Titus 3* Obedience to magistrates, and becoming behaviour towards all,are enforced from what believers were before conversion, andwhat they are made, through Christ. (1-7) Good works to be done,and useless disputes avoided. (8-11) Directions andexhortations. (12-15)1-7 Spiritual privileges do not make void or weaken, butconfirm civil duties. Mere good words and good meanings are notenough without good works. They were not to be quarrelsome, butto show meekness on all occasions, not toward friends only, butto all men, though with wisdom, #Jas 3:13|. And let this textteach us how wrong it is for a Christian to be churlish to theworst, weakest, and most abject. The servants of sin have manymasters, their lusts hurry them different ways; pride commandsone thing, covetousness another. Thus they are hateful,deserving to be hated. It is the misery of sinners, that theyhate one another; and it is the duty and happiness of saints tolove one another. And we are delivered out of our miserablecondition, only by the mercy and free grace of God, the meritand sufferings of Christ, and the working of his Spirit. God theFather is God our Saviour. He is the fountain from which theHoly Spirit flows, to teach, regenerate, and save his fallencreatures; and this blessing comes to mankind through Christ.The spring and rise of it, is the kindness and love of God toman. Love and grace have, through the Spirit, great power tochange and turn the heart to God. Works must be in the saved,but are not among the causes of their salvation. A new principleof grace and holiness is wrought, which sways, and governs, andmakes the man a new creature. Most pretend they would haveheaven at last, yet they care not for holiness now; they wouldhave the end without the beginning. Here is the outward sign andseal thereof in baptism, called therefore the washing ofregeneration. The work is inward and spiritual; this isoutwardly signified and sealed in this ordinance. Slight notthis outward sign and seal; yet rest not in the outward washing,but look to the answer of a good conscience, without which theoutward washing will avail nothing. The worker therein is theSpirit of God; it is the renewing of the Holy Ghost. Through himwe mortify sin, perform duty, walk in God's ways; all theworking of the Divine life in us, and the fruits ofrighteousness without, are through this blessed and holy Spirit.The Spirit and his saving gifts and graces, come through Christ,as a Saviour, whose undertaking and work are to bring to graceand glory. Justification, in the gospel sense, is the freeforgiveness of a sinner; accepting him as righteous through therighteousness of Christ received by faith. God, in justifying asinner in the way of the gospel, is gracious to him, yet just tohimself and his law. As forgiveness is through a perfectrighteousness, and satisfaction is made to justice by Christ, itcannot be merited by the sinner himself. Eternal life is setbefore us in the promise; the Spirit works faith in us, and hopeof that life; faith and hope bring it near, and fill with joy inexpectation of it. 8-11 When the grace of God towards mankind has been declared,the necessity of good works is pressed. Those who believe inGod, must make it their care to maintain good works, to seekopportunities for doing them, being influenced by love andgratitude. Trifling, foolish questions must be avoided, andsubtle distinctions and vain inquiries; nor should people beeager after novelties, but love sound doctrine which tends mostto edifying. Though we may now think some sins light and little,if the Lord awaken the conscience, we shall feel even thesmallest sin heavy upon our souls. 12-15 Christianity is not a fruitless profession; and itsprofessors must be filled with the fruits of righteousness,which are by Jesus Christ, to the glory and praise of God. Theymust be doing good, as well as keeping away from evil. Let"ours" follow some honest labour and employment, to provide forthemselves and their families. Christianity obliges all to seeksome honest work and calling, and therein to abide with God. Theapostle concludes with expressions of kind regard and ferventprayer. Grace be with you all; the love and favour of God, withthe fruits and effects thereof, according to need; and theincrease and feeling of them more and more in your souls. Thisis the apostle's wish and prayer, showing his affection to them,and desire for their good, and would be a means of obtaining forthem, and bringing down on them, the thing requested. Grace isthe chief thing to be wished and prayed for, with respect toourselves or others; it is "all good."
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