Titus 2

 
What Must Be Taught to Various Groups
 1You must teach what is in accord with sound doctrine. 2Teach the older men to be temperate, worthy of respect, self-controlled, and sound in faith, in love and in endurance.

 3Likewise, teach the older women to be reverent in the way they live, not to be slanderers or addicted to much wine, but to teach what is good. 4Then they can train the younger women to love their husbands and children, 5to be self-controlled and pure, to be busy at home, to be kind, and to be subject to their husbands, so that no one will malign the word of God.

 6Similarly, encourage the young men to be self-controlled. 7In everything set them an example by doing what is good. In your teaching show integrity, seriousness 8and soundness of speech that cannot be condemned, so that those who oppose you may be ashamed because they have nothing bad to say about us.

 9Teach slaves to be subject to their masters in everything, to try to please them, not to talk back to them, 10and not to steal from them, but to show that they can be fully trusted, so that in every way they will make the teaching about God our Savior attractive.

Titus 2:1-10

Explanation:

Godly Living and Social Groups

 

It had been Paul's practice to urge Christians to remain in the place in life that they occupied at the time of conversion (1 Cor 7:8, 17, 20, 24). This meant, among other things, that becoming a Christian did not release one from social assignments. And the organization of roles and behavior in the church was not to diverge unnecessarily from the greater social structure.

But the emphasis on unnecessarily should not be missed. It implies limitations. As important as the mission mandate was to Paul, he would not do just anything to make the gospel appealing to the unbeliever. The church must live within the world, which is fallen, and within cultures, which in various ways express this fallenness, but it must do so critically, measuring everything against the Word of God. It will undoubtedly find that much of any given culture can be accepted, worked with and (in Christ) improved upon; but wherever the culture encourages or advocates behavior that violates the will of God, the church must make its stand for God, whatever the consequences (compare Acts 5:29). The point to be observed in this context is that responsible Christian living within society, which promotes mission while not compromising God's values, is a part of God's will.

Apparently, revolutionary teaching was penetrating the Cretan communities through the opponents' doctrine. The visible effects produced in the churches would not go unnoticed by the outsider; doctrinal subtleties, however, tended to be an "in-house" affair, invisible or irrelevant to the outsider. Consequently, Paul's instructions aim to restore social stability and protect the church's witness. The Sound Doctrine and Social Ethics (2:1)

Christian ethics and the Christian message are meant to be inseparably and harmoniously related. Paul's command in verse 1 binds Titus to this principle. He does so because the opponents had rejected the message and perverted the concept of a Christian way of life.

Sound doctrine, the approved teaching of the Christian faith which produces spiritual health, is the immovable foundation of the Christian life. What is taught about Christian living must be in accord with (or correspond to) it. Paul measures this in two ways.

First, the Christian message is the source of the real Christian life. It is salvation through Christ that has introduced this new manner of life (2:12). Without the message there can be no Christian ethics. Consequently, many of the terms that describe aspects of godly living in verses 2-10 represent the possibilities of belief and in principle do not have their beginning in human effort. Here Christian and secular "respectability" part ways.

Second, the Christian manner of life accords with the Christian message by serving its missionary purpose. It adorns the gospel and makes it attractive to those who look on (2:5, 8, 10).

This opening command is therefore not simply a transition to bring the readers from 1:16 to the practical teaching of 2:2. Rather, it reminds Titus and Christian teachers that Christian ethics to be Christian must emerge from, correspond to and serve the message of the Scriptures. Furthermore, every believer's lifestyle must be subjected to the test of biblical principles; the alternative is to allow our lives to be shaped and approved by a value system that is opposed to God's. Older Men (2:2)

Older men must live lives of observable respectability or dignity. To emphasize this, Paul uses language that, as we have seen elsewhere (1:8; 1 Tim 3:2-3), belongs to the constellation of terms borrowed from secular ethicists. Temperate, worthy of respect (or "respectable," "serious") and self-controlled (or "sensible") tend to overlap in meaning. But the implication of a dignified lifestyle that is free from overindulgence, dissipation and foolish behavior in general is clear. As Paul's use of common terms suggests, this lifestyle would be readily recognizable. Christianity does have a mystical, incomprehensible element to it, but its manifestation in life communicates in a language understood by all.

The rest of verse 2 suggests, however, that Christian respectability has a deeper source. What the NIV has interpreted as three additional aspects of acceptable behavior (and sound in faith, in love and in endurance) could, by virtue of the participle "being sound," express instead the cause or means of the behavior described above. For Paul the most basic constituents of Christianity are faith and love (see notes on 1 Tim 2:15): the vertical, personal relationship with God through Christ and the horizontal dimension of "good deeds" characterized by love (compare Gal 5:6). Endurance here speaks of commitment to this life. The more traditional triad was "faith, hope, love" (1 Cor 13:13; Col 1:4-5); but if the situation called for it, endurance might occur as a fourth virtue (1 Thess 1:3) or replace "hope." Given the presence of heresy in these churches, endurance gave this instruction the emphasis on perseverance that Paul wanted to express.

Within the social structure, older men are to be the models of dignity, respectability and wisdom. Paul knew that if this does not hold within the church as well, Christianity cannot hope to compete in the world. At the same time, the language of this instruction suggests that the absence of respectability means divergence from the faith. Older Women (2:3-4)

Paul's instructions to the older women have the same goal (likewise) of Christian respectability. In their case, respectable behavior amounts to "reverence," which above all means avoiding "slanderous talk" and "drunkenness," and teaching what is good. The term Paul chose to refer to "reverence" was used to characterize the conduct of priestesses, which suggests that he is advocating that Christian women fit an exceptional type. "Slanderous talk" and "drunkenness," on the other hand, were among the vices commonly associated with the negative type of older women in Greco-Roman society.

The positive quality of "teaching good things" reminds older women that they are responsible to model the acceptable and respectable life for younger women. The adjective teaching what is good denotes informal teaching by lifestyle, as verses 4-5 show. It leads directly to the stated purpose of their instruction (then they can train the younger women, v. 4). "Good things" in this context are acceptable patterns of behavior. But the term contains a hidden implication: one teaches with one's life either good things or bad things; pursuit of the acceptable lifestyle will ensure teaching that is good.

This is a resource the church today could draw on much more than it does. We have bought into the notion that older people have had their day of usefulness and ought to make way for the young. But the principle here is quite the opposite. With age and experience come wisdom, and many older women have discovered secrets of godly living in relation to their husbands, children and neighbors and in the workplace that could save younger women a lot of unnecessary grief. And when the unavoidable trials come to the young woman, who better to guide her through than an older sister who has been through it before? Somehow the church must see that younger women have contact with older women. The leadership must encourage (and equip further) specially gifted older women to seek younger women who desire to be trained. Younger Women (2:4-5)

Contained in the instruction to the older women is instruction to younger women as well. In Paul's teaching format, which is limited to the most typical categories of society, younger women means younger married women, for in that day most would have been married. Such a woman was to excel in the socially acceptable role of the homemaker, and therefore domestic concerns dominate. Paul's choice of verb, train, is related to a word that means "self-control," "prudence," "moderation" and "discretion" (2:2, 5; 1 Tim 2:9; 3:2). Though it can mean "to bring back to one's senses" (which might imply that some young women had been influenced by the false teaching; 1:11), perhaps Paul chose it to underline the theme of discretion and self-control in outward Christian behavior.

Although there were exceptions (and Paul envisaged one; see below), for the young woman of that day respectability generally meant marriage. Within marriage she was to love her husband and children. To the honorable Jew or Gentile in that day, the presence of this kind of love indicated an exceptional wife. The Christian wife who sets an example of love sends a powerful message that is understandable even to those outside the church.

The next two terms, self-controlled (or "sensible"--2:2; 1 Tim 2:9; 3:2) and pure (1 Tim 2:15; 4:12; 5:2, 22), seem to digress from the theme of domesticity. However, in that they probably refer to sexual conduct, they are quite appropriate to discussion of a wife's Christian conduct. If the matter of love just mentioned is settled, self-control and purity are bound to follow.

Next, another pair of words either instruct the young woman to be busy at home and kind or together mean "to be an efficient homemaker." In either case, the emphasis on skill in managing the home is typical of Paul's (and secular) thinking about the young woman's acceptable role (1 Tim 2:15; 5:14). A reference to "kindness" undoubtedly would remind the young woman to pay attention to those around her as she goes about her daily business.

Finally, submission to the husband is mentioned. This is a typical feature of New Testament teaching about the role relationship of the wife to the husband (Eph 5:22; Col 3:18; 1 Pet 3:10) and again is obviously in touch with the secular idea of marriage. However, Paul's concept of "submission" contained notions of mutuality of respect and love and thus clearly transcended the secular notion.

Compared with the discussions in Ephesians 5 and Colossians 3, Paul's "subordination" teaching in Titus 2:5 is abbreviated; he has left off instructions to the husband that would emphasize mutuality of responsibility, and he has added the purpose of protecting God's Word (see below). There are two possible explanations for the "harsher" appearance of 2:5 (see on 1 Tim 2:11-15): (1) All that is set forth in Ephesians is implied; he writes briefly and addresses the more serious problems surrounding the home and women in the home. (2) The instruction is indeed intended to be stricter; disruption in the church that affected the women led Paul to clamp down on women to protect the church's reputation in the world. Given the fact that there is really nothing here that Paul does not say in related passages (he simply passes over the husband's role), the first alternative seems best. Perhaps we should (1) acknowledge the special problems in the Cretan Christian households, (2) consider Ephesians 5 as a more thorough treatment of marriage and (3) focus on the purpose (see below) of the wife's full engagement in the institution of marriage.

There is no question that the behavior of the Christian wife taught here would have pleased the pagan critic. In fact, this lifestyle has the outsider in mind, as the purpose (so that) of verse 5 reveals. One of Paul's concerns was to protect the Christian message (the word of God; compare Col 1:5; 1 Thess 2:13) from charges that it encouraged disrespectful or revolutionary behavior. The Old Testament prophets feared that God's name would be slandered by the nations because of the ungodly behavior of God's own people (Is 52:5; Ezek 36:20-36; see 1 Tim 6:1 and notes). This same theme receives a more distinct missionary interpretation in the New Testament: respectable behavior, which bears witness to the power and truth of God, enhances the church's witness (1 Thess 4:12; 1 Tim 6:1; 1 Pet 2:11-12).

There was, however, an important exception to the rule of marriage, and in view of the modern situation we should pause to consider it. In Paul's thinking, for a Christian woman (or man) to remain single had many advantages for ministry (1 Cor 7:1, 7, 8, 32-34), but it required a special gift (Mt 19:11-12; 1 Cor 7:7). The advantages led Paul to encourage those with this gift to remain single. But alongside the advantages of singleness were dangers in the form of temptation. So the qualities of self-control and sexual purity (v. 5) were to be clearly evident (compare 1 Cor 7:2, 5, 9) among the unmarried. A single Christian woman would be expected to exhibit a lifestyle that avoided any suspicion of immorality.

If anything, the challenges that face the single Christian woman (and man) today are even greater. With greater freedom, mobility and responsibility, combined with society's indifference to sexual behavior, the temptations have multiplied. Yet God's will has not changed. Purity and self-control must characterize the lifestyle of the single Christian woman. And the "countercultural" message she sends will be received all the more clearly. Younger Men (2:6-8)

Verses 6-8 address instructions (in the third person, through Titus) to younger men and blend them with instructions to Titus himself (v. 7). The effect is similar to that achieved in 1 Timothy 5:1-2, where Timothy receives instructions as a member of an age group which generally apply to all members of that age group. What constitutes godly respectability for this group?

Paul draws from the same class of terms to describe observable Christian behavior. First, young men are to maintain a sensible and respectable bearing in all aspects of life (vv. 6-7; the NIV interpretation, self-controlled, captures just a part of this term's intention, and without a break in the Greek sentence between self-controlled and in everything, the latter belongs with the former).

Then Paul instructs Titus (as he did Timothy in 1 Tim 4:12) to be an example of "good works," which means in his visible expression of genuine faith. In his conduct Titus is thus to be the antithesis of the false teachers (1:16).

This contrast continues as the thought turns to ministry. First, Titus must teach, as the NIV interprets it, with integrity. The term envisions avoidance of the corruption introduced by the heretics. Moreover, since verse 8 takes up the thought of the content of Titus's teaching, "with integrity" probably focuses on motive of teaching; of course, the false teachers' motives were manifestly corrupt (1:11).

Second, in his teaching he must exhibit seriousness, the dignified bearing that bespeaks the importance of the Christian task. In contrast, the opponents were unruly, arrogant and rebellious (1:10).

Finally, Titus's message (not speech as in the NIV) is to be "sound"--that is, "healthy" (and health-producing; see 1 Tim 1:10)--in its doctrine, and untainted by the false beliefs (v. 8). This true gospel cannot be condemned by those outside the church as giving rise to disorder and unseemly behavior.

What is the motivating force behind this instruction? The purpose clause (so that) shows that the opinion of the outsider to the faith is in view (though some argue that the opponent in mind is the false teacher; see notes). The early church had to deal with criticism of its "new religion" constantly (1 Pet 2:12; 3:9-16). In Titus's case, the distortion of the gospel and related upset in behavior caused by the false teachers did not make the matter of relating to the world any easier. However, exemplary conduct, pure motives, dignified bearing and sound teaching leave no basis for the outsider's allegations. The outsider will be silenced and even put to shame for slandering those who are innocent. But Paul does not seek solely to legitimate the new religion in this way; his concern is to protect the gospel, continue the evangelistic mission (2:5, 10; 1:1-3) and at the same time encourage a lifestyle that exemplifies God's will for humankind.

Titus's lifestyle and ministry must be exemplary. They must bear the marks of dedicated commitment to the genuine Christian faith. In this way all basis for slander is removed and the way forward for the gospel is opened. Slaves (2:9-10)

Since slaves were part of the Hellenistic household, it is quite possible that the false teachers' disruption of Cretan households (1:11) accounts for the kind of disrespectful behavior among slaves implied by this set of instructions. Something similar had occurred in Ephesus (see 1 Tim 6:1-2).

What is godly behavior in the case of Christian slaves? Propriety in the master-slave relationship was clearly defined in the ancient world. While despotism and cruelty among masters were generally disdained, in practice the bulk of the load in maintaining a peaceful relationship was borne by the slave. The slave was to be obedient and respectful toward the master at all times.

Paul did not dispute this arrangement. Rather, with the customary exhortation, he commanded slaves to be models of decency in their respective roles. "Subordination" (or "subjection") was the traditional abbreviation for willing acceptance of the realities of this social institution and compliant, respectful behavior within it (1 Pet 2:18; "obey" is equivalent, Eph 6:5; Col 3:22). This meant complete recognition of the master's authority.

The remainder of the instructions break this general command into specific applications. First, slaves must seek to please their masters. Only by doing their best could this level of satisfaction be reached. Slaves were generally motivated to this level of excellence by the hope of freedom; Paul does not rule out such a hope, but his motivation is different (compare 1 Cor 7:22-23; Col 3:23-24).

Next, Paul urges that Christian slaves be fully compliant. Not to talk back suggests that Paul is thinking of the stereotype of the ill-mannered, unruly and rebellious slave. One of the first ways that people under authority use to express rebellion is verbal challenges: sarcastic comments given under the breath, defiant contradictions. Generally speaking, orders must not be questioned (especially) by Christian slaves.

The last two items pertain to the slave's performance of household responsibilities. Many slaves managed their masters' business interests and were responsible for any money involved. A Christian slave must not be caught with a hand in the till or embezzling or juggling the books. Rather, the genuine faith of a Christian slave will be reflected in complete honesty and trustworthiness.

This description of the subordinate slave makes use of the secular vernacular. But Paul shows where the difference between respectability and Christian respectability lies in the purpose he describes. For the third time, a purpose clause (so that) connects appropriate conduct within a particular social institution to Christian witness. Slaves were known to be attracted to new religions, often with disruptive results. Christian slaves were to behave in such a way that they would actually validate the "new religion" in front of their skeptical masters. Obviously, excellent behavior and full respect for authority which the slave attributed to the Christian message would make it attractive to the master. Slaves in their humble circumstances either helped or hindered the gospel's penetration.

What appears at first glance to be a time- and culture-bound instruction to slaves applies to all who find themselves under the authority of someone else. But times have changed. For a number of reasons, the modern employer, supervisor or teacher does not necessarily expect to be treated with respect by those under his or her charge. As a social value, respect for those in authority is a thing of the past, even though disrespect is regarded as a disruptive force (affecting the quality of education and workmanship). But it is just at this point that a Christian can step into the confusion and make a powerful impression. Where all around there is disrespect or indifference to those in authority, a Christian's respectful attitude and speech, backed up by good performance, will demonstrate that God's message of salvation produces positive, visible results. This is an opportunity for witness that we must not miss.

11For the grace of God that brings salvation has appeared to all men. 12It teaches us to say "No" to ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright and godly lives in this present age, 13while we wait for the blessed hope—the glorious appearing of our great God and Savior, Jesus Christ, 14who gave himself for us to redeem us from all wickedness and to purify for himself a people that are his very own, eager to do what is good.

 15These, then, are the things you should teach. Encourage and rebuke with all authority. Do not let anyone despise you.

Titus 2:11-15

Explanation:

The Basis of Godly Conduct

 

It might be asked, Why should Christians pursue this respectable and dignified life? Surely God's people should turn from sin; but what warrant is there for endorsing such a mundane form of respectability? Actually, it is not mundane at all, if it is properly understood. It is a part of God's plan. This is what Paul meant to prove in this passage.

The language of this text, especially verses 11-14, is majestic and somewhat allusive. Content, tone and form suggest the passage was probably originally constructed for a baptismal service. Its use of terms that were widely popular made it applicable in this context in which Paul seeks contact with the outsider. But despite these points of contact, the theological basis for the new life that Paul establishes places this life into an entirely different category. The Appearance of the Grace of God (2:11)

It may seem strange to us to speak of God's grace "appearing." Pagans used the term grace to signify divine or regal beneficence--something good done by a god or king for those who could not do for themselves. For the Hebrew and the Christian, however, the grace of God is the essence of God's covenant with humankind. It signifies God's unmerited love. The language of verse 11 shows that this grace culminated or found full expression in a particular event. But what event does Paul mean?

The verb appeared is a technical term for the manifestation or "epiphany" of a god (or hero) to bring help. Paul (or his material) has borrowed this concept to denote the "appearance" of Christ (2 Tim 1:10), and elsewhere in these letters the term refers to the second, future "appearance" of Christ (2:13; 1 Tim 6:14; 2 Tim 4:1; compare 2 Thess 2:8). It is this historical event that gives full expression to God's grace.

This event, too, brought help. But the help associated with God's grace, salvation, transcends any pagan notions of help or deliverance from physical calamity. It is salvation from sin and sin's extensive, destructive results. Salvation is an adjective in the Greek sentence which describes something intrinsic to grace: God's grace is not simply beneficent in purpose, it means to save.

This event is unique in another respect. In scope it is universal, reaching in some way to all men. This does not mean that all people respond to the appearance of Christ--to his birth, ministry, death and resurrection--with equal acceptance. In fact, the change to us below (vv. 12, 14) implies the need for belief. But as a means of salvation God's grace in Christ is offered to all. Compared with pagan beliefs in patron gods who might deliver a city from crisis, the claims of Christianity are startling.

Thus Paul's logic begins with the event of Christ's incarnation and earthly ministry. But his main point is yet to come. The Purpose of the Appearance (2:12-13)

Without a break in the Greek sentence, verse 12 gets right to the point. Christ appeared to "teach" us to live a new life. Thus we might say that "living" or "how to live" is God's curriculum. In this respect, Christ (or God through the medium of his grace) followed a long line of teachers. Moreover, Paul's material employs the Greek teaching model in this description. In Greek thought, education (paideia; here the verbal form of this term occurs) produces virtue. Paul makes good use of this model here, but while maintaining contact with secular ideas, he describes the Christian counterpart to virtue in a way that it is placed on an entirely different level.

1. The new life and conversion (2:12). Part of the earliest gospel message was the call to repent (Mk 1:15). It meant "to change the mind," to leave behind an old way, a godless way, and turn to follow God. Paul's material here uses a different word, "deny." But the thrust is the same. The original language of this verse makes it clear that pursuit of the new life below is actually contingent upon this denial. As the NIV interprets it, say "No," this denial is to be final and almost vocal. Of course, if the event of baptism lay behind this creed, it would indeed have been a vocal pledge.

What is to be denied if we are to pursue life? It is the way of this world. Ungodliness is a general reference to all that is anti-God (3:3). Worldly passions are the sinful impulses that express themselves through the body (1 Jn 2:15-16). Together these two expressions summarize the old life, the life natural to the inhabitants of this world before they have the knowledge of God.

But the appearance of Christ demands that the old way be abandoned. A conscious choice of denial must be made. It is the first step in a new life.

2. The new life (2:12). The goal of God's curriculum is the living of a new life. After the old way has been abandoned, what then? If Christianity ended there, it would consist of a life of avoidance. We could sum it up with a divine "Thou shalt not." But the focus in this passage (and above in vv. 1-10) is actually on "being" or "living," and a far more appropriate and positive summary is "Thou shalt."

As we saw, the Greeks thought that education would lead to virtue. Now Paul translates that into Christian thinking. His translation is really more of a transliteration, for he describes the Christian's new life with three terms that designated cardinal virtues in Greek ethics. In doing this he emphasizes again that Christian conduct should be observable.

The new life is described as self-controlled and upright. We have come across these two terms already in the description of the lifestyle of the church leader (1:8). "Self-control" was to be exercised over the impulses and sensual desires common to human life (see discussion on 1 Tim 3:2). "Uprightness" is a more general description of observable "rightness" in all aspects of life.

If only these two terms were used to describe the qualities of the new life, one might get the idea that Christianity is acting a certain way, putting on an acceptable performance. The third term, however, at least as Paul uses it, takes us beyond that to show that true spirituality is meant. Godly, as a description of life, brings together faith in or knowledge of God and its visible outworking in life ("godliness," 1:1; see notes on 1 Tim 2:2). It is Paul's term for genuine Christianity. Consequently, the life to be lived as a result of Christ's entrance into human history (v. 11) is not only characterized by visible respectability but is also born of the knowledge of God.

Further, it is the antithesis of the old life. Formerly the values of the world shaped life (v. 12), but now a new set of values and goals define life in Christ (compare 3:3-4; Rom 6:20-22; 11:30-32; Gal 1:23; 4:8-9; Eph 2:1-22; 5:8; Col 1:21-22; 3:7-8; Philem 11; 1 Pet 2:10).

Finally, the new life introduced by the appearance of Christ pertains to the present time. Christianity or spirituality is not something that is unattainable or something that is proper to life outside of this world. The time reference in this present age focuses readers' attention on the now. Salvation may not be complete (or completely realizable) until the return of Christ; but it has made possible a new quality of life in this present age. With the Christian possibility goes Christian responsibility to live fully engaged in this world.

3. The new life and the forward look (2:13). While it is true that genuine spirituality is not foreign to existence in this present age, it is also not wholly at home in it. Salvation has begun, but the struggle with sin (and therefore imperfection) hinders the believer from experiencing it in full. Consequently, an important aspect of the new life is the forward look to the culmination of redemption in Christ's return. This is not to be confused with "living in the future" or "living for tomorrow." It is rather an acknowledgment that the Christian's hope is ultimately beyond this world.

Paul's material uses language that was used of kings and emperors to describe the Christian's hope in Christ's future appearance. The blessed hope means "the hope that brings blessing." As the rest of the verse indicates, this hope consists of another "appearance." The NIV's glorious appearing smoothes out the cumbersome Greek sentence (literally, "the appearance of the glory of the great God"). However, "glory" is probably not to be taken as an adjective but rather as that which will appear. It picks up the theme of an ultimate manifestation of God's glory at the close of history (Is 24:23; 35:2; 40:5; 58:8; 60:1), which in the New Testament is understood to be the return of Christ (Mt 16:27; 24:30; 2 Thess 1:10).

But there is a question whether the following appellation, our great God and Savior, Jesus Christ, is of one person, Jesus Christ, or of two, God the Father (great God) and our Savior, Jesus Christ. Depending on the interpretation, we have either a unique, direct affirmation of the deity of Christ or an unprecedented reference to God's accompaniment of Christ at his Second Coming.

In favor of the first interpretation: (1) In the Greek sentence, one definite article (the) governs the two nouns, God and Savior, which ordinarily would imply a reference to one person. (2) God and Savior was a title current in religious writings during the first century, usually denoting a single deity. (3) The use of epiphany language in the New Testament is primarily limited to Christ, and in the Pastorals there is a strong tendency to describe each "appearance" of Christ in this way (1 Tim 6:14; 2 Tim 4:1; 2 Tim 1:10; 4:8).

In favor of the second interpretation: (1) It is unusual, perhaps unprecedented (compare Rom 9:5), for Paul to refer to Christ as "God." (2) It is argued that in the epiphany passages of the Pastorals there is a tendency to distinguish between God and Christ (1 Tim 6:13-14; 2 Tim 1:9-10). (3) Paul tends to emphasize Christ's dependence upon God in the Pastorals, so that a reference to Christ as God would be out of character.

On the whole, grammatical and background considerations recommend the first interpretation. It is best to conclude, therefore, that the blessed hope is the hope in God's ultimate manifestation of glory in the return of Christ. Paul affirms that Christ is God. The use of epiphany language ("appearance") in this passage for both events of Christ not only implies the "helping" character of these events but also characterizes the present age between them. What began with Christ, salvation and a new manner of life (vv. 11-12), will be brought to completion only with his return (v. 13). The present age, and life in it, thus takes its meaning from these two reference points. The past reference point is certain, historical; it is the substance of the gospel message. The future reference point is based on the past event, but its time is uncertain, requiring hope and the expectant forward look. The Significance of Christ's Sacrifice (2:14)

The identification of the God and Savior as Jesus Christ at the end of verse 13 leads to a discussion in verse 14 of the actual outworking of God's grace (v. 11). The language of this description was well known and would have immediately struck a chord with the readers; Paul's material combines a saying of Jesus (that the early church made good use of) with well-known citations from the Old Testament, which together explain the significance of Christ's death for the formation of God's people.

Verse 14 describes the death of Jesus Christ as an offering/sacrifice that was made for those who could not make it themselves.

First, the verb gave (and indeed the entire saying--who gave himself for us) portrays Christ's death as a ritual offering made specifically to atone for sins (Rom 4:25; 8:32; compare Gal 1:4). Although here the traditional saying of Jesus is attenuated (compare Mk 10:45; 1 Tim 2:6), the same thoughts are in mind.

Second, the note of willingness is emphasized, for it is said that he gave himself. Consequently, it cannot be said that Christ's death was an accident that took him by surprise. This death had to occur; it was an intrinsic part of God's plan of salvation (Acts 2:23).

Third, the phrase for us reveals that this offering was both representative and substitutionary. In giving himself as a sacrifice, the God-Man represented sinful humans, almost as a modern-day attorney would take a case. Furthermore, his death for us was a death rightly required of people; he stepped in as our substitute and suffered what is rightfully our punishment for sins.

Christ's redemptive death, understood in this way, is without question the ultimate illustration of God's grace. The act originated in God's plan, was executed in behalf of undeserving people and accomplished their salvation. But the theme of Christian living that runs throughout Titus 2 suggests that Paul's focal point in verse 14 is on the purpose or result of this event, which the following clause introduces.

Two metaphors and two Old Testament passages combine to describe the purpose of Christ's sacrifice (of course, from the church's standpoint this purpose is now result!). The first metaphor is that of redemption: the offering was designed to redeem us. For the first readers this statement would have conjured up a picture of being bought out of slavery or servitude through a ransom. It was the practice in ancient warfare for conquerors to make slaves of captives. Redeem described the process of paying for such a prisoner's release. In a different context, slaves might secure redemption by having the right to ownership of them transferred to a god. Either picture naturally suited a description of Christ's redeeming work in the life of a believer: though a person was formerly enslaved to sin (Jn 8:34), Christ himself paid the price of manumission, setting the believer free to serve God. As the imagery of Psalm 130:8 reveals, the servitude or bondage from which we are released is all wickedness (literally, on the Old Testament model, "lawlessness")--a state of complete opposition to God's law.

This description of purpose continues with the metaphor of washing or purification: the offering was designed to purify . . . a people for himself. Here the imagery is not of baptism (compare 3:5; Eph 5:25-26). Rather, as the Old Testament context of the citation suggests (Ezek 37:23), "washing" denotes God's act of purifying or sanctifying his wayward people from the defilement of idolatry--claiming a people out of the sinful world. The early church understood this action to be executed ultimately in the shedding of Christ's blood.

Consequently, God's action in Christ purified a peculiar people of God. This idea goes back to Exodus 19:5, where God's purpose in establishing a covenant with Israel is revealed (Deut 7:6; 14:2; 28:18; compare Eph 1:14; 1 Pet 2:9). In response to God's grace, the new people were to observe God's law (Deut 26:18). In New Testament and Pauline terms this is translated into being "zealous for good works." Salvation results in works of the Spirit (see notes on 1 Tim 2:10).

God's grace (v. 11) in Christ's self-offering (v. 14) has established a special people for God's own possession (v. 14). Set free from sin's bondage and purified, they are able to pursue a manifestly new manner of life, characterized by good works. From the interweaving of Old Testament citations it is clear that the early church viewed itself as being continuous with Israel, the true Israel, enjoying the fulfillment of God's Old Testament promises to his people. Jesus' death is the decisive event in the fulfilling of God's promise to create a special people for himself. More Instructions to Titus (2:15)

Paul's thought turns briefly to remind Titus of his duty in relation to the doctrine just laid down (these . . . things refers at least to vv. 1-14, perhaps also to 1:5-16). In the original Greek sentence three verbs combine to describe Titus's responsibility toward the Cretan churches. First, he must teach (literally, "speak") this doctrine. Thus at the outset Paul emphasizes the need to communicate not only the practical teaching of verses 1-10 but also the content of the creedal material in verses 11-14, particularly as the latter provides the reason and basis for the former.

The following two verbs, encourage and rebuke, reveal the two main thrusts of communication. Encourage can also mean "urge" and "exhort." In any case, it is a positive use of Christian doctrine for edification. Rebuke, however, is corrective in its thrust and implies that Paul's teaching is also designed to get wayward believers back on track (1:13; 2:1). Of course, uppermost in Paul's mind here are the effects of the false teaching on the conduct of individual Christians in Crete.

As one chosen by God to serve the churches, the Christian teacher or leader has authority to carry out such a command. Titus, as the apostle's delegate, shared Paul's authority. The gravity and need of the situation required that the people recognize that this doctrine was to be accepted and responded to as God's instruction. These were not merely helpful suggestions, but divine commands.

It is in view of this delegated authority that the personal command is given: Do not let anyone despise you. Obviously, neither Titus nor any Christian leader can control the feelings and actions of others. And in this situation Paul anticipated opposition to his delegate's authority (1:9-10, 13; 3:10). But for his part Titus was to insist on his authority (and not allow others to ignore him or "go over his head") and behave in a commendable manner (so that no one would question his suitability to lead). Christian leaders should keep in mind that authority and exemplary behavior are to be inseparable.