Titus
1-6 Once and Now 7-15 Heirs, Instructions and Greetings
Once and Now

1Remind them to be subject to rulers, to authorities, to be obedient, to be ready for every good deed, 2to malign no one, to be peaceable, gentle, showing every consideration for all men. 3For we also once were foolish ourselves, disobedient, deceived, enslaved to various lusts and pleasures, spending our life in malice and envy, hateful, hating one another. 4But when the kindness of God our Savior and [His] love for mankind appeared, 5He saved us, not on the basis of deeds which we have done in righteousness, but according to His mercy, by the washing of regeneration and renewing by the Holy Spirit, 6whom He poured out upon us richly through Jesus Christ our Savior,

V11Remind them to be subject to rulers, to authorities, to be obedient, to be ready for every good deed,. In the previous chapter Paul speaks about how the different groups must behave in the house of God. In this chapter he deals with the attitude of the Christian in the world. Of course the Cretans have the security to be saved from their lawless deeds (Tit 2:1414who gave Himself for us to redeem us from every lawless deed, and to purify for Himself a people for His own possession, zealous for good deeds.), but that doesn’t mean that they should ignore the governing authorities (cf. 1Pet 2:13-1413Submit yourselves for the Lord’s sake to every human institution, whether to a king as the one in authority,14or to governors as sent by him for the punishment of evildoers and the praise of those who do right.; Rom 13:11Every person is to be in subjection to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and those which exist are established by God.).

They know indeed that they ought to subject themselves to the government, but it seems that they have forgotten that. Titus must remind them of that. They possibly are influenced by their former life. In those days they did not care about anybody, even not about the civilian authorities.

How is that with you? Do you also struggle with acknowledging the government’s authority? How do you comply with the traffic instructions or filling out forms for a student grant or your income tax declaration or other forms of the government by which you claim to be entitled to a certain compensation? It might be necessary for you to be reminded not to be swayed by the spirit of rebellion against authority or the softer form of civil disobedience. I certainly need that.

Besides, not only obedience is required, but it is expected of you that you are “ready for every good work”. In this case it implies that you cooperate with the government in all things what is good for the nation and society. That means that what you do, has to meet the will of God.

V22to malign no one, to be peaceable, gentle, showing every consideration for all men.. In this verse it is not only about the government, but about “all men”. What is written here applies towards all people. How do your neighbors, fellow classmates or colleagues know you? Be careful not to speak with contempt about your unbelieving neighbor who may live like a ‘lazy glutton’ or an ‘evil beast’. How do you consider your unbelieving colleague? The command “to malign no one” regards the unbelievers here. I hope you do not participate in a gossip that may be going around about a colleague.

I also hope that you are known as someone who is “peaceable” and not as someone who is argumentative or contentious, but much more as someone who is “gentle”, kind and helpful. It cannot be right that you are kind to your brothers and sisters and in the meantime quarrel with your neighbor because he parked his car on the very spot where you normally park yours, even if he did that on purpose just to annoy you. You then miss the chance to show “every consideration for all men”. ‘All men’ is not ‘all men except for your annoying neighbor’.

When you show gentleness you show a wonderful feature of the Lord Jesus, Who says to you that you can learn this from Him (Mt 11:2929Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and YOU WILL FIND REST FOR YOUR SOULS.). In that way people will see that you are a citizen from another realm. The whole conduct radiates gentleness, always kind and helpful to ‘all men’, not only to nice people.

V33For we also once were foolish ourselves, disobedient, deceived, enslaved to various lusts and pleasures, spending our life in malice and envy, hateful, hating one another.. The remembrance of how you were will help you to bring the previous into practice. Then you will be able to show people the same love that God has shown to you. The most terrible things that other people may possibly insult you with in the heart of your being, do not come from a source that is more evil than your old nature. Consider therefore that if the Lord does not preserve you, you too may return to commit the most terrible deeds. Therefore you cannot speak with contempt about a criminal, how great and just your abhorrence may be about his deeds.

How were you yourself once (and unfortunately may possibly still be at times)?
1. You were “foolish”, which means: without reason. That is not flattering for people who think of themselves to be very smart.
2. You were also “disobedient”, not be willing to do anything you were asked to do.
3. You also did not see the purpose of your life, you were “deceived” or were “wandering”, for you were just wandering without knowing in which direction you would come out.
4. That led you to a life where you were ‘addicted to’ and were “enslaved to various lusts and pleasures”.
5. You were spending your life “in malice and envy”. You did not tolerate the other to enjoy anything he had; you wanted to have what he had.
6. Your whole performance was “hateful”, revolting.
7. The pleasure you had was unreal, for the atmosphere where you abided was one where people were “hating one another”.

V44But when the kindness of God our Savior and [His] love for mankind appeared,. If God had dealt with you according to your behavior, you would have been lost. But fortunately He did not. Instead on the contrary he dealt with you in His “kindness … and love for mankind”. Therefore you are still alive and you have not ended up in the ditch, or worse, in hell.

His ‘kindness’ has totally changed you. That kindness is supposed to be seen in you by people. You are not kind because others are kind to you, but because you are a Christian. While you were hateful He showed His ‘love toward man’ to you. In that way He showed you that He cares about you, because of who you are as a man. Speaking with reverence, God acted that way, because He could not otherwise. That love towards man must be visible in you for others, not because they show you love, but because you cannot otherwise.

V55He saved us, not on the basis of deeds which we have done in righteousness, but according to His mercy, by the washing of regeneration and renewing by the Holy Spirit,. How did God save you? Certainly not on the basis of your own works, for those were all unrighteous before your conversion. Even your so-called good works of which you thought that God should consider for righteousness were condemnable (Isa 64:66For all of us have become like one who is unclean,
And all our righteous deeds are like a filthy garment;
And all of us wither like a leaf,
And our iniquities, like the wind, take us away.
). You were absolutely totally unable to present anything to God that He could reward with salvation.

But what you were not able to do, God did as an expression of “His mercy”. Instead of pouring out His righteous wrath over you He held that back and gave you in His grace what you could never achieve: salvation. Mercy presumes the greatest need of its object and also the necessary means for help, in order to fulfill the need.

So God has saved you because He is merciful. In order to save you He used two means. The first means is “the washing of regeneration”. Although regeneration looks very much like the new birth (Jn 3:3-63Jesus answered and said to him, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born again he cannot see the kingdom of God.”4Nicodemus *said to Him, “How can a man be born when he is old? He cannot enter a second time into his mother’s womb and be born, can he?”5Jesus answered, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born of water and the Spirit he cannot enter into the kingdom of God.6That which is born of the flesh is flesh, and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit.), yet it is not the same. While the new birth happens in you, inwardly, the regeneration is more an outward matter.

You can conclude that from the only other time that the word ‘regeneration’ appears and that is in Matthew 19 (Mt 19:2828And Jesus said to them, “Truly I say to you, that you who have followed Me, in the regeneration when the Son of Man will sit on His glorious throne, you also shall sit upon twelve thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel.). In that case regeneration refers to the time that the kingdom of God has outwardly come, whereby the Lord Jesus reigns on earth and His own reign together with Him. Creation will then be regenerated as it were. All things you will then see are new.

What then will be the general situation now already applies to you personally. To you that new condition has come already. The sins you were living in formerly (verse 33For we also once were foolish ourselves, disobedient, deceived, enslaved to various lusts and pleasures, spending our life in malice and envy, hateful, hating one another.), have been washed away. This washing happened through the Word (Eph 5:2626so that He might sanctify her, having cleansed her by the washing of water with the word,; cf. Jam 1:1818In the exercise of His will He brought us forth by the word of truth, so that we would be a kind of first fruits among His creatures.; 1Pet 1:2323for you have been born again not of seed which is perishable but imperishable, [that is], through the living and enduring word of God.). Due to that your behavior has totally changed. What people see of you is not anymore what you once were, but is from the world that is to come.

Nevertheless the only way for you to live like that is when something has happened to you inwardly. Your outward life happens from the inside, where “the renewing by the Holy Spirit” has taken place. The renewing of the Holy Spirit means the renewing because of the Holy Spirit, the renewing that comes from Him and is worked by Him. Through this renewing work of the Holy Spirit you have received a new spiritual ability through which you are able to see and think in accordance with God (see Romans 12 (Rom 12:22And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect.), the only other place where the word ‘renewed’ is used). The Holy Spirit is the source of a completely new life, of totally new thoughts.

V66whom He poured out upon us richly through Jesus Christ our Savior,. There is not only mention of the work of the Spirit, but also of the gift of the Spirit. He has been given to you (Eph 1:1313In Him, you also, after listening to the message of truth, the gospel of your salvation—having also believed, you were sealed in Him with the Holy Spirit of promise,) and gives power to the new life, that this new life may be expressed. He works a daily renewal in you and also liberates you from the old life you lived. The outpouring of the Holy Spirit is a one-time event that has taken place on the day of Pentecost (Acts 2:3333Therefore having been exalted to the right hand of God, and having received from the Father the promise of the Holy Spirit, He has poured forth this which you both see and hear.; 1Cor 12:1313For by one Spirit we were all baptized into one body, whether Jews or Greeks, whether slaves or free, and we were all made to drink of one Spirit.). The Lord Jesus has received the promise of the Holy Spirit from the Father as a result of and because of His work, Whom He afterwards poured out. He did not do that scarcely, but “richly”.

Consider that: You are not only born of Him, but He works in you and is available to you. He dwells in you and abides in you and reveals everything to you what is yours in Christ. Because of the Holy Spirit you can richly enjoy the true life, the life in abundance (Jn 10:1010The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I came that they may have life, and have [it] abundantly.).

Now read Titus 3:1-6 again.

Reflection: What are the differences between the past and present in your life?


Heirs, Instructions and Greetings

7so that being justified by His grace we would be made heirs according to [the] hope of eternal life. 8This is a trustworthy statement; and concerning these things I want you to speak confidently, so that those who have believed God will be careful to engage in good deeds. These things are good and profitable for men. 9But avoid foolish controversies and genealogies and strife and disputes about the Law, for they are unprofitable and worthless. 10Reject a factious man after a first and second warning, 11knowing that such a man is perverted and is sinning, being self-condemned. 12When I send Artemas or Tychicus to you, make every effort to come to me at Nicopolis, for I have decided to spend the winter there. 13Diligently help Zenas the lawyer and Apollos on their way so that nothing is lacking for them. 14Our people must also learn to engage in good deeds to meet pressing needs, so that they will not be unfruitful. 15All who are with me greet you. Greet those who love us in [the] faith. Grace be with you all.

V77so that being justified by His grace we would be made heirs according to [the] hope of eternal life.. Now you get to learn about the purpose of salvation. God has saved you, that you could become ‘an heir’ “according to [the] hope of eternal life”. In the previous verses you have seen what God prepared to accomplish that. He appeared to you in His goodness and love towards man; He showed you mercy; He cleansed and renewed you. But there was still something else to happen to make you an heir, for as an heir you ought to be fully in accordance with the righteousness of God. As a true heir your ‘right’ to the inheritance is not to be questioned.

The Lord Jesus also took care of that through His work on the cross. He has perfectly fulfilled the right of God. Through faith in Him and His work for your sake God passes on His own righteousness to you (Rom 3:21-2221But now apart from the Law [the] righteousness of God has been manifested, being witnessed by the Law and the Prophets,22even [the] righteousness of God through faith in Jesus Christ for all those who believe; for there is no distinction;). You are a new creation in Christ. You have new life, a life from God. You are a child of God and therefore also an heir of God (Rom 8:1717and if children, heirs also, heirs of God and fellow heirs with Christ, if indeed we suffer with [Him] so that we may also be glorified with [Him].). God sees you in Christ Who became the righteousness of God for you (1Cor 1:3030But by His doing you are in Christ Jesus, who became to us wisdom from God, and righteousness and sanctification, and redemption,). It will be evident that you owe that justification only to God’s “grace” (Rom 3:2424being justified as a gift by His grace through the redemption which is in Christ Jesus;).

It is not mentioned here what the inheritance entails. That doesn’t mean that you do not know what the inheritance consists of. It is after all everything that Christ inherits, because we are His fellow heirs (Rom 8:1717and if children, heirs also, heirs of God and fellow heirs with Christ, if indeed we suffer with [Him] so that we may also be glorified with [Him].; Eph 3:66[to be specific], that the Gentiles are fellow heirs and fellow members of the body, and fellow partakers of the promise in Christ Jesus through the gospel,). Here the inheritance is related to ‘the hope of eternal life’. The word ‘hope’ doesn’t indicate insecurity, but focuses you on the future. You will enjoy the inheritance in the same way as you will enjoy eternal life in the time that sin cannot possibly exert its pernicious influence.

You and all believers will then be perfect and therefore the circumstances will also be perfect, without any chance for sin to penetrate again. The full result of the work of Christ will be seen and enjoyed in all His glory and through all eternity. And you may partake of that. That is quite an awesome perspective, isn’t it?

V88This is a trustworthy statement; and concerning these things I want you to speak confidently, so that those who have believed God will be careful to engage in good deeds. These things are good and profitable for men.. What Paul just said is an absolutely faithful word. You can count on it. But it must not stop with nice reflections. Titus must urge that the believers believe this word and should arrange their lives accordingly. Just pass on the things you just learnt to others who also believe in God, which means that they believe Him without questioning His Word. They may not all know this, but when you start to tell them about these things you will notice that they are encouraged and helped by it.

Just like you they will then focus themselves on “good works”, which means that they will carefully examine for themselves which good works they can do. They will work with deliberation. When you are occupied with good, honorable works you do not harm or burden other people, but on the contrary you are engaged with things that have a “good and profitable” effect for the people in your environment.

V99But avoid foolish controversies and genealogies and strife and disputes about the Law, for they are unprofitable and worthless.. Concentrating on good works prevents you from wasting time on things that are not good. You will avoid those things. Paul mentions some of those things. Titus must avoid “foolish disputes”, which are disputes that are useless and make no sense at all. He must also stay far away from figuring out and discussing about “genealogies”, because concerning that commentators came up with the wildest fantasies.

He must also not partake of the contentions and strivings on the law by the Jewish scribes to add all kinds of commands to it. All such empty rhetoric is without any sense and content. It produces nothing else than hot heads and cold hearts. He who mainly talks about outer things doesn’t understand much of the kindness and God’s love towards men.

V1010Reject a factious man after a first and second warning,. Among the people who produce such foolishness, “a factious man” can just expose himself. Therefore it is not surprising that in line with this, Paul gives Titus an instruction how he should deal with a divisive man. A divisive man can also be a false teacher (2Pet 2:11But false prophets also arose among the people, just as there will also be false teachers among you, who will secretly introduce destructive heresies, even denying the Master who bought them, bringing swift destruction upon themselves.), but not necessarily. The Pharisees were a divisive group or a sect (Acts 15:55But some of the sect of the Pharisees who had believed stood up, saying, “It is necessary to circumcise them and to direct them to observe the Law of Moses.”; 26:55since they have known about me for a long time, if they are willing to testify, that I lived [as] a Pharisee according to the strictest sect of our religion.). They made a controversial point of many things and excluded others who did not share their opinion. Still you could not say that they proclaimed a false doctrine. They were pure in doctrine, but they made additions to God’s Word, which caused it to be with no effect (Mt 15:66he is not to honor his father or his mother.’ And [by this] you invalidated the word of God for the sake of your tradition.).

A sect is a group of believers that distinguishes itself from other believers by putting an excessive emphasis on certain parts of the truth. In order to have fellowship with them they require that people embrace their concept about those parts of the truth. A sect comes to existence when the conditions to have fellowship are more than the Scripture requires. Nevertheless not everyone who belongs to a sect is a sectarian or divisive man, but the leaders of the group certainly are.

Then Paul tells Titus (and you also) how to deal with a divisive man. Note carefully that this is a personal letter and not a letter to a church. Therefore it is about a personal attitude towards a divisive man. There is also no mention of the command to ‘put away from yourselves’ (1Cor 5:13b13But those who are outside, God judges. Remove the wicked man from among yourselves.), but about ‘warning’ and ‘rejecting’. The moment a person exposes himself as divisive he must be admonished once or twice. Only when it becomes evident that the admonitions do not help, it can be determined that a person is a divisive person and then rejection should follow. Such a person persists in his deviation in such a way that further efforts to bring him to repentance will be in vain.

V1111knowing that such a man is perverted and is sinning, being self-condemned.. Titus must reject such a person, because he knows that that person “is warped and is sinning”. Further contact will be harmful to himself (1Cor 15:3333Do not be deceived: “Bad company corrupts good morals.”). Due to his stubborn attitude the divisive man is condemning himself without really being conscious of that.

V1212When I send Artemas or Tychicus to you, make every effort to come to me at Nicopolis, for I have decided to spend the winter there.. In a totally different tone Paul speaks about some fellow servants in his concluding words. He would love to have Titus to be with him. But Paul doesn’t want the believers at Crete to be without any leadership. Therefore he promises to send someone to replace Titus. He still doesn’t know whether to send Artemas or Tychicus. Of Artemas we do not know more than what is written here about him. He must have been a faithful fellow worker of Paul. Of Tychicus we know more (Acts 20:44And he was accompanied by Sopater of Berea, [the son] of Pyrrhus, and by Aristarchus and Secundus of the Thessalonians, and Gaius of Derbe, and Timothy, and Tychicus and Trophimus of Asia.; Eph 6:2121But that you also may know about my circumstances, how I am doing, Tychicus, the beloved brother and faithful minister in the Lord, will make everything known to you.; Col 4:77As to all my affairs, Tychicus, [our] beloved brother and faithful servant and fellow bond-servant in the Lord, will bring you information.; 2Tim 4:1212But Tychicus I have sent to Ephesus.). Only when the replacement has arrived Titus could travel to him in Nicopolis, where Paul decided to spend the winter. Then he will be able to continue his journey in spring in the company of Titus.

V1313Diligently help Zenas the lawyer and Apollos on their way so that nothing is lacking for them.. Artemas and Tychicus appear to be fellow workers of the apostle who are able to represent him elsewhere. That doesn’t apply to someone like Apollos. He determines for himself in dependence on the Lord what his order is and where he should go (cf. 1Cor 16:1212But concerning Apollos our brother, I encouraged him greatly to come to you with the brethren; and it was not at all [his] desire to come now, but he will come when he has opportunity.). It is a danger if you see something clearly for yourself, to determine that it applies also to others. That is not what Paul does. Zenas and Apollos will also come, but not sent by Paul, but by the Lord.

Paul is not jealous that others come to the area where he has worked, but on the contrary, he is happy about that. He sees no competition, but a supporting one another. Because Zenas has knowledge of the law he is able to respond to the Judaic false teachers. Apollos is mighty in the Scriptures (Acts 18:2424Now a Jew named Apollos, an Alexandrian by birth, an eloquent man, came to Ephesus; and he was mighty in the Scriptures.). Paul orders Titus to make sure that these two servants will have no lack of anything.

V1414Our people must also learn to engage in good deeds to meet pressing needs, so that they will not be unfruitful.. The believers at Crete can give their contribution to that. Titus must exhort them to focus on this kind of “good deeds”. Then they will not remain “unfruitful”. “Our people” are in a direct sense all believers at Crete and in the broadest sense all believers on earth. We are not to limit that to those who go ‘with us the same denominational way'.

You can learn to maintain good works. Are you also that eager to learn how to meet “pressing needs”? This exhortation becomes increasingly more topical, because we live in a world where people are building their lives for themselves alone more and more. This spirit also affects Christians more and more. That is to the detriment of lost sinners and needy believers.

V1515All who are with me greet you. Greet those who love us in [the] faith. Grace be with you all.. Paul concludes with conveying the greetings to Titus from all who are with him. Wherever he is he has fellowship with other believers. In his turn Titus must greet without distinction all believers at Crete, from Paul and from those who are with him. He presumes that all believers at Crete love him and all who are with him as believers. He wishes grace to all at Crete.

In that way he says goodbye. In that way also you and I may say goodbye to one another. We wish one another on our separate ways that grace will guide us and that we will be aware of that.

Now read Titus 3:7-15 again.

Reflection: What was Titus to avoid and what was he to cooperate with?