Titus 3

* Obedience to magistrates, and becoming behaviour towards all,

are enforced from what believers were before conversion, and

what they are made, through Christ. (1-7) Good works to be done,

and useless disputes avoided. (8-11) Directions and

exhortations. (12-15)

1-7 Spiritual privileges do not make void or weaken, but

confirm civil duties. Mere good words and good meanings are not

enough without good works. They were not to be quarrelsome, but

to show meekness on all occasions, not toward friends only, but

to all men, though with wisdom, #Jas 3:13|. And let this text

teach us how wrong it is for a Christian to be churlish to the

worst, weakest, and most abject. The servants of sin have many

masters, their lusts hurry them different ways; pride commands

one thing, covetousness another. Thus they are hateful,

deserving to be hated. It is the misery of sinners, that they

hate one another; and it is the duty and happiness of saints to

love one another. And we are delivered out of our miserable

condition, only by the mercy and free grace of God, the merit

and sufferings of Christ, and the working of his Spirit. God the

Father is God our Saviour. He is the fountain from which the

Holy Spirit flows, to teach, regenerate, and save his fallen

creatures; and this blessing comes to mankind through Christ.

The spring and rise of it, is the kindness and love of God to

man. Love and grace have, through the Spirit, great power to

change and turn the heart to God. Works must be in the saved,

but are not among the causes of their salvation. A new principle

of grace and holiness is wrought, which sways, and governs, and

makes the man a new creature. Most pretend they would have

heaven at last, yet they care not for holiness now; they would

have the end without the beginning. Here is the outward sign and

seal thereof in baptism, called therefore the washing of

regeneration. The work is inward and spiritual; this is

outwardly signified and sealed in this ordinance. Slight not

this outward sign and seal; yet rest not in the outward washing,

but look to the answer of a good conscience, without which the

outward washing will avail nothing. The worker therein is the

Spirit of God; it is the renewing of the Holy Ghost. Through him

we mortify sin, perform duty, walk in God's ways; all the

working of the Divine life in us, and the fruits of

righteousness 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 grace

and glory. Justification, in the gospel sense, is the free

forgiveness of a sinner; accepting him as righteous through the

righteousness of Christ received by faith. God, in justifying a

sinner in the way of the gospel, is gracious to him, yet just to

himself and his law. As forgiveness is through a perfect

righteousness, and satisfaction is made to justice by Christ, it

cannot be merited by the sinner himself. Eternal life is set

before us in the promise; the Spirit works faith in us, and hope

of that life; faith and hope bring it near, and fill with joy in

expectation of it.
8-11 When the grace of God towards mankind has been declared,

the necessity of good works is pressed. Those who believe in

God, must make it their care to maintain good works, to seek

opportunities for doing them, being influenced by love and

gratitude. Trifling, foolish questions must be avoided, and

subtle distinctions and vain inquiries; nor should people be

eager after novelties, but love sound doctrine which tends most

to edifying. Though we may now think some sins light and little,

if the Lord awaken the conscience, we shall feel even the

smallest sin heavy upon our souls.
12-15 Christianity is not a fruitless profession; and its

professors must be filled with the fruits of righteousness,

which are by Jesus Christ, to the glory and praise of God. They

must be doing good, as well as keeping away from evil. Let

"ours" follow some honest labour and employment, to provide for

themselves and their families. Christianity obliges all to seek

some honest work and calling, and therein to abide with God. The

apostle concludes with expressions of kind regard and fervent

prayer. Grace be with you all; the love and favour of God, with

the fruits and effects thereof, according to need; and the

increase and feeling of them more and more in your souls. This

is the apostle's wish and prayer, showing his affection to them,

and desire for their good, and would be a means of obtaining for

them, and bringing down on them, the thing requested. Grace is

the chief thing to be wished and prayed for, with respect to

ourselves or others; it is "all good."

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