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Living in malice and envy Malice is a general term for wickedness, but "here it has the special connotation of and malignity. Hateful, and hating one another What a sad picture of the sinful life is this. The sinner himself becomes hateful, despising himself, and even being hated by other sinners. As White put it:. This marks the stage of degradation before it becomes hopeless: when vice becomes odious to the vicious, and stands a self-confessed failure to produce happiness. Eerdmans Publishing Company, , p. Sweet Company, , p.
Did Paul quote pagan philosophers?
White, op. But when the kindness of God our Saviour, and his love toward man, appeared,. The wretched night of human sin, suffering and shame was pitied by the Father himself; and Paul here related that pitying and loving kindness of God to the rescue of the Christians from the intolerable lives of sin which they formerly lived. John is an excellent comment on this verse, for Paul was thinking of how God's kindness and love toward men had "appeared" upon earth in the epic events of the Incarnation and the preaching of the gospel of Christ which followed as a consequence of it.
That it was the gospel message that Paul particularly had in mind is proved by the next verse. Before taking up a line-by-line analysis of this, it is profitable to glance at other Scriptures which are admitted by scholars to be parallel to the teaching here.
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Scripture is always the best comment on Scripture. As many of you as were baptized into Christ have put on Christ Galatians Of this verse, Spence said, "The apostle has grandly paraphrased his words here in Titus And such were some of you: but ye were washed, but ye were sanctified, but ye were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ, and in the Spirit of our God 1 Corinthians Of this verse, Beasley-Murray said, "The relation of baptism to justification in 1 Corinthians and in Titus is fundamentally the same: the grace that baptizes is the grace that justifies, inseparably one, and experienced as one.
Christ loved the church and gave himself up for it; that he might sanctify it, having cleansed it by the washing of the water with the word Ephesians , Paul's other great passage regarding baptism is Ephesians , where we discuss at length "the bath of the water in connection with the spoken word," and reject the English Revised Version marginal translation "laver.
There are a number of other very important passages bearing upon the subject Paul introduced here, namely, John , Acts , 1 Peter ; Matthew ; Romans , etc. With the background of the passages cited here, it is impossible to miss Paul's meaning in this verse. Not by works done in righteousness, which we did ourselves God's unmerited grace is the source of all salvation, and all the good works of a hundred lifetimes could never earn or merit the saving grace of God.
These words have been made the excuse for denying that such ordinances as baptism and the Lord's supper are in any wise essential to salvation; but that class of deeds commanded by Christ as prerequisite to redemption simply do not lie within the periphery of this statement here. What Paul spoke of here was "the righteousness of men," the works "which we did ourselves.
But according to his mercy he saved us It is customary for commentators at this point in their exposition to take five pages explaining how this means that God's mercy saves us without our being baptized, despite the fact that the very next line says that "God's mercy saved us through baptism! The ASV margin gives "laver" in this clause instead of "washing"; but as Spence said, "Laver here can only signify the baptismal font.
The analogy in the Christian religion is the baptistery, the same being the only laver connected with the holy faith, and being the place where sinners are cleansed and justified prior to their entry into the true sanctuary, which is the Lord's church. The use of the term laver is very fortunate, because the primary meaning of it, in context, is the baptistery, standing in a figure metonymy for baptism, for which alone a baptistery is used, and adequately translated as "washing. It is a thundering, emphatic denial of the nonsense that "The washing referred to is wholly spiritual.
God saved us by baptism, which involves two complementary processes, a the ceremony itself which marks the actual moment in time of the new birth, and b the daily, hourly, momently renewing of the Holy Spirit. It is inexcusable to say that baptism "is only setting the seal on the essential act of faith" But isn't baptism only a symbol? This has been shouted so loudly and so frequently and for so long that many believe it; but it is untrue. Lenski sets the matter straight.
Commenting on the affirmation that "Man submits to baptism after the new birth to picture it forth to men," he has this:. Paul excludes this idea in a double way. How can anyone think Paul would say, "God saved us by means of a picture of regeneration? Compare Jesus' own words in John And renewing of the Holy Spirit. One birth with two elements in it, the bath in water baptism and the Holy Spirit of promise - this is the teaching of the New Testament.
The same twin elements in the new birth are evident in Peter's Pentecostal command to "Repent and be baptized It is appropriate that Paul should have mentioned this other element the renewal of the Spirit in connection with baptism; because, as Beasley-Murray said, "Baptism is the occasion when the Spirit works creatively in the believer. Jesus himself said, "He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved" Mark , Note too that baptism is God's means, not man's. Baptism is not a work of men; no man ever baptized himself; only God can do that, and even then, only for those who will believe and repent; and every true baptism in all history was a work of Almighty God himself; to this solemn ordinance alone is conjoined the sacred triple name of Father, Son and Holy Spirit.
All who despise it or downgrade it do so at their eternal peril. Spence, op. Lenski, op. Beasley-Murray, op.
As Lenski said, "This is not a reference to Pentecost The gift in view here is the gift ordinary, the earnest of the Holy Spirit, the Holy Spirit of promise, the indwelling Spirit which is received by every true convert to Christ. See in my Commentary on John, pp. Baptism the birth of water is the element for which man is responsible for the doing of it despite the fact of baptism not being the work of any man ; nevertheless God required even of Saul of Tarsus that he "have thyself baptized.
Although baptism is exclusively a work of Almighty God, the Lord will not perform it upon any person who does not seek it through faith and repentance.
Commentaries for the book of Titus
On the other hand, "the renewal of the Holy Spirit," here and in the preceding verse, is the element of the new birth which is performed by God through Christ, it being appropriate to say that the Spirit is sent both by the Father and by the Son. Revell Company, , p. The text is saying that God not only saves us by baptism and the resulting reception of the Holy Spirit, but that "his grace" justifies us by exactly the same means.
As Zerr pointed out, "justification has many shades of meaning,"  but two of these meanings are predominant, "Justification" in the ultimate sense of being the grounds upon which the Father declares men to be righteous is grounded in the perfect faith and obedience of Jesus Christ our Lord, in whom sinners are justified by being united with, and actually incorporated into Christ's spiritual body, thus being, in fact, "Christ," and justified "as Christ. Significantly, baptism here appears as the means used by God's grace in order to achieve man's justification and to make him an heir of eternal life.
That state will be given to Christians only "on that day. Of course, it is the first of these which is referred to in this verse. How nearly incredible is the fact that there are some who do not believe what Paul said here; but this is not due to any inconsistency in what he wrote with reference to his other letters, or to anything else in the New Testament, being entirely due to the Lutheran heresy of salvation by "faith alone" which has blinded many of the modern Protestant scholars and has all but ruined Protestant Christianity. We shall not note all of the objections that have been raised against the interpretation followed here, but we shall make an exception for that voiced by Ward: "Some of the bloodiest dictators and some of the most wicked men have been baptized people.
The answer lies in the probationary nature of the justification that comes as a result of the new birth of "water and of the Spirit.
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Faithful is the saying, and concerning these things I desire that thou affirm confidently, to the end that they who have believed God may be careful to maintain good works. These things are good and profitable unto men:. Faithful is the saying This is not a formula for introducing either a hymn or a proverb, despite the widespread prejudice to that effect.
See under 2 Timothy , above. This is merely Paul's equivalent of the "Amen, Amen" sometimes used by Jesus. Scholars cannot agree upon whether it should be applied here to what precedes, or what comes after. Many refer it to the epic pronouncement in Titus ; but Hervey was sure that:. Here the faithful saying can only be the following maxim: "That they which have believed in God may be careful to maintain good works," the words, "these things I desire that thou affirm confidently" being parenthetically added to give more weight to it.
Scholars who insist upon applying it to the foregoing "affirm that it is ungrammatical to refer it to the following.
Titus - Free Bible Commentary in easy English
Perhaps the biggest objection to construing it as a reference to the preceding is that there is no agreement on "what part" of the preceding is meant. The viewpoint of this writer is that it refers generally. Maintain good works The allegation that this means "pursue honest occupations," while true enough in principle, is not what Paul said here. White pointed out that throughout the New Testament, the terms used here "mean good works in the religious or moral sense. Hervey, Pulpit Commentary, Vol.
Conybeare, Life and Epistles of St. Paul Grand Rapids, Michigan: Wm. These were the specialty of the Jews, so much so that Christian writers included the genealogy of Jesus in both Matthew and Luke. The law Tasker, op. By definition, a factious person's sin is of a "public" nature; but even in cases of public sins, the first and second admonitions commanded by the Lord Jesus Christ were not to be omitted or ignored.
See dissertation on this in my Commentary on Matthew, pp.