Online Bible Commentary
Good And Profitable
Titus 3:7 that having been justified by His grace we should become heirs according to the hope of eternal life. 8 This is a faithful saying, and these things I want you to affirm constantly, that those who have believed in God should be careful to maintain good works. These things are good and profitable to men. 9 But avoid foolish disputes, genealogies, contentions, and strivings about the law; for they are unprofitable and useless. 10 Reject a divisive man after the first and second admonition, 11 knowing that such a person is warped and sinning, being self-condemned. (NKJV)
The Apostle Paul is writing this letter to Titus, who was helping to organize the new churches on the island of Crete, in the Mediterranean Sea just south of Greece. Sometime after Paul’s two-year house arrest in Rome, he and Titus traveled to Crete and evangelized several towns.
Paul then left Titus there to complete the organization of churches. This letter was written about mid 62 to mid 64 A.D. from Nicopolis, Greece or Philippi, Macedonia. Paul’s scribe, or amanuensis, is believed to be Luke.
The letter was written at about the same time as Paul wrote 1Timothy. This book is one of the three pastoral epistles of Paul. 1 and 2 Timothy are the other two.
Titus was a Gentile from Macedonia. He was led to Christ by Paul. He was a travelling companion of Paul’s at times, as they went about their missionary work.
Paul wrote this letter to Titus to help him with the organization of churches in Crete. Titus was being confronted by Judaizers, Jewish Christians who wanted to enforce some of the Jewish religious traditions, such as circumcision.
Previously Paul wrote to Timothy who was helping the established churches in Ephesus. Both Titus and Timothy are having to deal with false teachers in the churches.
In Timothy’s case the false teaching is primarily Gnostic in nature. In Titus’ case the false teaching is primarily Judaism in nature.
The island of Crete has a large Jewish population, and their teaching is creeping into the churches as Jews convert to Christianity. Paul and Titus had evangelized the people, and then Paul had to depart for other duties leaving Titus to appoint and train overseers, pastors. In this Pastoral Epistle Paul is giving Titus instruction on such training.
Paul stays with two major themes in this letter. First, he instructs on the qualifications required of pastors and what is to be taught, and not taught, meaning the teachings of false teachers in the church.
Second, he instructs on the importance of good works among believers, so that the church would be attractive to outsiders. In this passage, Paul focuses on the second theme, doing good works.
Paul begins this passage by writing “that having been justified by His grace we should become heirs according to the hope of eternal life” (v. 7). Christians have been “justified”, found innocent in the eyes of God. All of our sins, past present and future, have been forgiven by the grace of God.
The result of being justified is so that we will ultimately become “heirs”, children of God. As children of God, we will inherit eternal life in Heaven.
Next, Paul writes “This is a faithful saying” (v. 8a). Paul claims what he writes next as being a ‘faithful saying”. There are five “faithful sayings” identified in the Pastoral Epistles, with the others being 1Timothy 1:15, 3:1, 4:9 and 2 Timothy 2:11).
Next, Paul interjects “and these things I want you to affirm constantly” (v. 8b). Christians are to “affirm constantly”, to constantly practice this faithful saying.
This faithful saying is “that those who have believed in God should be careful to maintain good works” (v 8c). Christians should be careful to do good works, constantly.
Paul continues “These things are good and profitable to men” (v. 8d). Doing good works is good, it pleases God. Also, doing good works is “profitable”, it benefits the building of the Kingdom of God, which benefits “men”.
Next, Paul writes “But avoid” (v. 9a), as a contrast to “good works”. He is saying to avoid bad works. These are the works of the false teachers.
Paul then identifies the bad works, which are not pleasing to Him and which do not benefit the Kingdom of God, or “men”. He writes “foolish disputes, genealogies, contentions, and strivings about the law” (v. 9b), meaning the Torah, the first five books of the Old Testament.
The Jewish converts to Christianity are stirring up the church by teaching adherence to Judaism, specifically the rituals of diet and other Jewish customs. He is saying that these teachings are to be avoided because they are the opposite of the good works that are “good and excellent”.
Paul continues “for they are unprofitable and useless” (v. 9c). These false teachings do not benefit the Kingdom and are of no use.
Paul concludes this passage by instructing Titus on the penalty for false teaching. He writes “Reject a divisive man after the first and second admonition” (v. 10).
This divisive person, false teacher, should be warned not to continue his false teaching. If he or she continues, there should be a second warning, holding out the hope of redemption.
However, if the false teaching continues after two warnings, the divisive person should be “rejected”, excommunicated from the church. This was Paul’s course of action with Hymenaeus and Alexander, false teachers in the church at Ephesus (1 Timothy 1:20).
Paul continues by writing “knowing that such a person is warped and sinning, being self-condemned” (v. 11). This “divisive person” is warped and sinful.
He is “self-condemned”, according to Paul. He has condemned himself to Hell, as do all those who reject Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior.
In conclusion, Christians today should devote themselves to doing good works. But, doing good works is not the path to becoming a Christian. Instead, doing good works is the result of becoming a Christian.
The Holy Spirit, which indwells every Christian the instant they become a Christian, enables the Christian to devote himself to doing good works. Doing good works is doing things which are good and profitable, beneficial to the Kingdom of God.