Pulpit Commentary Homiletics
I. CHRISTIANITY IS A SYSTEM OF DOCTRINE AS WELL AS LIFE. It is a doctrine that it may be a life.
1. The doctrine is contrasted with the fables of the false teachers, who did nothing by their speculations but lower the tone of Christian life. A true moral life was only possible on the basis of the facts of the gospel plan of salvation (ver. 11).
2. Its soundness contrasts with the unhealthy teaching of the false teachers. It is called "the good doctrine" (1 Timothy 4:6), and the "doctrine according to godliness" (1 Timothy 6:3). Every other system corrupts; the sound doctrine renovates, elevates, purifies; for our Lord said, "Sanctify them through thy truth." It is milk for babes and meat for strong men.
II. IT IS THE DUTY OF MINISTERS TO PREACH THIS SOUND DOCTRINE. It ought to be preached:
1. Publicly and plainly, since there are so many" vain teachers."
2. With certainty, as being the undoubted truth.
3. With all boldness, as without fear of man or seeking to please man.
4. At all times, in season and out of season.
5. In its due relation to the duties of religion, as the spring of obedience. - T.C.
genuine morality which should be the grand aim and tendency of all gospel preaching. The grand subject presented in this passage is genuine morality. There have been, and still are, those who regard morality and religion as two distinct subjects or lines of conduct. But they are essentially one; one cannot exist without the other. The essence of both consists in supreme regard to the Divine will as the only standard of character and rule of life. From these verses we may draw three general truths in relation to this subject.
I. GENUINE MORALITY LEGISLATES ALIKE FOR ALL MANKIND. It speaks to man authoritatively, whatever his personal pecularities, adventitious distinctions, social relations, secular circumstances, official position, the number of his years, or the characteristics of his country. Moral law meets him everywhere; he can no more escape it than he can the atmosphere he breathes. In these words persons are mentioned distinguished by three fundamental facts.
1. The fact of age. Amongst the millions of the race, not many in any generation can be found that came into existence exactly at the same minute. Hence there are those differing in age from one year to a hundred or more. Hence Paul speaks here of "aged men" and "aged women," "young men" and "young women." At the first dawn of moral consciousness, up to the last breath of earthly existence, the voice of duty speaks - "Thus saith the Lord." No one has strength enough to extricate himself from the ties of moral obligation. Not even that mighty spirit who leads the "world captive at his will" can break the shackles of moral responsibility.
2. The fact of sex. Here are "men" and "women," both the aged and the young. However closely identified in affection and interest, moral duty treats each as a distinct personality. In human legislation the obligation of the woman, in some cases, is absorbed in that of the man. Not so with the moral legislation of Heaven. Each must bear its own burden. Inasmuch as the woman is as bound to follow the will of God as the man, no man has a right to interfere with the freedom of her thought, the dictates of her conscience, or the independency of her devotions. For long ages men have not recognized this fact, and they have treated women as their toys of pleasure and instruments of gratification. Women are beginning to wake up to their rights, and the day of man's tyranny is drawing to a close.
3. The fact of relationship. Paul says, "Exhort servants to be obedient unto their own masters." Why the duty of servants should be here referred to and not that of masters, is not because masters have not their duty, but perhaps at this time in Crete there were slaves who were disloyal and rebellious. Whilst the duty of servants is here referred to, the fact must not be overlooked that morality is binding on men in every social relationship, on the rulers as well as the ruled, the judges as well as the criminals, the parents as well as the children, the employers as well as the employees. What is wrong for one is wrong for all, and the reverse.
II. GENUINE MORALITY REACHES TO THE SPRINGS OF THE HEART. It does not concern itself with the external conduct. "Bodily exercise profiteth but little." But as it regards external conduct as the evolutions of the states of the heart, it legislates for those states. It says, "Keep the heart with all diligence, for out of it are the issues of life." Glance at the virtues here inculcated. "That the aged men be sober [sober-minded], grave, temperate." The exhortation to sobriety is also addressed to aged women: "That they be not given to much wine." Also to the young women: "Teach the young women to be sober." And to the young men: "Exhort to be sober-minded." Although physical sobriety is undoubtedly referred to, moral sobriety, serious thoughtfulness, and self-restraint are evidently included and regarded as fundamental. Moral sober-mindedness is the effective preventative and cure of all physical intemperance. No argument, either for total abstinence or against it, can be sustained by the phrase, "Not given to much wine." All the words convey is - Do not get drunk. "Sound in faith, in charity [love], in patience." This means - Have a healthy faith, a faith well founded; a healthy love, a love fastened on the supremely lovable; a healthy patience, a patience that shall bear up with fortitude and magnanimity under all the trials of life. "As becometh holiness " - reverent in demeanor. Let the whole life be full of that "holiness without which no man can see the Lord." "Not false accusers" - not slanderers. It has been observed that old women are specially tempted to garrulity and querulousness; hence the exhortation here. "Teachers of good things" - of that which is good. Things good in themselves as well as in their tendencies and issues; teachers, not merely by words, but by example. "That they may teach [train] the young women to be sober." The expression, "to be sober," should be omitted. "To love their husbands." The duty implies that the husband is loveworthy; there are some men who are called husbands so morally abhorrent and disgusting, that to love them would be impossible. The ideal husband must be loved. "To love their children." A mother's love, of a certain kind, is proverbial. Maternal love, wrongly directed, has been one of the chief curses of the race. "To be discreet" - sober-minded. A proper cheerfulness in mothers is a precious virtue, but volatile frivolousness is a serious evil. "Chaste - purity of the body, freedom from obscenity in language and life. Nothing in society is more beautiful than a thoroughly chaste woman - chaste in language, chaste in dress, chaste in movement; and nothing is more disgusting than the reverse - a woman unclean in appearance, in costume, in language, in manners. Keepers [workers] at home." Wives must work as well as husbands. Work is a condition of health and of true enjoyment. An idle wife is a bane both to herself and her family. "At home." This may not mean entirely in her own house, but in her own sphere, it may be in the garden, the field, the schoolroom, the Church, etc. "Good" - kind, amiable, sympathetic, generous, free from all that is malign, envious, and jealous. "Obedient [being in subjection] to their own husbands." This implies, of course, that the husband's commands are wise, right, and useful. "That the Word of God be not blasphemed." This refers, perhaps, to all the previous exhortations, and expresses a grand reason for the cultivation of all virtues. Our conduct in all things should be such as to bring honor rather than dishonor on our Lord and Master. "Let your light also so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven." "Young men likewise exhort to be sober-minded. Youth, in the swelling streams of its passions, the wild play of its fancy, and its craving for the romantic, is fearfully exposed to mental insobriety. Hence; no duty for the young is more urgent than that of obtaining a self-masterhood. Titus, whom Paul commands to exhort young men to this duty, was himself a comparatively young man. He could scarcely have been more than forty years of age. Brought up in a pagan home, not improbably in the luxurious and wicked Syrian Antioch, drawn to the Master's side in the fresh dawn of manhood, tried in many a difficult task and found faithful, the words of Titus exhorting the youth of Crete to be sober-minded or self-restrained would be likely to have great weight." "In all things showing thyself a pattern [ensample] of good works, in doctrine showing incorruptness, gravity, sincerity, sound speech that cannot be condemned; that he that is of the contrary part may be ashamed, having no evil thing to say of you [us]." In order that the exhortations of Titus might have full force, Paul here addresses an admonition to him. He is to show himself a "pattern of good works" in all things; he is to be a model of excellence in all his relations to the men and women of Crete, both the aged and the young. He must be pure, grave, and sincere. His preaching, too, should be such that could not be "condemned" - sound, healthy, practical, not fanciful, sentimental, and morbid. Ah! how many sermons preached every Sunday men of reason, thoughtfulness, conscience, recoil from and condemn! "Exhort servants to be obedient [in subjection] to their own masters, and to please them well [to be well pleasing to them] in all things; not answering again [not gainsaying]; not purloining, but showing all good fidelity." Herein is enjoined on servants obedience, acquiescence, honesty, faithfulness. All this implies, of course, that the master is what he ought to be, that his commands are righteous, that his words are truthful, and that the work he enjoins is lawful and right. "That they may adorn the doctrine of God our Savior in all things." From this it would seem that even slaves, in righteously serving their masters, may even honor God in their humble service. Thus from this passage we ]earn that genuine morality reaches the very springs of the heart, the fountain of all actions. He is not a moral man who only acts in strictest conformity to the conventional rules of society, nor is he even a moral man who merely fulfills the letter of the Divine commands. "All these commandments have I kept from my youth up... Yet one thing thou lackest," etc. He only is the true man whose governing sympathies flow in the channels of eternal right, and whose activities are ever engaged in endeavors to please the mighty Maker of his being. The will of God, and that only, is the datum of true ethics.
III. GENUINE MORALITY IS THE GRAND PURPOSE OF GOSPEL TEACHING. "But speak thou the things which become [befit] sound doctrine, that the aged men," etc. His teaching is to be in contrast with that of the false teachers mentioned in the previous verses, and which led to immorality of conduct. This verse and the seventh, urging Titus, as a preacher, to be a pattern in all things, both in his teaching and his conduct, justifies the inference that the grand end of gospel teaching is the promotion of get, nine morality. In the eighth verse of the next chapter, Paul distinctly states that Titus was so to teach that his hearers might be "careful to maintain good works." This is a point which what is called the "Church has, in its teachings, practically ignored. The gospel has been preached to sustain theologies, to establish sects, and to maintain certain institutions, ecclesiastical and political, instead of making men morally good, honest, faithful, and heroically loyal to the truth as it is in Jesus." Here, then, we have the only infallible test of pulpit usefulness. In what does the real utility of the pulpit consist? In gathering large audiences? Any charlatan can do this; and, frequently, the greater the charlatan the most successful. In generating in the congregation the largest amount of superficial religious sentiment? This often emasculates the reason, diseases the conscience, enervates the will, and renders the whole atmosphere of the soul insalubrious and depressing. No; but in making men moral, the living agents evermore of' good works. I estimate a true Church, not by the number of its members, the apparent earnestness of its devotions, or the amount of its contributions, but by the number of its professors who are too truthful to lie, too honest to defraud, too morally noble to do or to countenance a mean or a dishonorable act - to whom, in short, all worldly wealth and power, and life itself, are held cheap as dirt compared with the right. When Churches are made up of such members, then, and not until then, they will command the confidence, the sympathy, the trade, and the influence of the world. Well does Emerson say, "There is no morality without religion, and there is no religion without morality. 'This is the love of God, that we keep his commandments.' He who loves God keeps the commandment, loves God in action. Love is obedience in the heart, obedience is love in the life. Morality is religion in practice, religion is morality in principle." - D.T.
1. This habit of mind is contrasted with the thoughtlessness and levity of youth.
2. It is combined with
(1) watchfulness (1 Thessalonians 5:6) and
(2) prayer (1 Peter 4:7).
II. GRAVITY, in the sense of a dignified deportment.
1. Old men ought not to lend themselves to the levity and flippancy of the young.
2. If they are grave in speech and gait, they will have more weight in the community. There must be no undue excitability.
III. TEMPERANCE, OR SELF-RESTRAINT.
1. The aged ought to show an example of self-government in regard to the passions, the appetites, and the will. The pleasures of sense ought not to allure them, or the love of the world to carry them away.
IV. SOUNDNESS IN FAITH, LOVE, AND PATIENCE. Here is the trilogy of graces once more, only that patience takes the place of hope, to which it is nearly allied.
1. There is to be a healthy action of these graces in old age. As if in contrast with the diseases, weakness, and age of the body. The aged have seen their best days, and they ought to reconcile the decay of nature with the increase of grace, so as to make human life to its extreme limit resplendent with beauty and truth.
2. Each of the graces has its appropriate place in the character of the aged.
(1) Faith. It is the subjective condition of it. The old have their hopes sustained by faith; their hearts are cheered by faith; they remain steadfast through faith. It must be at once the principle of their worship, their piety, and their endurance.
(2) Love. The old are apt to become contracted and cold in their sympathies. But Christian love keeps the heart young and tender and sincere, and the old illustrate its power in growing tolerance, wisdom, and kindliness.
(3) Patience. They have to bear with many infirmities of body, with declining faculties, with growing decrepitude. But Christian patience must be more than a dull acquiescence with the inevitable; it must be a cheerful acceptance of suffering, that patience may have her perfect work in the closing days of life. - T.C.
I. THE REVERENCE DUE TO AGE. We look for sobriety of character as the result of the experience of a man who has found that there are limits to all expectations; gravity in one who is nearing his great account; and temperance in one who is supposed to have trampled down the fierce passions of youth. We reverence age for the consistency of the long years of life, and for fidelity to conscience and to Christ.
II. THE FRUITS THAT MAY RIPEN IN AGE. They are:
1. Faith, which is a grace that grows. As men know more of Christ by heart-experiences and life-experiences, so ought their faith to increase in him whose promises have all been "Yea and Amen."
2. Charity, alike in kindly estimate of others, in less bigotry, and in more comprehensiveness of embrace to all who may belong to other folds under the great Shepherd.
3. Patience. For while manhood has to work, age at eventide has to wait, sometimes in pain or in weakness. Still "they serve" while they wait, by prayer and quiet submission to the great will, the Lord's will. They are "examples to the flock." - W.M.S.
I. THE DUTIES OF AGED WOMEN.
1. In demeanor as becometh holiness.
(1) There is an appeal to their own judgment as to what is decorous and beautiful in the Christian character. They had an experimental knowledge of the gospel, and they understood the nature and extent of its obligations as affecting their sex.
(2) There was to be a harmony between their position and their character as godly women "women professing godliness" (1 Timothy 2:10). Their holy calling should manifest itself in their deportment, dress, speech, silence, and, above all, "in a meek and quiet spirit."
2. Not slanderers.
(1) Old age has no active employment, but it has an active memory and g busy tongue. Thus there is a temptation for the old, unless the grace of God has given the tongue of kindness, to become censorious, malignant, and bitter, avenging themselves the more with their tongues for their very incapacity to avenge themselves in other ways.
(2) There is nothing more beautiful or saintly in this world than a true mother in Israel, the presiding genius of her family circle, speaking the words of charity, softness, and kindness to all within her reach.
(3) It would be an utter travesty of the gospel for aged Christian women to be slanderers, because they would thus
(a) separate friends (Proverbs 16:28);
(b) inflict deadly wounds in character (Proverbs 18:18);
(c) bring dishonor on the gospel;
(d) and cause discords in the Church.
3. Not enslaved to much wine.
(1) The warning was needed opt account of the national habits of the Cretans.
(2) It was a moderate demand that they should give up the slavish addictedness to wine so common in Crete. She who follows the habit is a slave, and would soon lose the sense of her degradation. The early converts would, perhaps, plead the privileges of their age and country, and use wine as a solace in old age; but Titus is to teach them that hoary hairs give no liberty to such a habit.
(3) We see how the gospel purifies the habits and usages of social life.
4. Teachers of good things.
(1) The apostle thus prescribes the right use of the tongue to those who were to be "no slanderers."
(2) Their teaching was not to be in public addresses, which were forbidden (1 Timothy 2:12), but in private life.
(3) The substance of their teaching was not to be "old wives' fables," not superstitious ceremonies, or things of evil report, but things sound, pure, and honest.
II. THE DUTIES OF YOUNG WOMEN. They are regarded as under the instruction and guidance of the aged women. In Ephesus, Timothy was exhorted to teach the younger women, but it is probable that the state of the Cretan community required that the instructions of Titus should be supplemented by the more practical and continuous guidance of the elderly women. The young women were to be schooled to their duties in a wise manner.
1. They were to be lovers of their husbands.
(1) The wife would find in this love the source of her strength, the husband the solace for his cares, and the children the guarantee for their happiness and welfare.
(2) A loving wife is
(a) a blessing to her husband (Proverbs 12:4);
(b) brings him honor (Proverbs 31:23);
(c) secures his confidence (Proverbs 31:11);
(d) earns his praises (Proverbs 31:28).
2. Lovers of their children.
(1) The love of a mother may be instinctive, but religious fanaticism and brutal separation can make her more unfeeling than the brutes. Rousseau would not keep his children in his house, but sent them to a public hospital; a sign, said Burke, that "bears love their young and lick them into shape, but bears are not philosophers." In India infants are often destroyed by a mother's hands, under the influence of religious delusion.
(2) The first duty of a Christian woman is to make her home happy, which is impossible except on a basis of love to husband and children.
(3) Religion revives natural affection as it revives all the weakened faculties of our nature, and gives it new power for good. The religious training of the young is impossible without the experience of a mother's love.
3. Discreet. Young women, in a new position of Christian privilege, might be tempted to rashness, enthusiasm, and impulsive conduct. They were to be wise and careful in their conduct both at home and abroad.
5. Workers at home.
(1) The wife's business is in her household, not in the great world of society. Religion gains no honor when home duties are neglected.
(2) Her husband's interests are preserved by her industry at home.
(3) Gadding abroad and busying one's self in other people's affairs tends to the spreading of evil.
6. Good. Such women are to be kindly and thoughtful in their family relationships, especially to servants, and not niggardly or exacting. "Their thriftiness must not degenerate into avarice."
7. Obedient to their own husbands.
(1) This is their great duty, and thus they become types of the Church's submission to Christ.
(2) Obedience would recommend the gospel to unbelieving husbands, for attention to this precept would prevent "the Word of God from being blasphemed." Grace does not deliver us from the obligations of nature (1 Corinthians 7:4-16). - T.C.
I. HOLY WOMEN. Not sanctimonious, or stiff, or prudish; but holy. Never suffering irreverence to characterize their speech, levity to mark their looks, or folly to appear in their dress or demeanor. Holy, so that their quiet fellowship with God may affect their influence, and the enjoyment of the "earnest of the heaven" they are approaching in their old age may be known by their conversation.
II. TRUE WOMEN. "Not false accusers." This does not apply to courts of law, but to common life. The word is expressive; it is "make-bates," from which our word "abate." They do not lessen the honor, the reputation, the good report of others by accusations which are unworthy and untrue.
III. TEMPERATE WOMEN. "Not given to much wine." Never flushed with the semi-intoxication of indulgence. Never made frivolous and foolish in speech through strong drink. Avoiding this as the tyranny of a habit which may become with them a second nature. "Not given to much wine."
IV. USEFUL WOMEN. "Teachers of good things." Of the highest truths that make for salvation, and of all the truths which they have learned, that minister to industry, to household economy, to thrift and piety and prosperity. Every aged woman has a large ministry to fulfill when she remembers how large is the category of "good things" W.M.S. -
I. SOBRIETY, or wisdom; that calm quietude of heart and mind which is not intoxicated by vanity, or carried away with the sensationalism of pleasure.
II. CHASTITY. Alike in thought, in speech, and in manner and conduct. Purity makes queenly women. One stain spoils the most exquisite sculpture. The beauty of marble is its purity, and the beauty of womanhood is chastity.
III. HOME-KEEPERS. Making home first of all a center of attraction by its order and cleanliness and comfort; then by its harmonies of peace and love, so that no discordant notes may mar the music of its joy; and then by avoiding gossiping visits, and the excitements of habitual restlessness, and a too great love of shopping, securing the safety of economy and the honor of a wife who "weaves all into beauty and order at home.
IV. OBEDIENCE. Not slavish submission to man; for woman is his equal, and was not," as an old divine says, "taken from his feet, to be beneath him, or his head, to be above him; but from his side, to be equal with him." Still, there is the obedience which consists in consulting him, judging and conforming - where conscience is not offended - to his judgment and his wishes. All this that "the Word of God be not blasphemed," or its fame injured, which is the true meaning of blaspheme, viz. to blast the fame of it. - W.M.S.
I. THE NATURE OF THIS DUTY.
1. Young men ought to be thoughtful, not rash and impulsive. The Lord says to them, "Consider your ways."
2. They should be circumspect, not heady and reckless, using that Word which "giveth to the young man knowledge and discretion."
3. They should not be self-indulgent, but self-denying. Not "lovers of pleasure, but lovers of God." "Turn away mine eyes from viewing vanity." 4. They should be settled in feeling and conduct, not vacillating or giddy. "Let your hearts be fixed" (Psalm 108:1). "He that wavers is as a wave of the sea "(James 1:6).
II. REASONS FOR SOBER-MINDEDNESS.
1. It is according to the dictates of right reason. It is a great thing to receive the spirit of a "sound mind." Young men are never in a right mind till they sit clothed at the feet of Jesus.
2. Consider the snares and sorrows and drawbacks of life.
3. Consider that death may early reach the young.
4. Consider the number of young men who are ruined by the want of sober-mindedness.
5. The young must answer in the judgment for their follies in this life. - T.C.
I. THEY MAY TAKE SUCH A VIEW OF LIFE AS TO INCLUDE ITS DIFFICULTIES AND RESPONSIBILITIES.
II. THEY MAY BE KEPT FREE FROM THE UNDUE DISAPPOINTMENT OF TOO ENTHUSIASTIC MINDS.
III. THEY MAY BE KEPT FROM THE WINE-CUP AND ALL HARMFUL STIMULANTS.
IV. THEY MAY REMEMBER THAT LIFE IS A SOLEMN THING, FULL OF ACCOUNTABILITY.
V. THEY MAY KEEP THEIR MINDS OPEN TO COUNSEL FROM AGE AND EXPERIENCE. - W.M.S.
I. THE MINISTER OUGHT TO BE A PATTERN OF GOOD WORKS.
1. His teaching is useless unless it is enforced by the power of a holy example. There must be a harmony between his doctrine and his life.
2. Good works are the natural proofs of good principles, and can only issue from the fountain of a purified heart. The very principles are tested by the preacher's life.
3. His whole life is to be an ensample. "In all things." This implies consistency in toil, endurance, and teaching.
II. THE MINISTER MUST BE A PATTERN BOTH IN THE SUBSTANCE AND IN THE SPIRIT OF HIS TEACHING. Teaching is his special sphere.
1. It must be imparted in a right spirit. "In doctrine showing uncorruptness and gravity."
(1) He must exhibit an example of personal sincerity, not like one either seeking for applause or influenced by interested motives - like the false teachers who were in quest of filthy lucre. Sincerity has a very penetrative force among a people.
(2) He must have a dignified gravity of manner, to indicate his profound seriousness of purpose and spirit. Foolish jesting and vain talking are very inconvenient in g minister of the gospel.
2. The doctrine imparted must be sound and convincing. "Sound speech, that cannot be condemned."
(1) It must be wholesome doctrine, as contrasted with a sickly pietism; free from error, because drawn from "the sincere milk of the Word," conveyed not in the "enticing words of man's wisdom," but as the Holy Ghost teacheth.
(2) It must have convincing power. "That cannot be condemned."
(a) Ministers must expect their words to be sharply criticized as well as their lives.
(b) The truth ought to be conveyed in such a spirit and with such a regard to the analogy of faith that it cannot be justly found fault with.
(c) It must effectually silence gainsayers. "That he that is of the contrary part may be ashamed, having no bad thing to say of us." Whether the adversary be a false teacher or a pagan, the sound speech ought to reduce him to shame and silence. - T.C.
personal character is the most eloquent counsel and the most convincing argument of the gospel.
I. PATTERS. Not a slavish example of mere deeds. For this is not the gospel ideal. We are not to copy mere actions, but to catch the spirit of the teacher. This makes true art, and it makes also true religion. We admire the pattern, but we do not copy it by "the rule of thumb," but by the adoption of the same spirit. Christ in us. The mind of Christ.
II. DOCTRINE. Not mere dogma, which is an artificial thing, and may or may not be true, according as the authority which gives it may be wise and enlightened, or ignorant and superstitious. Doctrine is different. It is a revealed truth which has its response in the heart and conscience, and its attestation in life. This the gospel has. And he is to show "uncorruptness;" that is, he is not to defile it with worldly compromises. And "gravity;" for it is not meant to be the light theme of intellectual discussion, but the gravest matter of obedience. And "sincerity." It is not to be preached for expedient reasons, as, for instance, the security of life, or the safety of the state, or the ways in which even Socrates would have men honor the gods, although inwardly he disbelieved in them; but with sincerity of conviction as to their reality and truth.
III. SOUND SPEECH. No hollow rhetoric. No statements in excess of fact for the sake of impression; but sound all through in argument, illustration, and attestation. Such conduct and speech will shame those who "see the fruits," and can say no "evil" of us. - W.M.S.
I. THE DUTIES OF SERVANTS.
1. Obedience. "Exhort servants to be obedient to their own masters." This was a manifest obligation which the gospel did not annul. It may have been a hard duty, but the gospel supplied grace for the faithful discharge of it. It mattered not whether the master was a Christian or a pagan; the gospel did not destroy his claims to obedient service. But the obedience was necessarily limited by the Divine Law, for a servant could not sin at a master's command. He must in that case willingly suffer the consequences of disobedience.
2. A cheerful compliance with the, master's will. "And to please them well in all things; not answering again." It denotes that temper which anticipates a master's pleasure, rather than the disposition to thwart it by sullen and capricious ways. Thus they would be doing the will of God and. serving the common Master of all, Jesus Christ, who gave them an example of meekness and submission.
3. Honesty and fidelity. "Not purloining, but showing all good fidelity." Many slaves in ancient times were entrusted with the property of their masters, as merchants, physicians, and artists. Thus they had many ways or' showing their honesty. It was in their power to defraud them by embezzlement, or to waste the property, or to allow it to be wasted without check or rebuke. Servants were to have family interests at heart, and they were thus to commend themselves to the love and confidence of their masters.
II. THE DESIGN OR MOTIVE OF THIS FAITHFUL AND READY OBEDIENCE. "That they may adorn the doctrine of God our Savior in all things."
1. The Savior is as fully glorified in the servant as in the master, in the poor as in the rich, in the peasant as in the king. Indeed, the adornment of the gospel seems more manifest in the obedience of the lowest class; for of the other classes specified it was only said "that God's Name might not be blasphemed." Calvin says God deigns to receive adornment even from slaves.
2. The Lord lifts the slave out of his mean conditions when he seats him on equal conditions of blessing and honor at the same holy table.
3. The spectacle of cheerful and self-denying obedience on the part of this class would have an arresting influence upon an age of self-love and cynicism, such as that which influenced the world at that time. - T.C.
even as ourselves. And no man would like to be a slave himself.
I. OBEDIENCE. They were slaves, and they had masters. While that relationship remained, let them show the conquests of the gospel in their endeavors to please, and in their not "gainsaying," or answering again. Masters would see in such conduct the divinity of the gospel; and slaves would not suffer in vain - it would give the dignity of "ministry" even to their lives.
II. BEAUTY. Not "purloining," which slaves are tempted to do. Having been purloined or "stolen" themselves, it would not seem very harmful to them to steal things from their masters. But they were to "adorn the gospel" - to show how "beautiful" it could make their rude life, and the rough, hard lot of a slave. So we all have here the gospel in its beauty. "Adorn," and in its breadth, "all things." - W.M.S.
I. THE GRACE OF GOD. "For the grace of God that bringeth salvation to all men hath appeared."
1. This grace is from God, as its eternal Fountain, from which it flows to men.
(1) He was not made gracious by the work of the Son, for he was the God of grace from the beginning. The work of the Son only manifested it (John 3:16).
(2) The grace is from the Son as well as the Father. Grace is in every conceivable way connected with the Person of the Mediator in Scripture (1 Corinthians 16:23; Galatians 1:6; 1 Thessalonians 5:28). The Father and the Son are one in the freeness of their love to mankind.
(3) Grace is also connected with the Holy Ghost, who is called "the Spirit of grace" (Hebrews 10:29), because he applies it and seals us to the day of redemption. Thus grace has its origin in the Father, its manifestation in the Son, its end in the Holy Ghost.
2. The nature of this grace.
(1) It is the free gift of God to mankind in the gospel of Christ. It is thus opposed to the idea of merit in man. Works, therefore, do not procure our salvation.
(2) The grace must necessarily be worthy of the character of God.
(a) The gift is worthy, for it is his own Son.
(b) The end is worthy, for it is his own glory and man's salvation.
(c) The instrumental condition is worthy, for it is faith.
3. The scope of this grace. "That bringeth salvation to all men."
(1) It is the only thing that can bring salvation to man. He cannot be saved by works, nor by philosophy, nor by man.
(2) It has a wide scope. It "bringeth salvation to all men."
(a) This does not imply that all men will eventually be saved, for Scripture expressly asserts the very contrary.
(b) The connection of the passage explains the universality of the reference: "Servants, be obedient to your masters, that you may adorn the doctrine of God your Savior; for his grace is for slave and master alike." There is no respect of persons with him.
(c) It signifies that grace is the only means by which salvation is possible for the race of man.
4. The manifestation of grace.
(1) In the Incarnation.
(2) In the work of Christ.
(3) In the energy of the Holy Spirit. "The darkness is past; the true light now shineth" (1 John 2:8).
II. THE EFFECTS OF THE GRACE OF GOD. "Teaching us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly in this present world."
1. This grace first manifests itself by teaching, just as the first thing in creation was light. It must begin with teaching, and the Spirit of God is given "to teach us all things" (John 14:26). The original word implies the idea of a disciplining process, effected by the grace of God to correct the inherent naughtiness of the heart.
2. The grace of God works toward the rejection of evil, for it teaches us "to deny ungodliness and worldly lusts."
(1) The denial is in heart and deed. It involves the denial of self (Luke 9:23).
(2) It is the repudiation of ungodliness in heart and life.
(a) Ungodliness includes impiety, blasphemy, and infidelity.
(b) It includes all living without relation to God, whether we are blasphemers or not. Thus a man may be ungodly who seeks his own pleasure, or distinction, or happiness in the world.
(c) It implies the deeper enmity of the heart to God (Romans 8:7).
(3) It is the denial of worldly lusts; including the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eye, and vain glory of life - "all that is in the world" - which embody the enmity to God. Thus it denies
(a) sensual lusts (2 Timothy 2:22);
(b) the inordinate desire of worldly things, which may be lawful in themselves.
3. The grace of God produces certain positive effects. "We should live soberly, righteously, and godly in this present world."
(1) It secures the due regulation of individual life. "Soberly." This refers to the duties we owe to ourselves.
(a) In keeping a fair balance of judgment intellectually;
(b) in keeping a due mastery over our passions - "a sobriety in speech, in behavior, in apparel, in eating and drinking, in recreations, and in the enjoyment of lawful satisfactions."
(2) It secures the faithful discharge of all duties to our fellow-men. "Righteously." Justice is an exact virtue, which can be easily measured, and is therefore the basis of commercial and civil life. A single failure in justice makes a man unjust. Therefore it is most necessary we should give our neighbor his due, and not compromise ourselves by conduct redounding to the injury of the gospel.
(3) It secures godliness. "Godly;" that is, with God, in God, for God. This godly life is a life dedicated to God and spent in his fear.
III. THE SPHERE IN WHICH THIS GRACE OF GOD PRODUCES ITS EXTENSIVE AND INTENSIVE EFFECTS. "In this present world."
1. True piety does not disregard or despise the duties of common life.
2. It is in a hostile world this grace is to operate with such purifying results. It is called "this wicked world" (Galatians 1:4); for the devil is its god, and sin is its prevailing character.
3. It is a world that cannot be overcome but by faith. (1 John 4:4, 5.)
4. It is a transitory world, in contrast with the world to come, of which the apostle immediately speaks.
IV. THE ATTITUDE OF THE BELIEVER IN RELATION TO THE FUTURE GLORY. "Looking for the blessed hope and manifestation of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ." This attitude of blessed expectation tells powerfully upon the life of grace. The believer's position is that of waiting for and looking unto the coming of the Lord. The patriarchs waited for his first coming; we wait for his second coming.
1. The believes waiting attitude is lit up by a blessed hope.
(1) This is "the hope of glory" laid up for us in heaven, which is associated with the Son of God, when we shall see him as he is.
(2) It is a blessed hope, because of all the blessings it brings to the believer.
2. The believer's waiting attitude has respect to the manifestation of the Lord's glory. This is connected with his second coming. It is the glory of "our great God and Savior Jesus Christ," and not of the Father, because:
(1) In all the five places in which the manifestation is spoken of, it is Christ, not the Father, who is referred to. The term "Epiphany" is never, indeed, applied to the Father.
(2) This is the grammatical interpretation of the sentence, and is accepted by the Greek fathers generally.
(3) The immediate context applies only to the Son.
(4) The term "great God" would seem to be called for as applied to the Father, but stands in Scripture the perpetual and emphatic witness of the Deity of Christ. - T.C.
nature of God himself, which is love.
I. HERE IS A QUESTION TO BE CONSIDERED. It is said by the apostle that it "has appeared unto all men." Is this so? Are there not multitudes ignorant of the gospel - multitudes who have never heard the joyful sound? Unquestionably. But for all that, it has appeared for all men, and this is the true meaning of the expression. Its invitation is to all. Its provisions are for all, and it rests with us to go into all the world and preach a gospel which has room yet for the world at its banquet-table of grace.
II. HERE IS A SALVATION TO BE BROUGHT. This explains everything. It brings salvation. Some will not accept it. Some will only use it as a miraculous charm, without applying it to the conscience and the character. What is it, then, to be saved? To be delivered from the condemnation of the Law is not all. We are to be saved from ourselves, from every tyrannous yoke of habit, every corrupting cancer of evil, every relic of selfishness and sin; and this is illustrated and explained in the succeeding verses. So that salvation is as broad in its application as it is beautiful in its results. - W.M.S.
connection of both with the glory of God, the apostle proceeds in these verses to ground the whole of his exhortations respecting the behavior of Christians in the essentially moral nature and design of the grace of God, as now manifested in the gospel' (Dr. Fairbairn). As if the apostle had said, "You must exhort all orders, those of every age and condition, of each sex, bond as well as free, to struggle after spiritual goodness because the 'grace of God,' or the gospel, has come to you." Our subject is the soul-culture of the world. Man requires training. He needs physical training, intellectual training, and, above all, spiritual training, the training of the soul into a higher life. We have here the instrument, the process, and the end of true soul-culture.
I. THE INSTRUMENT OF TRUE SOUL-CULTURE. What is it? Not science, legislation, philosophy, poetry, or any of the arts. What, then? "The grace of God." What is that? Undoubtedly God's merciful plan and ministries to restore the fallen world. The Epiphany, or manifestation cf this redemptive love of God for the world, we have in the advent and ministry of Christ to this earth. "The grace of God" stands for the gospel. Concerning this instrument, observe:
1. It is the love of God. Divine love is the cause, the essence, and the effective energy of all God's redemptive ministries.
2. It is the love of God to save. "That bringeth [bringing] salvation." Salvation, that is, the restoration of man to the knowledge, the image, and the friendship of God. This is the aim and the work of the "grace of God." Without this grace there would be no salvation.
3. It is the love of God revealed to all. "Hath appeared to all men." The gospel is not for a tribe or a class, but for man as man. Like the concave heavens, it embraces the wide world; it is for "all men.
II. THE PROCESS OF TRUE SOUL-CULTURE. This process involves three things.
1. The renunciation of a wrong course. Denying ungodliness and worldly lusts." These expressions are an epitome of all that is sinful and wrong in human life. Are they not all-prevalent and all-potent? "Ungodliness," or practical atheism, where is it not? "Worldly lusts," the impulses of sensuality, selfishness, pride, and ambition, they are the springs of worldly action the world over. Now, these are not only to be renounced, repudiated, but they are to be defied, resisted, and renounced; they must be given up. "Ungodliness" must give way to true piety, "worldly lusts" must be renounced for impulses spiritual and Divine.
2. The adoption of a right course. "We should live soberly, righteously, and godly in this present world." It is not enough to renounce the evil; the good must be adopted. Negative excellence is not holiness. Strip the soul of all evil, and if it has not goodness in it, it "lacks the one thing" without which, Paul says, "I am nothing." We must live "soberly," holding a mastery over our own passions and impulses; "righteously," rendering to all men their due; "godly," practically realizing the presence, the claims, and the love of God in our every-day life. All this "in this present world," or in the present course of things. This "present world" urgently requires such a course of life, for it is dangerous and transitory withal.
3. The fixing of the heart upon a glorious future. "Looking for that blessed hope and the glorious appearance of the [appearing of the glory of our] great God and our Savior Jesus Christ." Are there two personalities here, or one? One, I think. "The great God our Savior," or our great God and Savior. The object of hope is, then, the future epiphany of the Divine, all glorious to behold. To see the redemptive God as we have never yet seen him in this morally hazy scene, this is the "blessed hope." Such a hope implies:
(1) A vital interest in the epiphany. We never hope for that for which we have not a strong desire.
(2) An assurance that such an epiphany will take place. Desire, of itself, is not hope. We desire many things we cannot hope for. It becomes hope when it is combined with expectation, and expectation implies the existence of grounds or reasons. That there will be such a manifestation, there are abundant reasons found in the apparent irregularities of Divine Providence in its operations here, in the instinctive longings of the human soul throughout all lands and ages, as well as in the clear and frequent declarations of the written Word.
III. THE END OF TRUE SOUL-CULTURE. "Who gave himself for us, that he might redeem us from all iniquity, and purify unto himself a peculiar people, zealous of good works." Observe:
1. The end is moral redemption. "Redeem us from all iniquity." Redemption is not something that takes place outside of a man; its achievement is within. It is a raising of the soul from ignorance to knowledge, from vice to virtue, from selfishness to disinterestedness, from materialism to spirituality, from the mastery of the devil to the reign of God.
2. The end is spiritual restoration to Christ. "Purify unto himself a peculiar people [a people for his own possession]." Restoration to his likeness, his friendship, his service.
3. The end is complete devotedness to holy labor. "Zealous of good works." What are good works? Not any particular class of works. All works are good that spring from a good motive; and the good motive is supreme love for the Supremely Good. Works springing from this motive, whether manual or mental, social or personal, civil or ecclesiastic, public or private, all are good.
4. The end involves the self-sacrifice of Christ. "Who gave himself." Here is the grandest sacrifice ever made in the universe. Nothing grander could be.
(1) The greatest possession a man has is himself. What are millions of acres, or the rule of kingdoms, in the estimation of the owner as compared to himself? "Skin for skin," etc.
(2) The greatest self in the whole creation is Christ. He was, in some special sense impenetrable to us, the only begotten Son of God, and he gave himself. If he had given a universe, his gift would not have been equal to this, His gift teaches the enormity of moral evil. - D.T.
passive in a mere receptivity of blessing; we are actively to co-operate with the Spirit of God in working out our salvation.
I. HERE IS SELF-DENIAL. But what are we to deny? Our better selves? No; we are to please our conscience, to satisfy our sense of moral order and beauty, to gratify the spiritual being. All depends, in our consideration of self-denial, upon which self we are to deny, the lower self or the higher self. Ungodliness is to be denied; for nothing can minister to the true ends of our being that is not of God. Without "godliness" we are graceless, and all seeming beauty is meretricious and unreal. Worldly lusts are numerous. Lust is love in wrong directions. It is not merely excess or a question of degree; it is a question of kind. Love may be pure, or it may be the lust of the eye, which is sensuality. The pride of life is the lust of pride in mere carnal enjoyment and ambitious aim. We must deny the thorns and the tares of the one to leave room for the harvest of holiness. But -
II. NEGATIONS ARE NOT ENOUGH. We are not good by what we give up simply, but by what we take up. The cross has its creative as well as its destructive influence. "I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live;" and how? "Soberly;" giving room for reason to take the place of passion, and for conscience to conquer the excitements of intoxicated desire. "Righteously;" so that it may be seen that wickedness is wrong - our life "wrung," that is, twisted from the "straight." "Godly;" that is, not governed by laws of custom, or expediency, or self-pleasing, but by God's will, and the Spirit of God in the heart. For as nature is beautiful because therein we see the ideal of God - no art being really beautiful that is not true to nature - so no life is pure and holy that has not God's thought and purpose in it. And we are to do all this amid temptation and hesitation, in "this present world." - W.M.S.
I. THE UPWARD LOOK. "Looking for that blessed hope." What is that hope? This - that one day all inequalities will be adjusted, all wrong redressed, all faithful service rewarded, and all true character revealed.
II. THE REVEALING DAY. "At the glorious appearing of the great God and our Savior Jesus Christ." How his appearing will take place we know not. Nor when. Nor where. But all Scripture teaches that there is a day for "the manifestation of the sons of God," and for the judgment on worldly and wicked men. Our apostle prays that "we may find mercy of the Lord in that day." The exile has the hope of seeing his native land. The child at school looks for and longs for home. And this with us is a blessed hope, because it makes us happy and restful here and now, and makes us joyful even m tribulation; for we look for "a city which hath foundations, whose Builder and Maker is God." - W.M.S.
I. THE PERSON WHO GAVE HIMSELF FOR US. "Our great God and Savior Jesus Christ." Here the atonement is connected with the Deity of the Savior, as if to showy that the true Godhead of the Son gave infinite value to his sufferings.
II. THE ATONING WORK. "Who gave himself for us." Two things are here implied.
1. Priestly action. For he "gave himself" freely, the language being borrowed from Levitical worship. That typical economy could not unite priest and victim as they were united in Christ. The Father is often said to have given his Son; but the Son here gives himself, the priestly action exhibiting at once immeasurable love and voluntary obedience. He is himself "the unspeakable Gift " - the best of all gifts to man.
2. It was a vicarious action. For he "gave himself for us," the words in the original signifying rather for our benefit than in our stead; but, from the nature of the case, the gift was substitutionary, that it might be for our benefit. When we were "in all iniquity," and so exposed to Divine wrath, our Surety permitted that iniquity to be charged to himself.
III. THE DESIGN OF THE ATONING WORK OF CHRIST. "To redeem us from all iniquity, and purify us to himself a peculiar people, zealous of good works!" It was a twofold design.
1. A redemption from all iniquity.
(1) The redemption signifies deliverance by the payment of a price. Here there is a clear causal connection between Christ's blood as the ransom price and the redemption. This is Scripture usage (1 Peter 1:18; Revelation 5:9; Galatians 3:13).
(2) The scope of this redemption. It is "from all iniquity." This is to be understood under a double aspect.
(a) The iniquity includes all sin, considered as guilt and as entailing the curse of the Divine Law. His redeeming sacrifice dissolved the connection between our sin and our liability to punishment on account of it.
(b) The iniquity includes all sin as morally evil, and in this sense the redemption delivers his people from all impurity.
2. The purification of a peculiar people for himself.
(1) The primary signification is sacrificial; for the term "purify," like the cognate terms sanctify, sprinkle, wash, cleanse, points to the effect produced by sacrifice upon those defiled by sin. These are now, by the blood of Christ, readmitted to fellowship with God. Thus believers, like Israel of old, obtain a new standing.
(2) The design of redemption is to consecrate a people for holy service, for priestly worship, in separation from the world. Thus they are "a peculiar people," not singular or eccentric, but his peculiar treasure, held to be most precious, and kept with all Divine care.
(3) This people is separated to good works - "zealous of good works," because partakers of the Spirit of holiness (Romans 1:4), and of the sanctification of the Spirit (1 Peter 1:2). This blessed fruit is worthy of a dedicated people. They must be zealots for practical holiness, for they Sad their best motives in two advents. - T.C.
I. HE DID THIS IN HIS LIFE. All his exquisite sensibilities were bruised in a world of selfishness and sin. The sorrows and griefs of men hurt him. He did not merely give his thoughts, or give his time, or give his infinite help. He "gave himself."
II. HE DID THIS IS HIS DEATH. As our Sacrifice he gave himself, "that he might redeem us from all iniquity;" not from guilt alone, but from every form of evil. The perfectly voluntary character of our Savior's redemptive mission is seen in such expressions as "I come to do thy will, O God," and when concerning his life he says, "No man taketh it from me, but I lay it down of myself." This voluntarism on his part itself destroys all those critical objections to the atonement which were once raised against the suffering of the innocent one for the guilty; for, in the first place, Christ "gives himself," and, in the second place, he does it for a worthy end; not that he may appease the wrath of his Father, but that he may honor his moral government by his perfect obedience unto death, and that he may redeem men from more than the curse of the Law, viz. from all iniquity. Thus, again, the end of the gospel is character - that this earth may be as the garden of the Lord, in which all iniquity may be downtrodden and destroyed. - W.M.S.
I. THESE DOCTRINES AND DUTIES WERE TO BE "SPOKEN OF," SO AS TO BE BROUGHT TO BEAR WITH POWER ON THE HEARTS AND MINDS OF THE PEOPLE.
II. THEY WERE TO BE MADE MATTERS OF OBLIGATION IN THE CONSCIENCE; for Titus was to practice exhortation.
III. REBUKE WAS TO BE APPLIED WITH ALL AUTHORITY WHERE EXHORTATION FAILED OF ITS EFFECT.
IV. TITUS WAS TO LIVE SO CIRCUMSPECTLY THAT THE CRETANS COULD NOT DESPISE HIM. "Let no man despise thee." Contempt would be the natural effect of observed inconsistency in the life of the young evangelist. - T.C.
I. RELIGIOUS TEACHERS NEED ESPECIALLY TO REMEMBER THAT EVEN WORLDLY MEN DESPISE HYPOCRITES. If men recommend a medicine they do not take, or exhort to obedience of a law which they do not themselves obey, or seek to inspire admiration for a virtue which they only wear as a cloak, or affect a love to the Savior which ends in no self-denial or sacrifice, they are hypocrites, and men despise them.
II. RELIGIOUS TEACHERS NEED ESPECIALLY TO REMEMBER THAT MEN WHO ARE DESPISED HAVE NO REAL POWER. That is, of course, rightly despised; for they may be wrongly despised, it is written of our Lord, "He was despised and rejected of men." So that we must keep in remembrance the fact that what St. Paul means is "deservedly despised." No rhetoric, no argument, no brilliancy of thought, no ability of application or illustration can make any minister of Christ really useful and effective if his character and reputation are justly despised. As "Ossili" says, "character is higher than intellect." - W.M.S.