By R. H. Reynolds
The grace of God bringeth salvation. St. Paul has shewn that in the case of bondslaves, and of young men in the heyday of their passions, and of the elders who may imagine themselves beyond effective criticism, SALVATION means living soberly, righteously, and godly in this present world. He tells Titus that the grace of God in bringing salvation teaches the whole art and inflames the sacred genius of godliness. A supernatural force is brought to bear upon the conscience by the "ransom " paid for our sins, and a glorious manifestation of the Divine love is awaiting believers in the power and coming of the Lord Jesus Christ; but the entire significance of the grace of God . to us culminates in the practical experiences of holy living. St. Paul presses the matter further, and exhibits some of the characteristic features of Christian morality. The standard is so high that it suggests a contrast between the actual and ideal, between the state of nature and the life of the regenerate. He remembers his own past life; he ad m its that nothing but Divine power and grace could have effected such a stupendous change. He falls back, in true Pauline manner, on some great principles of Divine operation. He deals with the question on .its Divine rather than on its human side. He takes his stand on the "goodness and philanthropy of God." The salvation of which he has already spoken is a moral life, but it is none the less a Divine work. "Regeneration" and "renewal" are changes wrought in human nature by the Spirit of God;" "justification" and "eternal life " are the free gift of the Divine love.
The teaching of this passage is not inconsistent with the practical human side of salvation on which Paul had just commented. The latter is complementary to the former; the two aspects of salvation illustrate and illumine one another. What are the daily duties which he thus links with eternal principles?
Verse 1.-Put them in mind-for they must already know, even though they may possibly forget the duty to submit themselves to magistrates, to authorities, to the temporal power; to be obedient.: to cherish the temper of loyal submission; habitually to render to Cęsar all the things that are Cęsar's; to be ready for every good work,. with a possible reference, presupposed rather than expressed (Huther), to the supreme claims of God's law and of the Christian conscience whensoever the authority of the magistrate should be a distinct challenge to violate that law. This reverence for the social and national order, and this submission to the civil magistrate in all matters where conscience is not brought into bondage, are commonplaces of New Testament ethics, and characteristics of New Testament Christianity. Augustine1 could boast that when Julian asked Christians to sacrifice and offer incense to the gods, they, at all hazards, sternly refused; but when he summoned them to fight for the empire, they rushed to the front. " They distinguished between their eternal Lord and their earthly ruler, and yet they yielded obedience to their earthly ruler for the sake of their eternal Lord."
The Christian faith recognizes the fact that law and authority are God's ordinances. St. Paul had no reasons for admiring or loving the civil powers from which he suffered so bitterly, but this is not the only passage in: which he insists upon the principle. There were probably special reasons why Titus should be enjoined to press this advice upon the Cretans. The democratic tendencies and internal disputes of the islanders were crushed by the iron heel Of the Roman government, so that the "glorious liberty" of the Christian may easily have been held to promote rebellious and revolutionary sentiments. Unconverted Jews were always restless under the Roman yoke, and they, too, may have needed special admonition. The spirit of the " Sermon on the Mount" breathes through the following injunctions. Put them in mind to revile, to speak injuriously of no man; to refrain from censorious speech, however great the provocation; to be not contentious or pugnacious, but forbearing. The word ἐπιεκεῖς, and the corresponding noun of quality, ἐπιείκεια, have been abundantly illustrated by Archbishop Trench.2 The usage of the word suggests to him "the concession of just claims," the dementia which St. Thomas Aquinas discriminates from mansuetudo, the generous conduct of a superior to an inferior, the refusal to press an advantage; while the π ραότες of the next verse indicates the "meekness" so often insisted upon by our Lord, and is the spirit of forbearance of any one class to any other class-cujuslibet ad quemlibet.
The Apostle enjoins this "sweet reasonableness," adding that the Cretan Christians should manifest every kind and phase of meekness towards all classes of men. It would be difficult to exaggerate the force or comprehensiveness of this demand for self-repression amid trying and provoking circumstances. The Apostle calls upon those who are conscious of superiority to waive all merely personal claims, to cultivate the grace of silence and sweetness and inward repose, to be gentle, placable, and meek at all times and to all men. The reason assigned is (Verse 3), For formerly we also (the Apostle includes all Christians, himself, and Titus) were without intelligence in spiritual things, lacking in spiritual sense; and, whether born as Jews or heathen, we were blinded and foolish, disobedient, or distrustful (increduli, Vulg.), erring3 rather than "deceived," being the slaves of diverse lusts and pleasures (The last word is unusual in the apostolic writings, and refers to those sensual indulgences which were the curse of Crete, and had never been repressed by heathen maxims or pagan morality.), passing (our life4) in malice and envy, odious, and hating; one another.
The word (στυγητοί) translated "odious" (Vulgate, odibiles) occurs nowhere else, though the more pregnant expression θεοστυγεῖς occurs in Romans i. 30.
This is a terrible impeachment of human nature when left to itself. without availing himself of the detail with which he pourtrayed it in Romans i. 18, ff., St. Paul has in this place drawn almost as dark a picture of the evil of the world. Moreover, he admits and laments the same tendencies as actively at work in his own breast at the very time when he was boasting of his virtues, of his Israelitish birth, of his zeal, and of his righteousness from a purely legal standpoint.5 This picture was not drawn with insincerity or in hyperbolic courtesy (hoflichkeit, Mack). The self-accusation revealed a terrible reality of his own consciousness coincident even with genuine desire to have a conscience void of offence towards God and man. He sees now, how at that very time he had been "carnal, sold under sin.'' His conscience has not been morbid, nor his self-inspection prurient or officious; he has measured himself by a diviner standard than that of Stoic, Epicurean, or Essenic philosophy, or than that of Jewish or Rabbinic literalism, and this is the conclusion he draws about himself. The use to which he puts it is twofold; first, to sustain the practical suggestions of Verses 1, 2, to press loyalty, charity, meekness, and tenderness, upon scheming, censorious, blaspheming Cretans; and, secondly, to shew the boundless need of grace and goodness on the part of God.
If the grace and gospel of God had consisted exclusively of a method of discipline and a standard of perfection, it were indeed a doubtful advantage. We should have found few responses more true to its message than the Apostle's own -"O wretched man that I am! who shall deliver me?" St. Paul, however, knows that there is another side to the gospel, and so he exclaims in triumphant tones (Verses 4-6), But when the goodness, i. e., kindness of nature, superfluity and spontaneity of Divine beneficence, and the philanthropy of our Saviour God was manifested. The word φιλανθρωπία is used very rarely,6 but is probably suggested by the love of man, and the gentleness of sentiment and of demeanour towards all men, upon which St. Paul had just insisted. The disciples of Christ are to be like God. They are to love "men," even their enemies, tyrants, and taskmasters, BECAUSE God has concentrated his love upon man, because God has loved the world.7 This building up of human duty on the foundation of the character of God is characteristic of St. Paul's style and manner of argument.8 God's love to man had a special manifestation in the Incarnation. The manifestation in the flesh was the climax and most abundant expression of the love of our Saviour God,9 This application of the term Σωτὴρ to Θεός occurs frequently in the Pastoral Epistles, and also in the Gospel of Luke (Chap. i. 47) and in LXX.10 The subsequent reference to the Lord Jesus Christ as the instrument of Divine beneficence, assures us that the Θεός in the Apostle's mind is either the Father or the entire Godhead.
He saved us. (Let the aorist eO'(J)uev be noticed.) Our Saviour God performed and completed his part in our salvation, "placed us in a state of salvation,'' in accordance with, as the outcome and revelation of, his mercy, or of that great aspect of Divine love when it comes into contad with ill-desert. While salvation is thus unequivocally ascribed to a definite completed act of the Saviour Cod, the Apostle disclaims for himself any share in producing the antecedents of this mercy. A possible supposition is made that "we" had wrought works in righteousness which might have been the forerunners, conditions, and antecedents of the Divine mercy. But the hypothesis is hazarded for the very purpose of repudiating it. Not by works, works' in righteousness which11 we did, but in harmony with his mercy he saved us.
The negative particle governs the whole clause. The apostle takes no credit to himself for a righteousness antecedent to God's mercy. He disclaims all selforigination of conduct which will justify him before God. His thoughts move into a higher region; and when he comes to explain more fully the instrumentality by which salvation is accomplished, he deals with Divine operations rather than human experiences. Through
the water of regeneration and the renewing of the Holy Spirit. The word translated " water" may be rendered without inaccuracy " washing," as in English Version, or "laver,"12 as by Alford, Ellicott, Fairbairn. Rost and Palm declare that the word means (1) "the process of bathing," (2) "the bath," and (3) frequently in Homer, Pindar, and the tragedians, " the water for the bath." The λουτρόν νυμφικόν was the bridal bath of purification, to which St. Paul probably alluded in the only other place in which the word occurs in the New Testament, viz., Ephesians v. 26.13 The Church Fathers often use λουτρόν for " baptism," and here the phrase, " the water laver of regeneration," corresponds with the "birth of water" to which our Lord referred in John iii. 5; while "the renewing of the Holy Spirit" corresponds with the being "born of the Spirit," which He declared to be the essential condition of admission into the king-. dom. The "water" or "laver of regeneration" indicates the whole of that divinely appointed symbol of the new birth, which proclaimed to mankind the advent and introduction into our humanity of a new power and heavenly bias, the recommencement of the human race; and it was itself justified and completed by the entire operation of the Spirit of God in the renewal of individual lives. It should be especially observed that the Apostle makes no reference either to faith or to repentance; to obedience or holy living, but dilates on the divine side of salvation and on that alone. So that he proceeds to urge upon Titus, not the method (sacramental or moral) by which we .can appropriate the grace of God, but the agency by which God imparts his Spirit. So he continues, Which Holy Spirit,14 He, our Saviour God, poured out upon us richly, through: Jesus Christ our Saviour. Surely there is (as Olshausen and Mack observe, not Ellicott) a reference made here to the fulfilment of the prophecy of Joel in the effusion of the Spirit on the day of Pentecost Then the ascended and exalted Christ " shed forth," diffused the renewing Spirit over the hearts of men, and therein constituted the Church of the living God, and the living body of the Lord.
It was in this work of et renewal" that Christ Himself secured the fruit of his agony and death. It was " expedient that he should go away:" if He had not departed the Comforter would. not have come. The manifestation in the flesh was the grand preliminary only for the manifestation of God through the Spirit. The application of the term " Saviour" to Jesus Christ in the very sentence in which it had been applied to the Father, and the further reference to the Divine and crowning glory of the work of God's Spirit in man, make it clear that the Monotheism of Paul was enriched and deepened by considerations and ideas of the Son and the Spirit of God, which, coupled with numberless other testimonies, have led to the rich induction and great generalization which we call "the doctrine of the Trinity." The weighty utterance closes with the special design contemplated in the work of salvation. In order that we might become heirs of God, according to the hope of eternal life. On this hope the Epistle turns (see Titus i. 2). The "hope of eternal life," which is immeasurably more than endless existence, and is the purifying sanctifying power of the new Covenant, gives its meaning to our expected inheritance. "It cloth not yet appear what we shall be/' but we know that we shall "inherit eternal life.'' This is the end of his own self-manifestation, contemplated by God Himself. He confers upon those who might formerly be described as hateful and unclean, proud and revengeful, this rich inheritance. There is a certainty, legality, and far-reaching significance in the metaphor of an heir and an inheritance, which demand the introduction of the further condition, having been justified by his grace. The ἐκείνου might be referred grammatically to the Holy Spirit; and in 1 Corinthians vi. 11, we are indeed said to have been "justified in the name of our Lord Jesus, and in (the power of) the Spirit of our God." The ἐν, however, in that passage means more than the simple instrumental dative, and the word "justified" in that connection suggests the whole of the idea of justification as a human experience as well as a Divine act. Here, it seems to me, the idea of faith is purposely left out, and "justification" is simply regarded as the supreme act of the Divine Righteousness and Love. Because God by his grace does not impute transgression, and absolves from the whole curse of sin, an heirship, a hold on the inheritance is legally provided, and the hope of the eternal life is suggested. The human condition of justification is not specified. The ζωῆς αἰωνίου is de. pendent on "the hope" (ἐλπίδα), and not on the (κληρονόμοι) "being heirs." Moreover κατὰ will not suffer to be translated through, as though ἐλπίδα were here an. emotional equivalent to πίστιν, simply because through. out this passage the Apostle is setting forth the divine side of the work of grace; just as in the earlier paragraph (Chap. ii. 11-14) he had been examining God's grace as an active living discipline of individual souls. "Justification" is not identified (as Wiesinger implies) with the renewing of the Holy Spirit, nor is it the cause or the consequence of such renewal. The apostolic doctrine of justification by God's grace was sufficiently known to Titus not to need a more detailed reference; and justification is here referred to on the supposition that it is thoroughly understood to be. the grand act of grace, apart from which even regeneration and renewal, if they could be supposed to be separated from it, would be an imperfect and truncated gift.
Verse 8.-Faithful is the saying. The whole passage is another of the compendious fruitful utterances, the golden hymnlike voices (probably originated by St. Paul himself), which Titus was to impress upon the memory of the Cretans. Now comes the practical side of the representation. And concerning these things I desire that thou shouldst make the constant affirmation, in order that those who have believed in God-i. e., those who have complied with the one prime condition, those who have surrendered themselves to the sublime assurance of God's love in the manifestation of the Christ and the gift of the Spirit-might be careful15 to excel, to take some precedence in the practice of good works. Thus the Apostle insists on the principle of obedience, and the practical issues and moral consequences of faith. These instructions are good and profitable to men.
Verse 9.-But foolish controversies, and genealogies, and strifes, and contentions about the law, avoid; i.e., "stand out of the way of." I have already discussed some of these terms (1 Tim. i. 4 and 14). Irrelevant and trifling controversy prevailed among Jewish Christians and Jews on frivolous details; on the Jewish genealogies; on Alexandrine speculations concerning spirits and angels; on semi-gnostic hypotheses concerning good and evil. Rabbinical schools disputed on the letter of the law, both written and oral; on "tassels and nail-parings;" on mint, anise, and cummin; on the order of services; on divers meats and varied washings; on days, times, and seasons; and the Apostle would make a clean sweep of them all, on the ground that such matters as these are profitless and vain. On the other hand, great truths and moral principles are of infinite value.
Verse 10.-The man who causes divisions (ἄνθρωπον αἱρετικὸν). The opponents of the genuineness of the Epistles have laid much stress upon the introduction of this word-only used in this place in the New Testament-on the ground that it must be taken in the modern ecclesiastical sense of an " heretical " unorthodox person. Huther here agrees exegetically with De Wette. Calvin's explanation of the term is quisquis sua protervia unitatem ecclesię abrumpit; and Huther declares that the divisions of the Church are those which are stimulated by false doctrine, and Fairbairn agrees with him. Ellicott has given an admirable treatment of the word, and justly say~ that we must deduce its Pauline usage from the undoubted significance which the Apostle attached to the word αἵρεσις. This is shewn to be contentious conduct, not heterodox opinions; division, not doctrinal error. The conduct of αἱρετικὸς ἄνθρωπος was that which tended to schism and enmity in Church matters, and the caution is pronounced against an opiniative, quarrelsome, impracticable person-the man who causes divisions in the Church, the factious man (Fairbairn), after one and a second admonition, avoid. "This is a golden rule" (Mack). The first admonition may rouse "the old man" in him, may induce him to sharpen his wit against you, and resist the advice that is tendered; the second admonition may gain your brother. If this, however, prove of no avail,. avoid him. There is no hint given of formal excommunication,16 but the would-be leader of a party, whether he justified his capricious conduct by pressing an. intellectual crotchet, or by manifesting a desire for individual distinction, would be practically left to himself and to his knot of followers, should the apostolic delegate utterly shun him. St. Paul must have had in view some well-known disturber of the Churches in Crete, for he continues: Inasmuch as thou knowest that such an one is perverted and sinneth, being self-condemned. Another rare word (ἐκστρέφω), used by Lucian for "turning inside out,"17 is here made to describe the effect of the isolation inflicted on the "factious person." The self-condemnation spoken of must be his virtual self-exclusion, rather than his own penitent confession of wrong.
Verse 12.-We are landed by this verse in the region of conjectural history and geography. It is somewhat remarkable, as Mr. Lewin18 observes, that the four intimate friends of the Apostle here referred to derive their names from four Hellenic deities-Zeus, Artemis, Tyche, and Apollo. Of Artemas we know nothing more, but as there seems an alternative choice between Artemas and Tychicus, and, further, since we find a reference to Tychicus in 2 Timothy iv. 12, as having been sent by the Apostle on another journey, viz., to Ephesus, it becomes probable that Artemas was chosen for the service. Tychicus is mentioned in five distinct books of the New Testament-in the Acts and in four Epistles of St. Paul. Everywhere he is spoken of as a trusted friend, a beloved brother, one able to explain the Apostle's circumstances, position, and wishes to distant Churches (Col. iv. 7, 8), and even to convey to numerous communities the apostolic letter (Eph. vi. 21, 22). St. Paul is intending to pass the winter at Nicopolis,19 in Epirus, and he wishes to have Titus as a companion. His language is, When I shall send Artemas to thee, or Tychicus, hasten to come to me to Nicpolis, for I have determined there to spend the winter. Zenas the lawyer and Apollos forward zealously on their journey, that nothing be wanting to them. St. Paul always spoke of Apollos with deference, and as if he were his equal in rank and importance. Tychicus, Silas, Titus, Timothy, Trophimus, Epaphroditus, and others were sent hither and thither as St. Paul's messengers. Apollos was independent, and took a course in which he asserted his own will as against the will of Paul (1 Cor. xvi. 12). Apollos had been a disciple of John the Baptist, a student of Alexandrine literature, and he was mighty in the Scripture, eloquent in speech, and persuasive. It would seem that, until he was converted by Aquila and Priscilla (Acts xviii.), and led to a deeper apprehension of the Christ and of the Spirit of God, he had been preaching a. Johannine Christology, a Philonic philosophy, an Essenic wisdom, and had been administering a Johannine baptism and nothing more. With the word of Jesus, a divine inspiration seized him, the conviction of the Spirit satisfied him, and he was at once ready, both in Ephesus and Corinth, to preach the faith of Christ. Immediately, and-without any other ordination than the confidence and prayers of the Ephesian Church, he commenced the work in Corinth which led to such startling results. Paul did not resent his popularity. He classed him, with Cephas and himself, as apostles of Christ, but he did not command him. It is possible that Zenas the lawyer and Apollos had been resident in Crete. It is equally possible to suppose, with Mr. Lewin, that they were on their way from Corinth to Alexandria, and were the bearers of Paul's letter to Titus.
Verse 14.-And let our (brethren) also learn to take the lead in good works, with reference to the necessary wants, that they be not unfruitful. Professor Plumptre suggests20 that the "our's also" implies the existence in Crete of an Essenic Society, to which Zenas and Apollos may have been somewhat related, and which may have set an example that Christian believers and Churches might reasonably imitate. I think there is no necessity for this complicated supposition. The passage will have more meaning if it continues to emphasize the care and attention which St. Paul desired to secure for Apollos. He expects that Titus will easily guarantee the help of the Church in shewing this mark of respect to Apollos (Mack, Huther, Ellicott, Oosterzee).
Verse 15.-All who are with me salute thee. Paul, when resting and journeying, was often surrounded with sympathetic souls, who were ready to do his bidding, and who shared in his affection for individuals and Churches. Salute those who love us in faith,. i. e., those whose love took its origin in, and now derives constant aliment and support from, the faith of our Lord Jesus Christ. Grace be with you all [AMEN21], With various modifications this benediction is uttered by the Apostle. The laconic form here adopted is very unlike the work of a forger. The love of Paul is sent through Titus to the whole Church, and the impression is, that though the letter was meant especially for Titus, it may be profitable for many.
1) Comm. on Psa. cxxiv.
2) "Synonyms of the New. Testament," § 43.
3) In 2 Tim. iii. 13 the context gives to this form of the word a passive rather than a neuter meaning, but for the most part the verb πλανᾶσθαι has this deponent force (Matt. xviii. 12; 1 Pet. ii. 25). In Heb. v. 2, and James v. 19, either passive or neuter might be intended.
4) This word διάγοντες is only once used beside, in 1 Tim. ii. 2, and there it is associated with βίον.
5) Cf. Phil. iii.; Rom. vii. 6; 1 Cor. xv. 9
6) Cf. Acts xxviii. 2; 2 Mace. vi. 22.
7) Cf. John iii. 16; Matt. v. 5, 9, 14-16, 20, 39-48.
8) Cf. 2 Cor, ii, 17-20.
9) Cf. Comm. on 1 Tim. i, 1 and iii, 16.
10) Psa, xxiv. 5, &c.
11) The best manuscripts, including א, and the authority of Tischendorf (8th edition), Huther, Alford, have finally determined the text here to be the less grammatical form, ἅ for ὦν. Ellicott preferred formerly with Tischendorf the Received Text,
12) Lavacrum, Vulgate; das Bad, Luther.
13) See here the admirable note of Eadie on Ephes. v, 26.
14) Not, which "washing," or "water," or "laver."
15) The only place in the New Testament where the word occurs, though in the Apocrypha and LXX. it is not infrequent. In this place (as well as in Classics) it means, "anxiously giving thought to" (if. 1 Sam: ix. 5).
16) Παραιτεισθαι is used in Plutarch for putting .away a wife, but there is no hint of formal acts of repudiation in the other places in these Epistles, in which the verb is used by St. Paul. 1 Tim. iv. 7, v. 11; 2 Tim. ii. 23. Cf. Heb. xii. 25; Luke xiv. 18, 19.
17) Cf. Dent. xxxii. 20.
18) "Life and Letters of St. Paul," vol. ii. p. 344
19) It is impossible to decide between the four different cities bearing this name. There seems no reason to imagine a visit to Thrace or Cilicia when there was a Nicopolis in Epirus. There was a large population, a good harbour, and numerous opportunities of coming into contact with old friends from the Churches of Achaia.
20) THE EXPOSITOR, vol. i. p. 427.
21) The evidence for Αμην in this verse .is stronger than for its presence in either of the Pastoral Epistles.