Put them in mind to be subject to principalities and powers, to obey magistrates, to be ready to every good work,…
1. Individual excellence is what makes national strength. St. Paul tells Titus that he must preach personal purity, obedience, and peace to all the citizens around him.
2. Charity to others is best promoted by an honest consideration of what we are ourselves. No man, who is conscientious, can fail to remember many a mean act he has during his life committed.
3. The apostle tells Titus that he will make the better citizen the oftener he recalls to mind how much he owes, and must forever owe, to sovereign grace, as a child of God and an heir of heaven. People nowadays are excessively diffident in attributing their successes or their virtues to their piety. Yet now and then the world will find it out for itself. "Havelock's men" in campaigns wrote their record by their prayers as well as by their prowess.
4. The apostle adds a lesson for Titus about his preaching, which every Christian, trying to instruct others, might lay well to heart; namely, that the best of all teaching in truth is the teaching of a true life. He tries to lead him away from mere formulas, and force him to deal with real things in a real way for greatest good. "After the first phase of Christian life," remarks Merle d'Aubigne, "in which a man thinks only of Christ, there usually ensues a second, when the Christian will not voluntarily worship with assemblies opposed to his personal convictions." That is a gentle way of saying that, after a new convert cools a little in piety, he takes a time of becoming denominational and belligerent. Perhaps the Apostle Paul imagined Titus was going to do that, and so told him he had better not. If there be any truth in the line, "The child is father of the man," it is manifest most plainly in religious life. The young believer perpetuates himself in the old. Maurice, son of William the Silent, at the age of seventeen, took for his device a fallen oak, with a young sapling springing from its root; to this he gave the motto, Tandem fit surculus arbor, "The sapling will by and by become a tree." It seems very trite to write all that out soberly; but really it is a thing most unfortunately forgotten.
(C. S. Robinson, D. D.)
Parallel VersesKJV: Put them in mind to be subject to principalities and powers, to obey magistrates, to be ready to every good work,