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PAUL AND THE RETURN OF CHRIST
CONTRAST WITH TIMOTHY
NOTE. For more details see, McGee, Titus. This study is taken from that book with modifications. The study is also available online in audio at: Titus.
DATE A.D. 64-67
Apparently, Paul and Titus had been together in a ministry on the island of Crete (See Titus 1.5). We don’t know how long they had been there. Paul did not think much of the people who lived on Crete, as this epistle makes clear. Paul, after he left the island, wrote Titus giving him instructions about what he was to do as a young preacher in Crete.
Acts does not mention the ministry on Crete. Acts contains a very small record of the early churches, and only the ministries of Peter and Paul are emphasized. We do not have a complete record of these men’s ministries, but we have all the record that the Holy Spirit felt necessary to give us.
PAUL AND THE RETURN OF CHRIST
In 1 and 2 Thessalonians written earlier in Paul’s ministy, Paul’s great emphasis is on the coming of Christ—it is a bright and beautiful hope for him. Titus was written at the end of the ministry of the Apostle Paul, and he wrote: “Looking for that blessed hope, and the glorious appearing of the great God and our Saviour Jesus Christ” (Titus 2:13). Paul had not lost the blessed hope that he had earlier in his ministry.
CONTRAST WITH TIMOTHY
Paul led Timothy and Titus, two young preachers, to the Lord. He calls both sons, his genuine sons.
Paul wrote them both. We have two epistles to Timothy and one to Titus. These epistles are called pastoral epistles because in them Paul gives instruction to these young preachers concerning the local church. These epistles are very brief, yet they do give the essential modus operandi for a church. They impress upon us that if there is a need in a church, it is a spiritual need.
Titus appears to have been a stronger man, both physically and spiritually. Paul expresses less concern for Titus’ welfare than he did for Timothy’s. Titus was probably more mature, and he possessed a virile personality.
Timothy was a Jew who was circumcised by Paul (Acts 16.1-3), but Titus was a Gentile, and Paul refused to circumcise him (Galatians 2.1-3). What rule can one draw from this: “For in Christ Jesus neither circumcision availeth any thing, nor uncircumcision, but a new creature” (Galatians 6:15).
Paul said that he wanted to be all things to all men that he might win some to Christ—to the Jew he wanted to be a Jew, and to the Gentile he wanted to be as a Gentile. He had Timothy circumcised because they were going into the synagogues. But in that great council of the church in Jerusalem, the gospel was at stake, and Paul would not permit one bit of legalism to slip in (See Acts 15); therefore, he refused to let Titus be circumcised.
It is a dangerous thing to put down a series of little rules that are nothing in the world but a ritual whereby you attempt to live the Christian life. Unless you have a personal relationship with Jesus Christ, all else comes absolutely to nought.
In the epistle to Titus we have a fine picture of the New Testament church in its full-orbed realization in the community as an organization. Does your church call itself a New Testament church? If so, have you ever had anyone drop dead? In the early church, Ananias and Sapphira dropped dead because they had lied to the Holy Spirit (See Acts 5). Dr. McGee thinks that if this principle were operating today, the average church would need to be turned into a hospital or even a mortuary!
The ideal church, according to this epistle, (1) has an orderly (spiritual) organization, (2) is sound in doctrine, and (3) is pure in life, ready to every good work. In Timothy, the emphasis was upon the need for sound teaching in the church. In Titus, the emphasis is upon the importance of God’s Order for the conduct of the churches. Titus 1.5 is the key to the epistle: “For this cause left I thee in Crete, that thou shouldest set in order the things that are wanting, and ordain elders in every city, as I had appointed thee:”
In chapter 1, Paul says that a church is to be an orderly organization (Titus 1.5). In chapter 2, he emphasizes that a church is to teach and preach the Word of God. “But speak thou the things which become sound doctrine” (Titus 2:1). He says that a church must be doctrinally sound in the faith. In chapter 3 we see that a church is to perform good works. ”Put them in mind to be subject to principalities and powers, to obey magistrates, to be ready to every good work” (Titus 3:1). In other words, a church is saved by grace, is to live by grace, and is to demonstrate her faith to the world by her good works.
Dr. McGee says that it would be very difficult today to find a church that is using all three of these prongs, that is stressing all three of these tremendous emphases. Sometimes you don’t find much order in a church because a few officers (or one officer) are or is trying to do everything or micromanage everything. Such a church is in real trouble. New Testament Scriptures teach that a church is a spiritual organism, and that each member is a part of the spiritual body which is the local, autonomous, church (See, e.g., Epheisans 4, and 1 Corinthians 12). Each member has gifts which are to contribute to the functioning of the body. For example:
- “And he gave some, apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers; For the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ: Till we all come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ: That we henceforth be no more children, tossed to and fro, and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the sleight of men, and cunning craftiness, whereby they lie in wait to deceive; But speaking the truth in love, may grow up into him in all things, which is the head, even Christ: From whom the whole body fitly joined together and compacted by that which every joint supplieth, according to the effectual working in the measure of every part, maketh increase of the body unto the edifying of itself in love” (Ephesians 4:11-16 ).
The goal of a church is not the glory of a man or certain men. The goal is the glory of God. Of course, churches are to honor the members:
- “But now hath God set the members every one of them in the body, as it hath pleased him. And if they were all one member, where were the body? But now are they many members, yet but one body. And the eye cannot say unto the hand, I have no need of thee: nor again the head to the feet, I have no need of you. Nay, much more those members of the body, which seem to be more feeble, are necessary: And those members of the body, which we think to be less honourable, upon these we bestow more abundant honour; and our uncomely parts have more abundant comeliness. For our comely parts have no need: but God hath tempered the body together, having given more abundant honour to that part which lacked: That there should be no schism in the body; but that the members should have the same care one for another. And whether one member suffer, all the members suffer with it; or one member be honoured, all the members rejoice with it. Now ye are the body of Christ, and members in particular.” (1 Corinthians 12.18-27).
Second, in many churches you will find that there is no emphasis at all upon sound doctrine. Thus, Dr. McGee always stressed to young pastors that they should not focus on building a church or building an empire of any kind. He told them just to teach and give out the Word of God. Rather than build an earthly organization—that is a lot of buildings—they should build the spiritual knowledge and lives of the members. Whatever organization they have built in a church may be wrecked by others later on after thy have left. That will be a real heartbreak to a pastor unless he had before him the goal of building into the spiritual lives of men and women. That should be the emphasis of a church.
I would add that it is very important for a church to remain a spiritual entity only, not a worldly organization. Attorney Al Cunningham and Dr. Greg Dixon led the way in showing churches how to do this. Many churches have followed their guidelines, but many more have rejected them:
- “For every one that doeth evil hateth the light, neither cometh to the light, lest his deeds should be reproved. But he that doeth truth cometh to the light, that his deeds may be made manifest, that they are wrought in God” (John 3:20-21).
Finally, a church should be ready for every good work. A church should be engaged in good works. Many churches are so concerned with getting the money to carry on their programs (or an agenda or agendas which may or may not be consistent with all New Testament Church Docrtrine) that they become more interested in getting people to give than in helping those people grow spiritually for the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, and for the edification of the body. A lot of folk outside the churches need help—not just spiritual, but also physical. Many churches are carrying on a work of helping people, many are not. We can go and sit down and talk with lonely people like this, which is a much needed ministry today.
Liberalism has attempted to emphasize the third chapter of Titus, forgetting the two chapters on order and doctrine. Until a church has all aspects that Paul has outlined, it has no claim to be called “a New Testament church.”
I. A Church is an Organization, Chapter 1
A. Introduction, vv1-4
B. An Orderly Church Must Have Ordained Elders Who Meet Prescribed Requirements, vv5-9
C. The Bad Reputation of the Cretans vv10-16
II. A Church is to Teach and Preach the Word of God, Chapter 2
A. A Church Must Teach Sound Doctrine, vv1-10
B. A Church Must Preach the Grace of God, vv11-15
III. A Church is to Perform Good Works, Chapter 3
A. Good Works are an Evidence of Salvation, vv1-7
B. Good Works are Profitable for the Present and Future, vv8-15
(A church is an organization)
v1 Paul was a servant, a “bond slave” of God. We know from the Old Testament that a bond slave was one who chose to remain a slave of his master for life. “An apostle of Jesus Christ.” Paul was defending his apostleship because he is going to give instructions to the churches. These instructions come from an apostle, the appointed writer of the Lord Jesus who was now communicating with His church through His apostles. Paul’s epistles are communication from the Lord Jesus through the apostle Paul.
“According to the faith of God’s elect.” Paul does not say “for the faith”–in other words, according to the norm or standard of faith which is set for God’s elect today. Whether you are saved or not does rest on what you believe. Tell me what you think of Jesus Christ; tell me what you believe about His death on the cross and what it means to you; tell me what you believe about His resurrection and what it means to you; tell me whether you believe the Bible to be the Word of God. With this information I think I can deduce whether you are a child of God or not.
“God’s elect”–This is the way Paul speaks of saved people. He is not discussing the doctrine of election at all.
“According to the acknowledging of the truth which is after godliness.” My friend, if the truth that you have does not lead to a godly life, there is something radically wrong with your faith. Truth will lead to godliness, and if it doesn’t lead to godliness, it is not truth, my friend. Paul will dwell on this theme because the people on the island of Crete were abusing the grace of God. They said that if they had been saved by grace, they were free to live in sin if they wanted to. Paul answers that right here in this first verse by saying that when the truth of God is believed it will lead to godliness. Grace saves us, but it also lays down certain disciplines for our lives and calls us to live on a high plane. If you think that you can be saved by grace and live in sin – may I (i.e., Dr. McGee) say this kindly but I must say it – you are not saved by grace; you are not saved at all. Salvation by grace leads to a godly life.
v2 “In hope of eternal life.” In Titus, Paul speaks of grace in 3 time zones. In Titus 2.11-13, we see all three. “For the grace of God that bringeth salvation” – that is past; “teaching us” – that is present; and “looking for that blessed hope” – that is future.
“Which God that cannot lie.” This hope was promised by a God who cannot lie. Romans 3:4: “God forbid: yea, let God be true, but every man a liar….” Sometimes believers almost make God out a liar. We say we believe, but we act like we don’t believe.
Dr. McGee has wanted to preach a sermon on what God cannot do. He cannot lie. He cannot, like you and me, see His equal. Why cannot God lie? Because He must be true to Himself. His nature is one of holiness and righteousness and He cannot do certain things because of His nature. He is righteous, just, and He never deceives. He is the one you can depend upon.
“Promised before the world began”- this promise was made back in eternity.
v3 “In due times” means in His own seasons. God moves in a very orderly manner. God made the peach tree to bud in the spring, and it won’t bud when the first snow falls.
“Hath in due times manifested His word through preaching.” Through heralding or trumpeting. A trumpet was used to make a proclamation. The trumpet was blown and the proclamation was made. “According to the commandment of God our Savior.” Jesus Christ was God.
v4 Here, Paul makes clear that Titus was his spiritual son. Paul had led Titus to the Lord. “After the common faith.” This is the faith that is shared by all believers, a living faith in the Lord Jesus Christ.
The grace of God has appeared, and therefore, God extends mercy to us today. I am grateful that He doesn’t deal with me according to my orneriness and disobedience. He has simply been good to me. Grace, mercy, and peace are all “from God the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ our Saviour.”
AN ORDERLY CHURCH MUST HAVE ORDAINED ELDERS WHO MEET THE PRESCRIBED REQUIREMENTS (vv5-9)
I will summarize Dr. McGee’s teaching on this portion of Scripture, with comments from some others.
v5 Paul had left Titus in Crete to organize local churches with elders as spiritual leaders. There was a great deal of mythology and tradition connected with this island, and with all Greek islands. According to their tradition, Minos was the first to give laws to the Cretans. He conquered the Aegean pirates who were there, and he established a navy. After the Trojan War, the principle cities of the island formed themselves into several mostly independent republics. Crete was annexed to the Roman Empire in 67 B.C. There were now churches in the three chief cities of Crete. We have no record of Paul going there. From the information given in this little epistle, we are led to believe that he was there and left Titus to organize the churches which were founded by him and Titus.
Crete was evidently a pretty bad place, and the people were not very good. Paul says that they were liars, and they were noted for being liars in that day. Even one of their own poets wrote, “Crete, which a hundred cities doth maintain, cannot deny this, though to lying given.”
Paul will also have other uncomplimentary things to say about them, but man of them turned to the Lord, and Paul tells Titus to organize their churches.
“Set in order the things that are wanting and ordain elders in every city.” The gift of an elder is a gift of men to the church. Putting your hand on the head of some men and going through a little ritual will not make them elders. But Dr. McGee believes that it is important to do that with men who do have the gift of elders. There were men so qualified in the churches in Crete, but they had never been ordained. or set aside. They were men who had a gift of supervision of he churches and were exercising that gift without an authority. Titus is to “ordain elders” – appoint them, set them aside – “in every city.”
“As I had appointed thee.” A man who holds the office of elder should have the gift of an elder. Certain men are made officers in the church who have no gift for it at all. That is half of our problem in many churches today, and the other half is that there are good men who have the gift and are not made officers in the church. As a result, some of our churches get in the hands of the wrong folk and all sorts of problems arise.
C.I. Schofield, in footnotes to v5 stated:
- “It is not at all a question of the presence in the assembly of persons having the qualifications of elders, made overseers by the Holy Spirit (Acts 20:28); that such persons were in the churches of Crete is assumed; the question is altogether one of the appointment of such persons. These assemblies were not destitute of elders; but were “wanting,” in that they were not duly appointed. There is a progress of doctrine in respect of the appointing of elders. Cf. v. 5, note.”
- Elder (presbuteros) and bishop (episcopos = “overseer”) designate the same office (cf Titus 1:7; Ac 20:17,28), the former referring to the man, the latter to a function of the office. The eldership in the apostolic local churches was always plural. There is no instance of one elder in a local church. The functions of the elders are: to rule (1 Tim. 3:4-5; 5:17), to guard the body of revealed truth from perversion and error (Tit. 1:9), to “oversee” the church as a shepherd his flock (Acts 20:28; John 21:16; Heb. 13:17; 1 Pet. 5:2). Elders are made or “set” in the churches by the Holy Spirit (Acts 20:28), but great stress is laid upon their due appointment (Acts 14:23; Tit. 1:5). At first they were ordained (Gr. “cheirotoneo,” “to elect,” “to designate with the hand,”) by an apostle; e.g. Acts 14:23, but in Titus and 1 Timothy the qualifications of an elder become part of the Scriptures for the guidance of the churches in such appointment. (1 Tim. 3:1-7).
- Elders. Gr., Presbyters. See the word explained Cmt. on Acts 14:23. These elders, or presbyters, were also called bishops (comp. Cmt. on 1Ti 3:1), for Paul immediately, in describing their qualifications, calls them bishops– “ordain elders in every city–if any be blameless –FOR a bishop must be blameless,” etc. If the elders and bishops in the times of the apostles were of different ranks, this direction would be wholly unmeaning. It would be the same as if the following directions were given to one who was authorized to appoint officers over an army: “Appoint captains over each company, who shall be of good character, and acquainted with military tactics, for a brigadier-General must be of good character, and acquainted with the rules of war.” –That the same rank is denoted also by the terms presbyter and bishop here, is further apparent because the qualifications which Paul states as requisite for the “bishop” are not those which pertain to a prelate or a diocesan bishop, but to one who was a pastor of a church, or an evangelist. It is clear, from Tit 1:7, that those whom Titus was to appoint were “bishops;” and yet it is absurd to suppose that the apostle meant prelatical bishops, for no one can believe that such bishops were to be appointed in “every city” of the island. According to all modern notions of Episcopacy, one such bishop would have been enough for such an island as Crete, and indeed it has been not unfrequently maintained that Titus himself was in fact the bishop of that diocese. But if these were not prelates who were to be ordained by Titus, then it is clear that the term “bishop” in the New Testament is given to the Presbyters or elders; that is, to all ministers of the gospel. That usage should never have been departed from.
- In every city. Crete was anciently celebrated for the number of its cities. In one passage, Homer ascribes to the island an hundred cities, (Il ii. 649 😉 in another, ninety (Od. xix. 174.) It may be presumed that many of these cities were towns of no very considerable size, and yet it would seem probable that each one was large enough to have a church, and to maintain the gospel. Paul, doubtless, expected that Titus would travel over the whole island, and endeavour to introduce the gospel in every important place.
- 2. To ordain elders in every city, such as might govern and teach, and administer to God in holy things; wherever a church is planted, there is an absolute necessity of a settled ministry, and a succession of ministers, without which it is impossible that religion should either prosper or long continue: and care must be taken that such ministers be duly qualified, and regularly ordained. I left thee in Crete to ordain elders.
- Observe, 3. The limitation of these acts, according to the apostle’s prescription, As I had appointed thee. Titus must do nothing but according to commission, and by special direction.
- Where note, That the ordering and governing of the church was not left arbitrary, no, not to Titus himself; but whatever he did, was done by apostolical direction: For this cause I left thee in Crete, that thou shouldest ordain elders in every city, as I appointed thee.
- Ordain elders in every city – That thou mightest appoint, καταστησης , elders – persons well instructed in Divine things, who should be able to instruct others, and observe and enforce the discipline of the Church. It appears that those who are called elders in this place are the same as those termed bishops in Tit 1:7. We have many proofs that bishops and elders were of the same order in the apostolic Church, though afterwards they became distinct. Lord Peter King, in his view of the primitive Church, has written well on this subject.
[Back to Dr. McGee’s teaching] Now Paul gives some requirements of the men who are to hold this office:
v6 “If any be blameless” does not mean that he must be perfect, without sin. It does mean that any accusation that is brought against him must not be found to be true. His life must be above reproach.
If an officer of a church can accurately be accused of dishonesty, or if someone can say that his speech does not reflect a dedication to Christ, the cause of Christ is hurt and that man should not be an officer of a church.
“The husband of one wife, having faithful children.” “Faithful children” means believing children. If a man cannot lead his children to the Lord, he ought not to be an officer in the church. A man may be a wonderful, godly man who has a wonderful Christian home, but his son or daughter gives no evidence of salvation, but he should not be an officer in the church. As an officer in the church, he might be called upon to make a judgment about someone else. They in turn could point their finger and say, “What about you? What about your son, your daughter? What right do you have to talk to me?” An officer in a church, for the cause of Christ, for the sake of the office, must have believing children.
“Not accused of riot or unruly.” “Of riot” could be translated of profligacy. They are not to be out in a protest movement. They should be concerned with living a life glorifying to the Lord Jesus and with getting out His Word. The apostles and early Christians preached in public, but were not riotous or unruly.
v7 A bishop (or elder) must not be “selfwilled” for he is a steward of God as well as a representative of the people. He is in the church to find and do God’s work. “Not soon angry,” touchy. “Not given to filthy lucre,” not covetous.
Elder and bishop were synonymous terms. “Elder” refers to the individual, and he was to be mature physically and spiritually. A “bishop” was an overseer, he ruled the church. Therefore, the word has reference to the office. But never was a church to have only one man made bishop or presbyter. There were always several.
There has been some disagreements on whether there were elders already in the churches in Crete and Titus was to ordain them, or whether there were none and Titus was to now appoint some. If the latter was the case (which Dr. McGee does not think it was), the Dr. MeGee feels that the churches would have had to agree upon the men Titus appointed. However, that is not the main issue, and it should not be the issue in churches today. Paul’s emphasis is upon a man’s personal requirements to hold such a position in the church.
v8 More requirements given.
v9 An officer should do 2 things: (1) He should be able to exhort, that is, to teach the Word of God. (2) He must be able to confute or refute the heretics. Dr. McGee feels that men who hold office in a church should be Bible-trained men. Paul told Timothy to “lay hands suddenly on no man” (1 Ti. 5.22). You are not to have a man converted one night, ask him to give his testimony the next night, make him an officer of the church on the third night, and evangelist on the fourth, and the pastor on the fifth! We sometimes do things like that today, and it is very unfortunate for the church who does it.
THE BAD REPUTATION OF THE CRETANS (vv10-16)
We are all sinners, but these Cretans had a particularly bad reputation. I will include only a few remarks about these verses which are self-explanatory.
v10 Paul is condemning constant chattering with nothing but empty words, and those who are seeking to contradict his teaching.
v11 They were subverting whole houses (whole families), a various serious infraction. Wherever the Word of God is sown, the devil gets in.
v12 “Evil beasts” means rude and cruel. Paul is quoting a Cretan poet, Epimenides, who was born on Crete in 659 B.C.
v13 Titus is goint to have to be a little more strict with the Cretans than he would with others because of their background and their very nature.
v14 “Nor giving heed to Jewish fables.” This refers not just to legalism, but also to a great deal of writing that grew up around the Mosaic law, including the Talmud and much more. There are some pretty wild tales in them.
“Commandments of men that turn from the truth.” The Lord Jesus rebuked the religious leaders for adding traditions to God’s law, and that is what Paul is talking about here. The teaching of legalism is in two phases – one is that you are saved by the law. Both of these teachings are very dangerous. We are saved by the grace of God, and are actually called to live on a higher plane that that of the Ten Commandments. Those who are saved by the grace of God are given instructions for living that is on an even higher plane than that.
v15 This verse is used by folk who say that if we are saved by grace, it does not matter how we live; that is, if we are saved, we are pure and can live in any way we like. Certain cults have developed this teaching, saying they can live in sin (they don’t call it sin – it’s not sin for them) because “unto the pure all things are pure.”
What Paul is talking about has nothing to do with moral issues at all. He is speaking to this issue of legalism and the eating of meats. The teaching of many legalistic cults often includes a very unusual diet. Put Paul says, “Unto the pure all things are pure.” In other words, whether you eat meat or don’t eat meat makes no difference at all. All food is clean. If you want to eat rattlesnake meat, that is your business; it’s my business to keep away from it if I can!
If you are an unbeliever, any special diet you might concoct will make no difference in your relationship to God – it will not save you. You can eat all the vegetables you want, but if you are not right with God, they will not make you pure. The Lord Jesus said that it is not the thing that goes into a man that defiles him, but what comes out of him (Matthew 15.18-20).
v16 “They profess to know God, but in works they deny him.” Like the man who carried the biggest Bible in the church and everyone believed to be very pious. But outside the church he had the reputation of being dishonest. He really did not believe his Bible, as his life showed! One can deny the Bible and God by the life you live.
“Being abominable, and disobedient, and unto every good work reprobate.” Ceremonies and rituals cannot change the evil heart of a man. Only the Word of God can change the human heart. When the heart is changed, the life will reveal the change. Paul and James were never in disagreement. They both said that faith without works is dead. Saving faith produces a godly life.
(A church is to preach and teach the Word of God)
A CHURCH MUST TEACH SOUND DOCTRINE
A church must teach sound doctrine or it is not a church. Dr. McGee has written a little book entitled The Spiritual Fingerprints of the Visible Church in which he goes back to the Day of Pentecost where we are told that those who were added to the church on that day “continued steadfastly in the apostles’ doctrine and fellowship, and in breaking of bread, and in prayers” (Acts 2.42). These were the identification marks of the early church: the apostles’ doctrine, fellowship, breaking of bread, and prayer. It really doesn’t matter how high the steeple may be or how beautifully the chimes may play, it is the message that is going out from the pulpit which will tell you whether a church is really a church, organized as Paul understood it and as the Word of God declares it.
In the first chapter, we found that the elders whom Titus was to ordain were to be able to do two things: to exhort, and to refute or confute the heretics. Dr. McGee says that it is important not to spend your entire ministry refuting everybody. There are some men who have what Dr. McGee calls a negative ministry – all they do is attack the enemies of the gospel. That is important, but he believes we all need a balanced ministry. An elder should be able to exhort from the Word of God as well as be able to answer a heretic. In this second chapter, Paul’s emphasis will be upon the teaching of the Word of God.
v1 Paul tells Timothy what to teach the aged men and women and slaves in the next few verses. “Sound doctrine” means the apostles’ doctrine. This doctrine is the number 1 thing of importance to a church. What we read in these epistles is part of the apostles’ doctrine.
Paul first has a message for the senior citizen who is male and the senior citizen who is female.
Titus 2:2 “That the aged men be sober, grave, temperate, sound in faith, in charity, in patience.” “Sober” means very vigilant, very serious. They should be men who are respected and who have self-control. I, as a senior citizen, need to work on these things.
v3 deals with the aged women. “In behaviour as becometh holiness.” They are to be reverant. “No false accusers.” Not gossips, and “not given to much wine.” The older women are to teach the younger women. See verses 3-5. “Keepers at home.” The home is not a playpen; it is a serious responsibility to be a wife and to care for children in the home. Paul would obviously not have approved of the women’s lib movement – it is wrong. Women like to be treated like women. The ladies want to get on the elevator first. Gentlement want to let them on first. Women really do not want to be ditch diggers. The most important business in the world is making a home. “Good” means kindly.
“Obedient to their own husbands.” The wife is to respond to her husband. He is the aggressor and she is to respond to him. He is also the leader. The wife will more readily respond to and follow a husband who will tell her and show her that he loves her.
v6 The preacher, Titus here, is to teach the young men.
v7 Titus, the preacher, is told to be a pattern for the other young men. “In doctrine shewing uncorruptness”that is, in his teaching, he is to show the complete faith in the Word of God and appreciate the seriousness of the matters he is dealing with.
v8 Your conversation should reveal the fact that you are a child of God. Titus 2:8 “Sound speech, that cannot be condemned; that he that is of the contrary part may be ashamed, having no evil thing to say of you.”
v9-10 In the early church, there were many slaves. In fact, 90% of the names on the walls of the catacombs are those of slaves or ex-slaves. The gospel met a great need for this class of people in that day. Titus 2:9-10 “9 Exhort servants to be obedient unto their own masters, and to please them well in all things; not answering again; 10 Not purloining, but shewing all good fidelity; that they may adorn the doctrine of God our Saviour in all things.”
THE CHURCH MUST PREACH THE GRACE OF GOD (vv 11-15)
Paul interrupts these admonitions to put a doctrinal foundation under the lives of these people. He puts it in past, present and future. I believe that the grace of God speaks to all men (v11) about these matters. The grace of God teaches every person that he/she should deny ungodliness and worldly lusts and live soberly, righteously, and godly in this present world (v12). God’s grace puts the believer on a solid foundation. The gospel is good news, it is the power of God unto salvation.
Paul is enjoining Titus, the preacher, to demand of the Cretans that they live lives that adorn the gospel, for it is the power of God. The grace of God “hath appeared” – it has shined forth. God does not save one by His love and He does not save one by his mercy. One is saved by God’s grace (Ep. 2.8). Mercy is the compassion of God that prompted Him to send a Saviour to mankind. If one man could be saved by the mercy of God, all mankind would be saved. It would not have been necessary for Christ to die; the cross would have been circumvented. Love is the divine motive, but God is not only love. He is righteous, holy, and just. The holy demands of God, His just claims, and His righteous standard had to be met. The immutable law of justice makes love powerless to save. Therefore, Christ, by dying for our sins, met the holy demands of God’s justice, and He can now save by grace. When we were guilty, Christ paid the penalty. Grace is not complicated or implicated with human effort. God does not ask your cooperation. He does not ask for your conduct or your character in order to save you. God only asks men to believe Him, to trust Him, and to accept Christ as their Savior. Tod’s way is the best way, and it is the only way.
My pastor tells the story of talking to a man who was a sodomite about the Lord. The man knew that, to turn to God meant turning from his sinful behaviors with the other man. He told pastor that without pastor explaining it to him. Likewise it was with me. I did not turn to the Lord for a long time because I did not want to turn from my sin. With time, I began to understand that my sin was a one-way road to destruction. I turned to God and put my faith in the Lord Jesus Christ to save me from my sin. He made a new creature of me at that moment.
I have also talked with lesbians and other sinners who knew that to turn to God they had to turn from their sin. One cannot turn to God without turning his back on his sin. Once one turns to God and puts his faith in the Lord Jesus Christ to save him from his sin, the grace of God saves him.
For the believer, eternal salvation is in the past. After salvation, the grace of God begins to teach us and to empower us, as new creatures, to deny “ungodliness and worldly lusts” and to live “soberly, righteously, and godly, in this present world.” That is the present state of all believers who are still on this earth. They are being saved from the power of sin over them. God saves the believer for eternity (past) and presently (this is the sanctification which occurs in his earthly life after salvation).
God is not trying to reform this world; He is redeeming men who turn to God and trust Christ to save them from their sin. The gospel does not appeal to Christ rejecting men to do better. When a person says, “I am going to try to do better,” I (Dr. McGee) think he is a liar. If you have not turned to God and put your faith in Jesus Christ, you might as well try to get all you can out of this life, because this life is all that you are going to get. You might as well eat, drink, and be merry, for tomorrow you will die. God does not want to reform you, he wants to regenerate you.
Then, there is the future salvation which determines a believer’s present motivation and course of action.
“Looking for that blessed hope” – this is the next happening in the program of God. In the future believers will be like the Lord Jesus, that is totally without sin (1 Jn 3.2). Titus 2:13-14: “Looking for that blessed hope, and the glorious appearing of the great God and our Saviour Jesus Christ; Who gave himself for us, that he might redeem us from all iniquity, and purify unto himself a peculiar people, zealous of good works.” As we learn in 1 Thessalonians, that hope is an inspiring hope (1 Thes. 1), a working hope (1 Thes. 2), a purifying hope (1 Thes. 3.1-4.12), a comforting hope (1 Thes. 4.13-18), and a rousing hope (1 Thes. 5). That hope is assured for all believers.
Paul clearly says in verse 13, as in other places in his epistles, that Jesus Christ is God. He gave Himself for us that He might redeem us “from all iniquity” and “purify unto himself a peculiar people zealous of good works.”
v15 To the young preacher, Titus, and all young preachers called of God, Paul concludes this segment of this epistle: “These things speak, and exhort, and rebuke with all authority. Let no man despise thee” (Tit. 2.15).
(A church is to perform good works)
We learn in this chapter that to be all that God wants for a church, a church is to perform good works.
GOOD WORKS ARE AN EVIDENCE OF SALVATION
v1 The first thing he mentions here is the fact that a church must have members who are law abiding. A believer should obey the law of the land unless those laws conflict or contradict his duty and relationship to God.
A believer should, for example, respect the office a police officer represents. He represents the segment of our society that protects our persons and our property. Without them, we would be in a bad way today.
This verse also raises the question of whether a Christian should go into politics. Dr. McGee believes as I do, that the individual Christian is free to go into politics, but does not believe that a church should go into politics.
A good example is the Wesleyan movement in England. Wesley never tried to straighten out the king of England, or the church of England. He just went out and preached the Word of God. Men were converted, and some became great philanthropists and abolitionists. They were men who had been gamblers and drunkards, with no concern for the poor, until they cam to know Christ. These men started the great labor movement associated with the Weslyan revival in England, which was the beginning of the movement against child labor and the protection of workmen on the job. We need individuals who will enter the government and take social action, but a church is not called upon to go into politics.
“To be ready to every good work.” A church is to instruct individuals to be eager, to be anxious, and to learn to perform good works.
v2 Gives a negative side to the exhortation. “To speak evil of no man, to be no brawlers, but gentle, shewing all meekness unto all men.” Not to gossip, not to malign anyone. However, if a church has solid evidence that a member is doing something evil, that member should be named. Paul named certain men who were evil men: Phygellus and Hermogenes, Hymenaeus and Philetus, and Alexander the coppersmith. Then he also said that Demas ahd forsaken him, having loved this present world.
v3 is a picture of the unsaved today, a picture of you and me before we knew Christ. We were foolish, disobedient, deceived, serving divers lusts and pleasures, living in malice and envy, hateful, and hating one another. This was a picture of the lost world. In some churches, one will see a pretense of loving, but under it there is envying and hating and gossiping. You can find churches divided into little cliques and groups, they they boast about how sound they are in the faith. This is a disgrace to the cause of Christ.
vv4, 5 “Not by works of righteousness which we have done.” Becoming a Christian does not mean just turning over a new leaf – you will find yourself writing on the new leaf the same things you wrote on the old leaf. Nor are you saved on the basis of works or righteousness, good deeds, which you have done. “But according to his mercy he saved us.” Because Christ died for us and paid the penalty for our sins, God is prepared to extend mercy to us; it is according to His mercy that He saved us. And He is rich in mercy, which means he has plenty of it.
Titus 3:5: “Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to his mercy he saved us, by the washing of regeneration, and renewing of the Holy Ghost.”
Regenerate means “to generate or produce anew; to reproduce;” or “to change the heart and affections from natural enmity to the love of God; to implant holy affections.”
“By the washing or regeneration.” “Washing” means laver – it is the laver of regeneration. In the Old Tetament the laver, which stood in the court of the tabernacle and later the temple, represented this. The washing of regeneration is what the Lord was speaking about in the third chapter of John: “Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God” (Jn.3.5). The water represents the Word of God – the Bible will wash you. It has a sanctifying power, a cleansing power. We are cleansed by the Word of God. the Holy Spirit uses the Word of God – “born of water and the Spirit.” That is the way we are born again. “And the renewing of the Holy Ghost.” The Holy Ghost (God) regenerates us. He makes of us a new creature. 2 Corinthians 5:17-18: “Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new. And all things are of God, who hath reconciled us to himself by Jesus Christ, and hath given to us the ministry of reconciliation.”
v6 In everything God does, there is a surplus.
v7 “The hope of eternal life” is again pointing to the great hope of the believer, the coming of Christ for His church.
GOOD WORKS ARE NOT PROFITABLE FOR THE PRESENT AND FUTURE
v8 Salvation does not excuse a person from performing good works. Paul says that Titus should constantly affirm that church members are to “be careful to maintain good works.” Before salvation, God is not interested in your “good works” because what you call a good work, God calls dirty laundry. Man’s righteousness is filthy rags in God’s sight (Is. 64.6). God wants to save you. Come to Him just as you are, He will save you, because He has done something for you. What could you do for God? Nothing is the answer.
After one is saved, God talks to him about good works. He wants you to get involved in getting the Word of God out to others. God talks to his children about good works. “Be careful to maintain good works.”
v9. We are to defend the faith, but we are not to do it by argument and debate. That does no good; that never led anyone to the Lord. You may whip a man down intellectually by your arguments, but that does not touch his heart and win him for Christ. Stay away from foolish questions and geneologies and contentions.
That is why Dr. McGee does not develop certain subjects that are sensational. For example, he has been urged to do a series on demonism, to write a book about it. Dr. McGee says, “Let’s not get involved in that type of thing.” He says he would much rather tell you about the Holy Spirit which can indwell you. If He is in you, no demon could ever possess you! 1 John 4:4: “Ye are of God, little children, and have overcome them: because greater is he that is in you, than he that is in the world.” It is so easy to get sidetracked.
v10 We (Dr. McGee) have been asked to join in certain prejects in which there are some heretics. He is not interested in being joined with anyone who has views that are in opposition to the Word of God. God tells us here to be separated from heretics. Just let them alone; reject them. v11 An heretic has turned aside from the truth (“is subverted, and sinneth, being condemned of himself).
vv12-14 Paul gives a final admonition about good works. It is something that must be worked at. It is not easy. We need to know what God considers good works and we need to learn how to do them.
v15 Paul concludes this practical letter to Titus with a benediction.