For the grace of God that brings salvation has appeared to all men,…
I. Note that before the apostle speaks of good works we hear of redemption, and purging, and washing, and of a peculiar people that must do them, for, indeed, the best works are so far from justifying and purging that none can be good before the party be justified and purged.
II. Note that whosoever are justified and sanctified they must needs bring forth good works, for else Christ should be frustrate of His end in those for whom He gave Himself (Ephesians 2:10).
III. Note that the thing that God requireth in a professor is zeal, forwardness, and earnestness in well-doing, and that his whole course should be a studious prosecuting of good works. The effects of zeal for good are,
1. It preserveth in the heart a fitness and preparedness to every good work required of every believer (2 Timothy 3:17).
2. It exciteth to diligence and haste in the things we do; it abandoneth idleness, slothfulness, and delays, by which occasions of well-doing are often cut off: the zeal of David made him prepare diligently for the temple; zeal in the magistrate causeth in him diligence throughout his government; zeal in the minister maketh him like Apollo, of whom we read that being fervent in spirit he taught diligently the way of God; zeal and fervency in private men causeth them to shake off slothfulness in their duties, and removeth in all conditions the curse which is denounced against the man that doeth the work of the Lord negligently: most fitly, therefore, doth the apostle combine those precepts: "Not slothful to do service, fervent in the spirit, serving the Lord" (Romans 12:11).
3. Zeal causeth continuance in well-doing, which is also required in every good action as well as in prayer; it contenteth not itself with one or two good actions, but is plentiful in them, and bringeth the party professing it to be rich in good works and to shine lightsomely therein; yea, it maketh a man hold out, and keep a constant tenor in good courses, and that as well in adversity as prosperity, so as he is neither choked by preferments, as very many, nor discouraged by distresses, as not a few. 4.Zeal setteth such a high price unto the glory of God and performance of conscionable duties, that it causeth the party to attempt and go through, though with never so much difficulty, whatsoever he seemeth himself bound unto; it hardeneth the face like brass against dangers and losses, the loss of the world in his judgment gain, yea, all things are loss and dung so as he may win Christ; this alone yieldeth joy in the spoiling of goods, by this can a man hate father and mother in comparison of his obedience, and be contented to be hated of all men for well-doing, in which case the loss of friends is but light. This zeal for God maketh a man's liberty small in his eye; nay, in standing out in a good cause his life will not be so dear unto him as the finishing of his course with joy; yea, he can rejoice to be offered up upon the sacrifice and service of the Church's faith, as Paul. And which is yet much more, the zeal of God's glory will so burn in the heart as it can carry a man so far beyond himself as that he shall neglect his own salvation and wish to be accursed, yea, and blotted out of the book of life, if God may be more honoured by the one than by the other.
(T. Taylor, D. D.)
Parallel VersesKJV: For the grace of God that bringeth salvation hath appeared to all men,