Paul, a servant of God, and an apostle of Jesus Christ, according to the faith of God's elect, and the acknowledging of the truth which is after godliness;
Hope of Eternal Life.
I. Note the antiquity of this promise. It was made ages and ages ago. There are two considerations, I imagine, in the Apostle's mind—the actual promise made in time, and the Divine purpose from which that promise sprang, fixed in eternity; and he joins the two considerations together without the least impropriety of thought. No sooner had man occasion for the promise than the promise was made to him. The Jews who were contemporary with Christ vainly supposed that the law given by Moses had in it a life-giving power. They stumbled at that stumbling-stone, for they sought eternal salvation, not by faith in Christ, but, as it were, by the works of the law; whereas the law was given for a widely different purpose, and not with that object at all. If, indeed, a law had been given which was capable of giving life, then, no doubt, justification would have been by the law. The man might have looked to it for his acquittal; but law, though essential for the regulation of manners, is, of its own nature, incapable of giving eternal salvation; for he who obeys its ordinances can, at most, but deserve to escape from its penalties.
II. Consider the security of the promise. "God, who cannot lie," made it. He who has made the promise to us cannot, from His very nature, fail in its fulfilment. There are many people in the world who, with the best intentions, are unable to help us; many who would fain do for us all that lies in their power, but who, from very ignorance, are useless in the day of trouble. There are others, again, on whom you have been leaning with fond hopes of substantial aid, who yet fail you when the day of calamity approaches—fair-weather friends, who disappear at the very first symptom of a cloud. Many accidents, again, may prevent a man, who is really sincere, and bent upon helping us, from keeping his promise. Without any intention of so doing, he may-deceive us in the most important matters, and fail at the very crisis when he is wanted most; and of course, in many cases, we cannot conceal from ourselves that men have an interest in deceiving us. We cannot in all cases rely implicitly on their word. But, with respect to the promise which is now occupying our thoughts, not one jot or one tittle shall fail. Heaven and earth shall pass away, but God's word never. He cannot lie.
III. Note the extent of the promise. It embraces you and all mankind. God, who cannot lie, has set before us, with all plainness, and with most comfortable assurance, the hope of eternal life. There is but one road that leads to it, one door that opens into it; but the road, though a narrow one, is broad enough for all who really mean to travel on it. The door is wide enough for any man to enter in, and go in and out and find pasture. "He that hath the Son hath life."
Bishop Atlay, Penny Pulpit, new series, No. 777.
References: Titus 1:2.—Spurgeon, Sermons, vol. x., No. 568. Titus 1:6.—Outline Sermons to Children, p. 262. Titus 1:7.—F. W. Farrar, Christian World Pulpit, vol. xxx., p. 321. Titus 1:9.—Preacher's Monthly, vol. viii., p. 193. Titus 1:11-14.—Spurgeon, Sermons, vol. xxxii., No. 1894. Titus 1:12.—L. Abbott, Christian World Pulpit, vol. xxviii., p. 46. Titus 1:12—ii. 15.—Expositor, 1st series, vol. viii., p. 131. Titus 1:13.—W. C. Magee, Sermons at Bath, p. 220.
Titus 1:15(with Matthew 5:8)
The two texts are two motives. With one voice they enforce purity; but each by its own argument and with its own persuasion. The one looks rather at the present, the other at the future; the one sets before us a practical effect of purity, the other a spiritual; one tells how it shall enable us to move healthily and wholesomely among our fellows; the other, how it shall fit and qualify us for that beatific vision which is, being interpreted, the inheritance of the saints in light.
I. St. Paul is addressing a beloved convert, charged with the temporary oversight of the young church at Crete. Now there was a power at work in the Cretan congregations, as everywhere, which St. Paul looked upon as the antagonist of the light and life which was in Christ Jesus. Strange to say, it took the form of a sort of ostentatious puritanism; it was an influence calling itself moral, sensitively jealous for law and sanctity, and dreading the gospel of grace as dangerous to virtue. St. Paul knew better. St. Paul had tried both systems, and he knew by experience that whereas law is weak, through the flesh, grace is mighty through the Spirit. He thought little of a righteousness isolating itself from atonement, or a purity dispensing with sanctification. He tells his converts where alone purity can be found; in the heart made clean by grace, in the life set free by the Spirit. Be pure in heart and all things are pure to you.
II. The pure shall see God. The motive was a strong one which said, "To the pure all things are pure." Be pure in heart, and you shall find, or else make, purity everywhere. Be pure in heart, and intellect shall be pure, and conscience; no film shall cloud the mental vision, no stain shall sully the mirror of duty. But "blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God." This lifts the matter into a higher region still, and tells how not mind alone, not conscience alone, but the very spirit and soul of the man hang upon purity of heart for its welfare and for its life. There is a sight of God in the far future. There is also a sight which is now. If there be in any of us the desire, hereafter or here, to see God; if we feel that not to see Him is misery, that never to see Him would indeed be the second death—we must become pure in heart.
C. J. Vaughan, University Sermons, p. 425.
References: Titus 1:15.—Forsyth and Hamilton, Pulpit Parables, p. 116; F. W. Robertson, Sermons, 3rd series, p. 122. Titus 2:1.—J. Halsey, Christian World Pulpit, vol. xxxiv., p. 393. Titus 2:10.—Preacher's Monthly, vol. iv., p. 284.
In hope of eternal life, which God, that cannot lie, promised before the world began;
But hath in due times manifested his word through preaching, which is committed unto me according to the commandment of God our Saviour;
To Titus, mine own son after the common faith: Grace, mercy, and peace, from God the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ our Saviour.
For this cause left I thee in Crete, that thou shouldest set in order the things that are wanting, and ordain elders in every city, as I had appointed thee:
If any be blameless, the husband of one wife, having faithful children not accused of riot or unruly.
For a bishop must be blameless, as the steward of God; not selfwilled, not soon angry, not given to wine, no striker, not given to filthy lucre;
But a lover of hospitality, a lover of good men, sober, just, holy, temperate;
Holding fast the faithful word as he hath been taught, that he may be able by sound doctrine both to exhort and to convince the gainsayers.
For there are many unruly and vain talkers and deceivers, specially they of the circumcision:
Whose mouths must be stopped, who subvert whole houses, teaching things which they ought not, for filthy lucre's sake.
One of themselves, even a prophet of their own, said, The Cretians are alway liars, evil beasts, slow bellies.
This witness is true. Wherefore rebuke them sharply, that they may be sound in the faith;
Not giving heed to Jewish fables, and commandments of men, that turn from the truth.
Unto the pure all things are pure: but unto them that are defiled and unbelieving is nothing pure; but even their mind and conscience is defiled.
They profess that they know God; but in works they deny him, being abominable, and disobedient, and unto every good work reprobate.