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.
Titus is to remind the Christians in his locale to honor those in authority, whether in politics, work, or the church. They are to be obedient to the wishes of God and authorities ordained by God so as not to dishonor God. Walking in faith, hope, and love, they should be ready to do the will of God by doing good deeds as God leads. They ought to speak well of others as long as such speech is true, and they are never to speak degradingly of a person, though they might vehemently disagree with how they act and what they believe. Wrong beliefs should be respectfully challenged, but the person’s dignity should always be honored. They should do whatever they can to be at peace with others, to seek reconciliation, to be gentle, to not seek a fight or conflict, and to always consider the interests of others as more important than their own. This mildness of disposition does not mean a lack of vitality, passion, or boldness, but merely a willingness and commitment to pursuing the welfare of others before our own self-interest.
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.
Before we repented and turned to Christ, we were as the world is, foolish, disobedient, deceived, addicted, envious, always chasing the next person to outdo them or gain their approval, speaking ill of others, hating those who have wronged us and even those who are fair to us. We were totally selfish and sinful through and through. In light of this, we need to be gracious with others, not expecting sinners to live as saints. Rather, we ought to live as testimonies of the work of grace so that we can show them the way to freedom from sin.
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,
7so that being justified by His grace we would be made heirs according to the hope of eternal life.
Jesus incarnated the love and kindness of God so that man could know the way and find the way to freedom, life, and love. He didn’t die for us because we were righteous or loveable but because of His great and merciful love for sinners who rejected Him and didn’t deserve His love. His death was merciful to us. It allowed us to be reborn as new people without an enslavement to sinful passions and to be continually renewed in our thoughts, desires, emotions, and behaviors to ways honoring the Lord as the Spirit works in our hearts. We were made righteous and reconciled to fellowship with God by the grace of God, not by our own merit or work. By grace we were made heirs with Christ to inherit the kingdom of God as His children. In this promise of eternal life, which is already partly known in that we know Christ, is great hope.
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.
That we are saved by grace and made heirs with Christ is a statement and truth that Christians must hold dear and preachers must emphasize. We must remember that we operate and live by the grace of God, not by our own strength or inherent righteousness. Our hope, strength, and holiness is found only in Christ. These things we must teach and declare with great confidence, certainty, and boldness. Some advocate doubt and uncertainty, but Paul wants Titus to speak dogmatically and with conviction. The purpose of this assurance of the work of Christ on our behalf and of the certainty of our coming inheritance is essential for us to be able to engage in good deeds. That we are saved by grace and will be kept by grace is a motivator not for sin but for good works. Kindness leads to repentance (Romans 2:4). A fear of losing God’s mercy and encountering His wrath does not. It is always the goodness of God that leads us toward Him. This is why it is so important that we do good deeds so that God’s love is incarnated in and through us and seen by the unbeliever. Such paves the way for the truth.
9But avoid foolish controversies and genealogies and strife and disputes about the Law, for they are unprofitable and worthless.
Some people like to argue about meaningless debates about man-made constructions of thought, theology, philosophy, or other “ologies.” Some argue for the sake of arguing which is vain and divisive. Others discuss things for the sake of learning and for coming to a place of unity according to the truth. We must be discerning to know when a person is arguing to hear themselves speak and to cause doubt as opposed to when they are asking honest questions because they want to change, grow, and learn. Some people want to go back to the Law and try to fulfill all of the little details. The whole point of the Law was to show us that we could not keep it. To return to being under the law is to reject grace and live in frustration, defeat, and division. Thus, we must emphasize the trustworthy sayings about Christ, grace, and eternal life.
10Reject a factious man after a first and second warning,
11knowing that such a man is perverted and is sinning, being self-condemned.
There are those who enter a fellowship for the purpose of being divisive. They enjoy the attention that it draws them, and they like making those in authority have to look as if they might not know something that they know. They are not pursuing the exaltation of God and the humble pursuit of the truth. They are pursuing their own glory and trying to get people to listen to them and reject sound authority and teaching. These men must be confronted and not allowed to carry on with their factious behavior. They must be told once, and if they do not change, they must be told again. At that point, they must be removed from the fellowship (see Matthew 18:15-17). These individuals are perverted, twisted, and sinning. Their own behavior condemns them, revealing their true nature. It should be made plain to all lest some get deceived that they are not walking with the Lord.
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.
Artemas and Tychicus, trusted friends and co-laborers with Paul (Tychicus had traveled with Paul in Acts 20:4 and had been a messenger for Paul in Ephesians 6:21, Colossians 4:1 and 2 Timothy 4:12), were again sent by Paul to Titus. When they arrived, they were to send Titus to Paul at Nicopolis where he was planning to spend the winter.
13Diligently help Zenas the lawyer and Apollos on their way so that nothing is lacking for them.
Titus was to help Zenas, a lawyer, and Apollos, the great teacher of the faith (Acts 18:23-28), as they journeyed by being sure that they had what they needed.
14Our people must also learn to engage in good deeds to meet pressing needs, so that they will not be unfruitful.
Just as Titus did for Zenas and Apollos, all believers, especially those who labored alongside of Paul and Titus, need to learn how they can proactively and intentionally meet pressing needs of individuals. So easy it is to let someone suffer in their time of need. How much of a lift it is to help them at that point, so that they know that they are supported. God’s plan was never that we work alone; we are to be a team. If we want to be assured of bearing fruit for the kingdom, we need to come alongside others according to their needs. Our labor and good works will enable them to be fruitful as well, not succumbing to fatigue, loneliness, or any other void or need.
15All who are with me greet you Greet those who love us in the faith Grace be with you all.
Paul sends on greetings from all who are present with him to those who love Christ and them. May God’s grace enable us to do good deeds and live out the call of Christ on our lives.