“Remindthem to be subject to rulers,to authorities, to be obedient, to be ready for every good deed, 2tomalign no one,to be uncontentious, gentle, showing every consideration for all men.”
OUR RESPONSIBILITY TO AUTHORITIES 3:1
This is a reminder because the words do not contain new truth, but rather speak of things they already know. Why, then, do they need a reminder? Because we all tend to isolate our beliefs from our conduct and therefore need constant encouragement through reminders to link the two together.
The concept of authority is expressed by the two nouns rulers and authorities. The duties of the believer relative to civil authority are found in Titus 3:1-2, Romans 13:1-7, and I Peter 2:13-17. Submission to these authorities would be difficult for Christians because they were often great enemies of Christianity. Caligula believed he was
a god and actively sought worship. He sat up an image in the temple at Jerusalem. Nero was probably the worst of all. Citizens so hated him that he shifted the responsibility of his acts to Christians. He illuminated his gardens with the flames of burning Christians. Domitian started a severe persecution that sent John to the island of Patmos.
The idea of responsibility is seen in the three infinitives—tobe subject,to be obedient, and to be ready. The first infinitive that com- mands subjection is in the middle voice. This means subject your- selvesand shows that this is a willing, volitional act, not a forced one. The last shows that the subjection is not to be sullen but full of eager enthusiasm to participate in any worthwhile cause.
OUR RESPONSIBILITY TO OTHERS 3:2
The word malign is blasphemeo, transliterated in our Bibles as blas- phemy. It means to speak againstor to injure one’s reputation. The meaning of the word gentle carries with it the idea of reasonableness. The word consideration often means courtesy.
THE REASON FOR OUR RESPONSIBILITY 3:3-7
MOTIVATION EMANATING FROM THE PAST 3:3
“For we also once were foolish ourselves, disobedient,deceived,enslaved to various lusts and pleasures, spending our life in malice and envy, hateful,hating one another.”
The verb we were stands emphatically at the beginning of the sen- tence. This implies that what was once true of them was still true of the unbelievers on Crete. The words we alsoshow that this was the condition of Paul and Titus in their past.
The features of their pre-salvation life were as follows. They were once foolish. Literally, the word means without understanding. By usage, the word refers to lack of spiritual perception. In Luke 24:25
Jesus says to the disciples, “ ‘O foolish men and slow of heart to believe in all that the prophets have spoken!’ ” According to Galatians 3:1, it describes the condition of the Christian enmeshed in legalism. I Timothy 6:9 indicates that it is true of the believer whose overwhelming desire is to gain material wealth.
Their past life is further described by the word disobedient. This is the fruit of foolishness—the foolish mind engages in disobedience. This refers to the willful disregard of divine authority. The word deceived means to stray from a true course because one follows false guides.
The various lusts and pleasuresare the false guides once followed. Malice and envydescribe the typical attitude of a self-centered life, and hatred flows from a life of disappointed hopes. There is no bitterness worse than that of disappointed expectations.
MOTIVATION EMANATING FROM OUR PRESENT 3:4-7
TheManifestation of Salvation 3:4
“But when the kindness of God our Savior and His love for mankind appeared…”
The word but introduces the Pauline contrast between what we once were and what we now are. The same contrast is made in passages such as Romans 6:17-23, I Corinthians 6:9-11, Ephesians 2:2-13, 5:7-12, Colossians 1:21-22, and 3:7-10.
The incarnation of Jesus manifested two aspects of the nature of God—His kindnessand His love for mankind. His kindness carries the idea of generosity and points to God’s desire to forgive sin. The word love for mankindis philanthropiaand occurs only here in the New Testament. It appears in English as philanthropist.
TheBasis of Salvation 3:5a
“He saved us, not on the basis of deeds which we have done in righteous- ness,but according to His mercy...”
In the Greek New Testament, the verb He saved us follows the negative and positive statements. This order shows Paul’s empha- sis is on the basis of our salvation, not the fact of our salvation. The negative clause repeats Paul’s well-known denial of salvation by works as stated in Romans 4:4-5, Galatians 2:16-17, and Ephesians
In our wretchedness, God graciously withheld deserved punish- ment and freely saved us. The pronouns we and His stand in force- ful contrast.
TheMeans of Salvation 3:5b-6
“…by the washing of regeneration and renewing by the Holy Spirit, whomHe poured out upon us richly through Jesus Christ our Savior…”
Regeneration is the act of God wherein He imparts eternal life to man on the single condition of faith in Christ. While the word occurs only one other place in the New Testament, the concept is conveyed many ways. It is being born againas in John 3:7; made alive as in Ephesians 2:5; made a new creature as in II Corinthians 5:17; or made the children of God as in I John 3:2.
There are several aspects to regeneration. The need for it is deter- mined by our condition at birth (Ephesians 2:1) and our connection to Adam (Romans 5:12). The source of it is stated in John 1:12-13, saying we are born “of God.” I Peter 1:23 shows the agent of regen- eration, saying we are “born again not of seed which is perishable but imperishable, that is through the living and abiding word of God.” The condition of regeneration is stated in Galatians 3:26 as “through faith in Christ Jesus.” The power needed to regenerate us is stated in I Peter 1:3, saying we are “born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead.”
TheResults of Salvation 3:7
“…that being justifiedby His grace we might be made heirs according to the hope of eternal life.”
The word justifiedin reference to man is always in the passive voice. This means it is always an action taken by God upon man.
THE RESTATEMENT OF OUR RESPONSIBILITY 3:8-11
CONCERNING CHRISTIAN LIVING 3:8-9
“This is a trustworthy statement;and concerning these things I want you to speak confidently,so that those who have believed God may be careful to engage in good deeds. These things are good and profitablefor men.”
It is the will of God that we speak the word of God with great confidence. Titus must not only proclaim truth, but he must pro- claim it in a certain manner. If he does this, it will have forceful impact on his hearers.
“But shun foolish controversies and genealogies and strife and disputes about the Law;for they are unprofitableand worthless.”
Unprofitable Christian living gets involved in trivial and non- biblical matters. The Jews built elaborate embellishments of genealogies, none of which rested in fact. The believer is to involve himself in the solid truth of Scripture.
CONCERNING FACTIOUS MEN 3:10-11
“Reject a factious man after a firstand second warning, 11knowingthat such a man is perverted and is sinning,being self-condemned.”
The men referred to here are probably those who are advocates of the foolish controversies. Titus should try to correct them twice; and if this is ineffective, he should reject them. The verb means to have nothing to do with.
THE CONCLUSION 3:12-15
CONCLUDING INSTRUCTIONS 3:12-14
“When I send Artemas or Tychicusto you, make every effort to come to me at Nicopolis,for I have decided to spend the winter there.13Diligently help Zenas the lawyer and Apollos on their way so that nothing is lacking for them. 14Andlet our people also learn to engage in good deeds to meet pressing needs,that they may not be unfruitful.”
With the words of verse 12, Paul announces future plans concern- ing himself and Titus. Apparently Artemas or Tychicus would be Titus’s replacement in Crete when he comes to Paul. Nothing is known of Artemas, but Tychicus was a co-worker who on occasion traveled with Paul (Acts 20:4, Ephesians 6:21-22, Colossians 4:7-8, II Timothy 4:12).
Zenas and Apollos were probably the bearers of this letter to Titus. The designation of Zenas as a lawyer could mean one of two things. If he was Jewish, then it means he was proficient in the Mosaic Law; if a Gentile, then he was a Roman jurist. Apollos is most associated with the Corinthian church.
In verse 14 Paul makes a short appeal for funds. Appeals of this type are for good works expressed in the giving of material things. Paul always reminds those petitioned that giving is their opportu- nity for good works and will thus bring blessing to them.
CONCLUDING GREETINGS 3:15A
“All who are with me greet you. Greet those who love us in the faith.”
This conclusion points to the cordiality that existed among those with whom Paul was associated. This goes far beyond a social relationship, however, because it is a bond shared within the body of Christian doctrine. True unity is a unity of belief resulting in love toward those of like faith.
CONCLUDING BENEDICTION 3:15B
“Grace be with you all.”
All of Paul’s letters begin and end with a reference to grace. See page 3 of these notes for a listing of them.
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