Titus 3: The Christian and the State

E W Rogers, Oxford

Part 14 of 14 of the series Paul's Pastoral Epistles

The believer has been redeemed from all lawlessness, and he should be zealous of good works. He must, therefore, be subject both to the law of God and the law of man, however irksome he might find the Roman yoke. In our present times of labour unrest and strikes, these exhortations are specially relevant. Paul reminded the Romans of their duty in this regard, Rom. 13, and Peter likewise reminded the believers to whom he wrote, 1 Pet. 2. 13-17. There should be subjection, obedience, a readiness to participate in what is essentially good (beneficial to men), to speak evil of none. Believers should not be quarrelsome but yielding and meek towards all men. In verses 3-7 Paul joins himself with these Cretan believers, and speaks of (a) their former state, (b) the discovery that they made, (c) the relief which it brought to them, and (a) the hope which they now possessed.

(a)   Their Former State. This is stated in verse 3. Paul uses an emphatic "we", a pronoun which included himself and Titus, the Jew and the Gentile, the old and the young. Godward they were disobedient; selfward they were deceived, and enslaved; and manward they were malicious and envious,
hateful and hating one another.

(b) The Discovery. This was the appearance of the kindness and the love of God to man, v. 4; it had been mentioned in 2. 11. Contrary to the thoughts of the heathen, God's attitude to man is one of benignity and philanthropy (see Acts 27. 3; 28. 2). He is "God our Saviour".

(c)   The Relief Brought. "According to his mercy he saved us". Negatively it was not according to our works done in righteousness, for as Paul had insisted everywhere and in all his writings, by the deeds of the law no flesh shall be justified before God. But positively it was "according to his mercy" of which Paul had spoken in 1 Timothy 1. 16.

All three Persons of the Holy Trinity were engaged in this wonderful operation. It was God's love to man, for God is our Saviour. But He worked "through Jesus Christ our Saviour", v. 6, bringing about our regeneration by the Holy Spirit.

The phrase "washing of regeneration" implies the removal of the former state and the commencement of a new one. Similarly the "renewing of the Holy Spirit" is another way of saying "old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new", 2 Cor. 5. 17. The ideas in this verse are similar to that in John 3. 5, and that passage appears to revert to Ezekiel 36. 25-27 with which Nicodemus was expected to be well acquainted. Paul does not appear to be referring here to baptism when he speaks of the "washing of regeneration" (laver, R.v. marg,). The Holy Spirit was poured out, Acts 2. 33; Rom. 5. 5, on the day of Pentecost by the Lord Jesus, Tit. 3. 6.

(d)  The Hope Received. This is stated in verse 7. Our present state is that we arc justified by His grace, a doctrine fully dealt with by Paul in his letters to the Romans and the Galatians. Our future prospect is that we are "heirs according to the hope of eternal life". Many scriptures assure the believer that he is the present possessor of eternal life, but it is not yet manifest what we shall be. He hopes for its full manifestation in glory of which he is an heir.

Verse 8 appears to have in mind the contents of what has just preceded. Good works are to be maintained. This phrase "good works" is most comprehensive and embraces every aspect of life. The phrase "they which have believed in God" (some omit the word "in") alludes to their present attitude, not merely to a past event. They did believe and they continue so to do; God is the object of their faith.

If Titus teaches what Paul here enjoins, he will speak what is profitable, but he must avoid the various things named in verse 9, to which he has before alluded when writing to Timothy, 1 Tim. 1. 4; 6. 4, and which are unprofitable and pointless. Should anyone persist in a self-chosen idea or course he is to be admonished, and should he refuse the first admoni­tion a second is to be administered. After that he is to be avoided, given the cold shoulder. This may not involve ex­communication though it may go on to that. The offender is "perverted" (a medical term for dislocated), v. 11 r.v. The word "heretic" refers to one who has chosen an idea or course which is not commonly acceptable to the company. It had not then acquired its modern meaning.

Nothing is known of Artemas, v. 12. There are several references to Tychicus, Acts 20. 4; Eph. 6. 21; Col. 4. 7; 2 Tim. 4. 12. Nothing certain is known of Zenas. Whether or not he was a Roman lawyer is not known. Much is known of Apollos as The Acts and the Corinthian letters reveal. "Set forward on their journey", v. 13 R.v., is a word of frequent use in The Acts and Epistles, denoting that the persons journeying are furnished with all things requisite. In this other believers besides Titus may share; the whole weight should not fall on his shoulders. Paul's example. Acts 20. 35,, may be compared with this verse. Cases of urgent need will not be hard to find, whether they are among the Lord's servants or His people. This "practical Christianity" is a pleasing fruit (see 2 Pet. 1. 8; Phil. 1. 11; 4. 17; Col. 1. 10).

All who were with Paul at that time saluted Titus. Who and where they were is not clear. Paul had a specially warm place for the saints in Crete who were affectionate towards him; he could wish that all were. But to these he sends a special greeting. Whether "faith" in verse 15 is subjective or objective is not certain; the A.v. favours the latter; the R.v. the former. Even so, Paul finishes his letter with the compre­hensive words "Grace be with you all". He will be no partisan, nor will he acknowledge any sectarianism (with which the word translated "heretic" has to do). His heart goes out towards them all.

There are 10 articles in
ISSUE (1975, Volume 26 Issue 2)

Acts, A Study in New Testament Christianity

Titus 3: The Christian and the State


Gospel Work and other Assembly Activities


The Lord’s Supper

‘Not I, but . . . ’

The Passover

‘Praying In the Holy Ghost’

A Spiritual Hoouse (com.), 1 Peter 2. 4-7

There are 14 articles in this series

Paul’s Pastoral Epistles - Introduction

1 Timothy 1

1 Timothy 2

1 Timothy 3

1 Timothy 4

1 Timothy 5

1 Timothy 6

2 Timothy 1: ‘Be Courageous’

2 Timothy 2: ‘Be Careful’

2 Timothy 3: ‘Be Constant’

2 Timothy 4: ‘Be Considerate’

Titus 1: God is Faithful

Titus 2: Christian Behaviour and its Effects

Titus 3: The Christian and the State

There are 82 articles by this author

To Spread the Gospel - the Believer’s Responsibility







The Purpose of God

Paul’s Prayer

What a Change!

The Epistle to the Ephesians

The Mystery

Ministry in the Church

Gathered Threads

Some Practical Lessons

Paul’s Pastoral Epistles - Introduction

1 Timothy 1

1 Timothy 2

1 Timothy 3

1 Timothy 4

1 Timothy 5

1 Timothy 6

2 Timothy 1: ‘Be Courageous’

2 Timothy 2: ‘Be Careful’

2 Timothy 3: ‘Be Constant’

2 Timothy 4: ‘Be Considerate’

Titus 1: God is Faithful

Titus 2: Christian Behaviour and its Effects

Titus 3: The Christian and the State

The Believer’s Responsibility in Regard to the Spread of the Gospel

The Infallible Christ

Will the Church go through the Great Tribulation?

The Man of God out of Judah

Having been Gathered Out

‘For Me to Live is Christ’

Short Papers on Some Fundamental Truths

After all This

The Scriptures of Truth (Part 1)

The Scriptures of Truth (Part 2)

Evidences of New Birth

The Inspiration of Scripture

On the being of God - The Holy Trinity

The Attributes of Divine Persons

Eternal Punishment

Gospel Preaching: the Message, Motive and Method

The Believer’s Responsibility in regard to the Spread of the Gospel. 2 KINGS 7 : 9.

Question: What is the meaning of “being crafty, I caught you with guile”? (2 Cor. 12: 16)

Question: Ought Christians to testify to all whom they meet?

Question: Is it wise to submit to being called “Plymouth Brethren”?

Question: Assembly Ceasing to Exist

Question: Delivering unto Satan

Question: Does the pre-eminence of Christ Guarantee that the Saved will Outnumber the Unsaved?

Question: The Activities of The Holy Spirit in the Eternal State

Question: Is the Devil PERSONALLY able to operate in more than one place at a time?

Question: Are the instructions in James 5. 14 applicable to-day?

Question: What was wrong with the desire of the sons of Eli for roast flesh Instead of boiled flesh?

Question: Does John 14. 6 imply that the unevangelised heathen will be lost?

Question: Conviction of Sin?

Question: Attitude of Young Believers in Assembly

Question: Why did blind Bartimeus address the Lord Jesus as “Jesus, thou Son of David”?

Question: Were the “miracles” of Peter and Paul examples of faith comparable with... Heb. 11?

Question: Ministry before the Breaking of Bread?

Question: Necessary to be Baptised to Break Bread?

Question: Concerning “He that believeth on Me the works that I do shall he do also.”

Question: In what sense have believers been crucified with Christ?

Question: The Publishing of Able Brethren's Addresses to Conventions, etc.?

Question: Why are the Proverbs Neglected as a Basis for Practical Ministry?

Prayer to the Lord Jesus


The Ministry Of Reconciliation 2 Cor. 5. 19-21

Question: Does 1 Cor. 14. 34 apply to all meetings when brethren are present?

Question: How far are we justified in speaking of God as Father when preaching the gospel?

Question: What are we to understand by the “spiritual body” referred to in 1 Cor. 15?

Question: To what does the phrase, “that which is perfect,” refer in 1 Cor. 13?

Question: How is it that many of the laws in the O.T. appear to be quite cruel?

Question: If believers go to be with Christ immediately at death how can they be raised?

Question: What happens to the believer when he dies before the Lord returns?

Question: Sins of the believer at the Judgement Seat of Christ?

Question: Satan disputing with Michael?

Victory And Defeat

Paul’s thorn in the flesh

Evidences of New Birth