In this section of the book of Titus, the Apostle lays out a pattern of living that embraces five groups of people of various ages and stations of life.
BIBLICAL INTERPRETATION OF THE BOOK OF TITUS CHAPTER 2:1-15.
QUALITIES OF WHOLESOME CHARACTER.
V. 1 “But as for you, speak the things which are proper for sound doctrine.
This verse is a transitional statement, contrasting the actions of the heretics with the instructions for the man of God. They are propagating “Jewish legends” (TCNT)^ but Titus was to keep his teaching strictly conformed to “the healthful instruction” (RHM) of God’s Word.
He starts with the older or senior men,
V.2 “that the older men be sober” or “temperate” (RSV).
These men are not elders in the ministry sense of the word, nevertheless, the standard is high. Because of their age, they will be looked up to, so they must be good examples. While this word means sober as opposed to overindulgence, it is also translated as “simple in their tastes” (BAS). God’s true servants don’t need an extravagant lifestyle to make them happy or to bolster their ego. God has promised to supply all our needs [Phil. 4:19]. He clearly stated that “the labourer is worthy of his wages” [Luke 10:7]. [Also see I Cor. 9:4-14]. The secret of happiness lies not in having things but in enjoying them.
“Reverent” or “serious” (TCNT), “dignified” (NAS).
The seriousness described here is not gloomy or morbid. It is the conduct of one who lives in the light of eternity. The lives of the mature should be more dignified than those of the young.
“Temperate” or “discreet” (TCNT), “sensible” (NAS), “wise” (BAS), “prudent” (BAR), “sober-minded” (RV).
The idea expressed in Greek is “curbing one’s desires and impulses, self-controlled. It describes people who are “moderate as to opinion and passion” (Strong), and those who are “masters of themselves” (MOFF). Whether or not one has an office or position of leadership in the church is not important. It is incumbent on the mature to live exemplary lives.
“Sound in the faith” or “soundly established in the faith” (KNOX),
It is interesting that he encourages older men to stay “spiritually healthy through their faith (PHIL). As we go on with God we should “grow in the grace and knowledge of God” [2 Pet. 3:18], but all too often we allow ourselves to become indifferent and cold. The indictment against the messenger of the church of Ephesus was: “you have left your first love” [Rev. 2:4]. As the years go by God wants His senior saints to be “men of vigorous faith” (GSPD).
Love can and should be expressed practically on a volitional basis by those who possess it. So the senior men are not allowed to get stuck into a grumpy, fault-finding mode but are to stay healthy in love.
“In patience” or “endurance” (RHM), “perseverance” (NAS).
Patience should characterize the mature. It is a good thing too for they often have to put up with greater physical limitations than the young. Ageing is not to be endured with bitterness and resentment, as an inevitable acquiescence to encroaching decrepitness, rather, it should be viewed with cheerful perseverance in the faith accepting what life brings, enduring trials and transmuting them into victories. As William Barclay says: “The years should temper a man like steel so that he can bear more and more, and emerge more and more the conqueror over life’s troubles.
Paul next turns his attention to the older women.
V. 3 “the older women likewise, that they are reverent in behaviour” or “let their deportment testify of holiness” (CON).
The language here speaks of external and not internal reverence. There is no doubt that outward holiness should spring from inward holiness, but in this instance, Paul is dealing with the example these senior saints are to demonstrate. He is speaking about “things which are proper” [v. 1], or “the right living that goes along with true Christianity (LIV).” They are to carry into daily life the demeanour of priestesses in a temple” (Walter Lock). Such is the standard of the New Testament. Whether one has an official position or not, we all “must live as if life was a sacred assembly” (Clement of Alexandria).
“Not slanderers” or “not malicious gossips” (NAS).
Sometimes, though the body slows down with age, the mind and tongue remain active and unless they are disciplined and put to wholesome use they can be employed destructively, this admonition was given to the deacon’s wives in I Tim, 3:11. It is interesting how much easier it is for some folks to share something negative or malicious rather than a good report. A good rule is “if we cannot say something good, then say nothing at all.
“Not given too much wine” or “slaves to strong drink” (NEB).
This is the fourth warning against excessive wine drinking in the Pastorals. We must remember that people did not drink tea or coffee back then. The main drink was wine, so overindulgence could easily become a problem, especially among the older women who had more time to spend visiting. If due care was not taken they could very well find themselves “becoming slaves to drink” (TCNT). The reputation of the Cretans as well as the strong language used here, has caused some to feel that this was a more serious problem in Crete than in Ephesus, where the admonition was given to leadership only, and in less severe terms [I Tim. 3:3, 8].
“Teachers of good things” or “teachers of virtue” (RHM).
There is a principle quoted in what is said to be the oldest book in the Bible, Job: “age should speak, and a multitude of years should teach wisdom” [Job 32:7]. It is reasonable that the young should be taught by their elders. Everyone is influenced by someone.
We can never really know the full extent of our influence upon others. We teach a certain amount by what we say, more by what we do but most by what we are. In light of this, a wholesome lifestyle would be necessary to qualify older women to be “teaching others by their good example” (KNOX).
V. 4 “that they admonish the young women” or “train” (ASV), “teach discretion” (CON).
These older ladies are to “school the young women” by virtue of their experience. He next lays out some details to be covered in the ministry of the older women to the younger.
“To love their husbands? or be affectionate” (WEY).
In a generation when marriages were arranged by parents, it was essential that the couple learn to love each other. The Godly wisdom and input of “mothers in Israel” would be invaluable to young brides and mothers struggling with the great adjustments of marriage. As Donald Guthrie said: “Christian matrons are to assist the younger women in the discipline of family love, not of course as interfering busybodies, but as humble advisers on the problems of married life.
“To love their children”
It seems strange that women would need to be taught to love their children, the maternal instinct being what it is. Yet, priorities often get mixed up and this no doubt was a danger in a society like that of Crete. The Bible exhorts us to love “indeed” [I John 3:18], and how a mother treats her children reveals whether or not she loves them: With the advent of the feminist movement and especially the desire for equality in the workplace, a tendency to place career above the needs of children has taken on greater proportions than ever. This ancient exhortation must be taken to heart afresh in our generation.
V. 5 “to be discreet” or “sober-minded” (ASV), “prudent” (BAR),
This is the same Greek word used for elders |1 Tim. 3:2; Titus 1:8] where it is translated as “sober-minded” and older men [Titus 2:2] where it is rendered “sober. One of the best testimonies a young woman can have is to be sensible with prudence and good judgment. “As a ring of gold in a swine’s snout, so is a lovely woman who lacks discretion (taste) [Prov. 11:22];
“chaste” or “pure” (WMS), pure-minded” (TCNT).
If this exhortation was necessary when Christians were isolated and insulated from society, how much more today when the filth and immorality of the world are daily piped into the home via the television. The false value system of the entertainment world has torn down standards and rip doubt enticed many a young mother, hooked hereby, to compromise her principles. So the exhortation
to purity is vitally applicable today.
“Homemakers” or “good house-keepers” (BER), “domestic” (MOFF).
The Greek culture, being what it was, would be unnecessary for the Apostle to encourage women
to stay at home.
However, in any generation the exhortation to take pride in and excel at taking care of one’s home is valid. The tremendous example set forth in Prov. 31:10-31 has long been the standard of excellence for Godly wives and mothers.
“Good” or “kind” (ASV), “good-natured” (BER).
The Greek word ‘agathos,’ “describes that which, being “good” in its character or constitution, is beneficial in its effect” (Vine)
“obedient to their own husbands” or “in subjection” (ASV).
This is an admonition that Paul repeats throughout his writings [Eph. 5:22; Col. 3:18; I Pet. 3:1],
The ancient Greek society imposed great restrictions on women. A respectable Greek woman was not seen at public gatherings or walking the streets. Her home was her domain. To be married and have a home to care for was the only career open to women. If a woman did not have a father or husband to take care of her the only course open to her was prostitution. Then came the Gospel, with its emancipating power. ,
Nothing in history elevated the status of women like the Gospel of Jesus Christ. But there were dangers. As William Barclay put it: “if the women of the ancient church had suddenly burst every limitation which the centuries had imposed upon them, the only result would have been to bring discredit on the church and cause people to say that Christianity corrupted womanhood,
But that was then, what about now? Culture has changed. Does this have any applications today? If this was purely a concession for the sake of that society, why is it included in the permanent record of God’s will, His Word? Obviously, the principle of family order as set out in the Scriptures is as applicable today as it ever was. While opinion on this subject swings from one extreme to the other, there must be a reasonable application that fits all generations and societies.
The Phillips translation says that wives should be “willing to adapt themselves to their husbands. A family cannot have two heads. God has ordained the husband as the leader of his home, but this leadership is not to be tyrannical nor without regard for his wife’s input for they are a team. The role of the wife, though different from that of the husband, is nevertheless, equally important. The woman was not taken from man’s foot, to be beneath him, nor from his head to be above him, but from his side to be equal with him, near his heart to be loved, within the curve of his arm to be protected.
In the normal course of things, where the husband is the principal breadwinner, it is incumbent on the wife to be willing to adjust to whatever changes the career of her husband may take. All this presupposes and is predicated on the fact that they have prayed and taken counsel on any such move. A good wife and mother is no doubt the central ingredient of a happy home. This, of course, is based upon a healthy love for her husband and children.
“That the word of God may not be blasphemed” or “discredited” (RSV), “defamed” (RHM), p
“slandered” (BER). Paul uses tire same reason for a proper attitude in 1Tim. 6:1.
There, as here, he shows that a wrong attitude would reflect on Christ and the church, the place where they received instruction. It is by our “good works” that men are caused to glorify” our God t and Father [Matt. 5:16]. We must be careful that the way we live does not contradict and the nullify-the message we proclaim with our mouths.
V. 6 “Likewise, exhort the young men to be sober-minded” or “sensible” (WMS) “self-restrained” (WEY), “to behave prudently” (BER).
This is the word used in I Tim 3:2; Titus 1:8; 2:2. Self-control was a great virtue among Greek teachers, so how much more should it be a characteristic of one committed to Christ. The Word of God places great importance on self-restraint. “He who is slow to anger is better than the mighty, and he who rules his spirit than he who takes a city” [Prov. 16:32]. It is the tendency of youth to be rash and impulsive, so such advice would be beneficial.
In 2 Tim. 1:7 Paul said: “For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind.” The “sound mind” comes from the same root as the “sober-minded” in Titus 2:6.
The reason young men can be challenged to be sensible or sober-minded is that it is part of our spiritual heritage in Christ. He has given us a sound mind. 11’Self-discipline is not among the more glamorous of the virtues, but it is the very stuff of life. When the eagerness of youth is buttressed by the solidity of self-mastery, something really great comes into life” (Barclay). Having been instructed to exhort others, Titus himself like Timothy is challenged to be a good example to his followers [I Tim. 4:12].
V. 7 “in all things showing yourself to be a pattern of good works” or “set them an example of good conduct” (Moff).
As Donald Guthrie pointed out: “The exhortations of Titus would carry no weight unless backed by the pattern of his life. This challenge to Titus is no doubt based on the fact of his responsibility as a minister of the Gospel. On the other hand, it is also probable that his being a younger man had something to do with it
“in doctrine showing integrity.
The Word of God is clear that a minister of the Gospel must take his task, as a teacher of the Word, seriously. The first ingredient he includes here is integrity. We minister out of our lives. A man who is not honest with himself can hardly be expected to handle the Word honestly. This word is also translated as “incorruptness” (KJV; ASV) and expresses the idea of purity, particularly purity of motive.
“The word describes the quality of the teacher rather than of his doctrine. He is to preach the truth without fear or favour” (A. C. Hervey). God’s servant is not to be influenced by either bribes or threats but is to be loyal to God and his calling. It has also been suggested that pure orthodoxy of doctrine is what is meant. This too would be very important. Sound doctrine expounded by honest men is God’s desire.
“Reverence” or “high principle (NEB), “gravity” (KJV)
This word has the idea of honesty or dignity.
We must remember that the honesty required here is with regard to doctrine. There are people who would never cheat, steal, or He in their business dealings and yet are not totally honest in their doctrine. They allow tradition, peer pressure, or experience to dictate what they believe and practice. People say: “We have always believed like this, our fathers believed like this. Because something has been believed for a long period does not necessarily make it correct, it must line up properly with Scripture. The influence of friends and associates, while important, should not govern our beliefs.
We will all answer to God for our attitude toward His Word. It is more important than He thinks well of you than your peers. So many times Scripture is made to conform to experience when the opposite should be the case. Many questionable things are done in the name of the Lord that does not square with Scripture. These must be rejected for the only infallible authority on all matters of faith and practice is the Bible. The Psalmist said of the Lord: “You have magnified Your Word above all Your name” [Ps. 138:2]. The Word is the final court of appeal, not experience.
“Incorruptibility” or “sincerity” (KJV).
Many authors believe that this Word is not in the original text and have dropped it. At any rate, it complies with and reinforces the thought of honesty and integrity already mentioned.
V. 8 “sound speech that cannot be condemned” or “a wholesome, unobjectionable
message (GSPD). There is an offence that the gospel produces at times and nothing we can do will change it However, what God’s servant must be careful of is that personality or oddity, either in belief or activity, does not become the stumbling stone. If people are offended by the Word, it is between them and God. If we offend them, then we are responsible and will answer for it. So Titus is encouraged to present a sound, the orthodox message in an “unaffected and logical” manner (PHIL).
“That one who is an opponent may be ashamed having nothing evil to say of you.” No matter how careful preachers are, there will always be those who are hostile to the gospel. It seems that we will always have those who oppose the message of Christ. The idea expressed here is that we should not give them an excuse or reason to justify their opposition. So Titus is to present the truth in such a manner and with such a spirit that it cannot be justly found fault with. Ironically, it is not only those outside the church who find fault but some who are within.
We must be careful that in our desire to be relevant and communicate to our generation, we do not offend those who expect a more traditional form of communication. Whether men believe what is preached or not the method of presentation should not be so repulsive to them that they can use it as an excuse for rejecting the substance of the message.
He next turns his attention to servants.
V. 9 “Exhort bond-servants” or “urge slaves” (TCNT).
Slavery was part of society and men became bond-servants for various reasons. Possibly, they were prisoners of war or became hopelessly in debt, or were born of slave parents. In any case, they were the property of their owners who had absolute power over them.
They were on the bottom of the social scale, yet, in spite of that, they were welcomed into the church. Many slaves readily accepted the Gospel of Jesus Christ. It would be a temptation for this oppressed class of people to imagine that their spiritual emancipation would somehow give them a different relationship to their masters. This was a pipe-dream that Paul had to deal with. Hence, the detailed exhortation to them [See I Pet. 2:18-25].
Though ultimately, slavery was abolished, while it remained, the Christian bondservant had to be especially careful, not only for his own sake but for the sake of the Gospel and the Lord he represented. Even though he had no status as a citizen, he could nevertheless be a witness by his attitude and conduct. So the apostle enumerates some areas where the Christian slave should be vigilant.
“To be obedient to their own masters.
This injunction applied whether the masters were Christian or heathen. Embracing the Gospel did not release a slave from his duty to his master. As a matter of fact, it gave him grace to be a better servant for he now was to work “as to the Lord” [Col 3:22-25], The only area where disobedience could be justified was in direct violation of God’s Word which would defile the servant’s conscience. It was within the rights of the master to expect obedience from his slaves, “but the obedience was necessarily limited by the divine law, for a servant could not sin at his master’s command. He must in that case, willingly suffer the consequences of disobedience” (T. Croskery).
“To be well-pleasing in all things” or “try to please them in every task” (NOR), “give them satisfaction all-round” (MOFF).
A Christian workman should do his best at whatever he does. -The motto “saved to serve” does not only apply to spiritual ministry but to the general attitude of life. The question “how can t help? should replace “what is in it for me? The Christian servant was not to give the irreducible minimum, but his best. So it is today, that God wants us to render better service, not seek a better deal. As William Barclay says of the Christian workman: “He is efficient He is determined to give satisfaction.
“Not answering back” or “not argumentative” (NAS), “not contradicting” (ALF) :
It is hard to conceive of a slave talking back or showing blatant disrespect for his master, they could be killed for that or severely punished, to say the least. Yet through devious and subtle means, he could resist or short circuit his master’s plans. Possibly it is the reaction to Christian owners, who would tend to be more gentle and merciful, that Paul is addressing. Most of the tasks of any significant household were performed by slaves. An attitude that was resistant to the will of the master could cause inconvenience to say the least. The higher principle of a slave, liberated in spirit by Christ, would be in an endeavour to anticipate his master’s desires and fulfil them faithfully, rather than to thwart them by willful inconsistencies.
V. 10 “not pilfering, but showing all good fidelity” or “not to embezzle” (MOFF), “or to be light-fingered” (PHIL).
The Greek word used here “is the regular term for petty larcenies”, (E. K. Simpson). The Amplified Bible says that they were not “to steal by taking things of small value.
This no doubt would be a temptation to one who has nothing of his own. But because of his commitment to Christ and the law of God, he must not “stoop to the petty dishonesties of which the world is full” (Barclay).
It was not unusual for a well-trained slave to administrate the financial affairs of a household [Gen. 24:2; 39:4]. As a steward of his master’s goods, he was to be “truly loyal and entirely reliable” (AMP). One of the tests of faithfulness given by the Lord Jesus Christ is to be “faithful in what is another man’s” [Luke 16:12]. So the Christian bond-servant was to be one upon whom his master
could confidently rely on.
“That they may adorn the doctrine of God our Savior in all things” or “make the teaching
about God our Savior attractive” (NIV).
In v, 5 and v. 8, the challenge was to live to not bring reproach on the Word of God or to give those opposed to the Gospel any cause to criticize. Here, he takes the same thought a little farther.
Not only are they to avoid criticism, but are actually able to “add lustre to” (NEB), or “beautify the teaching” (BER), of the Word. Though the lot of a slave was often tough and hard, the beauty of Christ manifesting itself in a clear example, through these lowly vessels, would cause men to see
God’s grace and glory in action [2 Cor. 4:7]
An important question each of us should ask is: “Does my life beautify the doctrine of Christ? Do I make it attractive to unbelievers? Or do I by my attitude and actions, make it repulsive? Either moral looseness or legalistic bondage will drive people away from the Gospel. God help us to be holy, happy, and wholesome
THE TRANSFORMING POWER OF GRACE. (2:11-15)
There is no greater or more glorious message than the grace of God, but it has been sorely misrepresented by some. Grace is not only the unmerited favour of God, it is the desire and power to do God’s will. Notice the universal scope of God’s dealing;
V. 11 “For the grace of God that brings salvation has appeared to all men.
What is meant by these words? Some would interpret it to mean that He has brought salvation to all men. But this cannot be for all men will not be saved. It is the display of God’s grace and provision in the Gospel that is universal. The demonstration of kingdom power and authority will be seen all the world, then the end will come [Matt. 24:14]. The “all men” described here are probably “all classes of men, even slaves” (Walter Lock), and not every individual in the world.
On the other hand, this is the only means of salvation for all men for there is salvation in no other, “for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved” [Acts 4:12]. While the scope and influence of the Gospel are universal, its effect on a practical level is limited to “everyone who believes” [Rom. 1:16]. Another aspect of the universality of the Gospel is seen in that it is “for the Jew first and also for the Greek” or Gentile. It is important to understand that Paul is not prescribing an order here, but he is simply recognizing the fact that the Gospel went to the Jew first. What is implied is precedence, not preference.
The grace of God not only brings salvation but also brings a powerful instructional influence.
V. 12 “teaching us that” or “training us” (WEY), “disciplining us” (ALF).
It is interesting that the Greek word has more to do with the discipline of learning, even to the point of chastening, than with the content of the message. It has a strong flavour of correction in it [See Heb. 12:6], Once having captured the heart of man, the grace of God immediately proceeds to enlighten him. It is also noteworthy that its message is initially negative.
“Denying ungodliness and worldly lusts.
The sanctifying process of God involves a series of putting off and putting on, renouncing and embracing, turning away from and turning unto. This is not a new idea, for the ancient prophet Isaiah said: “cease to do evil, learn to do good” [Is. 1:16-17]. The first thing that teaching grace will challenge in our life is ungodliness which will demand that we renounce. The attitude expresses in this ungodliness or irreverence “is disregard for, or defiance of God’s person” (Vine). It is “positive and active irreligion, a condition of direct opposition to God” (Berry).
Obviously, the author does not want them to deny the existence of ungodliness, but to deny its right to a place in the righteous life. Paul says those who have received God’s mercy “have renounced the hidden things of shame” [2 Cor. 4:2]. Lust is simply desiring unchecked. Worldly lusts or appetites are those things that relate to this world. While both these words are morally neutral, in combination and set against the purposes of God they are used to describe a state wherein man’s thoughts are irreverent and his passions are evil [See I John 2:15-17]. So God’s grace instructs us strongly “to give up godless ways and worldly cravings” (WMS).
He now moves to the positive side of grace. Soberly, righteously, and godly: These three words skillfully reiterate the theme of all the Pastorals.
“We should live soberly.
The removal of negatives is not enough to satisfy the righteous standard of God. “We are not good by what we give up simply, but by what we take up” (W. M. Statham). The Lord Jesus taught that when a man is delivered from an evil spirit if he is not filled with God’s positive presence, the spirit will return and bring other spirits with him [Matt. 12:43-45]. While this illustration is very extreme and is not the experience of every person, the principle, nevertheless, can be applied in a general way. There are many abstentious, self-mortifying ascetics who renounce all worldly pursuits and yet are not truly close to God.
To be against the right things is not enough, we must add these positive qualities to our lives. The apostle once again exhorts us to live “soberly” or “discreet” (TGNT), “a life of self-mastery” (MOFF). The use of this word reveals s an interesting development. It is first used by the author of the Pastorals as a character trait of elders [I Tim. 3:2; Titus 1:8], then of older men [Titus 2:2], young women [2;5] and young men [2:6]. :■ So it is clear that this is not just a quality to be seen in leadership, but a character trait of all who have embraced the grace of God.
“Righteously” or “upright” (TCNT), “a life of… integrity”(MOFF), and “honesty” (NEB). Paul uses this word in describing his own behaviour toward the Thessalonian saints [I Thess. 2:10].
There the word is translated “justly” in the KJV and NO. There is a strong flavour of justice in this word. This is “the justice which enables us to give both to God and to men that which is their due”
“And godly” or “God-fearing lives” (PHIL).
It is not enough to simply avoid and renounce ungodliness, we must live, “practically realizing the presence, the claims, and the love of God in our everyday life” (D. Thomas). This simple definition of how we should live has been called the gospel in a nutshell. It is said to encompass the three main areas of moral obligation, to one’s self, one’s neighbour, and God. Living “soberly” refers to the balance and self-control which we require of ourselves. Living “righteously” or “justly” means to walk in honesty and integrity before our fellow man. Being “godly” simply means living dedicated to God and walking daily in His fear.
“In the present age” or “here and now” (PHIL). The great provision of grace is for this life and this time. “God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble” [Ps. 46:1]. So many people have faith in the past or faith in the future but lack faith in the present. God is the God of the now. It is in our current state that we need Him and that He shows Himself to be an abundantly available help. Having firmly established the present reality of God’s saving aid, he now points us to the blessed hope.
V. 13 “looking for the blessed hope and glorious appearing of our great God and Saviour Jesus Christ.
It has been said that all good things must come to an end. The greatest thing to ever happen on planet earth was the bringing forth of the church of Jesus Christ. Its earthly sojourn will also come to an end, but what an end! It will culminate with the second coming of Jesus Christ. His coming is referred to as “the blessed hope. This has been called “the happy hope” (RHM) and so it is for the Christian. All of history (His story) moves and flows toward the great culmination when “the kingdoms of this world have become the kingdoms of our Lord and His Christ” [Rev. 11:15]. [See Matt 24:14; Dan. 2:34,35,44; I Cor. 15:24,25; Heb, 1:8-13; 10:12,13].
The second coming of Christ is a “glorious appearing” or “the appearing of the glory of our great God and Saviour, Christ Jesus” (NAS). Paul said: “I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us” [Rom. 8:18-21]. From the perspective of the throne of God, the earth is already “full of His glory” [Is. 6:3; Rev. 4:8]. Jesus said that He gave the glory, which His Father had given Him, to His people that they might be one [John 17:22]. [See Is. 40:5; Eph 3:21; Col. 1:27; Is. 11:9,10; Hag. 2:9].
The phrase, “our great God and Savior Jesus Christ, is a most powerful declaration of His deity.
He is “very God, “the Lord from heaven” [I Cor. 15:47]. He is “the King of Kings and Lord of Lords” [I Tim. 6:15] and one day He will be returning, not to set up His kingdom, but to settle all accounts and to wind up the affairs of this present evil age” [Gal. 1:4]. Every opposing kingdom and realm will be brought down and made to acknowledge “that Jesus Christ is Lord” [Phil. 2:10-11]. [See I Cor. 15:25; Dan. 2:34, 35,44; Rev. 11:15]. It is interesting to observe in the temptation of Christ that Satan offered Him “all the kingdoms of the world and their glory” [Matt. 4;8-9; Luke 4:5-7]. This was a hollow offer for the world and all it contains will pass away but the glory of the kingdom of God is forever [I John 2:15-17].
V. 14 “who gave Himself for us.
The foundation of the gospel is Jesus’ sacrificial death upon the cross. He was not a victim of mob violence nor was He just a martyr to a cause, but He willingly gave “His life a ransom for many” [Mark 10:45]. [See John 1:29; Gal. 13-4; Eph. 1:7; Heb. 10:11-12].
“That He might redeem us from every lawless deed” or “rescue us from all our evil ways” (PHIL).
To be redeemed means to be “bought back” or to be “released by payment for sin’s demand and His blood is more than sufficient to purchase freedom for His people, [See Ps. 103:3-130:8; Is.-53:5,11]. Jesus did not merely give good advice or sound teaching, He gave Himself [John 10:17-18]. While the initial impact of redemption is essentially internal, the effects will soon be seen in the lives of those who are redeemed. It is from our own pernicious ways that He frees us.
“And purify for Himself His own special people, zealous for good works.”
God does not choose certain people because they are special, but rather, they become special by reason of His choosing them. [See Ex. 19:5; Deut. 4:20; 7:6; 14:2]. Divine election is based on reasons known only to God. In His own counsel and according to His own purpose He chooses and draws to Himself those He has set His love upon. This is clearly seen in Eph. 2:1-9. Salvation is of the Lord. In His grace, or unmerited favour, He draws us and even the faith with which we respond is a gift of God. There is, however, another side to the Gospel. The truly saved person will be involved in some form of good works for this is the will and purpose of God [Eph. 2:10]. The Lord’s challenge in the Sermon on the Mount is to “Let your light so shine before men that they may see your good works and glorify you Father in heaven” [Matt. 5:16]. It takes more than words to bring glory to God. People need to see a demonstration of the reality of the Gospel in the lives of God’s people.
According to this verse, good works are the way to let our light shine. It is interesting that Paul says this purified people will be “zealous for good works. God is not satisfied with a halfhearted attempt at doing good. He wants a fervent, eager spirit in His people. Just as we are to be “zealous for spiritual gifts” [I Cor. 14:12], so we should seek to serve in practical ways, with the same ardour
V. 15 “Speak this thing, exhort, and rebuke with all authority.
Here we see the three-fold task of every preacher. He is to:
1. Declare the truth boldly, teaching men the right ways of God.
2. Encourage God’s people and urge them to believe His Word and see His victory and provision in their own lives.
3. Challenge sin and wrong conduct whenever he encounters it.
The man of God is to tackle this commission with confidence for his authority comes from God, who called and ordained him [John 15:16].
“Let no one despise you” or “look down on you” (GSPD), “make light of you” (WHY), and “belittle you” (WMS).
Bearing in mind the kind of people Titus ministered to, this advice was needful. While God’s servant is to walk in humility and gentleness, he is not to be a door-mat, one to be walked on. Honest questions and doubts should be answered carefully and with meekness, but stupid arrogance should be rebuked [Prov. 26:4-5]. This reminds us of I Tim. 4:12 where the exhortation to Timothy is “let no one despise your youth.
Timothy’s struggle was, at least in part, because of his youth. Ancient cultures revered old age and believed that wisdom was acquired only through years of experience. There is no reference to youth in the instruction to Titus, but young or old, the servant of God will at times encounter those who treat him “with contempt” (PHIL) and “disregard” (RHM) his instruction.
Two things are important here:
1. The authority of the ministry comes from God and not man. It is a delegated authority, so when we show respect for God’s servants, we show Him respect [Acts 23:1-5 taken from Ex. 22:28].
2. The servant of God should conduct himself in such a manner that men will not despise him even though they may disagree with him.
Paul exhorted the Corinthian believers to “give no offence either to the Jew or the Greeks (Gentiles)
or to the church of God” [I Cor. 10:32], This is still wise counsel. If men are offended by the truth, then so be it, but let us be sure that they are not caused to stumble by any unpleasantness or hypocrisy in our personality or life. The most potent message we proclaim is the message that is demonstrated by the lifestyle we live.
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