Paupers, Pupils, Princes, Titus 2. 11-14

For the grace of God that bringeth salvation hath appeared to all men, teaching us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly, in this present world; looking for that blessed hope, and the glorious appearing of the great God and our Saviour Jesus Christ; who gave himself for us, that he might redeem us from all iniquity, and purify unto himself a peculiar people, zealous of good works.

In these verses we have two appearings mentioned. While there is a slight variation in the Greek words employed, it is from their root that we get our English word Epiphany. When these two appearings are considered, we find that there are at least nearly two thousand years between the past fulfilment of one and the future fulfilment of the other.


It is suggested that in the words For the grace of God, v. 11, we have our Lord as personifying the grace of God. This seems to be justified by the statement in John 1. 17, “grace and truth came”, whereas the law was given by Moses. This grace of God has brought salvation. Two facts are inferred here:

  1. salvation was needed,
  2. the need betrayed the penury of those for whom it is brought; hence the term “paupers”. This reminds us of the Gospel according to Isaiah, “he that hath no money … come, buy”, 55. 1. The currency of heaven which alone can buy this is found in James 2. 5, “rich in faith”.

The truth of Titus 2. 11 will be clearer if it is rendered, “the grace of God, that bringeth salvation to all men, hath appeared”. It is interesting to note that this particular word epiphaino is found in three other places, namely, Luke 1. 79 translated “to give light”, negatively in Acts 27. 20 “neither sun nor stars in many days appeared”, and again in Titus 3. 4.

It is important to see that the passage under consideration flows out of Paul’s exhortation to Titus regarding the instruction for Christian slaves. Verse 10 states “that they may adorn the doctrine of God our Saviour in all things”. We conclude that the “doctrine” is found in our passage, seeing that it starts with For. This doctrine therefore embraces for us deliverance as to the past, instruction as to the present, and prediction as to the future blessedness.


Those who enjoy by faith the salvation brought to them by grace are taught by the same grace. Thus such are brought into the school of God and so become “pupils”. When we examine verse 12 we find that there are five subjects in the divine curriculum. Negatively we are to deny

  1. ungodliness,
  2. worldly lusts or desires,

and positively to live

  1. soberly as to ourselves (selfward),
  2. righteously as to others (manward),
  3. godly as to our Saviour God.

As we listen to the Holy Spirit who alone can take of the things of Christ and reveal them to us, we discover that we are still capable of being, and prone to be marked by things that were true of us before we were saved by grace. Since we experienced the new birth we have two natures, the old and the new. The former is still active and has desires for worldly things, and I learn by the Spirit what to deny. As we are willing to please God, so we learn that there are things which hinder us, and each must discover for himself or herself just what these are. How important this is when we remember Galatians 1. 4 and 1 John 2. 16, and how necessary is a tender conscience, the possession of which is secured when there is a willingness for God’s will. Our eternal good and blessing were involved when One said, “Lo, I come … to do thy will”, Heb.10. 7. When we consider this, will it not make us apt pupils in God’s school?

This attitude will cause us to think soberly, meaning that we shall act with self-restraint that governs all passions and desires. The sober-minded person will then be one possessing the mind of Christ. Today we are all aware of the lack of principle and consistency. To live righteously is to be different from men in general, and so Peter’s exhortation in 1 Peter 4. 2 can be followed. Godly means to be God-like. All that we say and do is to be worthy of God. He loves the unlovable, He forgives, He does good. This is what we learn in the school of God, so the mind is fully engaged.


To look for that blessed hope, v. 13, means that the heart is engaged too, for we have a prospect. If we are believers, our destiny is the Father’s house, John 14. 2-3. We wait for the fulfilment of the promise, “I will come again”. When we think of the palace of the Father’s house, we recall that “princes” live in palaces. The promised return of the Lord makes Him the Hope, even as grace is personified in verse 11.

It is profitable to compare the first advent with the second. The first had two phases, (1) His birth, and (2) His public presentation as the promised Messiah, John 1. 31. His acts of power were His credentials, as was the fulfilment of much written of Him as the promised One in the Old Testament. In a similar way His second coming appears to be in two phases, (1) to come for, and (2) to come with His people. When we compare the last message in John 14-16 with Matthew 24, we see a striking contrast. The latter chapter, together with many others, deals with His manifestation, in keeping with Titus 2. 13, “the glorious appearing of the great God and our Saviour Jesus Christ”.

In verse 14, we read

  1. “who gave himself for us” — the Price;
  2. “that he might redeem” — the Purpose (negatively, from all iniquity; positively, to purify);
  3. “unto himself a peculiar people” (a people for a possession) — the Property;
  4. “zealous of good works”— the Production.

Why is this all-embracing statement in verse 13 mentioned after “the glorious appearing”? Does it not mean that today the wonderful features.of that coming kingdom are produced now in His people who have already been translated?, Col. 1. 13. In the light of all this, we may well repeat the words of Peter (though used in a different future setting), “what manner of persons ought ye to be”, 2 Pet. 3. 11.


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