Admonitions concerning Various Stations. Titus 2, 1-10,

The manner of dealing with older members: v.1. but speak thou the things which become sound doctrine, v.2. that the aged men be sober, grave. temperate, sound in faith, in charity, in patience. v.3. The aged women likewise, that they be in behavior as becometh holiness, not false accusers, not given to much wine, teachers of good things, v.4. that they may teach the young women to be sober, to love their husbands, to love their children, v.5. to be discreet, chaste, keepers at home, good, obedient to their own husbands, that the Word of God be not blasphemed. By the emphasis upon the address at this point the apostle places himself and especially his coworker Titus in the strongest possible contrast to the false teachers, showing that there is a great difference, both in doctrine and in pastoral work, between the two classes: Thou, however, speak what becomes the wholesome doctrine. All the doctrine, all the exhortations which Titus spoke in the administration of his office, were to be agreeable to sound and wholesome doctrine, such as he had learned from the apostle. The ideal which he was to impress upon his hearers was to be that of a practical Christianity, based upon sound doctrine, the golden mean between dead orthodoxy and a perfection of works. He should try to plant the seeds of such virtues, of such fruits of true faith, as conformed with the pure doctrine of the Word of God.

So far as the instruction of the older members of the congregations was concerned, the apostle writes: (Admonish) the older men to be sane minded, serious, sensible, sound in faith, in love, in patience. Of such men as mere advanced in years the apostle is speaking, not of the presbyters, to whom he has referred before. He wants them to be sober, to have their mind and intellect clear and sane, without the rashness and levity of youth, without the tendency to be carried away by carnal desires and hysterical excitement. To this must be added proper seriousness or dignity, without a trace of silly frivolousness. They should furthermore be sensible, use their sound common sense in all situations in which they might find themselves: they must show firmness of character, such as makes them reliable and trustworthy at all times. So far as their Christianity was concerned, they should be sound and wholesome in faith, placing their trust not upon their feelings, at best a most uncertain foundation, but upon the eternal and unchangeable Word of God; in love, by letting all their good works flow from their faith with the one object to be of service, not to strive for recognition before men: in patience, in cheerful willingness to be faithful also in the midst of persecutions and afflictions. These are the virtues which the Lord expects older Christians to show at all times.

But the apostle has a word for older women also: The older women as well (admonish) in behavior to be reverent, not slanderers, not addicted to much wine, teachers of what is good. The apostle refers first of all to the deportment and demeanor, to the entire appearance of the older women. No matter in what station and calling such older women might find themselves, they should never offend against Christian decency and against the reverence and decorum which becomes Christians at all times. As at present, so in those days the influence of the lack of morals presented the temptation, especially to older women, to conform to the world in the matter of dress and behavior. A Christian woman, however, must never forget to whom she belongs, lest in demeanor. language, and dress she bring disgrace upon the name of Christ. To this belongs also that the older women do not offend against the Eighth Commandment, a vice to which so many of them are addicted. Whether time actually hangs heavy on their hands or not, it seems that the temptation to be slanderers and busybodies is too strong for them to overcome. It is necessary, therefore, that they battle against this sin with all earnestness. They should avoid also the danger of becoming slaves of intemperance, a vice which is peculiarly disgusting in the case of aged women, and which has its victims even today, with all the lairs insisting upon total abstinence. Instead of seeking gratification of their sinful desires in this manner, the older women should rather use the time and means at their disposal to be teachers of good in their families and in their immediate vicinity. From the rich treasure of their Christian knowledge and experience they should freely impart and dispense whenever they have an opportunity. In this connection their example, as a matter of course, will be of great value, their every act being a part of that impressive instruction which was so significant in the life of Jesus.

The apostle discusses this thought more fully: That they earnestly counsel the young women to love their husbands, to love their children, to be sensible, chaste, domestic, good, obedient to their own husbands, that the Word of God may not be blasphemed. Although the pastoral work of Titus is by no means circumscribed by these admonitions, the apostle has chiefly this point in mind, that older women, for lack of suitable occupation, do not become addicted to the vices mentioned above. By means of proper counsel and loving admonition many a young wife has been kept back from some foolish step. St. Paul wants the younger women to be reminded of their duty of loving their husbands, just as he had addressed himself to the husbands, Eph. 5. 25-33. In the midst of the work and the trouble of this life, which includes also the daily bearing of each other’s faults and weaknesses, there is always danger that the love of either spouse may grow cold. But marital love is not a matter of inclination and caprice, since it is commanded by God. The same is true of love for the children. Where the Word of God does not rule, there is always danger that the love of the mother may be changed to the opposite, especially in our days, when children arc unwelcome in many homes. It is necessary, therefore, that the young wives also grow in Christian character, the better to battle against all sinful lusts and desires and to rule body and soul in the proper manner, with the proper measure of decent common sense. One part of this Christian strength of character is shown in the chastity which is one of the ornaments of a Christian woman. In the midst of the multitude of temptations and occasions for the sin of uncleanness, purity, not only in words and deeds, but also in thoughts and desires, is desirable and commanded. A virtue which the apostle also names is this, that Christian wives be truly domestic, good home-makers. This does not merely mean that a woman ought to be a good housekeeper, but that she strive by all means to change the house, as an abode for the existence of the family, into a home, where she herself and her husband and children feel at home. 2) It is true, of course, that in our days these views are looked upon with pity by an increasing multitude of emancipated women, who demand recognition in the forum, in the business world, even in the Church, while the position of a faithful home-maker and mother is regarded with pitying contempt. Let us remember, however, that the apostle is not stating his own views and opinions, but has registered the will of the eternal God. To this mill belongs also this, that a Christian woman be obedient to her husband, Eph. 5, 22: 1 Pet. 3, 1-6. Women that have a Christian husband know that this acknowledging of the headship of the man does not interfere with their own dignity, but elevates them all the more in the eyes of God and of their own husbands. And all these qualifications the apostle insists upon, in order that no disgrace and contempt may strike the Word of God. The enemies of the Gospel will take occasion, and rightly so, to despise and deride the Christian religion and the Christian Bible, if there are scandals in Christian families and quarrels between husband and wife that are known to be members of a congregation. The deeds of Christians must always supplement their words.

Concerning young men and slaves: V.6. Young men likewise exhort to be sober minded, v.7. in all things showing thyself a pattern of good works; in doctrine showing uncorruptness, gravity, sincerity, v.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. V.9. Exhort servants to be obedient unto their own masters. and to please them well in all things. not answering again, v.10. not purloining, but showing all good fidelity, that they may adorn the doctrine of God, our Savior, in all things. Having given full directions regarding the younger women, the apostle does not overlook the admonitions for younger men as well: The younger men likewise admonish to be sensible. This includes a demeanor, or conduct, which is in harmony with the wholesome doctrine as taught by Paul. They should show that firmness of character which enables them, by the grace of God, to use their sound common sense in all circumstances of life. The passionate behavior of unthinking youth must no longer be found in men that have learned self-mastery in the school of the Holy Spirit. In all things, with reference to all situations, the younger men should make use of this sane-mindedness. If they are assailed by any form of temptation. they will not play with fire, but will suppress all thoughts that tend to sin, since their will is bound by the commandment of God.

In order that this admonition which Titus is to address to the younger men may have proper weight, St. Paul adds: Offering thyself as a type of good works, in doctrine uncorruptness, dignity, in speech wholesome, irreproachable, in order that he of the opposition may be confounded, having nothing to say of us that is evil. It is an important obligation which St. Paul here lays upon his young coworker, by binding him to practice what he preached. It was almost self-evident that the younger members of the congregations, hearing the exhortations from the mouth of Titus, would watch and inquire whether the good works which he praised so highly were found in his own life. And certain works and virtues the people had a particular right to expect of Titus, since they were those that belonged to his office in the strictest sense. He was to show sincerity, or integrity, and gravity, or impressiveness, in his doctrine. A chaste sincerity of mind, giving full evidence of his own confidence in the Word of Grace, was to be combined with a dignified gravity of manner. Everything that does not agree with the seriousness of Christian truth has no right in the pulpit: there is a far cry from popularity to vulgarity. To this belongs also that the speech, the public discourse, of the true minister be wholesome, sound, free from all morbid enthusiasm and shallow attempts at arousing the feelings of the hearers. The preaching must always be of such a nature as to render it impossible that valid exceptions may be taken against it. The adversaries must be given no opportunity for criticism that is well founded. The preaching of the Word must be so certain, so clear, so decided, so convincing, that the opponent is confounded and ashamed. Under such ideal circumstances all his efforts to find some evil thing to report and to deride concerning the Christians and their doctrine will come to naught. What an earnest admonition for all preachers to be faithful in the preparation and delivery of their sermons, and for all parishioners to aid their pastor that this part of his work might not be neglected!

The apostle, as in other letters, includes an admonition also in regard to those Christians that occupied the station of slaves: Slaves (admonish) to be subject to their masters, in all things to give a satisfactory account of themselves, not contradicting, not embezzling, but displaying the utmost trustworthiness, that they adorn the doctrine of our Savior God in all things. Cp. 1 Tim. 6, 12. The apostle may have had several reasons for referring to the slaves in this manner. In the first place, the number of slaves in the early congregations seems to have been quite large. Then also the position of slaves in those days was such as to cause them to long for freedom or to lighten their lot. And finally, many of them may have been infected with carnal opinions concerning the liberty of the Gospel. But the Christian religion does not eliminate the distinction of stations in social life. The apostle therefore admonishes the slaves not to harbor rebellious thoughts, but to be subject to their masters that had the right of disposal over them. In certain matters indeed it might happen that the slave would be compelled by the fear and love of God to refuse obedience, namely, where the honor of the Lord above n-as at stake. Acts 5, 29. But in general, the rule held good that a slave was to obey his master, not only the kind and gentle, but also the froward. 1 Pet. 2, 18. He should strive to give satisfaction all around, the master thus being obliged to be well pleased with him. To this end, all contradictory ways must be put aside by the slaves, they must not think of thwarting their masters’ plans, wishes, or orders. Since, moreover, slaves so often had the opportunity to purloin or embezzle the goods of their master, or to use that which did not belong to them to the detriment of their master, they are told not to become guilty of such a transgression of the Seventh Commandment. They should prove themselves altogether trustful, making it possible for their master to rely upon them absolutely. Conduct of this kind was bound to make an impression as the apostle and the Lord wanted it to be made. The heathen masters and others would draw their conclusions concerning the doctrine in which these slaves believed. Their behavior would thus serve to adorn the Christian doctrine of the great Redeemer and Savior: it would cause men to declare that the Christian religion must be an extraordinary, a fine and glorious doctrine. Thus the humble, faithful work of the Christian slaves would be a good work of high merit, whereby the cause of God, their Savior, would again be aided. Incidentally, the removal of prejudice against the Christian religion, even through an honest Christian workingman's faithfulness, might pave the way for the proclamation of the Gospel.

The Grace of Salvation and Its Sanctifying Power. Titus 2. 11-15.

V.11. For the grace of God that bringeth salvation hath appeared to all men, v.12. teaching us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly in this present world; v.13. looking for that blessed hope and the glorious appearing of the great God and our Savior Jesus Christ, v.14. who gave Himself for us that He might redeem us from all iniquity, and purify unto Himself a peculiar people, zealous of good works. V.15. These things speak, and exhort, and rebuke with all authority. Let no man despise thee. It was a happy choice which made this passage, with the exception of the last verse, the Epistle lesson for the festival of Christmas; for although the Christmas miracle in itself is not discussed, yet the glory of the salvation which appeared in the Babe of Bethlehem with all its consequences is here presented in a manner which makes it valuable for the entire year. The apostle writes: For there has appeared the grace of God, bringing salvation to all men. Thus does the apostle state the reason, the motive, which should actuate the Christians of all stations to live a life in conformity with the will of God. There appeared, there was manifested, there shone forth upon the world, like the morning-star after the greatest darkness of night, the grace of God. The heathen were covered with the darkness of their idolatry, and the Jews were blinded by the foolishness of their doctrine of works. But as the sun penetrates through mist and clouds and darkness, and fills the whole world with wonderful glory, thus the grace of God in Christ Jesus shone forth in the person of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, born in Bethlehem. As bringing salvation to all men this grace, this free favor of God, was revealed. This grace brings healing in the sickness of sin; it brings deliverance in the danger of condemnation. No man is excluded from the grace as it exists in Christ Jesus; for it has appeared to all men, all of them, without a single exception, being included in God's gracious will. Note: This thought of the universality of grace should incidentally inspire the Christians to be most indefatigable in spreading the glorious news which contains the wonderful salvation in and through Christ.

The apostle now shows what proof of faith is to follow the knowledge contained in the announcement of God's grace: Educating us that, denying ungodliness and the worldly lusts, we should live sensibly and righteously and godly in this world. The apostle considers both sides of a Christian's life in presenting the grace of God to us as an educator. Just as soon as the miracles which are proclaimed to us on the great festivals and throughout the year have filled our hearts with the joyful certainty of our salvation, with faith in Jesus: our Savior, the continued remembrance of these blessings will educate, or train us, will exercise discipline over us, making us eager to follow after sanctification in the fear of God. The grace of God coaxes, it stimulates, it inspires, it gives us the strength to deny and reject all godlessness, all the desires and lusts of this world. The Christian's life consists, on the one hand, in a ceaseless renouncing and rejecting of all that which tends to hinder his development in the service of the grace of God. 3) With faith in this grace living in the heart of the believer, the battle in his heart can have only one ending, namely, a complete victory for the Spirit of God. It is by His power that the Christians, on the other hand, are enabled to live a life of sensible self-mastery, of integrity, and of piety in this present World. With regard to his own person a Christian will live so as to keep in check every desire and temptation of his flesh; with regard to his neighbor he will lead a life of uprightness and righteousness that refrains from doing him any harm; with regard to God he will conduct himself so as to fear, love, and trust Him above all things, to honor Him and to be obedient to Him. 4) In these fine and praiseworthy works the Christians will exercise themselves with all eagerness and patience, as long as the present life lasts.

The full and final perfection of holiness will be found and be given to the believers in the life to come: Awaiting the blessed hope and revelation of the glory of the great God and our Savior Christ Jesus, who gave Himself in our stead, in order to redeem us from all lawlessness and to purify to Himself an acceptable people, zealous for good works. While the Christians are leading their lives here on earth in the continual remembrance of the grace of God and the wonderful blessings given them thereby, they are also living in firm hope, they are definitely expecting the revelation of the object of their hopes. It is a blessed hope of glory which they hold, it is a happy, glorious expectation which fills their hearts, because He, for whose second coming they are sighing, possesses heavenly glory in endless measure. At His coming this glory will be revealed before the astonished and astounded eyes of all men. It will be a glory of both the great God and our Savior Jesus Christ. He who is God from eternity with the Father, He who, in the fullness of time, took upon Himself our own flesh and blood in order to gain salvation for us, He who has now, according to this human nature, been exalted to the right hand of God, will return in glory for the judgment of all mankind. Thus the expectation of the Christians looks forward to the time when they will see their Redeemer, who gained a complete salvation for ail men, in His divine glory. 5) That the salvation is actually gained and prepared for all men, Paul definitely states: Who gave Himself for us, in our stead. Jesus Christ offered Himself, laid down His life, as our Substitute. In unspeakable and unreachable love and mercy He brought this sacrifice of His own body and life in our stead, in order to save us from certain death, and damnation, since we were by nature children of wrath. He paid the price of redemption, His blood, His life, whose divine preciousness was so great as to outweigh the sins of the whole world. Thus He has redeemed us from the lawlessness in which we mere caught by nature, from the unrighteousness and transgression which characterized our entire life. By virtue, through the power of the redemption of Christ me are no longer in the power of sin and transgression. We are freed from its power, we are cleansed from its filth. We are now a peculiar people, we belong to our Savior by virtue of His vicarious work, me have been imbued with His power to withstand sin. Together with all other believers, with whom we form the communion of saints, the holy Christian Church, the people of God, we strive after sanctification and the renewal of the image of God in us. We are studious, diligent, zealous in good works; it is our constant endeavor to excel in such a life of love as will please our heavenly Father. 6)

Concerning this wonderful summary of the Christian doctrine the apostle now charges Titus: These things tell and exhort and rebuke with all authority; let no one despise thee. The three chief parts of a minister’s work are here named. Titus should speak, proclaim, teach, expound the doctrine, be engaged in this work without growing weary. To this he must add earnest, urgent, stimulating exhortation, telling his hearers what the Word of God expects from every one of them in all situations and conditions of life. And if any one of them becomes guilty of some wrong or has gone on record as opposing the truth, he must be convinced of his error, that he may know the truth in all its parts. This threefold duty rests upon Titus even if a natural diffidence, possibly on account of his youth, should tend to hold him back. As a minister of the Lord he is clothed with authority from above and shall speak the Word with power. Lest, however, this consideration tend to interfere with the free exercise of his duties, the apostle adds: Let no one despise thee. Cp. 1 Tim. 4, 12. If a pastor does the work of his calling in teaching, exhorting, and rebuking properly, then the hearers should accept the Word with all meek obedience and not despise the message on account of the preacher's age. A minister of Jesus Christ, so far as his office is concerned, is a representative of God, and must be treated as such as long as he preaches the truth of Scriptures without any admixture of human doctrines and opinions.

Summary. The apostle gives Titus directions as to the manner of dealing with aged men and women, as to the instructions to be given to young men and slaves, basing his exhortations upon the glorious revelation of the grace of God the vicarious redemption of Christ