INTRODUCTION TO TITUS 2
In this chapter the apostle exhorts Timothy to the discharge of his office with respect to all sorts of persons, of every age, sex; and condition, he was concerned with, giving reasons for it, taken from the nature of the Gospel of Christ: he exhorts him in general to insist in his public ministry on those things, which were agreeable to sound doctrine, Titus 2:1 and particularly what became aged men and aged women, and young men and young women, Titus 2:2 in all which, both with respect to doctrine and practice, he desires him to be a pattern to them, that so even his very adversaries may be ashamed, having nothing evil to say of him, Titus 2:7. And next he charges him to exhort servants, to obey their masters, and seek to please them, and not contradict them, and to be faithful to them; that so the doctrine of God their Saviour, professed by them, might be adorned in all things, Titus 2:9. And the reasons why the apostle would have duty urged on persons of every age, sex, and state, are taken from the nature of the Gospel being a doctrine of grace and salvation, which was preached to all sorts of persons, Titus 2:11, and from the efficacy of it, in teaching men to deny sin, and live a holy life and conversation, Titus 2:12 and from an expectation of eternal glory and happiness at the appearance of Christ, which the Gospel encourages to, Titus 2:13; and from the end of Christ's giving himself for his people, and redeeming them from sin, the sum and substance of the Gospel, which was, that they might be purified, and be zealous of good works, Titus 2:14 and these exhortations were to be delivered by Titus with authority, and in such a manner, that he might not be despised, Titus 2:15.
But speak thou the things which become sound doctrine. Concerning sound doctrine, and the form of it, 2 Timothy 1:13. The things which become it are a good life and conversation, the various duties incumbent on professors of religion, according to their different station, age, and sex, which are observed in some following verses; these become the Gospel of Christ, and are ornamental to the doctrine of God our Saviour; and these are to be spoken of by the ministers of Christ, in their proper places, and at proper times; who ought not to be dumb, and keep silence at any time, but especially when there are many unruly and vain talkers: sound doctrine ought to be spoken out openly and publicly, fully and faithfully, with great plainness and evidence, that it may be understood and known by all; and with much certainty, without hesitation, as being, without controversy, undoubted truth; and with all boldness, not fearing men, or seeking to please them; and it should be constantly and continually spoken, in season, and out of season; and care should be taken that it be spoken consistently, and in an uniform manner, that there be no clashing and contradiction; and the duties of religion, which become sound doctrine, should be set in their true light, and proper place, as fruits of the grace of God, and to glorify him; these should be spoken out plainly, frequently insisted upon, and warmly and zealously urged, as being decent things, for the honour of God, the recommending of religion, the good of mankind, and the service of one another: as particularly,
That the aged men be sober,.... Or "vigilant", and watchful over themselves, their conduct and conversation, lest being evil, it should be drawn into an example by younger persons: this is to be understood not of men in office, of presbyters or elders; for their characters are described in the preceding chapter; but of men in years, of ancient men, that are professors of religion, and members of churches: who should also be
grave; in their behaviour, speech, and dress; levity of conversation, frothy language, and airy dress, are very unbecoming aged persons: and who ought to be
temperate; in eating and drinking, especially the latter, to which old age is most addicted, and care should be taken that they be not over charged with it, and that day overtake them unawares, since they are upon the brink and borders of eternity: the word is rendered "discreet" in Titus 2:5 and sober in 1 Timothy 3:2 and both are characters suitable to men in years.
Sound in faith, in charity, in patience; though they may be unhealthful in their bodies, and become decrepit through age, they should be sound in their minds; in the doctrine of faith, lest they should lead others into error; and their faith in Christ should appear to be right and genuine; and their love to God, to Christ, and to his people, should be real and sincere, and be taken off from the things of the world, of time and sense; an affection for which is an evil that frequently cleaves to old age: and patience should have its perfect work; not only to bear the infirmities of body, brought on by age; but whatsoever sufferings they may be called unto for the sake of Christ and his Gospel, in their last day; and to run out the race that is set before them.
And the aged women likewise,.... Speak also to them the things which become their profession, and what is right for them to be, and do: these aged women design not persons in office, who were ancient widows, and had some care of the poor; or presbyteresses, as some call them, the wives of presbyters or elders, as being distinct from deaconesses; but godly women in years, who are to be instructed and exhorted:
that they be in behaviour as becometh holiness; or "holy women", sanctified by the Spirit of God; and who are priestesses unto God, as the word may signify, being made so by Christ unto the Father, as men are made kings and priests by him; such ought to be in their clothing, and in their speech, and in the whole of their conduct and conversation, as become the character which they bear, and the profession they make:
not false accusers; of the brethren, and sisters, which is to act the part of the devil; and indeed, the same word is here used which is commonly given to him; not raising false reports of, bringing false charges against members of churches, and so making differences and divisions among them.
Not given to much wine; or serving it, or being enslaved by it, which is very scandalous in any, especially in the female sex, and yet was what was too common in the eastern countries.
Teachers of good things; both by example and by instruction, but in their own houses privately; for they were not suffered to teach publicly, or to speak in the church; these should be teachers, not of old wives' fables, of superstitious customs, rites, and ceremonies, of the intrigues of love, and of things filthy and obscene, which are too often handed down to posterity by such persons; but of things that are solid and substantial, useful and improving, honest and honourable, chaste and pure. Particularly,
That they may teach the young women to be sober,.... Or to be chaste, modest, and temperate; or to be wise and prudent in their conduct to their husbands, and in the management of family affairs, who have had a large experience of these things before them.
To love their husbands; to help and assist them all they can; to seek their honour and interest; to endeavour to please them in all things; to secure peace, harmony, and union; to carry it affectionately to them, and sympathize with them in all afflictions and distresses; for this is not so much said in opposition to placing their affections on other men, and to the defilement of the marriage bed, as to moroseness and ill nature.
To love their children; not with a fond, foolish, loose, and ungoverned affection; but so as to seek their real good, and not only their temporal, but spiritual and eternal welfare; to bring them up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord; and to use and keep proper discipline and government over them; for otherwise, amidst all the fondness of natural affection, a parent may be said to hate a child, Proverbs 13:24.
To be discreet,.... Or temperate in eating and drinking, so the word is rendered in Titus 2:2 or to be sober both in body and mind; or to be wise and prudent in the whole of their conduct, both at home and abroad:
chaste; in body, in affection, words and actions, having their love pure and single to their own husbands, keeping their marriage bed undefiled.
Keepers at home: minding their own family affairs, not gadding abroad; and inspecting into, and busying themselves about other people's matters. This is said in opposition to what women are prone unto. It is reckoned among the properties of women, by the Jews, that they are יוצאניות, "gadders abroad" x: they have some rules about women's keeping at home; they say y,
"a woman may go to her father's house to visit him, and to the house of mourning, and to the house of feasting, to return a kindness to her friends, or to her near relations--but it is a reproach to a woman to go out daily; now she is without, now she is in the streets; and a husband ought to restrain his wife from it, and not suffer her to go abroad but about once a month, or twice a month, upon necessity; for there is nothing more beautiful for a woman, than to abide in the corner of her house; for so it is written, Psalms 45:13 "the king's daughter is all glorious within".''
And this they say z is what is meant by the woman's being an helpmeet for man, that while he is abroad about his business, she is יושבת בבית, "sitting at home", and keeping his house; and this they observe is the glory and honour of the woman. The passage in
Isaiah 44:13 concerning an image being made "after the figure of a man, according to the beauty of a man, that it may remain in the house" is by the Targum thus paraphrased:
"according to the likeness of a man, according to the praise of a woman, to abide in the house.''
Upon which Kimchi, has this note.
"it is the glory of a woman to continue at home, and not go abroad.''
The tortoise, which carries its house upon its back, and very rarely shows its head, or looks out of it, was, with the ancients, an emblem of a good housewife. These also should be instructed to be "good" or "kind" to their servants, and beneficent to the poor, and to strangers, towards whom, very often, women are apt to be strait handed, and not so generous and liberal as they should be:
obedient to their own husbands; Ephesians 5:22,
that the word of God be not blasphemed; by unbelieving husbands, who, by the ill conduct of their wives, would be provoked to speak ill of the Gospel, as if that taught disaffection and disobedience to them.
x Bereshit Rabba, sect. 45. fol. 40. 3. y Maimon. Hilchot Ishot, c. 13. sect. 11. z Tzeror Hammor, fol. 5. 4.
Young men likewise exhort to be sober minded. Temperate, chaste, modest, moderate, wise, and prudent in all things: this is said to Titus, as being his province to instruct and exhort the young men; as it were proper and convenient for aged women to teach the young women how they should behave and conduct themselves.
In all things showing thyself a pattern of good works,.... It was not enough for Titus, and so neither for any other Gospel minister, to deliver out sound doctrine, and to exhort persons of different ages and sexes to the things which become it, but he should through the whole of his conversation be a pattern of every good work unto them; for they that are the shepherds of the flock, are not only to feed them with knowledge, and with understanding, but to be ensamples to them, as well as they who are under their care ought to walk, as they have them for an example; see 1 Timothy 4:12.
In doctrine, showing uncorruptness, gravity, sincerity; the apostle here either returns again to his advice about doctrine, that it should be delivered out pure and incorrupt, free from error and heresy, and every mixture and invention of man's; and with all gravity of speech and countenance, without levity in expression, and airiness of gesture; and that it be the sincere milk of the word that is given forth, and that with all integrity and uprightness of soul: or else this refers to the life and conversation of the teacher, as answering to his doctrine, and going along with it; and the sense is, in, or with doctrine, along with the doctrine preached, let the conversation be pure and incorrupt, free from the pollutions of the world, and from any governing vice; and let it be attended with gravity in word, gesture, look, and dress; and with all sincerity, faithfulness, and simplicity, in all our dealings, either with the saints, or with the men of the world.
Sound speech that cannot be condemned,.... In the public ministry, the wholesome words of our Lord Jesus should be used, and the doctrines of the Gospel be expressed, as near as can be, in the words which the Holy Ghost teacheth, and not in the enticing words of man's wisdom; such speech or language should be chosen, that is plain, easy, and acceptable, and conveys just ideas of things; and which being agreeable to the Scriptures of truth, and the analogy of faith, cannot be justly found fault with: or this may refer to private conversation, in which no rotten speech, or corrupt communication should proceed out of the mouth; nothing but what is pure, sound, graceful, and edifying; no filthiness, nor foolish talking and jesting, which are not convenient, and are rightly condemned.
That he that is of the contrary part may be ashamed: that is, that he who is on the other side of the question, who opposes the truths of the Gospel, and is an adversary to them; whether he be an Heathen philosopher, or a Jewish Rabbi, or a judaizing teacher, or an heretical man, under the Christian name, may be put to shame and confusion; partly on account of that uncorruptness in doctrine and conversation, which he observes in the true and faithful ministers of the word, and is wanting in himself; and so being convinced, may be converted and brought to repentance, and to the acknowledgment of the truth; and partly on the account of the false charges and accusations brought by him against such:
having no evil thing to say of you; whether with respect to doctrine or practice. The Vulgate Latin version, and all the Oriental versions, read "us", instead of "you". The whole body is reproached for the sake of one or more.
[Exhort] servants to be obedient to their own masters,.... And not others, whether they be believers, or unbelievers, gentle or froward, all their lawful commands ought to be obeyed; Ephesians 6:5 and to please [them] well in all things; not only to obey and serve them, and do what they order, but to seek and endeavour to do it in such a way as may be grateful, acceptable, and well pleasing to them, whereby an interest in their affection, esteem, and commendation, may be gained: and this should be done always, and in all things, that are not contrary to a good conscience and to the Christian religion, and to the laws of God and nature. Or "that they may be well pleased in all things"; that is, be satisfied and contented with such things as they have, and in their state and condition as servants, and cheerfully abide in the calling wherein they are called:
not answering again; replying to their masters' orders, or complaints, either in a pert, or saucy, or grumbling manner; an evil very incident to servants, and which greatly provokes.
Not purloining..... Or stealing, embezzling their master's substance, taking away, and making use of what is their property, keeping back part of money or goods committed to their trust: the word is used in the case of Ananias and Sapphira. Acts 5:2,
but showing all good fidelity; approving themselves to be faithful servants in everything they are intrusted with:
that they may adorn the doctrine of God our Saviour in all things; Christ is our alone Saviour, and he is truly and properly God, and so fit and able to be a Saviour; and the Gospel is his doctrine, not only what he himself preached, when on earth, but it is a doctrine concerning him; concerning his deity, and the dignity of his person, and concerning his office as Mediator, and the great salvation by him; and which are so many reasons why it should be adorned by a suitable life and conversation; for this is what becomes the Gospel of Christ, throws a beauty upon it, and is ornamental to it; and in this way the doctrine of Christ may be, and ought to be, adorned by servants, as well as others: to adorn the Gospel, is first to believe and receive it, then to profess it, and hold fast that profession, and walk worthy of it. Two of Stephens's copies read, "in", or "among all men".
For the grace of God that bringeth salvation,.... By which is meant, not the free love and favour of God, which lies in his own heart; for though that is productive of salvation, and is the source and spring of it, and what brings it forth, and is far from encouraging licentiousness, but instructs in real piety, and constrains to obedience to the will of God; yet this does not appear, nor has it been, nor is it made manifest unto all men, but is peculiar to the Lord's own people; nor does it design the grace of God wrought in the hearts of believers; for though salvation is strictly connected with it, and it powerfully influences the lives and conversations of such, who are partakers of it; yet it has not appeared to, nor in all men; all men have not faith, nor hope, nor love, nor any other graces of the Spirit: but by the grace of God is intended the doctrine of grace, the Gospel of the grace of God; called so, because it is a declaration of the grace of God, and of salvation by it: and is the means, in the hand of the Spirit, of conveying grace to the heart, and implanting it in it; in which sense the phrase is used in Acts 20:24 and this is called the Gospel of salvation, the word of salvation, and salvation itself, and so may be said to bring it; it brings and publishes the good news of it; it shows unto men the way of salvation; it gives an account of the Saviour himself, that he is the great God, and so fit to be a Saviour; that he was appointed by God the Father to be his salvation; that he was sent, and came to work out salvation; and that he is become the author of it; and that he is the only Saviour, and an able, willing, and complete one: it gives an account of the salvation itself; that it is the salvation of the soul; that it is a great one, and includes both grace and glory; that it is everlasting, and all of free grace; and it points out the persons who are interested in it, and shall enjoy it, even all those that are chosen to it, and are redeemed, reconciled, and justified by the blood of Christ, and are brought to believe in him: and the Gospel not only brings the news of all this to the ear, in the external ministration of it; but it brings it to the heart, and is the power of God unto salvation, when it comes, not in word only, but in power, and in the Holy Ghost; or when it comes under the powerful influences and application of the Spirit of God. Some read this clause thus, "that bringeth salvation to all men"; to which agrees the Syriac version, which renders it, מחית כל, "that quickeneth" or "saveth all"; and so the Arabic version: but then this cannot be understood of every individual person; for the Gospel has not brought salvation to everyone in any sense, not even in the external ministry of it; there have been multitudes who have never so much as heard the outward sound of salvation by Jesus Christ, and fewer still who have an application of it to their souls by the Spirit of God; to many to whom it has come, it has been an hidden Gospel, and the savour of death unto death: it follows indeed,
hath appeared to all men; which supposes it to have been hid, as it was, in the thoughts, purposes, and counsels of God; and in Jesus Christ, in whom all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge are hid; and in the covenant of grace, of which the Gospel is a transcript; and in the types and shadows of the ceremonial law: it was in some measure hid from angels, who desire to look into it, and from the Old Testament saints, to whom it was not known as it is now, by the apostles and prophets; and it was entirely hid from the Gentiles, the times of whose ignorance God overlooked: and it suggests, that it now appeared or shone out more clearly, and more largely. The Gospel had been like a candle lighted up in one part of the world, only in Judea, but now it shone out like the sun in its meridian glory, and appeared to all men; not to every individual person; it has neither shined upon, nor in everyone: it did not in the apostle's time, when it appeared the most illustrious, and shone out the most extensively, as well as the most clearly; nor has it in ages since, nor does it in ours; there are multitudes who know nothing of it, and are neither under its form nor power: but this is to be understood of all sorts of men, of every nation, of every age and sex, of every state and condition, high and low, rich and poor, bond and free, masters and servants; which sense well agrees with the context, Titus 2:2 and the words are a reason why the apostle would have duty urged on all sorts of persons, because the Gospel was now preached to all; and it had reached the hearts of all sorts of men; particularly the Gentiles may be intended from whom the Gospel was before hid, and who sat in darkness, and in the shadow of death; but now the great light shined upon them, and the Gospel was no more confined to one people only, but was preached to every creature under heaven, or to the whole creation; namely, to the Gentiles, pursuant to the commission in Mark 16:15.
Teaching us,.... Not all men, to whom the Gospel appears in its outward ministry; for there are many who externally receive the Gospel, and profess it, who are never influentially taught by it to deny sin, or love holiness of life; they profess in words to know it, but in works deny it; they have a form of godliness, but deny its power: but the persons effectually taught by the Gospel are the "us", to whom it was come, not in word only, but in power; and so taught them, not only doctrinally, but with efficacy, both negative and positive holiness, as follows:
that denying ungodliness and worldly lusts; all impiety, or sin more immediately against God; or which is a violation of the first table of the law, as idolatry, will worship, superstition, perjury, and the like; and all sinful lusts, as the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eye, and the pride of life; which fill the world, and are reigning lusts in it, and which are common to the men of the world; and they are under the power of: to "deny" these, is to abhor and detest them, and to abstain from them, and have nothing to do with them: and this lesson of self-denial, or of the denial of sinful self, the Gospel teaches, and urges upon the most powerful motives and arguments; and when attended by the Spirit of God, does it effectually: so that
we should live soberly, righteously, and godly in this present world; not, only "temperately", but wisely and prudently, as children of the light, on whom, and into whom the Gospel has shined; and "righteously" among men, giving to every man his due, and dealing with all according to the rules of equity and justice; as being made new men, created unto righteousness and true holiness; and as being dead to sin, through the death of Christ, and so living unto righteousness, or in a righteous manner; and as being justified by the righteousness of Christ, revealed in the Gospel: and "godly"; in a godly manner, according to the Word of God, and agreeably to the will of God; and in all godly exercises, both public and private, and to the glory of God: and that as long as
in this present world: which lies in wickedness, and in which there are so many strong temptations to a contrary way of living. The Gospel then is no licentious doctrine; it is according to godliness, and teaches and promotes it; it is an holy faith, yea, a most holy faith; wherefore it is a vile slander to charge it with leading to looseness of life and conversation.
Looking for that blessed hope,.... Not the grace of hope; though that being a good hope through grace, and a hope of blessedness, may be called a blessed hope; yet this the saints have already implanted in their hearts in regeneration, and cannot be said to look for it: rather Christ, the object and ground of hope, who is our hope, and Christ in us the hope of glory, who is blessed for evermore; and in the enjoyment of whom the happiness of the saints hereafter will greatly consist; and whom they look for, and expect from heaven, and who is expressly mentioned in the next clause: but as this may be something distinct from that, it may be best, by this blessed hope, to understand the thing hoped for, eternal glory and happiness; called elsewhere the hope of righteousness, and the hope laid up in heaven, Galatians 5:5 and which will lie in the beatific vision of God and Christ; in a perfect knowledge of them, in communion with them, and conformity to them; and in the society of angels and glorified saints; and in a freedom from all evil, outward and inward, and in the possession of all good: and to be looking for this, is to be desiring it with the heart and affections set upon it, longing to be in the enjoyment of it, and yet waiting patiently in the exercise of faith and hope; for looking includes all the three graces, faith, hope, and love; and particularly the former, which is always attended with the latter; for it is such a looking for this blessedness, as that a man firmly believes he shall partake of it: and there is good reason for a regenerate man so to look for it; since it is his Father's gift of free grace, and is laid up for him; Christ is gone to prepare it by his presence, mediation, and intercession; yea, he is gone, as the forerunner, to take possession of it in his name: this man is begotten again to a lively hope of it; he is called by the grace of God unto it; he is a child of God, and so an heir of it; he has a right unto it, through the justifying righteousness of Christ, and has a meetness for it through the sanctifying grace of the Spirit; and who is in him as the earnest and pledge of it: now such a firm expectation of the heavenly glory does the Gospel, the doctrine of the grace of God, teach, direct, and encourage to; for these words must be read in connection with the preceding, as a further instruction of the Gospel, as well as what follows:
and the glorious appearing of the great God, and our Saviour Jesus Christ; not two divine persons, only one, are here intended; for the word: rendered "appearing", is never used of God the Father, only of the second person; and the propositive article is not set before the word "Saviour", as it would, if two distinct persons were designed; and the copulative "and" is exegetical, and may he rendered thus, "and the glorious appearing of the great God, even our Saviour Jesus Christ"; who, in the next verse, is said to give himself for the redemption of his people: so that here is a very illustrious proof of the true and proper deity of Christ, who will appear at his second coming; for of that appearance are the, words to be understood, as the great God, in all the glories and perfections of his divine nature; as well as a Saviour, which is mentioned to show that he will appear to the salvation of his people, which he will then put them in the full possession of; and that the brightness of his divine Majesty will not make them afraid: and this appearance will be a glorious one; for Christ will come in his own glory, in the glory of his deity, particularly his omniscience and omnipotence will be very conspicuous; and in his glory as Mediator, which will be beheld by all the saints; and in his glory as a Judge, invested with power and authority from his Father, which will be terrible to sinners; and in the glory of his human nature, with which it is now crowned; and in his Father's glory, in the same he had with him before the world was, and which is the same with his, and in that which he will receive from him as man and Mediator, and as the Judge of the whole earth; and in the glory of his holy angels, being attended with all his mighty ones: to which may be added, that saints will be raised from the dead, and with the living ones appear with Christ in glory, and make up the bride, the Lamb's wife, having the glory of God upon her; so that this will be a grand appearance indeed. Now this the Gospel directs, and instructs believers to look for, to love, to hasten to, most earnestly desire, and yet patiently wait for, most firmly believing that it will be: and this the saints have reason to look for, with longing desire and affection, and with pleasure, since it will be not only glorious in itself, but advantageous to them; they will then be glorified with Christ, and be for ever with him.
Who gave himself for us,.... Not another, or another's, but himself; not merely his own things, but his own self; not the world, and the riches of it, not gold and silver, and such like corruptible things, as the price of redemption; not the cattle on a thousand hills for sacrifice; not men nor angels, but himself; all that belong to him, all that is near and dear, his name, fame, credit, and reputation; his time, strength, and service: all the comforts of life, and life itself; his whole manhood, soul, and body, and that as in union with his divine person; which he gave into the hands of men, and of justice, and to death itself, to be a ransom price of his people, and for a propitiation and sacrifice for their sins, to be paid and offered in their room and stead: not for all mankind, but for many; for us, for all the elect of God, for the church; and who are represented when he gave himself, or died for them, as ungodly, sinners, and enemies: this was a free and voluntary gift, and is an unspeakable one; who can say all that is contained in this word "himself?" it is an instance of the greatest love, of love that passeth knowledge; God, because he could swear by no greater, swore by himself; and Christ, because he could give no greater gift, nor any greater instance of his love, gave himself, for the following ends and purposes:
that he might redeem us from all iniquity: sin brings into bondage and, slavery, redemption is a deliverance from it; sin binds guilt upon the sinner, and lays him under obligation to punishment, and renders him liable to the curse and condemnation of the law; Christ was made sin, and a curse for his people, that he might redeem them from both, and deliver them from the punishment due to sin; which he has done by bearing it in his own, body on the tree, whereby he has redeemed them from all iniquity, that so it shall not be their ruin, or they come into condemnation on account of it; even from original sin, and from all actual transgressions; from all which his blood cleanses, and his righteousness justifies, and which God, for his sake, freely and fully forgives. Christ was called to this work by his Father, to which he agreed; and the plan of redemption being drawn in the everlasting council, and the whole adjusted and fixed in the covenant of peace; promises and prophecies were given out of it, and in the fulness of time Christ was sent, and came to effect it; and he has obtained eternal redemption for us, through the price of his own blood, which could have never been wrought out by any creature; and wherein all the divine perfections are glorified and is a plenteous and complete one; it includes in it, or connects with it, the blessings of justification, peace, pardon, adoption, and eternal life. It follows as another end of Christ's giving himself, or what is a branch of redemption, or consequent upon it,
and purify unto himself a peculiar people, zealous of good works; all mankind are filthy and unclean by nature, in all the powers and faculties of their souls; nor can they cleanse themselves from their impurity of flesh and spirit, by anything that they can do: Christ has a peculiar people among these, a church whom he loves, and for whom he has given himself, that he might sanctify and cleanse them from their sins; which he has done by shedding his blood for them, and washing them in it, which cleanses from all sin, and he has purified them unto himself, for his own use and service, for his pleasure and delight, and to his glory; that they might be a proper habitation for him now; and that they might be made ready for him, to have the marriage between, him and them consummated; and that they might be presented to himself a glorious church, without spot or wrinkle, and be with him, both in the new Jerusalem state, into which nothing that defiles, or is defiled, enters, and in heaven, to all eternity. Now these people, for whom Christ has given himself, and whom he has redeemed and purifies, are a "peculiar people"; for whom Christ has a peculiar love, in whom he takes a peculiar delight, and to whom he grants peculiar nearness to himself, and bestows peculiar blessings on them, and makes peculiar provisions for them, both for time and eternity; these are Christ's own, his possession, his substance, what he has a special right to by his Father's gift, his own purchase, and the conquest of his grace; and they are a distinct and separate people from all others, in election, redemption, effectual calling, and in Christ's intercession, and will be in the resurrection morn, at the day of judgment, and to all eternity; and they are, as the word also signifies, an excellent and valuable people; they are Christ's portion and inheritance; they are his peculiar treasure, his jewels, whom, as such, he values and takes care of. The Syriac version renders it, "a new people". And they who are redeemed and purified by Christ, through the power of his grace upon them, become a people "zealous of good works"; not in order to their justification and salvation, but in obedience to the will of God, and to testify their subjection and gratitude to him, and for his honour and glory, and for the credit of religion, and the good of men, These not only perform them, but perform them from principles of truth and love, and with a zeal for the glory of God, and the honour of his Gospel; and with an holy emulation of one another, striving to go before, and excel each other in the performance of them.
These things speak and exhort,.... Sound doctrine, the doctrine of grace, the doctrines of salvation and redemption by Christ, of peace, pardon, and cleansing by his blood; these speak out clearly, plainly, publicly, boldly, and faithfully: and the things which become sound doctrine; the duties of religion suitable to every age and sex, a denying of ungodliness and worldly lusts, a sober, righteous, and godly life and conversation, exhort unto; and encourage the saints to be zealous of good works, and comfort them with the expectation of the blessed hope, and glorious appearance of Christ.
And rebuke with all authority; such as imbibe errors and heresies, or indulge to vice and wickedness, with the authority both of Christ and his church, in the name of the one, and by the order and vote of the other, that the reproof may come with the greater weight; and in a grave and solemn manner, suitable to the dignity of the ministerial office and character, and with that sharpness and severity the offence requires.
Let no man despise thee; as negligent in the discharge of his office, or as doing it in a pusillanimous manner, or as behaving in his life and conversation unworthy of the character he bore, and so is a direction to himself; or else it may be considered as designed for the churches in Crete, and the professors of religion, and to be an instruction to them to value Titus, and treat him with respect, and not with contempt; which shows that this epistle was not written for Titus only, or for his own use, but for the service of others. The Ethiopic version reads, "let no man deceive thee".