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Bible Commentaries

Sutcliffe's Commentary on the Old and New Testaments
Titus 3

 

 

Verses 1-15

Titus 3:1. Put them in mind to be subject to principalities and powers. See on Romans 13:1-2.

Titus 3:5. Not by works of righteousness which we have done. Good works being strongly enforced here, we are cautioned to forget them when performed, for we are saved by grace. The Lord himself will keep the record. According to his mercy he saved us. In other places we read, according to the riches of his glory, according to the fulness of the promises; the grace of God must never be circumscribed.

By the washing of regeneration. δια λουτρου παλιγ γενεσιας, which Mr. Joseph Mede, following Castellio, reads, by the washing of the new birth; preferable, it would seem, to the Vulgate and Montanus, copied in the English. Professor Coccejus, a little before Mede, wrote, renascentiæ; or the new birth. This reading distinguishes the entrance of the soul into a state of grace, often instantaneous, from the renewing of the Holy Ghost by sanctifying grace. The old registers used to read natus, born such a day; renatus, baptized such a day. Though we should not lower the virtue of sacraments, we must at the same time admit, that the twelve at Ephesus had received the baptism of water, but not that of the Holy Ghost, while the church in Cornelius’s house had received the Spirit prior to the baptism of water. Acts 19:6; Acts 10:34. Without doubt the conscious mind, contemplating the glory of Christ by faith and prayer, experiences the divine change for which we devoutly pray in the sixth collect after Trinity sunday. After that, the inward man is renewed day by day.

Titus 3:8. These things I will that thou affirm constantly, that they which have believed in God might be careful to maintain good works. These are the only proofs to the world, that the deity dwells in our hearts, and the only way to gain the world to believe that Christ is sent of God to save us from our sins. John 17:20.

Titus 3:10-11. A man that is a heretic, one who follows his own opinion, after the first and second admonition, reject. If fair arguments, if the weight of antiquity will not gain him, he is proud; he loves that notion better than all the other doctrines of revelation. He will only trouble and misguide the simple. Novelty in doctrine we mostly find is nothing when the novelty is gone.

Titus 3:13. Bring Zenas the lawyer, and Apollos on their journey. The former had left the bar to plead in the sanctuary. The other was eminent for his eloquence. Acts 18:24. Let nothing be wanting to them. The Cretians were able to supply all travelling expenses. Christianity must have become strong in that island, or they could not have spared three such able men.

GENERAL REFLECTIONS.

This epistle opens with apostolic greeting, conformably to the faith of God’s elect, who openly confess the truth; and with the wide and cheering promise of eternal life, coëval with the purposes of our redemption. What else could cheer a drooping race, travailing in pain, and hasting to the tomb?

When Elijah, in an evil day, requested to die, the Redeemer of Israel, ever making the church his first delight, would not allow his request till he had first thrown his mantle on Elisha. So it is here. Paul’s first care was to see pastors and bishops in Crete after God’s own heart, who should feed the flock with knowledge and understanding; ministers clothed with charity, and adorned with the meekness of wisdom. Also that in their own families they should be paternal men, and unspotted; for the stain of concupiscence in a presbyter cannot be wiped away. The priests must be clothed with righteousness and salvation.

Paul was solicitous that Titus should give an example to the bishops and elders of Crete, by sharply rebuking public vices. The “slow bellies,” lovers of wine, and given to appetite; the men whose tongues destroy absent characters more ferociously than the wild beasts devour their food. Thus the ancient seers struck at the reigning vices of their country with all good fidelity. And what is our ministry worth, if we do not, like the skilful surgeon, cauterize the old and ulcerous wounds of the human heart. Our own age peculiarly requires this; it abounds with men who profess the christian name, and deny the Lord by wicked works.

After the pastors, whose piety should excel others, Paul required all orders and degrees of men to adorn the church with relative virtues proper to their stations in life. With these, composing the body of believers, the moral glory of Zion is intimately connected, and with their character and conduct. Masters must be gentle and just, servants must be faithful and industrious. The aged and the young, whether male or female, must be chaste in speech, modest in behaviour, prudent in conduct, and just in trade. Then the Lord will shame every profane tongue that speaks against his people.

And all this moral glory is the more required, because of the superior light of the gospel, which like the light of the sun, opens with righteousness and salvation to all the nations of men. It teaches us to deny ungodliness, and concupiscence in all evil desire; to be devout, sober, and full of love, awaiting the advent of the great God, with whom the gods of earth are not to be compared: the only wise God, even our Saviour Jesus Christ. This moral glory of the church is the more required, to coincide with the designations of the Saviour, who gave himself an atoning sacrifice to purify us, and make us zealous of good works; that the washing of the new birth, and the daily renovations of the Holy Spirit may shine out before men, beauteous as the flowers, and grateful as the fruitful fields.

 


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Bibliography Information
Sutcliffe, Joseph. "Commentary on Titus 3:4". Sutcliffe's Commentary on the Old and New Testaments. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/jsc/titus-3.html. 1835.

Lectionary Calendar
Wednesday, November 13th, 2019
the Week of Proper 27 / Ordinary 32
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