebrew טוב. In like manner, χρηστόςchraestos is frequently used in

the sense of “kind” (Luke 6:35; Romans 2:4; Colossians 3:12; I Peter 2:3).

This is exactly analogous to the use of κακός kakos and κακίαkakia, in

the limited sense of “malicious,” “malice” (see preceding note to v. 3).

Love toward man.  (φιλανθρωπία - philanthropia); only here and Acts 28:2

in the New Testament. It occurs repeatedly in the Books of the Maccabees, and

is common in good classical Greek. (This is where we get our word philanthrophy.

CY – 2013).  God our Savior.  (see I Timothy 1:1; 2:3; ch.2:10, etc.). Appeared.

 (Ibid. v.11).

 

5 “Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to His

mercy He saved us, by the washing of regeneration, and renewing of the

Holy Ghost;  By works (ἐξ ἔργων - ex ergon - i.e. in consequence of). God’s

kindness and love to man DID NOT SPRING FROM MAN’S GOOD WORK

as the preceding and producing conditions (compare Galatians 2:16.  Of

righteousness.  (τῶν ἐν δικαιοσύνῃ – ton en dikaiosunae  - done in

righteousness; the particular description of the works wrought in a sphere

or element of righteousness). Which we have done.   Did ourselves;

emphasizing that they were our good works, done by us in a state of righteousness.

All this, as the cause of our salvation, the apostle emphatically denies. -Not, etc.,

But according to His mercy He saved us.  The predisposing cause, the rule and

measure of our salvation, was GOD’S MERCY AND GRACE, ORIGINATING

AND COMPLETING THAT SALVATION!  By the washing of regeneration’

 (διὰ λουτροῦ παλλιγενεσίαςdia loutrou palligenesias ). Here we have

the means through or by which God’s mercy saves us. The washing or rather laver

of regeneration (λουτρόνloutron – laver; bath) found elsewhere in the New

Testament only in Ephesians 5:26, in exactly the same connection — is the laver or

bath in which the washing takes place. The nature or quality of this bath is described

by the words, “of regeneration” (τῆς παλιnγενεσίαςtaes paliggenesias);

elsewhere in the New Testament only in Matthew 19:28, where it seems rather to

mean the great restoration of humanity at the second advent. The word is used by

Cicero of his restoration to political power, by Josephus of the restoration of the

Jews under Zerubbabel, and by several Greek authors; and the Septuagint of

Job 14:14 have the phrase, ἕως πάλιν γένωμαι, - heos palin genomai  -

until my release(change) should come - but in what sense is not quite clear.

Παλιγγενεσία, palingenesiaregeneration - therefore, very fifty describes

the new birth in holy baptism, when:

 

·         the believer is put into possession of a new  spiritual life,

·         a new nature, and

·         a new inheritance of glory.

 

And the laver of baptism is called “the laver of regeneration,” because it is the

ordained means by or through which regeneration is obtained. And renewing of

 the Holy Ghost. It is doubtful whether the genitive ἀνακαιγώσεωςanakaigoseos

renewal; renewing - depends upon διὰ (by/through) or upon λούτρου (bath/laver).

It is difficult to hit upon any conclusive argument for one side or the other. But it is

against the latter construction that it gives such a very long rambling sentence

dependent upon λούτρου. “The laver of regeneration and of the renewing

of the Holy Ghost, which He shed on us abundantly through Jesus Christ

our Savior.” (this verse and v. 6).  And it is in favor of the former that the

“laver of regeneration” and “the renewing of the Holy Ghost” seem to

describe very clearly the two parts of the sacrament:

 

·         the outward visible sign, the birth of water, and

·         the inward spiritual grace; the birth of the Holy Ghost.

 

Renewing (ἀνακαινώσεως - anakainoseos); only here and Romans 12:2,

and not at all in the Septuagint or in classical Greek. But the verb ἀνακαινόω

 anakainoo – to make new -  is found in II Corinthians 4:16; Colossians 3:10.

The same idea is in the kainh< kti>siv kainae ktisis – the new creature  -  of

II Corinthians 5:17 and Galatians 6:15, and the καινότης ζωῆς kainotaes

zoaes newness of life - of  Romans 6:4, and the καινότης πνεύματος

kainotaes pneumatos – newness of spirit – of Ibid. 7:6, and in the contrast

between the “old man” (the παλαιὸς ἄνθρωποςpalaios anthropos) and

the new man” (the καινὸς ἄνθρωποςkainos anthropos) of Ephesians

4:22-24. This RENEWAL  is THE WORK OF THE HOLY GHOST

 in THE NEW BIRTH when men are “BORN AGAIN”  of the Spirit

(John 3:5).  It is evidently parallel with the παλιγγεσία (regeneration).  The

connection of baptism with the effusion of the Holy Spirit is fully set forth

in Acts 2. (see especially v. 38; compare Matthew 3:16-17).

 

(The following excerpt from Vine’s Expository Dictionary of New

Testament Words, though in some ways repetitious, should shed light

on such an important event as THE NEW BIRTH IN JESUS CHRIST!

CY – 2013)

 

REGENERATION

palingenesia (παλιγγενεσία), “new birth” (palin, “again,” genesis, “birth”), is used

of “spiritual regeneration,” Titus 3:5, involving the communication of a new life,

the two operating powers to produce which are “the word of truth,” Jas. 1:18;

1 Pet. 1:23, and the Holy Spirit, John 3:5-6; the λουτρόν “the laver, the washing,”

is explained in Eph. 5:26, “having cleansed it by the washing (λουτρόν) of water

with the word.” The new birth and “regeneration” do not represent successive

stages in spiritual experience, they refer to the same event but view it in different

aspects. The new birth stresses the communication of spiritual life in contrast to

antecedent spiritual death; “regeneration” stresses the inception of a new state

of things in contrast with the old; hence the connection of the use of the word

with its application to Israel, in Matt. 19:28. Some regard the kai in Titus 3:5

as epexegetic, “even”; but, as Scripture marks two distinct yet associated

operating powers, there is not sufficient ground for this interpretation. 

In Matt. 19:28 the word is used, in the Lord’s discourse, in the wider sense,

of the “restoration of all things” (Acts 3:21, rv), when, as a result of the

second advent of Christ, Jehovah “sets His King upon His holy hill of Zion”

(Ps. 2:6), and Israel, now in apostasy, is restored to its destined status, in

the recognition and under the benign sovereignty of its Messiah. Thereby will

be accomplished the deliverance of the world from the power and deception

of Satan and from the despotic and antichristian rulers of the nations. This

restitution will not in the coming millennial age be universally a return to the

pristine condition of Edenic innocence previous to the Fall, but it will fulfill

the establishment of God’s covenant with Abraham concerning his descendants,

a veritable rebirth of the nation, involving the peace and prosperity of the Gentiles.

That the worldwide subjection to the authority of Christ will not mean the entire

banishment of evil, is clear from Rev. 20:7-8. Only in the new heavens and earth,

“wherein dwelleth righteousness,” will sin and evil be entirely absent. 

(II Peter 3:13)

                                                (Vine’s Expository Dictionary of New Testament Words)

 

 

The Mercy of God (v. 5)

 

“According to His mercy he saved us.” Mercy is the key-note of

redemption. It is the music of the Psalms; the spirit of Christ’s ministry,

and the motive of the atonement. It is the very heart of God — as

permanent as His justice and His righteousness; “for His mercy endureth

forever.”  (Psalm 118:1-4)

 

  • SALVATION IS NOT A SUPERSTRUCTURE OF MAN’S. “Not

according to works of righteousness which we have done.” Good actions

do not make a good man; it is the good man that makes the good actions.

If man is to be saved, he must have new life from within. Mercy meets his

case. God’s pity and compassion are seen in this. He gives the new

heart that makes the new life, and so he saves us from self and sin.

 

  • SALVATION IS A DUAL WORK. This is “the washing of

regeneration,” the redemption that comes to the heart through the fountain

opened for sin and uncleanness (Zechariah 13:1).  But the removal of the

stain of sin is not all. The heart, however clean, is not to be a blank. A new

likeness is to be brought out. So there is to be the “renewing of the

Holy Ghost.”  We are made new creatures in Christ Jesus (II Corinthians

5:17).  God’s likeness comes out again in the soul. We are made holy with

God’s holiness, and beautiful with God’s beauty.

 

6 “Which He shed on us abundantly through Jesus Christ our Savior;”

Which (οϋ - hou); viz. the Holy Ghost. It is in the genitive (instead of the

accusative – ho -  which is another reading), by what [the grammarians call

attraction. He shed.  (ἐξέχεεν execheen – He poured out); the same word

as is applied to the Holy Ghost in Acts 2:17-18, 33, and in the Septuagint of  Joel

2:28-29.  Abuntantly.   (πλουσίως plousios - richly); as I Timothy 6:17;

Colossians 3:16; II Peter 1:11 (compare the use of πλοῦτοςploutos – riches -

in Ephesians 1:7; 2:7).  Through Jesus Christ. It is our baptism into Christ which

entitles us to receive the Holy Spirit, which we have only in virtue of our union with

Him. The Spirit flows from the Head to the members. In Acts 2:33 Christ is

said to have received the promise of the Holy Spirit from the Father, and to have

poured it forth upon the Church.

 

7 “That being justified by His grace, we should be made heirs according to

the hope of eternal life.”  Being justified by His grace; showing

very clearly that righteousness in man did not precede and cause the saving

mercy of God, but that mercy went before and provided the justification

which is altogether of grace, and which issues in the possession of eternal

life. Heirs according to the hope of eternal life. This seems to be the

right rendering rather than that in the margin, heirs, according to hope, of

eternal life, making “eternal life” depend upon “heirs.” The passage in

ch.1:2, In hope of eternal life,” is a very strong reason for taking

the same construction here. The answer in the Church Catechism,

Wherein I was made a member of Christ, a child of God, and an inheritor

of the kingdom of heaven,” follows very closely Paul’s teaching in the

text (see Romans 4:13-14; 8:17; Galatians 3:29, 4:7).



                                    Mercy Begetting Mercy (vs. 1-7)

 

The practical lessons of the gospel were not exhausted in the preceding

chapter, nor the motives which urge believers to godliness. The call to

holiness in the last chapter was based upon the holy character of God’s

saving grace and the purpose of Christ’s redeeming love. In these verses

the grace and love of God are still the basis of the exhortation, but it takes

its peculiar coloring from the thought of what we were ourselves.

Tenderness, indulgence, and meekness toward our fellow-men are the

duties to which these verses call us; and it is supposed that those fellowmen

may be rough and evil-minded toward us, and provoking in their

ways, and perhaps obstinate in evil-doing. The natural heart might be ready

to speak evil of them, to contend fiercely with them, utterly to reject them

as reprobates, to thrust them beyond the pale of hope and kindness. But

stay! What were you yourselves when the kindness and love of God first

appeared unto you? Were you walking in righteousness? Were your works

the things which attracted God’s love toward you? Nay! you were living in

that folly which you now condemn in others; you were children of

disobedience then as truly as they are now; you were deceived by sin then

as they are now; you were the slaves of your own lusts then even as they

are now; you lived in malice and envy then, both hateful and hating one

another. But:

 

·       God’s mercy found you out;

·       God’s love threw a veil over your sins;

·       He provided a fountain to wash away your guilt;

·       He sent His Holy Spirit to create in you a clean heart, and

     to renew a right spirit within you;

·         He justified you by His grace;

·         He made you His heirs, and gave you the hope of eternal life.

 

And will not you have mercy upon your fellow-men? Will

not you, for whom the Divine gentleness and patience has done so much,

be gentle and patient too? Will not you, humble in the remembrance of

your own sins, and abashed at the thought of your own unworthiness, deal

meekly and kindly even with unruly and sinful men, and cherish the hope

that God’s boundless grace may at last reach them, even as it reached you?

Thus the doctrine of God’s mercy toward men begets mercy from man to

man, and the doctrine of grace is the strongest conceivable motive to

charity.

 

 

 

The Origin, Nature, Means, and End of Salvation (vs. 4-7)

 

The apostle reflects that he and other believers had no excuse for treating the heathen

with haughtiness, since it was owing to no merit of his or theirs that their own lives

had become purer.

 

  • THE MANIFESTATION OF THE DIVINE GOODNESS AND LOVE

TO MAN. “But when the kindness of God our Savior and His love to

Man appeared.”  (v. 4)

 

Ø      The time of this manifestation. The expression implies a definite

point of time. It was “the fullness of the time” (Galatians 4:4).

 

o       It was the period fixed in the Divine purpose from eternity.

(Revelation 13:8; II Timothy 1:9)

o       It was the time of the probation of the Jews, ending in the most

awful series of judgments that ever befell a people.

o       It was a time when the Greek tongue and the Roman arms made

a highway for the gospel.

o       It was a time when pagan thought had exhausted every experiment

In the art of living, to find that all was “vanity and vexation of

 spirit.”  (Ecclesiastes 1:14)

 

o       Yet it is not implied that the manifestation of Divine kindness had

not been enjoyed already in pre-Christian ages; for it was in virtue

of this manifestation, in the fullness of times, that God’s love flowed

forth in blessing during Jewish ages.

 

Ø      The nature of this manifestation.

 

o       It was a manifestation of kindness and love to man.

 

§         Kindness is the more general term, unlimited,

undefined, all-embracing, touching the whole

creation.

§         Love to man is His special and distinguishing love

to the children of men as distinct from angels.

 

o       It was the love of the Father“OUR SAVIOUR GOD.”

 

§         The title “Savior,” so often given to the Son, is here given

to the Father, because He is the Fountain from whence

flow all the streams of Divine mercy. The Son is “the

Unspeakable Gift of the Father;” for He “so loved

the world, that He gave His only begotten Son”

(John 3:16). The atonement was not, therefore, the cause,

but the effect, of the Father’s love.

§         This fact, exhibiting the mine of power and love in the

Creator, greatly enhances the certainty and glory of

redemption.

§         It is our Father who is our Savior. Mark the clear

relationship, in spite of all our waywardness and sin.

 

  • THE METHOD OF THIS DIVINE MANIFESTATION. “Not by

works of righteousness we did, but according to His mercy He saved us”

(v. 5).  The Divine goodness and love were manifested in salvation.

HE SAVED US!”  This salvation, procured by the obedience and death

of  Christ, has its origin, not in works of righteousness done by man, as

entitling him to it, BUT SOLELY, IN DIVINE MERCY!  Mark the

conditions and the means of this salvation.

 

Ø      The conditions of salvation.

 

o       Not by works of righteousness.

 

§         We are not saved by our own works, even though they

should be done in obedience to a righteous law (Romans

3:20; Galatians 2:16; Ephesians 2:4, 8-9; II Timothy 1:1,9).

§         If we were saved in this way, Christ should have died in

Vain (Galatians 2:21). His death would have been quite

unnecessary.

§         Experience proves the impossibility of our being able to do

the works of perfect righteousness (Romans 3:23).

 

o       The condition of salvation is Divine mercy. “According to

 His mercy.”  (v. 5)

 

§         God is rich in mercy (Ephesians 2:4).

§         It streams forth from the blood and righteousness of

Christ (Romans 3:24-26; 6:23).

§         It was through the tender mercy of God that Christ, as

the Dayspring from on high, visited the earth (Luke 1:78).

§         The pardon of sin is according to the multitude of His

 tender mercies (Psalm 51:1-2).

§         ETERNAL LIFE  is the effect of God’s mercy.

 

Ø      The means of salvation. By the washing of regeneration and the

            renewing of the Holy Ghost, which he poured on us abundantly

through Jesus Christ our Savior.” The Greek word is “laver,” as if to

show that the reference is to baptism.  (Also, note the connection to God’s

plan from the beginning – i.e. the symbolism of the furniture inside and

outside the tabernacle, when God said to Moses, “See, saith the He,

 that thou make all things according to the pattern shewed to

thee in the mount.” - Hebrews 8:5 – CY – 2013)

 

o       The washing of regeneration refers to the beginning of the spiritual

process in the soul, as it is the Spirit who regenerates the soul.

There is nothing in the passage to support the doctrine of

baptismal regeneration.

 

§         The connection of baptism with regeneration no more

proves that all the baptized are regenerated than the

expression, “we are sanctified by the truth,” implies

that the truth in all cases has this effect, or that “the

gospel of your salvation” implies that salvation always

follows the hearing of the gospel.

§         As a matter of fact, believers in apostolic times were

regenerated before they were baptized; therefore

they were not regenerated by baptism.  This was the

case with the three thousand at Pentecost (Acts 2.),

with Lydia and the Philippian jailor (Acts 16.).

§         There is no necessary connection between baptism

and regeneration, for Simon Magus was baptized

without being regenerated (Acts 8:9-24).

§         It is strange that, much as John speaks of regeneration

in his First Epistle, he never connects baptism with it.

He says that those who are “born of God” do

righteousness, and overcome the world. Why should he

mention these tests at all, when he might have known that,

had they been baptized, they must have been regenerated?

§         The Apostle Peter shows us the meaning of baptism when

he says that “baptism doth now save us” (I Peter 3:21).

How? “Not by putting away the filth of the flesh “

which is easily done by the external application of water —

“ but the answer of a good conscience toward God;”

as if to show that such an answer, representing the reality

and sincerity of our profession, was separable from the

putting away of the filth of the flesh.

§         The expression, “baptism for the remission of sins,”

does not imply that baptism is the cause of their remission,

for in all the cases referred to the remission had already

taken place before baptism (Acts 2:38; 22:16).  The

baptism was a sign or seal of a remission already

accomplished. Saul was a true believer before Ananias

said to him, “Arise, and be baptized, and wash away

thy sins, calling on the Name of the Lord.” (Ibid). 

Besides, it was by calling on the Name of the Lord

that his sins were washed away. This is the force of the

Greek construction.

 

o       The renewing of the Holy Ghost refers to the continuance of the

spiritual process in the soul. Thus “the inward man is renewed

day by day” (II Corinthians 4:16). This points to progressive

sanctification.

 

§         The renewed are the children of God, the heirs of the

eternal inheritance.

§         The effects are the fruits of righteousness in our life and

conversation.  Thus there is a firm connection between the

regeneration and the renewal, which cannot be said of

baptism and renewal. Christendom is baptized, yet

how little grace is manifest among its millions!

§         The source of this renewal is the Holy Ghost, who has

been poured out upon us richly through Jesus Christ

our Savior. It was in virtue of the mediatorship that the

Spirit was given, and still works in the Church of God.

For:

v     all salvation is BY HIM!

v     the grace of regeneration is out of

HIS FULNESS!

v     the gift of God, which is ETERNAL LIFE,

 is THROUGH HIM!

 

  • THE END OF THIS MANIFESTATION OF DIVINE GOODNESS

AND LOVE. “That being justified by His grace, we should be made heirs

according to the hope of eternal life.” God saves us according to His mercy

by regeneration; but the first effect of regeneration is faith, and faith is the

instrument of our justification. There is no difference in the order of time

between regeneration and justification, but regeneration must precede

justification in the order of nature. Therefore the apostle here goes upon

the order of nature.

 

Ø      The nature of justification. It includes:

 

o       pardon of sin and

o       acceptance, into God’s favor.

 

Ø      The ground of justification. “Being justified by His grace. (v.7)

 

o       Not by works;

o       but by the grace of the Father, who is the Justifier.

It is by grace, because:

 

§         it is of faith (Romans 5:1; 3:28);

§         it is by the death of THE SON OF GOD!

§          

Ø      The privileges of justification. “That we should be made

heirs according to the hope of eternal life.”

 

o       Eternal life is an inheritance; it is not earned by our

obedience and our righteousness; IT IS A FREE GIFT!

o       We are predestinated to this inheritance in Jesus Christ

(Ephesians1:5, 11).

o       The grace of adoption, which is linked with our justification,

opens the way to our enjoyment of the inheritance.

o       It is an inheritance which is not yet fully enjoyed; for we are heirs

“according to the hope of eternal life.”

 

§         There are “things hoped for” held out to us through

faith (Hebrews 11:1).

§         “It doth not yet appear what we shall be” (I John 3:2);

but when “we shall be forever with the Lord”

(I Thessalonians 4:17), we shall actually possess and

enjoy our inheritance.  “And the time came when

the saints possessed the kingdom”  (Daniel 7:22).

 

 

 

                                               

                        Salvation, Not of Works, But of Grace (vs, 4-7)

 

“But after that the kindness and love of God our Savior toward man

appeared,” etc. The great subject here is salvation. This includes the

restoration of the soul to the knowledge, the image, the fellowship, and the

service of the great God. The passage leads us to offer two remarks on the

words.

 

·         THAT WORKS OF RIGHTEOUSNESS WE CANNOT PERFORM,

AND THEREFORE THEY CANNOT SAVE US. “Not by works of [done

in] righteousness which we have done [which we did ourselves].” What are

righteous works? Condensely defined, works inspired ever by supreme

sympathy with THE SUPREMELY GOOD!   No other works, whatever

their sacred semblance, whatever their popular appreciation, are righteous.

Now, such righteous works we cannot render IN OUR UNRENEWED

STATE  because we have lost this affection, and the loss of this is THE

DEATH AND DAMNATION OF THE SOUL!

 

Ø      Could we render such works they would save us. They secure the

blessedness of the unfallen angels.

 

Ø      Without rendering such works we cannot be saved. Moral salvation

consists in holiness of character. Character is made up of habits,

habits made up of acts, and the acts, to be of any worth, must be righteous.

 

·         THAT REDEMPTIVE MERCY HAS BEEN VOUCHSAFED TO

US, AND THEREFORE WE MAY BE SAVED. “According to His mercy

He saved us.” Observe:

 

Ø      The special work of this redemptive mercy. What is the work?

 

o       Cleansing. “The washing of regeneration,” or the “laver of

regeneration,” as some render it. Sin is represented as a moral defiler, and deliverance from sin, therefore, is a cleansing.

o       Renewal. “Renewing.” Sin is represented as death, and deliverance from it is, therefore, a quickening, a renewal.

 

Ø      The Divine Administrator of this redemptive mercy. “The Holy Ghost.”

No agency BUT THAT OF GOD can either morally cleanse or renew. That Divine Agent which of old brooded over the face of the deep CAN ALONE morally recreate.

 

Ø      The glorious Medium of this redemptive mercy. “Through Jesus Christ

our Savior.” Christ our Savior is the Medium.

 

o       Through Him the Spirit came,

o       by Him the Spirit works,

o       in Him the Spirit is abundant.

 

Ø      The sublime result of this redemptive mercy. “That being justified by his

grace, we should [might] be made heirs according to the hope of eternal

life.” The word “justified” means to be made right:

 

o       right in heart,

o       right in life,

o       right in relation to:

 

§         self,

§         the universe, and

§         God.

What is it to be made right? To be put in possession of that spirit of love to God which is the spring of all “works of righteousness.  This rectitude:

 

o       Inspires with the highest hope. “Hope of eternal life.” What a blessing

is hope! But the “hope of eternal life,” WHAT HOPE LIKE

THIS?

 

o       Inaugurates the highest relationship. “Heirs.” We are “heirs of God, and joint heirs with Jesus Christ.”  (Romans 8:17)

 

 

 

8 “This is a faithful saying, and these things I will that thou affirm

constantly, that they which have believed in God might be careful

to maintain good works. These things are good and profitable unto

men.”  This is a faithful saying.   Faithful is the saying; as I Timothy 1:15

(where see note). Here the faithful saying can only be the following maxim: “

That they which have believed in God may be careful to maintain good

works;” the words, “These things I will that thou affirm confidently,”

being interpolated to give yet more weight to it. Concerning these things; i.e.

with respect to the things or truths which are the subject of the faithful saying.

I will that thou affirm confidently (διαβεβαιοῦσθαι - diabebaiousthai

to be being insistent; affirm confidently); see I Timothy 1:7. “Never be

weary of dwelling on these important truths, and asserting them with

authority. For such doctrine is really good and profitable for those

whom you are commissioned to teach. But leave alone the foolish and

 unprofitable controversies.” That. (ἵναhina).  It is not necessary to

give to i[na the meaning “to the end that,” in such a sentence as this (see note on

ch.2:12). After words of command especially, ἵνα, frequently, has

simply the force of “that.” So here, “lay it down as a rule that they which

have believed God must be careful to maintain good works.” Believed

in God. (οἱ πεπιστευκότες Θεῷ or τῷ Θεῷ – hoi pepisteukotes Theo – ones

having believed God). The meaning is not the same as to believe in, or

on, but “to believe(as Romans 4:3,17 and I John 5:10, where the context

shows that it is the act of believing God’s promise that is meant). And so here,

the believing refers to the promises implied in the preceding reference to the

hope and the inheritance. Might be careful.  (φροντίζωσι - phrontizosi); only

here in the New Testament, but common in the Septuagint and in classical Greek.

The word means “to give thought” about a thing, “to be careful” or “anxious”

about it. To maintain.  (προι'´στασθαιproistasthai); usually in the sense of

“presiding over” or “ruling” (as Romans 12:8; I Thessalonians 5:12; I Timothy

3:4-5,12; 5:17). Here, alter the analogy of the classical use, προι'´στασθαι τέχνης

proi stasthai technaes - to “undertake,” to “carry on,” or the like, fairly

expressed by to “maintain.” The idea does not seem to be “to stand at the

head of,” or “to be foremost in.” Good works; i.e. practical godliness of all

kinds (see v. 14). These things are good, etc. If the reading of the Textus

Receptus -  τὰ καλὰ ta kalathe good; the ideal, is retained, the rendering

ought to be, “These are the things that are really good and profitable unto men,

 not foolish questions, etc., they are unprofitable.” But the Received Text

omits the τὰ. With regard to the interpretation above given of this verse, it must be

admitted that it is very doubtful. But the great difficulty of the other way of

rendering it, as most commentators do, is that it is impossible to say which

part of what precedes is “the faithful saying” alluded to; and that the

“care to maintain good works” is not that which naturally springs from it;

whereas the reiteration here implies that “good works” is the special

 subject of “the faithful saying.”

 

 

 

Justification; Faith; Works (vs. 7-8)

 

“That being justified by His grace, we should be made heirs,” etc. There are

three subjects in these verses of vital interest to man which require to be

brought out into prominence and impressed with indelible force.

 

  • THE MORAL RECTIFICATION OF THE SOUL. “Being justified by

Hs grace, we should be made heirs according to the hope of eternal life.”

This means, I presume, not that being pronounced right, but that being

made right. Forensic justification is an old theological fiction. Those who

have held it and who still hold it have ideas of God incongruous and

debased. They regard Him as such a one as themselves (Psalm 50:21).

“To be justified” here means to be made right. There are three ideas

here suggested in relation to this moral rectification of the soul.

 

Ø      All souls in their unrenewed state are unrighteous. We do not

Require any special revelation from God to give us this information.

Man’s moral wrongness of soul is revealed in every page of

human history, is developed in every scene of human life, and is

a matter of painful consciousness to every man. We have all erred

and strayed from the right like lost sheep.” (Isaiah 53:6)

 

Ø      Restoration to righteousness is the merciful work of God. Being

justified by His grace” “His grace,” His boundless, sovereign,

unmerited love. Who but God can put a morally disordered soul

right?  To do this is to resuscitate the dead, to roll back the deep flowing

tide of human sympathies into a new channel and a new direction, to

arrest a wandering planet and plant it in a new orbit. He does it and

He alone. He does it by the revelation of His Son, by the dispensations

of life, the operations of conscience. “Lo, all these things worketh

 God oftentimes with man, to bring back his soul from the pit,

to be enlightened with the light of the living.”  (Job 33:29-30)

 

Ø      There is the heirship of eternal good. “Being justified by His

grace, we should be made heirs according to the hope of

 eternal life.” Eternal life must mean something more than endless

existence; for mere endless existence, under certain conditions, might

be an object of dread rather than hope. It might mean perfect goodness.

Goodness is eternal, for God is Eternal. Goodness is blessedness,

for God is blessed. A virtuous hope is not hope for happiness, but a

hope for perfect goodness. He whose soul is made morally right becomes

an heir to all goodness. This heirship is not something added to this

inner righteousness. It is in it as the plant is in the seed. Man’s heaven

is in righteousness of soul and nowhere else. No man can be happy who

is merely treated as righteous if he is not righteous. Such treatment, even

by God Himself, would only enhance his misery. To be treated as

righteous if you are not righteous, is an outrage on justice and a

revulsion to moral nature.

 

  • THE ESSENTIAL FOUNDATION OF ALL TRUE FAITH. “And

they which have believed in God might be careful to maintain good works.

These things are good and profitable unto men.” The basis of all true faith

is faith in God. In Him, not in it. In Him, not in men’s representations of

Him. “He that cometh to God must believe that He is.” (Hebrews 11:6).

To believe in Him implies:

 

Ø      To believe in what He is in Himself.  The only absolute existence,

without beginning, without succession, without end, WHO IS

 IN ALL AND THROUGH ALL, THE ALMIGHTY, THE ALL-

WISE, THE ALL-GOOD CREATOR AND SUSTAINER OF

THE UNIVERSE!  This faith in Him is the most philosophic, the

most universal, and the most blessed and ennobling faith.

 

Ø      To believe in what He is to us the Father, the Proprietor, and

the Life. “Not willing that any should perish.” This is the faith

that is enjoined upon us everywhere in the Old Testament and the New;

not faith in infallible propositions, in infinite personality; not faith in

man’s ideas of God, but in God Himself (as He has revealed Himself),

as the Source of all life, the Fountain of all virtue, the standard

 of all excellence. “Trust in Him that liveth forever.”

 

“Not in priesthoods, not on creed,

Is the faith we need, O Lord;

These, more fragile than the reed,

Can no rest for souls afford.

Human systems, what are they?

Dreams of erring men at best,

Visions only of a day,

Without substance, without rest.

Firmly fix it, Lord, on thee,

Strike its roots deep in thy love;

Growing ever may it be,

Like the faith of these above.

Then though earthly things depart,

And the heavens pass away,

Strong in thee shall rest the heart,

Without fainting or decay.”

(‘Biblical Liturgy.’)

 

 

  • THE SUPREME PURPOSE OF A TRUE LIFE. “To maintain good

works.” What are good works?

 

Ø      Works that have right motives. Works that society may consider good,

that Churches may chant as good, are utterly worthless unless they spring

from supreme love to the Creator. “Though I give my body to be

burned, ifI have not love, I am nothing”  (I Corinthians 13:3).

“Love is the fulfilling of the Law.”  (Romans 13:10)

 

Ø      Works that have a right standard. It is conceivable that man

may have a right motive and yet his work be bad. Was it not

something like this with Saul of Tarsus when he was persecuting

the saints? We make two remarks in relation to these good works.

 

o       The maintenance of these works requires strenuous and constant

effort. “I will that thou affirm confidently, to the end that they

which have believed in God may be careful to maintain good

 works.” There are so many forces within and without us to check

and frustrate the maintenance of good works, that we require to be

constantly on our guard to see that our motives are right. It may be

that good works flow from angelic natures as waters from a

fountain, as sunbeams from the sun; but it is not so with us.

Their light in us is the light of the lamp, and to be clear and useful

there must be constant trimming and feeding with fresh oil; for

the streams to be pure, the fountain must be kept clean.

We must “watch and pray, lest we enter into temptation.”

 (Matthew 26:41)

 

o       The great work of the Christian ministry is to stimulate this effort. “I

will that thou affirm confidently, to the end that they which have

 believed God may be careful to maintain good works.” “This is

a faithful saying, and these things I will that thou affirm

constantly,  that they which have believed in God might be

careful to maintain good works.” In four other texts of Scripture

we have “a faithful saying.” The first is I Timothy 1:15, “That

Jesus Christ came into the world to save sinners.” The second

is Ibid. ch.4:8-9, “This is a faithful saying, Godliness is

 profitable unto all things.” The third is  II Timothy 2:11-13,

It is a faithful saying, If we be dead with Him, we shall also

 live with Him.” The fourth is our text, “This is a faithful

 saying.” What? That God makes men morally right by His

grace.  This is an undoubted fact. That God is the essential

Foundation of all TRUE FAITH!   Who can question this?

Or that the supreme purpose of moral existence is to maintain

“good works.” Who will gainsay this? Or that all ministers of the

gospel should faithfully and constantly exhort their hearers to

maintain good works. These, indeed, are all faithful sayings,

 and should be practically realized by EVERY MAN!

 

 

 

   The Necessary Connection Between Gospel Doctrine and Good Works  (v. 8)

 

  • THE IMPORTANCE OF GOSPEL DOCTRINE. “This is a faithful

saying, and these things I will that thou affirm constantly.” He refers here

to the sum of the doctrine of Christian salvation contained in the three

preceding verses.

 

Ø      The doctrine of salvation is worthy of all acceptance. “This is

a faithful saying.” This formula, contained only in the pastoral

Epistles, points to some weighty truth which had become a watchword

among the Christian brotherhood of early times.

 

o       There is a tendency in our days to decry dogma. The apostle always

insists on its importance as the root-principle and moving spring of

morality.

o       The saying implies that the heavenly inheritance just spoken of is no

figment of the imagination, but ought to be accepted as one of the

commonplaces of Christian belief.

 

Ø      It ought to be confidently put forth at all times by Christian ministers.

“And these things I will that thou affirm constantly.” This was the strain

of all apostolic preaching, and it ought to be ours also. There is no true

practical preaching which does not involve:

 

o       the exhibition of God’s character and our relations to Him in

grace;

o       the glorious Person of the Mediator in His various offices, and

o       the work of the Holy Ghost in applying Divine salvation.

 

“These things are good and profitable to men; that is, these

doctrines, for they lead to good works, and benefit men spiritually

and morally.

 

  • THE DESIGN OF GOSPEL DOCTRINE. “In order that they which

have believed God might be careful to maintain good works.” The

faithful saying of the apostle was not the necessity of good works, but the

necessity of the doctrines of grace being preached as the only method of

producing good works.

 

Ø      The apostle seems to anticipate a tendency of later times to exalt

morality at the expense of faith. The doctrines, he says, are the true

fountains from which all good works flow. These are, therefore,

probably called doctrines according to godliness (ch.1:1); the wholesome

doctrine (Ibid. v.9).

 

Ø      He sets forth the duty of all believers to be careful about good works.

It ought to be a matter of earnest striving, because:

 

o       God is glorified thereby (John 15:8);

o       because they are means of blessing to man (James 1:25);

o       because God remembers them (Hebrews 6:9-10);

o       because they will be an evidence of faith in the judgment

(Matthew 25:34-40).

 

Ø      He insists on their maintaining good works. The word signifies that they

must be excelling in them.

 

o       They must, therefore, be zealous of them (ch.2:14);

o       furnished unto them (II Timothy 3:17);

o       rich in them, and stablished in them (I Timothy 6:18;

II Thessalonians 2:17);

o       ready for all good works (v.1);

o       provoking each other unto them (Hebrews 10:24).

 

 

9 “But avoid foolish questions, and genealogies, and contentions, and

strivings about the law; for they are unprofitable and vain.” Avoid  

(περάτασοperataso – be you standing aloof from; shun); see II Timothy 2:16.

Foolish questions; as II Timothy 2:23. Genealogies; as I Timothy 1:4.

Strivings (ἔρειςereis - strifes); as I Timothy 6:4.  (μάχας νομικάς

 machas nomikas -  fightings about the Law); such as Paul alludes to in

I Timothy 1, and are probably included in the λογομαχίαιlogomachiai

strifes of words; controversies – of Ibid. ch. 6:4. Unprofitable (ἀνωφελεῖς

anopheleiswithout benefit); only here and Hebrews 7:18; but it is found in the

Septuagint and other Greek Versions, and in classical Greek (compare, for the

sense, II Timothy 2:14). Vain (μάταιοιmataioi); compare the use of

mataiolo>goi mataiologoi -  vain talkers (ch.1:10), and ματαιολόγοι

 mataiologia -  vain talking (I Timothy 1:6). The whole picture is unmistakably

one of the perverse Jewish mind.

 

 

A Warning Against Frivolous and Disputative Teaching  (v. 9)

 

This is in contrast to the sound teaching just referred to. “But avoid foolish questions,

 and genealogies, and contentions, and strivings about the Law; for they are

unprofitable and vain.”

 

  • THE THINGS WHICH ARE TO BE PLACED OUTSIDE THE

SPHERE OF MINISTERIAL THOUGHT AND CONCERN.

 

Ø      Foolish questions. Questions not easily answered, yet if answered

without practical bearing upon Christian life. Such were many of the

Jewish discussions about the oral Law, the nature of God and the angels,

the power of the Name Jehovah. In Christian times papists have

discussed for a whole century “which side of Jesus was pierced by

the spear?” Such are “foolish questions.”

 

Ø      Genealogies. Jerome tells us the Jews were as well acquainted with the

genealogies from Adam to Zerubbabel as with their own names. It is

possible that the Jewish Christians attached great importance to their

family registers. The genealogies, however, are significantly linked by

the apostle with fables.

 

Ø      Contentions and strivings about the Law. There were many

disputed and disputable points in the Law, especially respecting

the authority and confirmation of the commandments (ch.1:14).

 

  • THE ATTITUDE OF THE MINISTER TOWARD SUCH THINGS.

“Avoid them.”

 

Ø      This implies that he is not even to discuss them, on account of their

utter frivolousness.

 

Ø      The reason is that they are unprofitable and vain,” and therefore

exactly opposed to the things “good and profitable to men.” The

apostle would deliver all ministers from such folly and trifling, by

placing before them Jesus Christ, the one glorious Object of the

Church’s love and adoration, leaving questions of another sort

to the dead. Such questions had eaten the heart out of Judaism.

They must not be allowed in Christianity.

 

10 “A man that is an heretick after the first and second admonition

reject;”  A man that is an heretic.  (αἱρετικόν - hairetikonsectarian;

heretical; akin to heresy; primarily denoting capability of choosing; hence

causing division by a party spirit, fatious; ); only here in the New Testament, not

found in the Septuagint, but used in classical Greek for intelligent,i.e. able to

choose. The use of it here by Paul is drawn from the use of αἵρεσιςhairesis

 for “a sect” (Acts 5:17; 15:5; 24:5; 26:5; 28:22; I Corinthians 11:19;

Galatians 5:20; II Peter 2:1), or the doctrines taught by a sect. The heretic

is one who forsakes the truth held by the Church, and chooses some

doctrine of his own devising (Such a one who would reject such a revealing

of the will of God as stated in Jeremiah 7:31 and 19:5 and promote abortion

in its place – CY – 2013) (αἵρεσιςhairesis - heresy).  

 

The is the  Greek word for heresy - αἵρεσις - hah’ee-res-is; - a choosing,

                choice – then that which is chosen, and hence an opinion, especially

                a self-willed opinion, which is substituted for submission to the power

                of truth and leads to division, the formation of sects and finally,

                APOSTASY FROM GOD!  (Think of the origins, influences and

                roles of  PRO-CHOICE and the AMERICAN CIVIL LIBERTIES

                UNION in the United States of America’s CULTURAL DEMISE  (IT                  

ALL BEGAN WITH A CHOICE – a la – HERESYSuch a man is a

living lie against the truth.  CY -2009)

 

The tendency of such departures from the doctrine of the Church to assume

more and more of a deadly character, and to depart wider and wider from

 the truth, (America apparently, does not know it yet, but ABORTION ON

DEMAND as a heresy; as a choice,  is a part of our undoing BEFORE THE

ALMIGHTY GOD WHO WILL SURELY JUDGE FOR THIS! CY – 2013) –

Gave to the name of heretic a darker shade of condemnation in the mouth of

Church writers as time advanced. (Not so with the modern media, who in

their bias towards abortion, evidence all the traits OF HERETICS!  - CY – 2013) 

But even in apostolic times some denied the resurrection (II Timothy 2:11-12);

others denied the Lord that bought them (II Peter 2:1); and there were some

who were of the synagogue of Satan (Revelation 2:9); so that already an

heretical man, drawing away disciples after him, was a great blot in the Church.

Admonition (νουθεσίαnouthesian); as I Corinthians 10:11; Ephesians 6:4.

After a first and second admonition reject. (παραιτοῦ - paraitou – be

You refusing); see I Timothy 4:7; 5:11. It does not clearly appear what is intended

by this term In Ibid. ch.5:11 it meant refusing admission into the college of

Church widows. If these had been persons seeking admission into the

Church, or ordination, it would mean “refuse them.” Vitringa (Huther)

thinks it means “excommunication.” Beza, Ellicott, Huther, Alford, etc.,

render it “shun,” “let alone,” “cease to admonish,” and the like.

 

11 “Knowing that he that is such is subverted, and sinneth, being

condemned of himself.” Is subverted.   (ἐξέστραπταιexestraptai

perverted; turned inside out); only here in the New Testament, but common in the

Septuagint, and found in classical Greek in a material sense, “to turn inside out,”

“to root up,” and the like. Here it means the complete perversion of the

man’s  character, so as to leave no hope of his amendment. But

this is not to be presumed till a first and second admonition have been

given in vain.  Condemned of himself.  (αὐτοκατάκριτοςautokatakritos -

self-condemned); only here in the New Testament, not found in the Septuagiint

nor in classical Greek. It means what Cicero says of C. Fabricius, that he was

suo judicio condemnatus, condemned by his own judgment, which, he says,

is a heavier condemnation than even that of the law and of the judges (‘Pro

Cluentio,’ 21, at the end). Fabricius was self-condemned because he had

left the court in confusion at a critical part of his trial. So the heretics were

self-condemned by the very fact that they continued to head the schism

after repeated admonitions.

 

 

            The Right Attitude of Christian Ministers toward Divisive Errorists

                                                    (vs. 10-11)

 

A man that is an heretic after a first and second admonition avoid.”  (v. 10)

 

  • THE TRUE NATURE OF HIS OFFENSE.

 

Ø      It is not a case of fundamental or doctrinal error, such as the words

“heretic” and “heresy” came to imply in after-ages. Yet it is a mistake to

suppose that separatist ways are not caused by divergences of judgment

on some points from the settled belief of the Christian community.

 

Ø      It was a case of a turbulent sectary, dissatisfied with the Church, who

withdrew from her communion to the disturbance of her peace. He would

try to justify his course by a difference of opinion upon matters of

doctrine, worship, or organization.

 

  • THE METHOD OF DEALING WITH THE OFFENDER.

 

Ø      He was to receive two admonitions in succession. He was to be twice

warned not to pursue his divisive courses; he was not to be contended

with, but rebuke was to be employed to recover him from his error.

 

Ø      His pride or his ambition would not allow him to yield to admonition,

he was to be, not excommunicated — the course adopted by the apostle

himself in another case (I Timothy 1:20); but simply avoided. There

must be no relations with him. This was a virtual excommunication, for

he no longer held the place of a Christian brother.

 

  • THE JUSTIFICATION OF THIS METHOD. “Knowing that he that

is such is perverted, and sinneth, being self-condemned”  (v.11).  The case

is an utterly hopeless one. You must have done with the divisive sectary; let him

alone.

 

Ø      For he is perverted; implying an inward corruption of character, which

steels him against all official admonition of the Church.

 

Ø      He sinneth. He errs knowingly, for his course has been authoritatively

condemned by the messenger of God.

 

Ø      He is self-condemned. This does not mean that he consciously acts a

part he knows to be wrong, but that he has condemned himself by his own

practice, practically consenting by his separation that he is unworthy the

fellowship of the Church, and thus justifying the Church in its rejection of

him, or that he stands condemned by the Scriptures which he himself

accepts as his rule of faith and life.

 

12 “When I shall send Artemas unto thee, or Tychicus, be diligent to

come unto me to Nicopolis: for I have determined there to winter.”

When I shall send Artemas, etc. The action of  Paul in sending Artemas or

Tychicus to take the place of Titus in Crete is exactly the same as he pursued

with regard to Ephesus, whither he sent Tychicus to take Timothy’s place

(II Timothy 4:11-12). He would not leave the presbyters in either place without

the direction and superintendence of one having his delegated apostolic authority.

This led to the final placing of a resident bishop in the Churches, such as we find

in the second century. We may conclude that Artemas (otherwise unknown) was

the person eventually sent to Crete, as Tychicus (Colossians 4:7) we

know went to Ephesus (II Timothy 4:12). We have also an important

note of time in this expression, showing clearly that this Epistle was written

before the Second Epistle to Timothy (as it probably also was before

I Timothy) — an inference abundantly corroborated by II Timothy 4:10,

by which it appears that Titus had then actually joined Paul, either at

Nicopolis or elsewhere, and had started off again to Dalmatia. Be diligent.

(σπούδασονspoudason); II Timothy 2:15, note; 4:9, 21. Nicopolis, in

Epirus. The most obvious reason for Paul’s wintering at Nicopolis is

that it was near Apollonia, the harbor opposite Brindisium, which would be on

his way to Rome, and also well situated for the missionary work in

Dalmatia, which we learn from II Timothy 4:10 was in hand. Nicopolis

(the city of victory) was built by Augustus Caesar to commemorate the

great naval victory at Actium over Antony. It is now a complete ruin,

uninhabited except by a few shepherds, but with vast remains of broken

columns, baths, theatres, etc. To winter.  (παραχειμάσαιparacheimasai);

Acts 27:12; 28:11; I Corinthians 16:6.

 

13 “Bring Zenas the lawyer and Apollos on their journey diligently, that

nothing be wanting unto them.”   (πρόπεμψονpropempson – bring

forward as on a journey; set forward); the technical expression both in the New

Testament and the Septuagint, and also in classical Greek, for helping a person

forward on their journey by supplying them with money food, letters of

recommendation, escort, or whatever else they might require (see Acts 15:3; 20:38;

21:5; Romans 15:24; I Corinthians 16:6; II Corinthians 1:16; III John 1:6). Zenas

the lawyer. He is utterly unknown. His name is short for Zenodorus, but

whether he was “a Jewish scribe or Roman legist” can hardly be decided.

But his companionship with Apollos, and the frequent application of the

term νομικός nomikoslawyer - in the New Testament to the Jewish

scribes and lawyers (Matthew 22:35; Luke 7:30; 10:25; 11:45,52; 14:3),

makes it most probable that he was a Jewish lawyer. Apollos; the well-known

and eminent Alexandrian Jew, who was instructed in the gospel by Aquila and

Priscilla at Ephesus, and became a favorite teacher at Corinth (Acts 18:24;

19:1; I Corinthians 1:12, and the following chapters, and 16:12). It is a probable

conjecture that Apollos was the bearer of this letter, written at Corinth, and was

on his way to Alexandria, his native place, taking Crete on the way.

 

 

 

                                    Personal Directions (vs.12-13)

 

The connection of Titus with the Cretan Church was to be but temporary;

therefore the apostle gives him two commands.

 

·         A COMMAND FOR TITUS TO JOIN THE APOSTLE AT NICOPOLIS.

 

Ø      The apostle needed his services, either at this city in Epirus, where he

determined to spend the winter — no doubt in apostolic labors — or to

ascertain from him the exact condition of the Church at Crete, or to send

him forth on an errand to some of the other Churches.

 

Ø      But the place of Titus was not to be left unsupplied. Two brethren,

Artemas and Tychicus, were to go to Crete — one altogether

unknown by us, but, as he is first mentioned, probably a minister

of high distinction and zeal; the other, Tychicus, one of the most

esteemed of the apostle’s friends (Acts 20:4; Colossians 4:7;

II Timothy 4:12).

 

·         A COMMAND FOR TITUS TO HASTEN THE DEPARTURE OF

ZENAS AND APOLLOS FROM CRETE. These brethren had been

laboring in the Church there, probably, before Titus was left behind by the

apostle. Zenas, the lawyer, was probably a Jewish scribe converted to

Christianity, who had been acting as an evangelist in Crete. Apollos was

the eloquent preacher of Alexandria, and now as always in perfect

sympathy with the apostle, though there seemed a rivalry between them at

Corinth. The apostle implies that the Cretan Christians were to provide the

necessary help for such a journey.

 

14 “And let ours also learn to maintain good works for necessary uses,

that they be not unfruitful.”  Ours also.  (Our people also). The natural

inference is that Titus had some fund at his disposal with which he was to

help the travelers, but that Paul wished the Cretan Christians to contribute also.

But it may also mean “Let our Christians learn to do what Jews do, and even

heathens too, viz. provide for the real wants of their own.” To maintain good works

(See v. 8, note) for necessary uses (εἰς τὰς ἀναγκαίας χρείας - eis tas

anagkaias chreias – for the necessary needs); such as the wants of the missionaries

(compare III John 1:5-6); see also Romans 12:13; Philippians 2:25; 4:16). The

phrase means “urgent necessities,” the “indispensable wants.” In classical Greek

τὰ ἀνάγκαια ta anagkaia -  are “the necessaries of life.” That they be

not unfruitful (ἄκαρποιakarpoi - unfruitful); compare II Peter 1:8 and

Colossians 1:6, 10.

 

 

 

Christian Character (vs. 8, 14)

 

“To maintain good works.” This is a repeated counsel, and shows how

much need there was of showing that the “belief” spoken of in v. 8 should not

be a mere speculative creed. This Titus is to “affirm constantly,” showing that

there were those then who had a tendency to antinomianism, or neglect of the

Law of moral order and beauty.

 

  • PERMANENCE. “Maintain.” Men weary of their efforts after the

attainment of a Divine ideal. Holiness is not a gift, it is a growth; and a

growth, not like that of a plant, which is unconscious, but a growth that

involves obedience. Maintain “works” — give them continuance, by

aliment and nurture.

 

  • COMPREHENSIVENESS.Works.” For life covers a large sphere.

We are apt to forget that Christianity covers all spheres — the civil, social,

moral, spiritual. For ages the Church was merely ecclesiastical. “The

religious” were such as shut themselves out from the world, deeming its

pursuits and duties below the dignity of a spiritual religion, which made the

soul and its feelings and devotions everything. Now we have moved into a

wider inheritance; we believe in the Christianization of common life

(Charles Spurgeon once remarked that “the sole purpose of Christianity is

to sanctify the secular.  – CY – 2013); the consecration of art and science

and common duty to Christian ends. We are simply to ask if the work given

us to do is a good work, and we are to be “earnest in every good work.”

And we have seen that the tree must first be made good; for it is “the good

man that, out of the good treasure of his heart, brings forth good

 things.”  (Luke 6:45)

 

           

A Last Reminder Concerning Good Works (v. 14)

 

The suggestion just made leads to this adjunction: “And let ours also learn

to maintain good works for necessary uses, that they be not unfruitful.”

 

  • IT IS AN INJUNCTION TO THE BRETHREN GENERALLY. “Ours

also.” It is the duty of all believers, sharers in the common faith, and heirs

of the grace of life, to learn to do good works.

 

  • BELIEVERS NEED TO RE TRAINED TO THIS SERVICE. “Let

ours also learn.” They will learn it from the Scriptures, which tell us what

is the good and perfect and acceptable will of God; and from the doctrines

of grace, which teach us to follow as an example the Lord Jesus, who went

about every day doing good.

 

  • THESE GOOD WORKS ARE TO HAVE A PRACTICAL BEARING

UPON THE WANTS OF OTHERS. They are “for necessary wants.”

 

Ø      Not to atone for sin, or recommend us as sinners to Gods favor.

Ø      But to glorify God by doing for others what He so abundantly does

for  us.  By adorning the doctrine of Christ by our beneficence; by

putting to silence the gainsaying of foolish men, because they see we are

“not unfruitful.” We are thus seen to be trees of righteousness,

bearing all manner of fruits. It is an interesting fact that, in the last

inspired teachings of the apostle, he should have eight times enforced

the duty of maintaining good works.

 

15 “All that are with me salute thee. Greet them that love us in the faith.

Grace be with you all. Amen.”  Grace be with you all. So, with slight varieties,

end Paul’s other Epistles.

 

 

 

                                    Pearls Before Swine (8-15)

 

There is in some a habit of mind utterly out of harmony with the Word of

God. It is not that dogmas, or creeds, or ceremonies are despised and

forgotten by them, as they usually are by the pleasure-seeking or

moneymaking world. On the contrary, these things are often in their minds

and upon their lips. But they handle everything, not with a view to growth

in goodness, not with a view to the formation within of a humble, pure, and

holy character, but merely as matters of disputation. They raise questions,

the solution of which has no bearing upon our duty to God or man, but

which only give occasion for strife of words, and utterly unprofitable

contentions. The most solemn truths, the most sacred mysteries of the

Christian faith, are only food for a wrangling, disputatious spirit. They are

always ready to start difficulties, to suggest doubts, or to propose new

forms of doctrine in lieu of those once delivered to the saints. Strong in

their own conceits and wise in their own esteem, they will not learn, no,

not from CHRIST HIMSELF, but are always forward to teach some new thing.

They value nothing which they have not invented themselves. They accept

no truth which they have not adulterated with their own imaginations.

Disciples they will not be. Masters they must be. When this habit of mind

has clearly developed itself, the servant of God has only to withdraw from

such. He must not be drawn into the whirlpool of vain jangling and

unprofitable disputes. He must not go on casting his pearls before the

swine. Silence is, in such cases, the best rebuke. When honest and gentle

efforts to bring home to such persons the truths of God’s Word in a

reverential and practical way have utterly failed, and it is become evident

that there is no desire in their hearts for Christ and His Word, it is time to

cease from such efforts. “From such turn away” is the authoritative advice

of Paul. Nothing can be in sharper contrast with the “unprofitable

strivings here condemned than the unobtrusive works of kindness, and

active help to the furtherance of the gospel, inculcated upon Titus. Zenas

and Apollos are to be brought on their way. Care is to be taken that they

want for nothing. The Church in Crete is to be fruitful in good works for

the wants of their brethren; and even the closing salutation is redolent of

love and kindness. When Christians feel that the very essence of

Christianity is unobtrusive love and kindness, shown in unselfish acts, and a

readiness to help wherever help is needed, then will the Church be Christ’s

true witness upon earth; witnessing to Christ as the embodiment of the law

of love, and witnessing to the Spirit of Christ as dwelling in her of a truth.

 

 

 

 

The Worthless, the Pernicious, and the Desirable in Social Life (vs. 9-15)

 

“But avoid foolish questions,” etc. The text brings under our attention

three things.

 

·         THE AVOIDANCE OF THE WORTHLESS IN SOCIAL LIFE.

“Avoid foolish questions and genealogies.” The “questions” and

genealogies are referred to in I Timothy 1:4. The apostle

characterizes them as foolish because they were of an utterly impractical

nature, and consumed time and powers which were needed for other and

better things. “Genealogies as found in the Books of the Pentateuch, and to

which wild allegorical interpretations had been assigned. Such purely

fanciful meanings had been already developed by Philo, whose religious

writings were becoming at this time known and popular in many of the

Jewish schools. Such teaching, if allowed in the Christian Churches, Paul

saw, would effectually put a stop to the growth of Gentile Christendom. It

would inculcate an undue and exaggerated and, for the ordinary Gentile

convert, an impossible reverence for Jewish forms and ceremonies.” Old

was the habit and strong was the tendency of the Hebrews to concern

themselves about their ancestry or genealogy. A truly contemptible state of

mind, this! What matters it whether we were born of kings or of paupers?

“And contentions, and strivings about the Law.” The ceremonial law is

here meant, evidently — the law concerning meats and drinks and holy

days. “For they are unprofitable and vain.” How rife in Christendom have

been in past ages, and still are, these miserable discussions, which are

generated for the most part by the most ignorant and narrow-minded of the

human race — mere “unfeathered bipeds” that Christianity has not

converted into true manhood. The grand end of every member of the social

realm should be “charity, that of a pure heart and of a good conscience.”

(ibid. v. 5)The only true Christianity in social life is altruism.

 

·         THE EXCOMMUNICATION OF THE PERNICIOUS (the subtly       harmful) FROM SOCIAL LIFE. The former class — the irritating disputants         about genealogies and ceremonies — are described as “unprofitable and vain.”

They are a worthless class, doing no good whatever, but otherwise. The

class we have here, however, is represented as pernicious, and to be

rejected. “A man that is an heretic after the first and second admonition

reject.” The word “heretic” (αἱρετικόν - hairetikonsectarian) occurs

nowhere else in the New Testament. All heretics may be divided into three classes.

 

Ø      The theoretical unbeliever. They do not believe what others believe to

be true and orthodox. Though bigots denounce this as the worst of sins,

true wisdom justifies it. It says that uniformity of opinion is an

impossibilityan impossibility arising from a variety in the faculties,

education, and external circumstances of men. And not only an

impossibility, but an inexpediency. Did all men think alike, all minds would sink into a dead monotony. “Every man should be fully

persuaded in his own mind.”  (Romans 14:5)  That, therefore, which the Church most fiercely denounces it should encourage and develop. There

is more good in honest doubt than in half the creeds.

 

Ø      The professional believer. A heretic more execrable know I not than he

who every Sunday in the great congregation declares his faith in creeds,

and every day, not only ignores them, but denies them in his life. These

heretics make our laws, rule our commerce, fill our temples, create wars,

and swindle the millions.

 

Ø      The practical disbeliever. These are insincere. They do not act

according to their innate convictions, their intuitive beliefs. They believe — and they cannot help it — that the greatest Being should have the most

reverence, the best Being the most love, the kindest Being the most

gratitude; and yet, forsooth, they live lives of irreverence, unlovingness,

and ingratitude. These are the worst kind of heretics. And how are they to

be treated? They are to be excommunicated. “After the first and second

admonition reject.” They should be morally ostracized. “Knowing that

he that is such is subverted, and sinneth, being condemned of himself.” They are insincere men, and not to be accepted or continued in the circle of brotherhood. Whilst you have no authority to persecute them or crush

them by force, you are bound to treat them as insincere men. Their own

conscience condemns; they are self-condemned.

 

·         THE SUPREMACY OF PURPOSE IN SOCIAL LIFE. In all the

changes in social companionship and scene of residence to which the

apostle here points, he urges the aiming at one thing, viz. to “maintain

good works for necessary uses, that they be not unfruitful.” What the

good works” are I have intimated in my remarks on the preceding verses.

They are works that have:

 

o       a right motive,

o       a right standard, and

o       a right influence.

 

The grand end in the life of all rational and moral beings should

be THE MAINTENANCE OF GOOD WORKS!   The apostle intimates

that this should be the aim:

 

Ø      IN ALL THE EVENTS OF LIFE.  He was now dispatching to Titus

      from his society two dear friends and fellow-workers, Artemas and            Tychicus, inviting him to come at once to Nicopolis, where he had, in the use of his discretionary power, determined to remain through the winter.           Moreover, he had requested Titus to bring with him Zenas the lawyer and       Apollos.  Apollos was a man, not only of distinguished learning and           influence, but Paul’s intimate friend and fellow-laborer. In all this Paul           keeps the one end in view, viz. that they should maintain good works.       “Good works,” the culmination of all good ideas, good impressions,

      good emotions, and good resolves. “Show me your faith by your

      works.”  (James 2:18)  In a good character man can alone find his

      heaven and from good works alone can man produce a good character.

 

Ø      In the presiding spirit of life. “All that are with me salute thee,” etc.

Brotherly love was to animate, direct, and rule all their social

                        movements and activities.

 

 

 

                                    Salutation and Conclusion (v. 15)

 

All that are with me salute thee. Greet them that love us in the faith.

Grace be with you all. Amen.”

 

·         MARK HOW THE EPISTLE, WHICH BEGAN WITH THE FAITH

OF GOD’S ELECT, ENDS WITH GRACE AND LOVE.

 

·         MARK THE CLOSE RELATIONSHIPS ESTABLISHED BY

GRACE BETWEEN THE WIDELY SCATTERED MEMBERS OF THE

CHURCH. They are one holy, happy family, united by love. The threefold

repetition of the word “all” suggests the deep unity of the body of Christ,

in spite of its inward distractions and errors and sins.

 

·         THE SALUTATION IMPLIES THAT, THOUGH ADDRESSED

TO TITUS, THE EPISTLE WAS TO BE COMMUNICATED TO THE

            WHOLE CHURCH IN CRETE.

 

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