6.  Likewise exhort the young men to be sober-minded,

Now Paul tells Titus how he should teach the young men.  First of all, they are to be sober-minded.  This does not have to do with going around with a serious look on your face and never having fun.  Rather, this means to be sound in your thinking, and self-controlled in your behavior.  Too often young men seem to be illogical and foolish in their thinking.  One way is in the “personal fable.”  This is the idea that “nothing bad will ever happen to me.”  This seems to be a common way of thinking among the young.  They partake in unwise and risky behaviors with reckless abandon, reasoning that somehow, just because “it’s me,” that nothing bad will result from it.  One never sees an older person who believes in this “personal fable.”  The reason is that we all learn better, because bad things do happen to us, particularly when we act foolishly.  But the young are often not sober-minded, and so they think like this.  Young men often also have trouble controlling themselves.  Learning self-control is an important step in becoming the man God would have us to be.  His Spirit will aid us in accomplishing this, but self-discipline also takes effort on our part.  That is why Titus needs to exhort the young men about this.

7.  in all things showing yourself to be a pattern of good works; in doctrine showing integrity, reverence, incorruptibility,

Titus’ exhortation to the young men does not just involve words.  He is also to be an example or a pattern to them of how they are to live.  First of all, he is to be a pattern of good works.  Though good works do not save us, nevertheless it is important to our witness that we work them.  The young men were to see Titus acting like this and attempt to emulate him.

Then Titus must be a pattern in doctrine.  He is to show integrity in his doctrine.  He is not to teach things out of a desire to benefit himself or to somehow personally gain from what he is teaching.  All too many teachers in our day lack this kind of integrity.  Yet a teacher who truly makes an impact for the Lord will see to it that he teaches his doctrine because he is seeking to promote God’s truth, not to promote himself.

Titus is to show reverence in his doctrine.  We shouldn’t view God’s truths flippantly or make light of them.  A lack of respect is common among people in our day.  Yet we should not act this way towards the Word of God.  These are not just the words of men, which we can make light of like Mystery Science Theatre 3000 makes light of old movies.  Rather, these are the words of God Himself, and thus should always be treated with respect and reverence.  These teachings are not funny, and we should never make fun of them.

Titus is to be incorruptible in his doctrine.  Corrupt doctrine leads many astray.  Often such doctrine is accepted because people view it as good or desirable that things be different than they actually are.  Yet to abandon God’s truth is to embrace corruption, and corruption never brings good results.  Titus is to make certain that he does not knowingly allow anything to corrupt his doctrine.

8.  sound speech that cannot be condemned, that one who is an opponent may be ashamed, having nothing evil to say of you.

By maintaining his doctrine thus, Titus will see to it that his speech is sound and cannot be condemned.  Often those who oppose someone’s doctrine will seek to discredit him, not by pointing out problems with what he believes, but rather by pointing out problems with how he lives.  Many who oppose the truths of dispensationalism would rather not sit down and argue why they disagree with the doctrine.  Rather, they would prefer to say, “Dispensationalism?  Ha!  Have you seen how those people act?”  This is not a fair way of arguing, of course, as God’s truth remains true no matter what the character of those who believe it.  Nevertheless, we should strive to be the kind of people who live lives that the opponents cannot fault in any way.  Thus, they are forced to deal with our doctrine rather than dismissing it by looking at our lives.  If we give them nothing evil to say of us, then they have no excuse for not at least hearing what we have to say.

9.  Exhort servants to be obedient to their own masters, to be well pleasing in all things, not answering back,

Now Paul tells Titus how he is to exhort slaves to act.  Slaves were a common part of the Roman economy.  They were the majority of the work force.  Unlike our view of slaves in the United States where we think of blacks being constantly abused and treated like animals, slaves in those days often were pretty well off, living like many employees do today.  Although there could be harsh slave masters, nevertheless many of the slaves of that day were not all that bad off.  As such, they could choose to be disobedient slaves if they wished, and in most cases they could get away with it.  God did not want the slaves who were His children to act like this, however.  They were to obey their masters as a good slave should.  Moreover, they were to try to be pleasing in all things.  A slave who pleased his master would be a good witness to him of the effectiveness of faith in Christ.  Moreover, slaves were not to talk back to their masters.  By treating their masters with respect, they could also win their masters’ respect for them and their beliefs.

10.  not pilfering, but showing all good fidelity, that they may adorn the doctrine of God our Savior in all things.

The slaves are not to steal or embezzle from their masters.  Many of these commands are applicable to employees today, although we do not consider ourselves as “slaves.”  Yet to respect those in authority over us on the job and to be honest and not stealing from them are points of advice that we can all take.

The slaves are to show “good fidelity.”  They are basically just to show that they can be trusted.  And if they can be trusted in doing their duties, perhaps they can be trusted when they tell their masters about Christ as well.  This is the ultimate goal, as Paul writes at the end of this verse.  By acting like this, they adorn the doctrine of God our Savior in all things.  Their masters and all others who see them acting and serving like this will be impressed, and the lives of the slaves will make the doctrine of God our Savior appear all the more attractive to those who see them.

11.  For the grace of God that brings salvation has appeared to all men.

This is an important passage about the grace of God.  This is talking about something that at the time was still a relatively new truth: the beginning of the dispensation of grace.  Up until recently, salvation had belonged to the Jews.  Although there were God-fearing Gentiles, God’s great redemptive work was done among the people of Israel.  Not only that, but the truth of salvation through faith in Christ had been preached to the Jews exclusively at first.  As Acts 3:26 says, “To you first, God, having raised up His Servant Jesus, sent Him to bless you, in turning away every one of you from your iniquities.”  We know that the “you” Peter is talking to here are the “Men of Israel.”  (Acts 3:12)  They received blessing through Christ first.

Now, however, Paul declares the great truth of the dispensation of grace: that the grace of God that brings salvation has appeared to all men.  No longer do the Jews enjoy a privileged place.  Now that grace has appeared to all men, and all men through that grace can believe.  It is because of this that slaves or employees should act in a godly manner: to show forth the truth of this great appearing of grace to their masters.

Let us examine the wonderful statement in this verse a bit more thoroughly.  In the New King James version, the word “salvation” is translated as a noun.  However, this word is not a noun in Greek, but rather an adjective.  Scholars tend to agree that this adjective means “salvation-bringing.”  Thus, a better translation of this phrase would be “the salvation-bringing grace of God.”  This is a great truth.  It is grace that brings us salvation, though it is through faith that we receive it.  God’s grace is what sponsored salvation for us.  We often hear in radio or television broadcasts the statement, “This program was brought to you by such-and-such a company.”  Well, this passage tells us what it is that “brings to us” salvation.  It is God’s grace.  That is the sponsor.  That is what brought to us salvation so that we might receive it.

Then we read that that salvation-bringing grace of God has appeared to all men.  Yet the word for “appeared” should be translated more strongly than this.  The word in Greek is “epiphaino.”  “Phaino” means “to shine forth.”  When we add “epi” or “upon” before the word, it intensifies it, much as the word “super” does to a word in English.  The shining forth is brighter and more glorious, a “super” shining forth.  “Blazing forth” might be a good way to translate it.  The salvation-bringing grace of God has blazed forth to all men.  The idea isn’t necessarily that every man has heard the truth of God’s grace, which this translation seems to indicate.  We know that there are those who have never heard.  A better translation would be that it had blazed forth to all humanity.  What was once reserved exclusively for the Jews has now increased in brightness so that it blazes forth to all humanity.  Now all men everywhere can receive the salvation-bringing gift of the grace of God.  This is a wonderful truth, and one that we should seek to spread to all those around us.

12.  teaching us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly in the present age,

It is the grace of God that teaches us how to live.  Some people have the false idea that grace gives them the license to live however they please.  Those who are taught by grace, however, understand that it is God’s great loving grace towards us that teaches us to listen to what He wants and to cease to do those things that grieve Him and cause Him pain.

God’s great salvation-bringing grace teaches us to deny ungodliness.  We tend to think of immorality when we think of ungodliness, such as fornication, adultery, theft, and lying.  This word speaks more generally than that, however, speaking of anything that does not have the character of God.  We know the sorts of things that are characteristic of God: love, kindness, righteousness.  Things that show forth the opposite of this character are ungodly, and grace teaches us to avoid such things.

Grace also teaches us to deny worldly lusts.  We think of sexual desire when we think of lust, but really this just means any strong desire.  There are many things the world desires besides sex, such as money, power, and fame.  It seems many believers get caught up in seeking the fame and recognition of others.  They are never happier than when they are relating some great spiritual experience that they had.  They justify it, of course, by saying that they are telling what “God did for me,” but really such stories are crafted more to glorify the speaker than to glorify God.  We should not give in to the worldly desire to be lauded and glorified by our fellow believers.  Such desires are worldly, and not fitting for believers.  Our goal is to glorify God, not ourselves.

Then, grace teaches us to live soberly.  This again does not just have regard to alcohol.  It seems that some believers live their entire Christian lives based solely on how they emotionally feel about things.  What they feel is what God wants for them.  What they feel about a doctrine is what is true.  When they feel good about what they are doing, that means they are worshipping God.  This is not living soberly.  Our emotions are not the defining factor in our Christian lives.  Christ said that, “God is Spirit, and those who worship Him must worship in spirit and truth.”  Your emotions have to do with your soul, but your spirit has to do with your mind.  It is in hearing the word of God and acknowledging it to be true in our minds that we truly worship God.  Emotions can often only get in the way.  Those who want to worship God only with their emotions are not living soberly.  Yet this is how God’s grace teaches us we should live.

Then we are to live righteously and godly.  Grace teaches us to do what is right.  Why?  Because it teaches us to love God and to seek to please Him.  Since what is wrong is not pleasing but rather grievous to Him, grace teaches us to live seeking always to do what is right.  It teaches us to live godly, always attempting to do that which is in accord with God’s character and what pleases Him.

We are to live this way, even in the present age.  This word “age” is the Greek word we discussed earlier, “aion” or, to put it more in English spelling, “eon.”  An “eon” is a flow, and this present flow of things is familiar to all of us.  It is how the world works.  It is how it functions.  It is what goes on around us every day.  The great flow of evil that surrounds us can be overwhelming at times.  We live in a world that is contrary to God, and every day it seems that the flow of evil grows stronger and stronger.  It is in this setting, even in the midst of this present evil flow of things, that we are to live our lives to please God.  For if we please Him even in this present, evil flow, how much more will we please Him in the great flow of God in the future?

13.  looking for that blessed hope and glorious appearing of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ.

Even as we live in this present flow of things, we look for something different.  We look for a time when God will put an end to this present flow and bring to pass His great Kingdom on earth, making everything right as it should be.  This is what Paul is talking about here.  We are looking for a blessed hope.  Again, hope is not something we just “hope” will happen, but something we KNOW will happen and are assured of.  This hope is the glorious appearing of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ.

The word “appearing” is the noun form of the word we talked about earlier, “epiphaino.”  It is the word “epiphaneia,” from which we get our English word “epiphany.”  “Epiphaneia” means a blazing forth.  The salvation-bringing grace of God has already blazed forth to the world.  Yet what we are looking forward to and expecting is for Jesus Christ, our great God and Savior, to blaze forth in the sight of all men.  Just as in the past God proclaimed, “Let there be light,” (Genesis 1:3,) so in the future Jesus Christ will blaze forth and give light to the world.  When will this happen?  Paul tells us in II Timothy 4:1, “I charge you therefore before God and the Lord Jesus Christ, Who will judge the living and the dead at His appearing (epiphaneia) and His kingdom.”  When God’s Kingdom comes to earth, then Jesus Christ will blaze forth to the whole world to bring an end to this present flow of things and instead cause the earth to flow in the way God would have it to.  This is our hope for this present world, and this is what keeps us from despairing as we observe all the evil and wickedness that surrounds us.  We know that someday God will blaze forth and bring an end to all this.  May that day come soon!

14.  Who gave Himself for us, that He might redeem us from every lawless deed and purify for Himself His Own special people, zealous for good works.

Something that is redeemed has to be redeemed by something of equal or greater value.  We know that nothing is worth more than all mankind other than the One Who created all mankind.  And thus only the Creator, Jesus Christ Himself, was able to give Himself to redeem us all.  This is a great truth that we understand: Christ gave Himself for us.  What a marvelous thing that is!  How that realization has changed our lives!  May we never lose sight of this glorious fact.

Yet He did not do this for no purpose.  He gave Himself for us so that He might redeem us from something.  From what?  From every lawless deed.  Those who are unsaved act contrary to the rules that God has set down for men to live by.  Yet when Christ died for us, He did so to redeem us from this kind of lifestyle.  No longer are we to live as other men do.  We are to live according to God’s righteous rules and decrees.

Christ gave Himself for us also so that He could purify us for Himself as His Own special people.  The King James calls this “peculiar people.”  The idea is not so much that we are to act in peculiar ways, like wearing strange clothes or acting in odd ways.  Rather, it is that we are supposed to live differently from those around us.  It is getting to be a strange thing for people to fall in love and yet save themselves for marriage.  It is getting to be a strange thing for people not to be involved in alcohol and all the things that come with it.  To say, “I am still a virgin,” or to say, “I don’t drink,”…these are just simply getting to be strange things.  Yet God gave Himself for us so that we can live as His Own special people, living not as the world lives but rather in ways that please Him.  Moreover, we are to be zealous for good works.  This isn’t just working to feed the poor or be kind to those in need.  This is also working to know God and study His Word.  These are good works that God desires for us as well as the things that the world might think of as “good.”

15.  Speak these things, exhort, and rebuke with all authority.  Let no one despise you.

Paul commands Titus to speak and exhort people regarding these things.  Often believers need to be reminded of why they should live godly and righteous lives.  They need to be reminded of what God did for them, and of what they are looking forward to and hoping for, in order to urge them to keep on serving God and not to give up.  Thus Paul commands Titus to keep speaking and exhorting regarding these things.

Titus is also to rebuke with all authority.  Men today like to act like we have no authority to rebuke anyone.  “Who do you think you are to tell me what I should do with my life?” seems to be the attitude that surrounds us on every side.  “You have no right to tell someone else how to live,” they say accusingly.  Yet we know that we do have the authority to rebuke people for unrighteous behavior.  That authority does not come from ourselves, but it does come from the Word of God.  It is that Word that gives us the right to say what is right and wrong.  It is that Word that allows us to rebuke with authority.

Then Titus is urged to let no one despise him.  This has to do with them dismissing him as if what he is saying is irrelevant.  He is not to allow them to do this.  He should live in such a way that they cannot accuse him (Titus 2:7-8,) and keep his words based on God’s Word.  As such, he will not allow anyone to dismiss him as being a hypocrite or some kind of quack.  With the Word of God and a righteous life to back him up, he keeps anyone from dismissing him out of hand.  Anyone who does this is not doing it for any good reason, but only because they do not wish to hear God’s truth.  There are many such, alas!  Yet we should not give them cause to justify such dismissal.  This is what Paul is exhorting Titus about here.

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