Kindness and Love
Titus 3:1 Remind the people to be subject to rulers and authorities, to be obedient, to be ready to do whatever is good, 2 to slander no one, to be peaceable and considerate, and to show true humility toward all men. 3 At one time we too were foolish, disobedient, deceived and enslaved by all kinds of passions and pleasures. We lived in malice and envy, being hated and hating one another. 4 But when the kindness and love of God our Savior appeared, 5 he saved us, not because of righteous things we had done, but because of his mercy. He saved us through the washing of rebirth and renewal by the Holy Spirit, 6 whom he poured out on us generously through Jesus Christ our Savior, (NIV)
The Apostle Paul is writing this Pastoral Epistle to Titus from Nicopolis, a city on the west coast of Greece. Titus is helping the new churches in Crete, including appointing and training overseers, or pastors. The purpose of this letter is to instruct Titus in that regard. The time is the period between Paul’s house arrest and his imprisonment, in Rome, about 64 A.D.
Paul begins this passage with instruction for Titus to remind the new Christians of three things. He is to remind them “to be subject to rulers and authorities” (v. 1a). The Greek word translated “authorities” refers to the government. When Paul uses the words translated “rulers and authorities” together there is more of a spiritual meaning. The “rulers” are those forces that are guiding decisions. If the government is against the teachings of Christianity, Paul would say that they are being ruled by Satan, not God. That is the government we in the United States now find ourselves living under.
The second thing of which Titus is to remind the new Christians ties in with the first. Christians are “to be obedient” (v. 1b) to God. Christians must always obey God before the laws of men. But they also must be “subject” to the consequences of breaking the laws of men, even if they are following the laws of God. Paul lived out this teaching.
Thirdly, Titus is to remind them “to do whatever is good” (v. 1c). This is a reminder to not be like the false teachers in the church, who are not doing “whatever is good”. Paul then elaborates on the behaviors of the false teachers and their converts which are to be avoided. These behaviors are not to slander, not to be quarrelsome, to be conciliatory, and to be humble (v. 2).
The new Christians are to be reminded that they, and all non Christians, were “at one time” (v. 3a) like the false teachers and their converts. The literal Greek translation for verse three is “were For then also we senseless, disobedient, being led astray, slaving for lusts and pleasures various, in malice and envy living, hateful, hating one another.” By the use of the word “we” Paul includes himself. This was our nature, before becoming Christians. We are either under the control of Satan, or under the control of God.
But when “the kindness and love” of Christ “appeared” in the world, we were “saved” (vv. 4-5a). Jesus Christ came from Heaven to this world and died on the cross, so that all who believe in Him would be saved from the penalty of sin, from eternity in Hell, We were not saved by doing good works, but by the grace of God (v. 5b). Grace is defined as undeserved and unmerited favor. We were given grace through the “mercy” of God (v. 5c).
The literal Greek for verse 5d is “He saved us through washing of regeneration and renewal of the Spirit Holy.” The “washing of regeneration” is the spiritual cleansing, the changing of our heart, that occurs when we accept Jesus Christ as our Lord and Savior. The “renewal of the Spirit Holy” happens when we are indwelled by the Holy Spirit upon that acceptance of Jesus Christ. Baptism is a symbol of “spiritual cleansing”, and is our public announcement of that event. The act of baptism is also in obedience to the command of Jesus Christ.
The Holy Spirit is “poured out on us generously” by the Lord Jesus (v. 6). He renews us. He changes our hearts. He is the helper Jesus sent to us when He had to depart this earth. He is the “power” (Acts1:8) to live a Godly life. He is everything we need. The rest is up to us. We must allow him to live through us, controlling our decisions, our life. Then we also can display the “kindness and love of God our Savior.”
Online Bible Commentary