The difference the Gospel makes
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Remind them* to subordinate themselves to rulers and authorities, to be obedient, to be ready for every good work, to slander no one, to be peaceable, gentle, demonstrating true humility to all men. Because we ourselves were also foolish at one time, disobedient, being deceived, being enslaved to various lusts and pleasures, living in malice and envy, detestable, hating one another.
What a marvelous salvation!
But when the kindness of our Savior God and His love toward mankind manifested itself,§ He saved us—not because of righteous deeds that we ourselves had done but according to His mercy, by means of the bath of regeneration and renewal by the Holy Spirit,* whom He poured out on us abundantly through Jesus Christ our Savior, so that having been justified by His grace we might become heirs according to the hope of eternal life.
So let's do good
The above is a trustworthy statement and I want you to insist on these things, so that those who have trusted in God may be concerned to take the lead in good works. These things are good and profitable for mankind. But avoid foolish arguments and genealogies and contentions and disputes about the law, because they are unprofitable and useless.§
10 Excommunicate a divisive man after a first and second admonition, 11 knowing that such a person has been perverted* and is sinning, being self-condemned.
Farewell
12 As soon as I send Artemas or Tychicus to you, do your best to come to me at Nicopolis, because I have decided to spend the winter there. 13 Send Zenas the lawyer and Apollos on their way without delay, that they may lack nothing. 14 And let our people also learn to maintain good works, to meet pressing needs, that they not be unfruitful.§
15 All who are with me greet you. Greet those who love us in faith.* Grace be with you all. Amen.
* 3:1 The Text just has the pronoun, but the reference is evidently to the Christians in Crete. 3:3 Hey, there is hope! ‘Detestable’ is repeated from 1:16 above, so if people who are now regenerated were once that way, then they can be changed; there is a way out, through the Gospel. (Actually in the Text the terms are different, synonyms, but the point is the same.) 3:3 This description is very up to date; it fits contemporary society very well. So those who were saved out of that milieu should be gentle with those who are still in it. Those who have always been protected from the world may find it difficult to be gentle. § 3:4 Remember John 3:16. * 3:5 The regenerating and renewing are performed by the Holy Spirit. In verse 6 the “He” who does the pouring is the Father, based on the saving work of the Son—here we have an overt reference to the Trinity. 3:8 I take that to be the normal meaning of the Text—Christians should take the lead in their communities with projects that are for the common good. 3:8 If everyone in the world lived according to Biblical principles it would be a much better place! There would be no need for jails, police departments, armies, rehabilitation centers, most hospitals, etc. § 3:9 Some people like to argue for the sake of arguing, but Sovereign Jesus said we will be judged for every idle word (Matthew 12:36). * 3:11 The passive voice indicates that the person was perverted by an outside force, in this context presumably by Satan; but he went along with the process, allowed it to happen (or he would not be “self-condemned”). So now he is on Satan's side, and if he refuses to listen to two warnings, he does not want to change. The next best thing is to excommunicate him, not allow him to work within the community, because of the damage he causes. 3:12 For Paul to write this, he could not be in prison. Either he was freed after Acts 28:31 or this letter was written before his trip to Jerusalem that resulted in his imprisonment. 3:13 How did Paul know about those men being in Crete? Believers who traveled would transmit information. § 3:14 By meeting the needs of God's servants we share in the fruit of their labors. * 3:15 The Text does not have ‘the’ faith, just ‘faith’. Perhaps the reference is to those who have never met Paul, but love him anyway. 3:15 “You all” is obviously plural, so evidently Paul expected that the letter would have a wider circulation than just Titus.