BEHAVIOR TOWARDS THE
1. Put them in mind--as they are in danger of forgetting their duty,
though knowing it. The opposition of Christianity to heathenism, and the
natural disposition to rebellion of the Jews under the Roman empire (of
whom many lived in Crete), might lead many to forget practically what
was a recognized Christian principle in theory, submission to the powers
that be. DIODORUS
SICULUS mentions the tendency of the Cretans to
to be subject--"willingly" (so the Greek).
principalities . . . powers--Greek,
"magistracies . . . authorities."
to obey--the commands of "magistrates"; not necessarily
implying spontaneous obedience. Willing obedience is
implied in "ready to every good work." Compare
as showing that obedience to the magistracy would tend to good works,
since the magistrate's aim generally is to favor the good and
punish the bad. Contrast "disobedient"
2. To speak evil of no man--especially, not of "dignities" and
no brawlers--"not quarrelsome," not attacking others.
gentle--towards those who attack us. Yielding, considerate, not
urging one's rights to the uttermost, but forbearing and kindly (see on
Very different from the innate greediness and spirit of
aggression towards others which characterized the Cretans.
the opposite of passionate severity.
unto all men--The duty of Christian conduct towards all
men is the proper consequence of the universality of God's grace to
all men, so often set forth in the pastoral Epistles.
3. For--Our own past sins should lead us to be lenient towards
those of others. "Despise none, for such wast thou also." As the
penitent thief said to his fellow thief, "Dost thou not fear God
. . . seeing that thou art in the same condemnation."
"But when," that is, now: a favorite contrast in Paul's writing,
that between our past state by nature, and our present
state of deliverance from it by grace. As God treated us, we ought to
treat our neighbor.
foolish--wanting right reason in our course of living. Irrational.
The exact picture of human life without grace. Grace is the sole remedy
deceived--led astray. The same Greek, "out of the way"
serving--Greek, "in bondage to," serving as
divers--The cloyed appetite craves constant variety.
pleasures--of the flesh.
hateful . . . hating--correlatives. Provoking the
hatred of others by their detestable character and conduct, and in turn
4. To show how little reason the Cretan Christians had to be
proud of themselves, and despise others not Christians (see on
Tit 3:2, 3).
It is to the "kindness and love of God," not to their own merits, that
they owe salvation.
kindness--Greek, "goodness," "benignity," which manifests His
love . . . toward man--teaching us to have such "love
(benevolence) toward man" (Greek, "philanthropy"),
"showing all meekness unto all men"
even as God had "toward man"
opposed to the "hateful and hating" characteristics of unrenewed men,
whose wretchedness moved God's benevolent kindness.
of God our Saviour--Greek, "of our Saviour God," namely, the
who "saved us"
"through Jesus Christ our Saviour"
appeared--Greek, "was made to appear"; was manifested.
5. Not by--Greek, "Out of"; "not as a result springing
from works," &c.
of righteousness--Greek, "in righteousness," that
is, wrought "in a state of righteousness": as "deeds
. . . wrought in God." There was an utter absence in
us of the element ("righteousness") in which alone righteous works
could be done, and so necessarily an absence of the works. "We neither
did works of righteousness, nor were saved in consequence of them; but
His goodness did the whole" [THEOPHYLACT].
we--emphatically opposed to "His."
mercy--the prompting cause of our salvation individually: "In
pursuance of His mercy." His kindness and love to man
were manifested in redemption once for all wrought by Him for mankind
generally; His mercy is the prompting cause for our
individual realization of it. Faith is presupposed as the
instrument of our being "saved"; our being so, then, is spoken of as an
accomplished fact. Faith is not mentioned, but only God's
part. as Paul's object here is not to describe man's new state, but
the saving agency of God in bringing about that state,
independent of all merit on the man's part (see on
by--Greek, "through"; by means of.
the washing--rather, "the laver," that is, the baptismal font.
of regeneration--designed to be the visible instrument of
regeneration. "The apostles are wont to draw an argument from the
sacraments to prove the thing therein signified, because it ought to be
a recognized principle among the godly, that God does not mark us with
empty signs, but by His power inwardly makes good what He demonstrates
by the outward sign. Wherefore baptism is congruously and truly called
the laver of regeneration. We must connect the sign and thing
signified, so as not to make the sign empty and ineffectual; and yet
not, for the sake of honoring the sign, to detract from the Holy Spirit
what is peculiarly His" [CALVIN],
Adult candidates for baptism are presupposed to have had repentance and
faith (for Paul often assumes in faith and charity that those addressed
are what they profess to be, though in fact some of them were not so,
in which case baptism would be the visible "laver or regeneration" to
them, "faith being thereby confirmed, and grace
increased, by virtue of prayer to God" [Article XXVII, Church of
England]. Infants are charitably presumed to have received a
grace in connection with their Christian descent, in answer to the
believing prayers of their parents or guardians presenting them
for baptism, which grace is visibly sealed and increased by baptism,
"the laver of regeneration." They are presumed to be then
regenerated, until years of developed consciousness prove whether they
have been actually so or not. "Born of (from) water and (no 'of'
in Greek) the Spirit." The Word is the remote and
anterior instrument of the new birth; Baptism, the
proximate instrument. The Word, the instrument to the
individual; Baptism, in relation to the Society of Christians.
The laver of cleansing stood outside the door of the tabernacle,
wherein the priest had to wash before entering the Holy Place; so we
must wash in the laver of regeneration before we can enter the Church,
whose members are "a royal priesthood." "Baptism by the Spirit"
(whereof water baptism is the designed accompanying seal) makes the
difference between Christian baptism and that of John. As Paul
presupposes the outward Church is the visible community of the
redeemed, so he speaks of baptism on the supposition that it answers to
its idea; that all that is inward belonging to its completeness
accompanied the outward. Hence he here asserts of outward baptism
whatever is involved in the believing appropriation of the divine facts
which it symbolizes, whatever is realized when baptism fully
corresponds to its original design. So
language holding good only of those in whom the inward living communion
and outward baptism coalesce. "Saved us" applies fully to those truly
regenerate alone; in a general sense it may include many who, though
put within reach of salvation, shall not finally be saved.
"Regeneration" occurs only once more in New Testament,
that is, the new birth of the heaven and earth at Christ's
second coming to renew all material things, the human body included,
when the creature, now travailing in labor-throes to the birth, shall
be delivered from the bondage of corruption into the glorious liberty
of the children of God. Regeneration, which now begins in the
believer's soul, shall then be extended to his body, and thence to all
and renewing--not "the laver ('washing') of renewing,"
but "and BY the renewing," &c., following "saved
us." To make "renewing of the Holy Ghost" follow "the laver" would
destroy the balance of the clauses of the sentence, and would make
baptism the seal, not only of regeneration, but also of the
subsequent process of progressive sanctification ("renewing of
the Holy Ghost"). Regeneration is a thing once for all done;
renewing is a process daily proceeding. As "the washing," or
"laver," is connected with "regeneration," so the "renewing of
the Holy Ghost" is connected with "shed on us abundantly"
6. Which--the Holy Ghost.
he shed--Greek, "poured out"; not only on the Church in
general at Pentecost, but also "on us" individually. This pouring
out of the Spirit comprehends the grace received before, in, and
subsequently to, baptism.
through Jesus Christ--the channel and Mediator of the gift of the
our Saviour--immediately; as the Father is mediately "our Saviour."
The Father is the author of our salvation and saves us by Jesus Christ.
7. That, &c.--the purpose which He aimed at in having "saved us"
namely, "That being (having been) justified (accounted righteous
through faith at our 'regeneration,' and made righteous by the
daily 'renewing of the Holy Ghost') by His grace (as opposed to
we should be made heirs."
his grace--Greek, "the grace of the former," that
according to the hope of eternal life--
and also the position of the Greek words, confirm English
Version, that is, agreeably to the hope of eternal life; the
eternal inheritance fully satisfying the hope. BENGEL and ELLICOTT explain it,
"heirs of eternal life, in the way of hope," that is, not yet in
actual possession. Such a blessed hope, which once was not
possessed, will lead a Christian to practice holiness and meekness
toward others, the lesson especially needed by the Cretans.
8. Greek, "faithful is the saying." A formula peculiar to the
Pastoral Epistles. Here "the saying" is the statement
as to the gratuitousness of God's gift of salvation. Answering to the
these things, &c.--Greek, "concerning these things
(the truths dwelt on,
not as English Version, what follow), I will that thou affirm
(insist) strongly and persistently, in order that