Titus 2:14
Who gave himself for us, that he might redeem us from all iniquity, and purify to himself a peculiar people, zealous of good works.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
(14) Who gave himself for us.—(See Galatians 1:4; Ephesians 5:25.) These words take up the thought expressed in the term “Saviour” of the last verse. “Himself,” His whole self, as has been well said, “the greatest gift ever given;” “for us,” that is, on our behalf.

That he might redeem us from all iniquity.—That He for us might pay a ransom, the ransom being His precious blood. Our Saviour, by the payment of this tremendous ransom—O deepest and most unfathomable of all mysteries!—released us from everything which is opposed to God’s blessed will. Here the mighty ransom is spoken of as freeing us from the bondage of lawlessness; elsewhere in the divine books the same ransom is described as delivering us from the penalties of this same breaking the divine law—“alles was der Ordnung Gottes widerstreitet” (Hofmann, Commentary on Titus).

And purify unto himself a peculiar people.—The expression “a peculiar people” is taken from the LXX. translation of the Hebrew Scriptures, where the words occur several times (see Exodus 19:5; Deuteronomy 14:2); the idea is also purely an Old Testament one. Just as Jehovah wished to establish a people which should belong to Him (“peculiarly His,” “His very own”), submitting to His laws, in contrast to the rest of mankind, lawless, idolatrous—so Jesus would set apart and purify for Himself a people, which for His sake should devote itself to God, in contrast to the rest of humanity sunk in selfish sins. As Israel of old lived under the constant impression that they would again behold the visible glory of the Eternal, so His people now should live as men waiting for a second manifestation of His glory.

Zealous of good works.—The man who hopes to see the epiphany of Jesus his Lord and Love in glory will struggle zealously with hand and brain to live his life in such a manner that he may meet his Lord, when He comes in glory, with joy. It was a people composed of such “zealots” of goodness, of men longing for His sake to do their utmost for His cause, that our great God and Saviour wished to purify unto Himself.

Deuteronomy

GOD’S TRUE TREASURE IN MAN

Deuteronomy 32:9
- Titus 2:14.

I choose these two texts because they together present us with the other side of the thought to that which I have elsewhere considered, that man’s true treasure is in God. That great axiom of the religious consciousness, which pervades the whole of Scripture, is rapturously expressed in many a psalm, and never more assuredly than in that one which struggles up from the miry clay in which the Psalmist’s ‘steps had well-nigh slipped’ and soars and sings thus: ‘The Lord is the portion of my inheritance and of my cup; Thou maintainest my lot,’ ‘The lines are fallen unto me in pleasant places; yea, I have a goodly heritage.’

You observe the correspondence between these words and those of my first text: ‘The Lord’s portion is His people; Jacob is the lot of His inheritance.’ The correspondence in the original is not quite so marked as it is in our Authorised Version, but still the idea in the two passages is the same. Now it is plain that persons can possess persons only by love, sympathy, and communion. From that it follows that the possession must be mutual; or, in other words, that only he can say ‘Thou art mine’ who can say ‘I am Thine.’ And so to possess God, and to be possessed by God, are but two ways of putting the same fact. ‘The Lord is the portion of His people, and the Lord’s portion is His people,’ are only two ways of stating the same truth.

Then my second text clearly quotes the well-known utterance that lies at the foundation of the national life of Israel: ‘Ye shall be unto Me a peculiar treasure above all people,’ and claims that privilege, like all Israel’s privileges, for the Christian Church. In like manner Peter {1 Peter 2:9} quotes the same words, ‘a peculiar people,’ as properly applying to Christians. I need scarcely remind you that ‘peculiar’ here is used in its proper original sense of belonging to, or, as the Revised Version gives it, ‘a people for God’s own possession’ and has no trace of the modern signification of ‘singular.’ Similarly we find Paul in his Epistle to the Ephesians giving both sides of the idea of the inheritance in intentional juxtaposition, when he speaks {Ephesians 1:14} of the ‘earnest of our inheritance . . . unto the redemption of God’s own possession.’ In the words before us we have the same idea; and this text besides tells us how Christ, the Revealer of God, wins men for Himself, and what manner of men they must be whom He counts as His.

Therefore there are, as I take it, three things to be spoken about now. First, God has a special ownership in some people. Second, God owns these people because He has given Himself to them. Third, God possesses, and is possessed by, His inheritance, that He may give and receive services of love. Or, in briefer words, I have to speak about this wonderful thought of a special divine ownership, what it rests upon, and what it involves.

I. God has special ownership in some people.

‘The Lord’s portion is His people; Jacob is the lot of His inheritance.’ Put side by side with those other words of the Old Testament: ‘All souls are Mine,’ or the utterance of the 100th Psalm rightly translated: ‘It is He that hath made us, and to Him we belong.’ There is a right of absolute and utter ownership and possession inherent in the very relation of Creator and creature; so that the being made is wholly and altogether at the disposal, and is the property, of Him that makes him.

But is that enough for God’s heart? Is that worth calling ownership at all? An arbitrary tyrant in an unconstitutional kingdom, or a slave-owner, may have the most absolute right of property over his subject or his slave; may have the right of entire disposal of all his industry, of the profit of all his labour; may be able to do anything he likes with him, may have the power of life and death; but such ownership is only of the husk and case of a man: the man himself may be free, and may smile at the claim of possession. ‘They may ‘own’ the body, and after that have no more than they can do.’ That kind of authority and ownership, absolute and utter, to the point of death, may satisfy a tyrant or a slave-driver, it does not satisfy the loving heart of God. It is not real possession at all. In what sense did Nero own Paul when he shut him up in prison, and cut his head off? Does the slave-owner own the man whom he whips within an inch of his life, and who dare not do anything without his permission? Does God, in any sense that corresponds with the longing of infinite love, own the men that reluctantly obey Him, and are simply, as it were, tools in His hands? He covets and longs for a deeper relationship and tenderer ties, and though all creatures are His, and all men are His servants and His possession, yet, like certain regiments in our own British army, there are some who have the right to bear in a special manner on their uniform and on their banners the emblazonment, ‘The King’s Own.’ ‘The Lord’s portion is His people; Jacob is the lot of His inheritance.’

Well, then, the next thought is that the special relationship of possession is constituted by mutual love. I said at the beginning of these remarks that as concerns men’s relations, the only real possession is through love, sympathy, and communion, and that that must necessarily be mutual. We have a perfect right to apply the human analogy here; in fact, we are bound to do it if we would rightly understand such words as those of my text; and it just leads us to this, that the one thing whereby God reckons that He possesses a man at all is when His love falls upon that man’s heart and soaks into it, and when there springs up in the heart a corresponding emotion and affection. The men who welcome the divine love that goes through the whole world, seeking such to worship it, and to trust it, and to become its own; and who therefore lovingly yield to the loving divine will, and take it for their law-these are the men whom He regards as His ‘portion’ and ‘the lot of His inheritance.’ So that God is mine, and that ‘I am God’s,’ are two ends of one truth; ‘I possess Him,’ and ‘I am possessed by Him,’ are but the statement of one fact expressed from two points of view. In the one case you look upon it from above, in the other case you look upon it from beneath. All the sweet commerce of mutual surrender and possession which makes the joy of our hearts, in friendship and in domestic life, we have the right to lift up into this loftier region, and find in it the last teaching of what makes the special bond of mutual possession between God and man.

And deep words of Scripture point in that direction. Those parables of our Lord’s: the lost sheep, the lost coin, the lost son, in their infinite beauty, whilst they contain a great deal besides this, do contain this in their several ways; the money, the animal, the man belong to the woman of the house, to the shepherd, to the father. Each is ‘lost’ in a different fashion, but the most clear revelation is given in the last parable of the three, which explains the other two. The son was ‘lost’ when he did not love the father; and he was ‘found’ by the father when he returned the yearning of the father’s heart.

And so, dear brethren, it ever is; the one thing that knits men to God is that the silken cord of love let down from Heaven should by our own hand be wrapped round our own hearts, and then we are united to Him. We are His and He is ours by the double action of His love manifested by Him, and His love received by us.

Now there is nothing in all that of favouritism. The declaration that there are people who have a special relationship to the divine heart may be so stated as to have a very ugly look, and it often has been so stated as to be nothing more than self-complacent Pharisaism, which values a privilege principally because its possession is an insult to somebody else that has it not.

There has been plenty of Christianity of that sort in the world, but there is nothing of it in the thoughts of these texts rightly looked at. There is only this: it cannot but be that men who yield to God and love Him, and try to live near Him and to do righteousness, are His in a manner that those who steel themselves against Him and turn away from Him are not. Whilst all creatures have a place in His heart, and are flooded with His benefits, and get as much of Him as they can hold, the men who recognise the source of their blessing, and turn to it with grateful hearts, are nearer Him than those that do not do so. Let us take care, lest for the sake of seeming to preserve the impartiality of His love, we have destroyed all in Him that makes His love worth having. If to Him the good and the bad, the men who fear Him and the men who fear Him not, are equally satisfactory, and, in the same manner, the objects of an equal love, then He is not a God that has pleasure in righteousness; and if He is not a God that ‘has pleasure in righteousness,’ He is not a God for us to trust to. We are not giving countenance to the notion that God has any step-children, any petted members of His family, when we cleave to this-they that have welcomed His love into their hearts are nearer to Him than those that have closed the door against it.

And there is one more point here about this matter of ownership on which I dwell for a moment, namely, that this conception of certain men being in a special sense God’s possession and inheritance means also that He has a special delight in, and lofty appreciation of, them. All this material creation exists for the sake of growing good men and women. That is the use of the things that are seen and temporal; they are like greenhouses built for the great Gardener’s use in striking and furthering the growth of His plants; and when He has got the plants He has got what He wanted, and you may pull the greenhouse down if you like. And so God estimates, and teaches us to estimate, the relative value and greatness of the material and the spiritual in this fashion, that He says to us in effect: ‘All these magnificences and magnitudes round you are small and vulgar as compared with this-a heart in which wisdom and divine truth and the love and likeness of God have attained to some tolerable measure of maturity and of strength.’ These are His ‘jewels,’ as the Roman matron said about her two boys. The great Father looks upon the men that love Him as His jewels, and, having got the jewels, the rock in which they were embedded and preserved may be crushed when you like. ‘They shall be Mine,’ saith the Lord, ‘My treasures in that day of judgment which I make.’

And so, my brother, all the insignificance of man, as compared with the magnitude and duration of the universe, need not stagger our faith that the divinest thing in the universe is a heart that has learnt to love God and aspires after Him, and should but increase our wonder and our gratitude that He has been mindful of man and has visited him, in order that He might give Himself to men, and so might win men for Himself.

II. That brings me, and very briefly, to the other points that I desire to deal with now. The second one, which is suggested to us from my second text in the Epistle to Titus, is that this possession, by God, of man, like man’s possession of God, comes because God has given Himself to man.

The Apostle puts it very strongly in the Epistle to Titus: ‘The glorious appearing of the great God and our Saviour Jesus Christ, who gave Himself for us that He might purify unto Himself a people for a possession.’ Israel, according to one metaphor, was God’s ‘son,’ begotten by that great redeeming act of deliverance from the captivity of Egypt {Deuteronomy 32:6 - Deuteronomy 32:19}. According to another metaphor, Israel was God’s bride, wooed and won for His own by that same act. Both of these figures point to the thought that in order to get man for His own He has to give Himself to man.

And the very height and sublimity of that truth is found in the Christian fact which the Apostle points to here. We need not depart from human analogies here either. Christ gave Himself to us that He might acquire us for Himself. Absolute possession of others is only possible at the price of absolute surrender to them. No human heart ever gave itself away unless it was convinced that the heart to which it gave itself had given itself to it.

And on the lower levels of gratitude and obligation, the only thing that binds a man to another in utter submission is the conviction that that other has given himself in absolute sacrifice for him. A doctor goes into the wards of an hospital with his life in his hands, and because he does, he wins the full confidence and affection of those whom he treats. You cannot buy a heart with anything less than a heart. In the barter of the world it is not ‘skin for skin,’ but it is ‘self for self’; and if you want to own me, you must give yourself altogether to me. And the measure in which teachers and guides and preachers and philanthropists of all sorts make conquests of men is the measure in which they make themselves sacrifices for men.

Now all that is true, and is lifted to its superlative truth, in the great central fact of the Christian faith. But there is more than human analogy here. Christ is not only self-sacrifice in the sense of surrender, but He is sacrifice in the sense of giving Himself for our redemption and forgiveness. He has not only given Himself to us, He has given Himself for us. And there, and on that, is builded, and on that alone has He a right to build, or have we a right to yield to it, His claim to absolute authority and utter command over each of us.

He has died for us, therefore the springs of our life are at His disposal; and the strongest motives which can sway our lives are set in motion by His touch. His death, says this text, redeems us from iniquity and purifies us. That points to its power in delivering us from the service and practice of sin. He buys us from the despot whose slaves we were, and makes us His own in the hatred of evil and the doing of righteousness. Moved by His death, we become capable of heroisms and martyrdoms of devotion to Him. Brethren, it is only as that self-sacrificing love touches us, which died for our sins upon the Cross, that the diabolical chain of selfishness will be broken from our affections and our wills, and we shall be led into the large place of glad surrender of ourselves to the sweetness and the gentle authority of His omnipotent love.

III. The last thought that I suggest is the issues to which this mutual possession points. God owns men, and is owned by them, in order that there may be a giving and receiving of mutual services of love.

‘The Lord’s portion is His people.’ That in the Old Testament is always laid as the foundation of certain obligations under which He has come, and which He will abundantly discharge. What is a great landlord expected to do to his estate? ‘What ought I to have done to my vineyard?’ the divine Proprietor asks through the mouth of His servant the prophet. He ought to till it, He ought not to starve it, He ought to fence it, He ought to cast a wall about it, He ought to reap the fruits. And He does all that for His inheritance. God’s honour is concerned in His portion not being waste. It is not to be a ‘garden of the sluggard,’ by which people who pass can see the thorns growing there. So He will till it, He will plough it, He will pick out the weeds, and all the disciplines of life will come to us, and the ploughshare will be driven deep into the heart, that ‘the peaceable fruit of righteousness’ may spring up. He will fence His vineyard. Round about His inheritance His hand will be cast, within His people His Spirit will dwell. No harm shall come near thee if thy love is given to Him; safe and untouched by evil thou shalt walk if thou walk with God. ‘He that toucheth you toucheth the apple of Mine eye.’ The soul that trusts Him He takes in charge, and before any evil can fall to it ‘the pillared firmament must be rottenness, and earth be built on stubble.’ ‘He is able to keep that which I have committed unto Him against that day.’ ‘The Lord’s portion is His people,’ and ‘none shall pluck them out of His hand.’

And on the other side, we belong to God in Christ. What do we owe Him? What does the vineyard owe the husbandman? Fruit. We are His, therefore we are bound to absolute submission. ‘Ye are not your own.’ Life, circumstances, occupations, all-we hold them at His will. We have no more right of property in anything than a slave in the bad old days had in his cabin and patch of ground. They belonged to the master to whom he belonged. Let us recognise our stewardship, and be glad to know ourselves His, and all events and things which we sometimes think ours, His also.

We are His, therefore we owe absolute trust. The slave has at least this blessing in his lot, that he need have no anxieties; nor need we. We belong to God, and He will take care of us. A rich man’s horses and dogs are well cared for, and our Owner will not leave us unheeded. Our well-being involves His good name. Leave anxious thought to masterless hearts which have to front the world with nobody at their backs. If you are God’s you will be looked after.

We are His, therefore we are bound to live to His praise. That is the conclusion which one Old Testament passage draws. ‘This people have I formed for Myself; they shall show forth My praise’ {Isaiah 43:21}. The Apostle Peter quotes these words immediately after those from Exodus, which describe Israel as ‘a people for God’s own possession,’ when he says ‘that ye should show forth the praise of Him who hath called you.’ Let us, then, live to His glory, and remember that the servants of the King are bound to stand to their colours amid rebels, and that they who know the sweetness of possessing God, and the blessedness of yielding to His supreme control, should acknowledge what they have found of His goodness, and ‘tell forth the honour of His name, and make His praise glorious.’ Let not all the magnificent and wonderful expenditure of divine longing and love be in vain, nor run off your hearts like water poured upon a rock. Surely the sun’s flames leaping leagues high, they tell us, in tongues of burning gas, must melt everything that is near them. Shall we keep our hearts sullen and cold before such a fire of love? Surely that superb and wonderful manifestation of the love of God in the Cross of Christ should melt into running rivers of gratitude all the ice of our hearts.

‘He gave Himself for me!’ Let us turn to Him and say: ‘Lo! I give myself to Thee. Thou art mine. Make me Thine by the constraint of Thy love, so utterly, and so saturate my spirit with Thyself, that it shall not only be Thine, but in a very deep sense it shall be Thee, and that it may be “no more I that live, but Christ that liveth in me.”‘

Titus



CHRIST’S GIFT OF HIMSELF


Titus 2:14.

We have seen in former sermons on the preceding context that the Apostle has been setting forth the appearing of the grace of God as having for its great purpose the production of a holy and godly character and conduct. In these words which close the section he returns substantially to the same theme, only, as a great composer, will do with some favourite musical movement, he repeats it in a somewhat different key and with variations. The variations are mainly two. Instead of the more general and less definite expression, ‘the grace of God hath appeared,’ he now specifies the precise act in which that grace did appear. ‘He gave Himself for us.’ Christ’s self- sacrifice is the ‘appearing of the grace of God.’ The diffused flame is gathered into a focus, and thus concentrated .it has appeared to melt hearts. Then there is a second variation in the treatment of the theme here, and that is that the actor is different. In the former case it was ‘we’ who, trained by ‘the appearing of the grace,’ were to deny ourselves and ‘live soberly, righteously, and godly.’ Here it is ‘He’ who redeems and purifies us by His gift of Himself. He and we, the human and the divine, cooperate. If we ‘deny ourselves,’ and ‘live soberly, righteously, and godly,’ it is because He ‘has redeemed us.’ If He has purified us, it is in the measure in which we deny ourselves and yield ourselves to His influences. And so the two views stereoscope and become a solid reality.

Now then, there are three points to which I would turn especially in the words before us - Christ’s great self-bestowment, Christ’s great emancipation, Christ’s great acquisition. ‘He gave Himself,’ the great self- bestowment; ‘that He might redeem us,’ the great emancipation; ‘and purify unto Himself a people for a possession,’ the great acquisition.

I. First, then, the great self-bestowment.

‘He gave Himself,’ the supreme token of love every. where, the natural expression of love everywhere We know inferior instances of the same sort, and they make the very salt of life. The most self-engrossed recognizes their nobility, and the most cold-blooded thrills at the sight. We know what it is for benefactors, and well-wishers, and enthusiasts of all sorts to yield up themselves joyfully for some great cause not their own, or for some persons who appeal to their hearts. The one noble thing in the devilish trade of war is that there sometimes we can see men flinging their lives away gladly in the thrill of devotion to the cause for which they fight. In the narrower regions of our hearts and homes, happy husbands and wives, mothers to their children, know what it is joyfully to give themselves away. All these illustrations do help us, but they help us only a very little bit along the road to understand that supreme and transcendent gift of a self of which Paul is speaking here as the basis of all nobleness in the characters of men. After we have travelled as far as any human illustration or analogy will help us, we are still infinitely far from that great fact. They lead us along the road, but it is not only a question of travelling along a road, it is a question of springing from the furthest point attained up into the very heaven itself, for this gift is unique, and to be paralleled by naught beside.

It began earlier, the initial step was when ‘the Word became flesh.’ There was one Man who willed to be Man, and whose not being ‘ashamed to call us brethren,’ and taking upon Himself part of the children’s flesh and blood, was the supreme instance of condescending self-abandonment and bestowment. It began earlier; it went deeper; for not only is His self- surrender unstained by the smallest self-regard, as is manifest by the records of His life, but it goes down deep and deep and deep into such an utter gift of Himself as no mere human beneficence can ever emulate or even approximate to. And it brought with it heavier burdens and deeper sorrows, which culminated in that great act which, by its very greatness, has sometimes led men to separate it from the life of which it was the climax and superlative degree, and to declare that only in His death does the Lord give Himself for the life of the world, whereas the life among men, with all its pains of contact, with all its pains Of sympathy, with all its self-oblivion, was as really a part of Christ’s giving Himself to the world as was even that death upon the Cross, by which the gift was perfected and sealed. So then, brethren, whilst we thankfully accept the analogies which lead us a little way, let us never forget that in this matter degree is not the only difference, and quality as well as quantity are unlike.

But mark the other word. ‘He gave Himself for us.’ Now the Apostle here uses a word which does not imply ‘instead of,’ but ‘for our behalf.’ He is not for the moment dwelling upon the way in which that gift benefits - that comes in the next clause - but simply upon the fact that it does benefit. And Christ gave Himself - in a way to be subsequently declared- for the advantage of whoever may be included in the ‘us.’ And who are the ‘us’? Paul was talking to Titus, and was including with him these Cretan Christians, none of whom had ever been seen by or seen Jesus. So that ‘us’ is universal, and includes all humanity. But it does more than that. Jesus Christ’s giving of Himself to us was no indefinite gift of a general beneficence, which had no knowledge of, or feeling towards, the individual units that make up the company, but as I venture to believe, and as I would press upon you to consider whether our Christian conception of Jesus Christ as the Incarnate Word does not necessarily carry with it, the human heart of Christ loved each unit of the mass, that the divine eye separated and distinguished. We cannot ‘see the wood for the trees.’ We generalize our beneficence, and we lose sight of the individuals that are to be benefited by it. Who of us can specify the single souls or bodies that may be helped by our contributions to a fund for dealing with some general disaster? But Jesus Christ takes men one by one, and ‘He gave Himself for us’ because ‘He gave Himself for me,’ and thee, and thee, and all the single souls that make up mankind. Each was in His loving desire a recipient of the gift.

Brethren, I venture to assert, though it is impossible for me to go on here at any length to establish the assertion, that this conception of a Christ who not merely spoke, and was gentle and gracious, and the type of excellence, and the realised ideal of human perfection, but who came to do and to give Himself for the behalf of every soul of man, is the heart of Christianity. This is the view which, like a key, will unlock the rusty gates of our wills and spirits. This is the conception which alone adequately represents the teaching of scripture, the requirements of the deepest reason, and what is even more authoritative, the instinctive needs of hungry, sin-laden hearts. Here is the lever that moves the world: ‘He gave Himself for us.’

II. Now, secondly, notice Christ’s great emancipation.

The Apostle states the object of the gift in a twofold fashion, ‘That He might redeem us all from iniquity, and purify unto Himself a peculiar people, zealous of good works.’ Let me deal now with the former of these two expressions. The object of Christ’s gift is man’s redemption. And what is redemption? Well, it is no doubt a metaphorical expression, and there lies beneath it the image of a slave set free by a ransom. That is in the word, and no fair interpretation of the word can strike that out of the depth of its meaning. So then we begin as the fundamental fact, without which we shall never come either to understand the meaning of Christ’s whole appearance, or get the highest good out of it for our own souls, with this conception of our condition - that we are in bondage to what the Apostle here calls ‘iniquity,’ or lawlessness.

Now do not say that this is Pauline, and that the Christ of the gospels does not say so. He does. Do you remember what He said when the people, with that strange but yet universal forgetfulness or ignoring of the facts of their condition, said to Him, whilst the Roman garrison in the castle might have heard the boast: ‘We were never in bondage to any man’? He answered: ‘He that doeth sin is the slave of sin.’ You may like it or not like it; you may believe that it is the deepest view of human nature; or you may brush it aside as being narrow and pessimistic and old-fashioned, and all the rest of it, but it is Christ’s view. Do not say it is Paul’s. It is Paul’s; but he got it from Jesus, and you have Him to reckon with, and Him to contradict, if you do not. And, alas! a great many of us do not recognise that, after all is said and done, the fact of sin, considered as setting up myself as my own centre and law, in antagonism to, or in neglect of, God, who ought to be my centre, is the universal experience of humanity. The fetters are on our limbs. I remember a story of an English author in the early part of last century, who was put into prison for some imaginary offence, and who pleased himself in a puerile fashion by twisting flowers round the grating of his window, and making believe that he was a free man. Yes, that is what a great many of us do. We try to hide the fetters by putting silk handkerchiefs over them. We, too, like these presumptuous Jews, say: ‘We were never in bondage to any man.’ No, not in bondage to any man, but in bondage worse than that. What about those tendencies in yourself - these lusts and passions, these temptations to ignoring God and living for self, and to other sins that, like springing tigers, have fixed their talons in us and keep us down, in spite of our kicking and struggling? The root cause of almost all the inadequate conceptions of Christ and His work which depart from the plain teaching of Christ and Scripture, lies here, that men do not recognise the fact of their bondage to sin. Wherever that recognition is weak, you will have a maimed Christ and an impotent Christ. It is of small profit to argue about theological doctrines unless you can get a man to feel that he is a sinful man in God’s sight. And when he has learnt what sin means, what guilt means, what the tyranny of a committed transgression means, what the awful voice of a roused conscience means, he will be ready to fling aside all his superficial, easygoing thoughts about Jesus of Nazareth, and to clutch as his one hope the great word: ‘Behold the Lamb of God that taketh away the sin of the world.’ ‘He gave Himself for us, that He might redeem us.’

And so we come to the conception that that giving Himself for us is more than a giving of Himself on behalf of us, in some vague way, and that the way in which Jesus Christ gives Himself for us is that He gives ‘Himself instead of us.

And there, as I humbly venture to believe, is the point of view at which we must stand, if we would give due weight either to His words or to His Cross. There is the point of view at which, as I humbly venture to believe, we must stand if we would receive into our hearts the greatest blessing that that Lord can give - emancipation from sin’s guilt by that great Sacrifice of His, emancipation from sin’s power by the presence within us of His own life and spirit. Christ came into the world ‘to give His life a ransom for many.’ Again I say, therefore, do not pooh-pooh such teaching as this of my text, or may I venture to say - I do it with all humility - such teaching as I am trying to give now, with the easy and superficial remarks that it is Pauline. It is Christ’s - ‘The Son of Man came to give His life a ransom for many.’ Oh, dear friends, there is the power. Christianity minus that Sacrifice is not a Christianity that the world or the flesh or the devil have ever been, or ever need to have been, much afraid of. We may gather metaphors in crowds to illustrate that Sacrifice, but they all fail, for it is unique and transcendent. Men have given themselves up to fetters that others might be made free. Men have given themselves up to the death that others might live. There was a Swiss soldier in one fight who gathered the spears of the enemy into a sheaf, and pointed them to his own breast, that a path might be cleared for the advance of his comrades. The angel that came into Peter’s cell touched him and the fetters fell from his limbs. Christ has come into the dark prison of our humanity, and a drop of His blood on the fetters that bind me to my sin, and my sin to me, corrodes them into dust, and my limbs are free. He fronts all our tyrants as He fronted the Roman soldiers, and says, ‘I am He; if ye seek Me, let these go their way.’ He ‘gave Himself for us that He might redeem us.’

III. And now your time will not allow me to speak, except very inadequately, about the last point that is here, and that is Christ’s great acquisition.

‘That He might purify unto Himself a people for a possession’ - as is the proper rendering - ‘zealous of good works.’ The Apostle is quoting, as I suppose we all know, from the ancient words which make the charter of the Israelitish nation, in which God declared that they were to Him a ‘people of a possession above all the nations that are on the earth,’ and he transfers these great words to Christ, and our relation to Him. He, too, has won a people for His very own. Christ wins us for His because He has given Himself to be ours. Mark how beautifully the reciprocalness of the relation is suggested by the former clause of our text, ‘He gave Himself for us,’ that He might win us for Himself ‘for a possession.’ Yes, in the commerce of love, nothing but a heart can buy a heart, nothing but a heart can pay for a heart. Jesus gives Himself to me, that I may give myself to Him. That is the only gift that satisfies Him. The only result which He recognizes as being the fruit of the travail of His soul, which is sufficient for Him, is that we poor men, delivered from our selfishness, emancipated from our sins, with our wills set free, should go to Him and say, ‘Lord, Thou art mine, and I, poor as I am, little as the gift is, I am Thine.’

We shall only be His in the measure in which we are ‘purified.’ And it is His love that purifies us, and His gift that purifies. For that gift sets in operation within us a multitude of new motives and new desires. And, more than that, He gave Himself that our sins might be taken away. But there is the present gift, as well as the past one, for He is giving Himself still, moment by moment, and hour by hour, to every one that cleaves to Him. And that gift of Himself comes into our hearts as, according to Luther’s old metaphor, the Elbe was turned into the stable to sweep out all the filth, and make all things clean.

So, dear friends, let us cleave to that Lord. Let us see to it that we have fathomed, and not only fathomed, but accepted, the great gift of Himself in its most transcendent form, in its mightiest efficacy, the gift by which, by His death, He has taken away the guilt, and by His life within us, breaks the power of our sins, and makes us eager zealots, enthusiasts for all manner of ‘good works.’

Titus

ZEALOUS OF GOOD WORKS

Titus 2:14.

WE have seen in previous sermons on the preceding context how emphatically the Apostle reiterates that the end of the gospel is the production of Christlike and Christ-pleasing character. For this purpose our Lord came, and in Him the grace of God broke through the clouds which wrapped men in dark folds of ignorance and sin. For this end Christ died, giving Himself for us, that ‘He might redeem us from iniquity and purify unto Himself a people for a possession.’ That insistence on practice as the upshot of doctrine is characteristic of the three last letters of the Apostle, which are called the Pastoral Epistles, and it is very natural in an old man. Just as tradition tells us that when John was too feeble to walk, and too old to say much, he was carried Sunday by Sunday into the assembly of the Church to say nothing more than ‘Little children, love one another,’ so Paul, having laid the foundations in the great doctrinal Epistles of his early time, now an old man, deals rather with practice than with doctrine. But the practice is, in his mind, the offshoot of, and inseparably connected with, the doctrine, and to pit the one against the other, as Some people do nowadays, is to say, ‘I do not care much about root; fruit is what I want’; or, ‘I make little account of what a man eats; what I look to is his muscle and his strength.’ But will there be any fruit without a root, or any muscle and strength that is not nourished? Paul’s gospel is ethical because it is a gospel.

Now these words of my text are a kind of appendix to what precedes them, in which the Apostle has been sketching the sort of people that Christ’s mission and work are intended to make. He says they are to be redeemed, they are to be purified, they are to be won for Christ’s own, and to be conscious that they are His; and then he adds this remarkable expression which I have not been able to deal with at length in former sermons, but which is too important to pass by - ‘zealous’ - what for? - ‘good works.’

Now I think, if we will consider these words, we shall find that they convey, some lessons, always important, and, as it seems to me, extremely important for the Church of this generation.

I. A consistent Christian will be a zealous Christian. I do not need to waste your time in trying to define what zeal is.

We all know it. When we approve of its object we admire it and call it ‘beautiful consecration’; when we are not in sympathy with its objects we call it ‘ridiculous exaggeration’ and ‘fanaticism.’ Its elements are threefold, an overmastering recognition of the greatness of some truth, or cause, or person, for which, or for whom, we are ‘ zealous ‘ - a glow of emotion arising from that recognition, and a consciousness of obligation to strain all our powers for the diffusion of the truth, or the advancement of the cause, or the honour of the person, for whom we are zealous. Now, of course, when a man gets hold of some truth that masters him, there is always the danger of his losing the sense of proportion, of his getting his perspective wrong, and being so swallowed up in the one thing that he sees, that, like a horse with blinkers, he does not see anything except that one narrow line that lies in front of him. And so zeal is always in danger of being deformed into fanaticism, but it is God’s way in working the world onwards, to raise up successions of men, each of whom recognizes with overwhelming clearness some one little segment of the great orb of truth, and the world advances because there are men that believe in one thing, that see one thing, and that give themselves, body and soul, to the setting forth of that one thing. All the rest of us stand by and say, ‘What ridiculous exaggeration! how entirely oblivious he is counter-balancing considerations; how he has narrowed himself down into being the instrument and the apostle of this one thing!’ Yes; and if you want to bore a hole through a six-inch plank, you have to put a pretty sharp point upon your tool, and to make it very ‘narrow.’ The world never gets to see any truth, until it has been hammered into it by some man who did not see any other truth.

There will come, too, with that overwhelming conception of the greatness of the truth, or of the person, or of the cause, a glow of emotion. Argument may be worked in fire or in frost, and the arguments that melt are warm, or if I might go back to my former figure, your boring tool will penetrate more quickly and easily if it has been heated as well as pointed. And zeal glows, and it is the glow rather than reasoning that convinces men.

I need not dwell upon other characteristics of zeal, but my next thought is - Christianity is such as that, if a man really and fully accepts it, he cannot help being zealous. Look at the truths that we say we believe. We believe in ideas about the significance and issues of this earthly life, so solemn, so great, so transcending all present experience, that it is incredible that they can enter into a man’s mind in any deep sense, and leave him cold and indifferent. We believe in such truths about Sin and Judgment and Eternity that they might kindle a soul beneath the ribs of death, and burn up all indifference, so as that the extremist, enthusiastic grasp of them is only moderation and rational. We say that we believe that the infinite, divine nature was incarnated in a Man, and that that Man lived and died because He loved every soul, and that that death brings to the world emancipation, and that Life brings to the world life, and that these things are true for all men. What I maintain is, that if a man really believes these things, not with the mere conventional faith that characterizes multitudes of professing Christians, it is impossible that he should be left cold. If the sun is shining the temperature will go up; and if the thermometer does not rise it is because something or other has come between the sunbeam and the mercury. If the iceberg floats down into the warm oceans of the temperate or tropical zones it will melt into sweet water, and it cannot remain ice. If it continue grim and cold, it is because there is only the sun of the Arctic winter, which has a pale light, and scarcely any warmth at all, shining down upon it. An indifferent Christian, who believes in sin and in redemption and in an incarnate Christ and in a sacrifice on the Cross and in a Divine Spirit and in a future Judgment and remains cold, is all but an impossibility; he is a contradiction in terms, and a living monster.

Brethren, I venture to plead with you that there are few things which the conventional Christianity of this day needs more than to awake to the fact that the ‘sober standard of feeling in matters of religion,’ which some so much admire, is contrary to the genius of the gospel, and the importance of the truths which it con-rains. And when I say a sober standard I do not mean the sobriety which the New Testament enjoins, but I mean the sobriety which the conventional Christianity of this day so much admires, and which is scarcely distinguishable with a microscope from absolute indifference. We are frequently besought to beware of enthusiasm. I hear from quarters where one would not expect to hear it, the cynical politician’s advice, ‘Not too much zeal, I beg of you.’ And I venture to oppose to all that what the voice of the Master from heaven said, ‘I would thou were cold or hot.’ This Christianity that never turns a hair, that does not know what zeal means, seems to me uncommonly like no Christianity at all.

We all want to be roused from our torpor. This community, like every church of professing Christians, is weighted by a mass of loosely attached and halt-believing professing Christians who are nothing better than clogs on the wheel, and instruments for Bringing down the temperature of the whole mass. And what we want, I believe more than anything else, is that we should be zealous, as dominated by the overwhelming greatness and solemnity of the truths, and melted into a passion of love by the overwhelming greatness and love of the Person whom the gospel reveals to us. We are to be ‘zealous,’ and whilst I dare not say that a true Christian will be a zealous one, I dare not conceal my conviction that a consistent Christian will be.

II. Now notice that such zeal finds its best field in our personal character.

‘Zealous ‘ - the word suggests, I suppose, pictures of men, devoted to a cause, and going out into the world to try and persuade other people to believe it, becoming the apostles and missionaries of some truth, or of some movement, or of some great principle, religious or social But Paul suggests here another region in which zeal is to find exercise - ‘zealous for good works’

Now do not let us interpret these last two words in the narrow, conventional sense which they have come to bear in the Church. It is a very significant and a very sad thing that this wide expression ‘good works,’ which in the Apostle’s mind covered the whole ground of Christian morality, has been narrowed down to mean specific acts of beneficence, bits of charity, giving away blankets and soup, visiting the poor, and the like, which have got stamped on them, with just a soul. on of contempt in the expression, the name ‘good works.’ He means a great deal more than that. He means exactly the same thing which he has already twice described as being the end of the gospel, that we should ‘live soberly, righteously, godly,’ and again, that we should be redeemed from all iniquity, and purified. Within the four corners of this expression, ‘good works,’ lie ‘whatsoever things are lovely and of good report,’ every virtue and every praise. That is the width of the object which the Apostle here proposes for Christian zeal.

Now the word which he here employs, and which is rightly translated ‘zealous,’ is literally ‘a Zealot.’ In Jewish history the Zealots were a class of men who, from the days of the Maccabees downwards, were fanatically devoted to the ritual and law of Judaism, and vehemently opposed any relaxation of or departure from it. But their religious zeal, as they thought it, did not keep them from the blackest crimes, and there were no more turbulent and no more immoral men in the dying agonies of the Jewish State than these zealots who had a zeal for God, but neither according to knowledge nor according to morality. One of the apostles, Simon Zelotes - the Zealot - had probably belonged to that class, and had found out a better Object for his zeal, when he turned to Jesus Christ and became an apostle. Paul uses the word in reference to himself when he speaks about himself as having been exceedingly ‘zealous for the traditions of the fathers,’ and it is used in Acts of the many Jewish Christians who are spoken of as being all ‘zealous for the Law.’ That is one type of zeal - a zeal that fastens on externals, that tries to enforce specific acts of conduct, that is devoted to ceremonial and regulations and red tape. And Paul points us here to another type, ‘Zealous for good works.’ Jehu, with His hands carmined with wholesale slaughter, turned to the son of Rechab and said, ‘Come and see my zeal for the Lord.’ Yes, a little bit for the Lord, and a great deal for Jehu. That is the sort of thing that goes about the world as zeal. A turbid river in spate picks up and carries along a great many foul elements; and zeal is always in danger of becoming passionate indignation against a man who will not believe what I want him to believe, not so much because it is true as because I think it is. A great many very impure elements mix themselves up with our zeal, when it is directed to amending the world. If we set to amend ourselves, and direct our zeal in that direction, we shall find ‘ample scope and verge enough’ for its operations. And, brethren, what different lives we should live if instead of feeling bound to the exercise of virtues and graces Which do not come sweet and easy to us, and instead of feeling that we ought to do so and so, and that we do not one bit wish to do it, we had this overmastering enthusiasm for holiness and passion for perfection which is involved in the words before us. To be’ zealous of good works’ is to be eagerly desirous of being beautiful and pure and true and noble and Christlike, to be panting after perfection, and casting ourselves with all the energy of our nature into the work of growing like Christ. That is what Paul wants us all to be. Let us ask ourselves, is it the least like what I am? Does my Christian zeal go all out in the work of amending other people, or do I begin with amending myself?

III. And now my last word is, that this passion for perfection will come to us just in the measure in which we let the gospel He upon our hearts and minds and influence us.

The truths will produce it, but not unless they are wrought into our minds and hearts. Christ, whom the truths reveal, will produce it, but not unless we keep ourselves by honest effort of mind and heart and will in close contact with Him. The upshot of all that i have been trying to say is this, that the one thing which the superficial half-and-half Christianity of this day needs is that it should come into closer contact with the truths of the gospel. I plead for no blind, unintelligent zeal, I plead for no worked-up, artificial fervour. I want no engine without a driver, I want no zeal that, like Phaeton, will upset the car and set everything on fire. I want that Christian men should believe what they believe, and that they should meditate on the truths of the gospel intelligently, systematically, as a whole, and that they should be in touch with Him whom the truths reveal. A ruminant belief that chews the cud of the truths it professes is what today’s Christianity sorely wants. And if we in such a fashion keep ourselves under the spell of these truths, .then the zeal will come; not else. The spurious zeal which is excited by other stimulants will do more harm than good, and will be not like the river that flows, bringing fertility and freshness, but like the furious torrents of the spring when the ice is melting and the snows running down, which sweep away the very soil where growth was possible, and leave behind only barren rock.

Fix in your hearts and minds, and God grant that they may influence your conduct, these two things - on the one hand, that your Christianity is very suspicious if it has no flow in it towards Jesus, and if it has no passion towards perfection; and, on the other hand, that the surest way to bring all beauties of a moral and spiritual sort into your character and out into your lives is to gaze believingly on the appearing of She grace which God has sent us for the very purpose even of Him who gave Himself for us. When we are moved thereby to give ourselves to Him, we shall ‘covet earnestly the best gifts,’ and be ‘zealous for,’ and not merely reluctant and grudging doers of, ‘good works.’2:11-15 The doctrine of grace and salvation by the gospel, is for all ranks and conditions of men. It teaches to forsake sin; to have no more to do with it. An earthly, sensual conversation suits not a heavenly calling. It teaches to make conscience of that which is good. We must look to God in Christ, as the object of our hope and worship. A gospel conversation must be a godly conversation. See our duty in a very few words; denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, living soberly, righteously, and godly, notwithstanding all snares, temptations, corrupt examples, ill usage, and what remains of sin in the believer's heart, with all their hinderances. It teaches to look for the glories of another world. At, and in, the glorious appearing of Christ, the blessed hope of Christians will be complete: To bring us to holiness and happiness was the end of Christ's death. Jesus Christ, that great God and our Saviour, who saves not only as God, much less as Man alone; but as God-man, two natures in one person. He loved us, and gave himself for us; and what can we do less than love and give up ourselves to him! Redemption from sin and sanctification of the nature go together, and make a peculiar people unto God, free from guilt and condemnation, and purified by the Holy Spirit. All Scripture is profitable. Here is what will furnish for all parts of duty, and the right discharge of them. Let us inquire whether our whole dependence is placed upon that grace which saves the lost, pardons the guilty, and sanctifies the unclean. And the further we are removed from boasting of fancied good works, or trusting in them, so that we glory in Christ alone, the more zealous shall we be to abound in real good works.Who gave himself for us - See the notes at Ephesians 5:2.

That he might redeem us from all iniquity - The word here rendered "redeem" - λυτρόω lutroō, occurs only here and in Luke 24:21; 1 Peter 1:18. The noun, however - λύτρον lutron, occurs in Matthew 20:28; and Mark 10:45; where it is rendered "ransom;" see it explained in the notes at Matthew 20:28. It is here said that the object of his giving himself was to save his people from all iniquity; see this explained in the notes at Matthew 1:21.

And purify unto himself -

(1) Purify them, or make them holy. This is the first and leading object; see the notes at Hebrews 9:14

(2) "Unto himself;" that is, they are no longer to be regarded as their own, but as redeemed for his own service, and for the promotion of his glory; - Notes, 1 Corinthians 6:19-20.

A peculiar people - 1 Peter 2:9. The word here used (περιούσιος periousios) occurs nowhere else in the New Testament. It means, properly, having abundance; and then one's own, what is special, or peculiar (Robinson, Lexicon), and here means that they were to be regarded as belonging to the Lord Jesus. It does not mean, as the word would seem to imply - and as is undoubtedly true - that they are to be a unique people in the sense that they are to be unlike others, or to have views and principles unique to themselves; but that they belong to the Saviour in contradistinction from belonging to themselves - "peculiar" or his own in the sense that a man's property is his own, and does not belong to others. This passage, therefore, should not be used to prove that Christians should be unlike others in their manner of living, but that they belong to Christ as his redeemed people. From that it may indeed be inferred that they should be unlike others, but that is not the direct teaching of the passage.

Zealous of good works - As the result of their redemption; that is, this is one object of their having been redeemed; Notes, Ephesians 2:10.

14. gave himself—"The forcible 'Himself, His whole self, the greatest gift ever given,' must not be overlooked."

for us—Greek, "in our behalf."

redeem us—deliver us from bondage by paying the price of His precious blood. An appropriate image in addressing bond-servants (Tit 2:9, 10):

from all iniquity—the essence of sin, namely, "transgression of the law": in bondage to which we were till then. The aim of His redemption was to redeem us, not merely from the penalty, but from the being of all iniquity. Thus he reverts to the "teaching" in righteousness, or disciplining effect of the grace of God that bringeth salvation (Tit 2:11, 12).

peculiar—peculiarly His own, as Israel was of old.

zealous—in doing and promoting "good works."

Who gave himself for us; which great God and Saviour Jesus Christ was not only sent and given by the Father, John 3:16, but freely gave up himself to be incarnate, and to die for us, uperhmwn, in our stead to die.

That he might redeem us from all iniquity; that by that price he might purchase salvation for us, delivering us both from the guilt and power of sin, who were slaves and captives to our lusts.

And that he might purify unto himself laon periousion, we translate it a peculiar people; some translate it, an egregious, famous, principal people; others say it signifieth something got by our own labour and industry, and laid up for our own use; others say it signifieth something we have set our hearts and affections upon, in a special, peculiar manner.

Zealous of good works; studious to do, and warmly pursuing, all such works as are acceptable to God, and profitable to ourselves and others. Who gave himself for us,.... Not another, or another's, but himself; not merely his own things, but his own self; not the world, and the riches of it, not gold and silver, and such like corruptible things, as the price of redemption; not the cattle on a thousand hills for sacrifice; not men nor angels, but himself; all that belong to him, all that is near and dear, his name, fame, credit, and reputation; his time, strength, and service: all the comforts of life, and life itself; his whole manhood, soul, and body, and that as in union with his divine person; which he gave into the hands of men, and of justice, and to death itself, to be a ransom price of his people, and for a propitiation and sacrifice for their sins, to be paid and offered in their room and stead: not for all mankind, but for many; for us, for all the elect of God, for the church; and who are represented when he gave himself, or died for them, as ungodly, sinners, and enemies: this was a free and voluntary gift, and is an unspeakable one; who can say all that is contained in this word "himself?" it is an instance of the greatest love, of love that passeth knowledge; God, because he could swear by no greater, swore by himself; and Christ, because he could give no greater gift, nor any greater instance of his love, gave himself, for the following ends and purposes:

that he might redeem us from all iniquity: sin brings into bondage and, slavery, redemption is a deliverance from it; sin binds guilt upon the sinner, and lays him under obligation to punishment, and renders him liable to the curse and condemnation of the law; Christ was made sin, and a curse for his people, that he might redeem them from both, and deliver them from the punishment due to sin; which he has done by bearing it in his own, body on the tree, whereby he has redeemed them from all iniquity, that so it shall not be their ruin, or they come into condemnation on account of it; even from original sin, and from all actual transgressions; from all which his blood cleanses, and his righteousness justifies, and which God, for his sake, freely and fully forgives. Christ was called to this work by his Father, to which he agreed; and the plan of redemption being drawn in the everlasting council, and the whole adjusted and fixed in the covenant of peace; promises and prophecies were given out of it, and in the fulness of time Christ was sent, and came to effect it; and he has obtained eternal redemption for us, through the price of his own blood, which could have never been wrought out by any creature; and wherein all the divine perfections are glorified and is a plenteous and complete one; it includes in it, or connects with it, the blessings of justification, peace, pardon, adoption, and eternal life. It follows as another end of Christ's giving himself, or what is a branch of redemption, or consequent upon it,

and purify unto himself a peculiar people, zealous of good works; all mankind are filthy and unclean by nature, in all the powers and faculties of their souls; nor can they cleanse themselves from their impurity of flesh and spirit, by anything that they can do: Christ has a peculiar people among these, a church whom he loves, and for whom he has given himself, that he might sanctify and cleanse them from their sins; which he has done by shedding his blood for them, and washing them in it, which cleanses from all sin, and he has purified them unto himself, for his own use and service, for his pleasure and delight, and to his glory; that they might be a proper habitation for him now; and that they might be made ready for him, to have the marriage between, him and them consummated; and that they might be presented to himself a glorious church, without spot or wrinkle, and be with him, both in the new Jerusalem state, into which nothing that defiles, or is defiled, enters, and in heaven, to all eternity. Now these people, for whom Christ has given himself, and whom he has redeemed and purifies, are a "peculiar people"; for whom Christ has a peculiar love, in whom he takes a peculiar delight, and to whom he grants peculiar nearness to himself, and bestows peculiar blessings on them, and makes peculiar provisions for them, both for time and eternity; these are Christ's own, his possession, his substance, what he has a special right to by his Father's gift, his own purchase, and the conquest of his grace; and they are a distinct and separate people from all others, in election, redemption, effectual calling, and in Christ's intercession, and will be in the resurrection morn, at the day of judgment, and to all eternity; and they are, as the word also signifies, an excellent and valuable people; they are Christ's portion and inheritance; they are his peculiar treasure, his jewels, whom, as such, he values and takes care of. The Syriac version renders it, "a new people". And they who are redeemed and purified by Christ, through the power of his grace upon them, become a people "zealous of good works"; not in order to their justification and salvation, but in obedience to the will of God, and to testify their subjection and gratitude to him, and for his honour and glory, and for the credit of religion, and the good of men, These not only perform them, but perform them from principles of truth and love, and with a zeal for the glory of God, and the honour of his Gospel; and with an holy emulation of one another, striving to go before, and excel each other in the performance of them.

Who gave himself for us, that he might redeem us from all iniquity, and purify unto himself a {f} peculiar people, zealous of good works.

(f) As it were a thing peculiarly laid aside for himself.

EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
Titus 2:14. The thought in this verse is very closely related to Titus 2:12 : παιδεύουσα ἡμᾶς, ἵνα κ.τ.λ., as it shows how far the appearance of the grace of God exhorts us to deny ἀσέβεια κ.τ.λ. In construction, however, it is connected with σωτῆρος ἡμ. . Χρ.

ὃς ἔδωκεν ἑαυτόν] comp. Galatians 1:4, equivalent to παρέδωκεν ἑαυτόν, Ephesians 5:25. The conception of the voluntary submission to death is not contained in ἑαυτόν (Heydenreich) so much as in the whole expression.

ὑπὲρ ἡμῶν] is not equivalent to ἀντὶ ἡμῶν, but: “for us, on our behalf;” the notion of ἀντί, however, is not excluded (Matthew 20:28). The purpose of this submission is given in the next words: ἵνα λυτρώσηται ἡμᾶς] λυτροῦσθαι: “set free by means of a ransom.” In Luke 24:21 (comp. too, 1Ma 4:11, and other passages in the Apocrypha) the reference to ransom falls quite into the background; but in 1 Peter 1:18-19, where, as here, the redemption through Christ is spoken of, the τίμιον αἷμα of Christ is called the ransom. The same reference is indicated here by the previous ἔδωκεν ἑαυτόν, comp. 1 Timothy 2:6. The middle form includes the reference which in the next clause is expressed by ἑαυτῷ.

ἀπὸ πάσης ἀνομίας] “from all unlawfulness.” Ἀνομία is regarded as the power from which Christ has redeemed us; it is opposed to σωφρόνως καὶ δικαίως καὶ εὐσεβῶς ζῆν: “the unrighteousness in which the law of God is unheeded.” It is wrong to understand by ἀνομία “not only the sin, but also the punishment incurred by sin” (Heydenreich), or only the latter; comp. Romans 6:19, 2 Corinthians 6:14, and especially 1 John 3:4 : ἡ ἁμαρτία ἐστὶν ἡ ἀνομία.

καὶ καθαρίσῃ ἑαυτῷ λαὸν περιούσιον] positive expression of the thought which was expressed negatively in the previous clause. De Wette and Wiesinger without reason supply ἡμᾶς as the object of καθαρίσῃ; the object is λαὸν περιούσιον.

περιούσιος (ἅπ. λεγ. in N. T.). Chrysostom wrongly interprets it by ἐξελεγμένος, οὐδὲν ἔχων κοινὸν πρὸς τοὺς λοιπούς; Theodoret more correctly by οἰκεῖος; so, too, Beza: peculiaris, and Luther: “a people for a possession.” The phrase λαὸς περιούσιος belongs to the O. T., and is a translation of the Hebrew עַם סְגֻלָּה, Exodus 19:5; Deuteronomy 7:6; Deuteronomy 14:2; Deuteronomy 26:18, LXX.; in the church of the N. T. the promise made to the people of Israel is fulfilled; comp. 1 Peter 2:9 : λαὸς εἰς περιποίησιν.

ἑαυτῷ corresponds with λυτρώσηται ἀπό. The sentence is pregnantly expressed, and its meaning is: “that He by the purifying power of His death might acquire for Himself (ἑαυτῷ) a people for a possession.”

The moral character of the λαὸς περιούσ. is declared by the words in apposition, ζηλωτὴν καλῶν ἔργων: accensum studio bonorum operum.

De Wette is inaccurate in saying that the apostle is speaking here not of reconciliation, but only of moral purification. Wiesinger rightly asks: “What else are we to understand by ἔδωκεν ἑαυτὸν ὑπὲρ ἡμῶν than the reconciling death?” But de Wette is so far right, that reconciliation is not made the chief point here, but rather, as often in the N. T., e.g. 1 Peter 1:17-18, the design is mentioned for which Christ suffered the death of reconciliation; comp. Luther’s exposition of the second article of faith.

Titus 2:15. Ταῦτα (viz. these moral precepts, see Titus 2:1, with the reasons given for them, Titus 2:11-14) λάλει καὶ παρακάλει καὶ ἔλεγχε] The distinction between these words is correctly given by Heydenreich. Λαλεῖν denotes simple teaching, παρακάλ. pressing exhortation, ἐλέγχ. solemn admonition to those who neglect these duties. “The theoretic, the paraenetic-practical, and the polemic aspects of the preaching of the gospel are combined” (Matthies).

μετὰ πάσης ἐπιταγῆς] According to 1 Corinthians 7:6, συγγνώμη is the opposite of ἐπιταγή; this clause therefore enjoins that Titus is not to leave it to the free choice of the church whether his exhortations shall be obeyed or not, but to deliver them as commands. De Wette translates: “with all recommendation,” which is right in sense; still ἐπιταγή is not properly recommendation but command, and it is therefore better to say, “with entire full command.

With this the final words are closely connected: μηδείς σου περιφρονείτω] περιφρονεῖν (ἅπ. λεγ.); properly: “consider something on all sides;” then: “think beyond, despise,” equivalent to καταφρονεῖν; comp. 1 Timothy 4:12. Luther is right in sense: “let no man despise thee,” viz. by not receiving thy teachings, exhortations, and admonitions as commands, and by thinking lightly of them. There is nothing to suggest that Titus is to conduct himself so that no one may be right in despising him. Titus 2:14. ὃς ἔδωκεν ἑαυτὸν κ.τ.λ.: see note on 1 Timothy 2:6. As already observed, this is an appeal from the constraining love of Christ to the responding love of man.

λυτρώσηται: deliver. The language is borrowed from Psalms 129 (130):8 αὐτὸς λυτρώσεται τὸν Ἰσραὴλ ἐκ πασῶν τῶν ἀνομιῶν αὐτοῦ. The material supplied by this passage for a discussion of the Atonement is contained in ἔδωκενἡμῶν, not in λυτρώσηται. See Dean Armitage Robinson’s note on Ephesians 1:14.

ἀνομίας: Lawlessness is the essence of sin (1 John 3:4), self-assertion as opposed to self-sacrifice which is love. Love, which is self-sacrifice, is a dissolvent of self-assertion or sin. And to what degree soever we allow the love of Christ to operate as a controlling principle in our lives, to that degree we are delivered from ἀνομία, as an opposing controlling principle.

καθαρίσῃ ἑαυτῷ λαόν: This is a pregnant expression for “purify and so make them fit to be his people”. St. Paul has in mind Ezekiel 37:23, “I will save them out of all their dwelling places, wherein they have sinned, and will cleanse them: so shall they be my people, and I will be their God”, ῥύσομαι αὐτοὺς ἀπὸ πασῶν τῶν ἀνομιῶν αὐτῶν ὧν ἡμάρτοσαν ἐν αὐταῖς, καὶ καθαριῶ αὐτοὺς καὶ ἔσονταί μοι εἰς λαὸν, κ.τ.λ. There is in καθαρίσῃ an allusion to Holy Baptism, which is explicit in Titus 3:5. Cf. Ephesians 5:26, ἵνα αὐτὴν ἁγιάσῃ καθαρίσας τῷ λουτρῷ τοῦ ὕδατος ἐν ῥήματι.

λαὸν περιούσιον: populum acceptabilem (Vulg.). A people for his own possession (R.V.) is the modern equivalent of a peculiar people (A.V.). λαὸς περιούσιος is the LXX for עַם סְגֻלָּה. סְגֻלָּה means “a valued property, a peculiar treasure” (peculium), and occurs first in Exodus 19:5, “Ye shall be a peculiar treasure unto me.” Here the LXX inserts λαός, possibly from the references in Deut., in which the combination סגלה עם is found. סגלה alone occurs in Malachi 3:17 (εἰς περιποίησιν) and in Psalm 135:4 (εἰς περιουσιασμόν). The LXX of Malachi 3:17 is echoed in Ephesians 1:14, εἰς ἀπολύτρωσιν τῆς περιποιήσεως, (where see Dean Armitage Robinson’s note) and 1 Peter 2:9, λαὸς εἰς περιποίησιν, in which λαός is a reminiscence of the LXX of the passages in Exod. and Deut. Perhaps περιούσιος refers to the treasure as laid up, while περιποίησις refers to it as acquired.

ζηλωτὴν καλῶν ἔργων: See Ephesians 2:10; 1 Peter 1:15; Hebrews 10:24.14. who gave himself for us] Dr Reynolds well gives the connexion ‘who—in this lofty and august majesty, and because He was possessed of it—delivered up Himself—His whole unique personality—on our behalf.’

that he might redeem us] By the payment of a ransom price; see note 1 Timothy 2:6 for the origin of this image and its place among the metaphors of the Atonement. Compare Norris, Rudiments of Theology, pp. 168, 169, 173, 216. St Peter, 1 Peter 1:18, calls the slavery, from which ‘ye were redeemed,’ ‘your vain manner of life handed down from your fathers’—writing to the Jewish Christians, who as Jews had had at least a certain moral standard. St Paul, thinking of the Cretans and their sunken state of morals, defines the slavery as all iniquity, a word which St Peter keeps for ‘the lascivious life of the wicked’ by which righteous Lot was sore distressed. Compare 1 Timothy 1:9. Romans 2:14-15 describes that ‘moral law of nature,’ the breaches of which make the ‘iniquity’ of Rome, and Ephesus, and Crete, and England, irrespective of the more defined written law.

and purify unto himself a peculiar people] ‘Purify’ is the word constantly used of Christ in the days of His flesh ‘cleansing’ the lepers. Cf. Matthew 8:3. His object in His great gift of Himself was that He might say to leprous souls ‘I will, be thou cleansed.’

a peculiar people] ‘Peculiar’ in its old sense from ‘peculium,’ the property which a son or slave was allowed to possess as his own, cf. Exodus 19:5. ‘Ye shall be a peculiar treasure unto me above all peoples.’ So Deuteronomy 7:6, where the Septuagint has the same Greek word. ‘But the Percies affirmying them to be their owne propre prisoners and their peculiar praies, and to deliver them utterly denayed.’ Hall, Hen. IV., fol. 19 b. Bible Word-Book, p. 454.

The Greek word means ‘one who remains over to me,’ ‘my acquisition,’ and so the parallel phrase 1 Peter 2:9, ‘a people for a possession,’ interprets it. Vulg. ‘acceptabilis,’ and so Theod. Mops. Latin Text, but the Latin commentary, shewing Theodore’s own interpretation, far better ‘ut proprium sibi populum adquireret.’ For a full account of the word see Bp Lightfoot, Revision of the N. T., p. 234 sq. ‘People’ is itself the proper word for the chosen, select, people; in the original phrase in O. T. therefore the Israelites, now the Church Catholic.

zealous of good works] The force of this word can be seen in Luke 6:15, ‘Simon who was called the Zealot,’ Acts 21:20, ‘and they are all zealous for the law, Acts 22:3, ‘being zealous for God, even as ye all are this day;’ what the ‘Zealot’ party which set itself up for extra loyalty and strictness to the Law as a nationalist badge was to the nation at large; what the Jewish Christians were to their better instructed Gentile brethren, and Jews generally to Christians, in respect of the old ritual observances: this Christ would have His Church be to the rest of the world in respect of good works shining before men, ‘zealots of goodness, charged with the genius of goodness—the passion for godliness:’ Dr Reynolds. So St Peter again has the word ‘who is he that will harm you, if ye be zealots of goodness?’ 1 Peter 3:13. But may we not also say here is the true ‘enthusiasm of humanity,’ the very purpose, mark, of the Incarnation and Atonement; that we may be zealots of philanthropy, charged with the genius of social regeneration, the passion for practical piety? This aim and scope of the Saviour’s work makes the ‘Faithful saying’ of the next chapter Titus 3:8 rise plainly to the level of the other ‘Faithful sayings’ of 1 Tim. and 2 Tim.Titus 2:14. Ἵνα λυτρώσηται, that He might redeem) An allusion to redemption from slavery.[12]—λαὸν περιούσιον, a peculiar people) The adjective would be translated into Latin by superfactum. Columella writes, villica debet separare, quœ consumenda sunt, et quœ superfieri possunt, custodire, “a farmer’s wife should separate what is to be consumed, and keep what may be left over and above.” Comp. περιποίησις, 1 Peter 2:9, note. [The περὶ in composition often expresses something remaining over and above. So περιποίησις, in Peter, something which God reserves to Himself out of all. And περιούσιος, a people peculiarly God’s own above all nations, Exodus 19:5-6; LXX.]

[12] He had been speaking of slaves or servants, ver. 9.—ED.Verse 14. - A people for his own possession for a peculiar people, A.V. Who gave himself for us. The resemblance in thought and diction to 1 Timothy 2:3-6 has been already pointed out. "Who gave himself" (ο{ς ἔδωκεν ἑαυτόν) is there expressed by ὁ δοὺς ἑαυτόν, and "that he might redeem us" (ἵνα λυτρώσηται ἡμᾶς) by ἀντίλυτρον ὑπὲρ πάντων. (For the great truths contained in the words "who gave himself," comp. John 10:11, 17, 18; Galatians 1:4; Ephesians 5:2, 25; 1 Peter 2:24; Hebrews 9:14.) The voluntary offering of himself is also implied in the office of our Lord as High Priest (Hebrews 9:11-14). For us (ὑπὲρ ἡμῶν); on our behalf; not exactly synonymous with ἀντὶ ἡμῶν, "in our stead." Both phrases, however, are used of our redemption by Jesus Christ. We find ὑπὲρ in Luke 22:19, 20; John 6:51: 10:11, 15; 11:50-52; 15:13; 18:14; Romans 5:6, 8; Romans 8:32; 1 Corinthians 5:7; 2 Corinthians 5:14, 15, 21; Galatians 1:4; Ephesians 5:2, 25; 1 Thessalonians 3:10; Hebrews 2:9; 1 Peter 2:21; 1 Peter 3:18; 1 Peter 4:1; 1 John 3:16: and we find ἀντί in Matthew 20:28 and Mark 10:45, and in αντίλυτρον, 1 Timothy 2:6. The literal meaning of ὑπὲρ is "in defense of," and hence generally "on behalf of," "for the good of." The primary idea of ἄντι is "standing opposite," and hence it denotes "exchange," "price," "worth," "instead," etc. Redeem (λυτρώσηται); as Luke 24:21:1 Peter 1:18; common in classical Greek. In the middle voice, as here, it means "to release by payment of a ransom;" in the active voice, "to release on receipt of a ransom." In 1 Peter 1:18 the ransom price is stated, viz. "the precious blood of Christ;" as in Matthew 20:28 it is "the life of the Son of man." The effect of this redemption is not merely deliverance from the penalty of sin, but from its power also, as appears by the following words: "a peculiar people, zealous of good works," and by the passage in St. Peter above referred to. Purify (καθαρίσῃ); as very frequently in the New Testament of cleansing lepers, the outside of the platter, etc., cleansing the Gentiles (Acts 10:15), putting away all sin (2 Corinthians 7:1), cleansing the Church (Ephesians 5:26), purging the conscience (Hebrews 9:14), etc. The iniquity just spoken of was a defilement; the redemption from iniquity removed that defilement. The blood of Jesus Christ, the price paid for the redemption, was the instrument of cleansing (1 John 1:7, 9). A people for his own possession (καὸν περιούσιον); only here in the New Testament, but frequent in the LXX., coupled, as here, with λαός (Exodus 19:5; Deuteronomy 7:6; Deuteronomy 14:2; Deuteronomy 26:18), to express the Hebrew סְגֻלָּה or עַם סְגֻלָּה, a people the peculiar property, or treasure, of God; "peculiar" being derived from the Latin peculium, one's own private property, reserved for one's own private use. The Authorized Version "peculiar" expresses the sense exactly, and the περιούσιος of our text and of the LXX., from whom it is borrowed, is meant to define either that special reserved portion of a man's property over and above what he spends for ordinary expenses, which nobody can interfere with, or those jewels on which he sets a special value, and places safely in his treasury. In 1 Peter 2:10 λαὸς εἰς περιποίησιν ("a peculiar people," Authorized Version) means the same thing, that being the LXX. translation of the same Hebrew word, סְגֻלָּה, in Malachi 3:17 ("jewels," Authorized Version), "They shall be my reserved portion or possession." The application of the phrase, λαὸν περιούσιον, descriptive in the Old Testament of Israel, to the Church of Christ, is very instructive. The passage in 1 Peter 2:10 is exactly analogous, as is the phrase, "the Israel of God" (Galatians 6:16). Zealous (ζηλωτής); as Acts 21:20; Acts 22:3; 1 Corinthians 14:12; Galatians 1:14. From its special application to those who were zealous for the Law of Moses it became the name of the sect or party of the Zealots who played such a terrible part in the Jewish war (see Luke 4:15). Canaanite (Matthew 10:4; Mark 3:18) is the Hebrew for Ζηλωτής. Zeal for good works is the indispensable mark of God's peculiar people, the inseparable fruit of the redemption and purification which is by the blood of Jesus Christ (comp. 1 Peter 1:2). Gave himself for us (ἔδωκεν ἑαυτὸν ὑπὲρ ἡμῶν)

See on 1 Timothy 2:6, and comp. Galatians 1:4. Ὑπὲρ on behalf of; not instead of.

Might redeem (λυτρώσηται)

Only here, Luke 24:21; 1 Peter 1:18. See on 1 Timothy 2:6. Neither λύτρον ransom, λύτρωσις redemption, nor λυτρωτής redeemer occur in Paul. He has the figure of purchase (ἀγοράζεσθαι, ἐξαγοράζεσθαι), 1 Corinthians 6:20; 1 Corinthians 7:23; Galatians 3:13; Galatians 4:5. Comp. Revelation 5:9; Revelation 14:3, Revelation 14:4; 2 Peter 2:1.

Iniquity (ἀνομίας)

Only here in Pastorals. Lit. lawlessness. See on 1 John 3:4.

Might purify (καθαρίσῃ)

In Pastorals only here. Mostly in Synoptic Gospels and Hebrews. In Paul, 2 Corinthians 7:1; Ephesians 5:26. oClass. Often in lxx.

A peculiar people (λαὸν περιούσιον)

Λαός people only here in Pastorals. In Paul ten times, always in citations. Most frequently in Luke and Acts; often in Hebrews and Revelation. Περιούσιος N.T.o. A few times in lxx, always with λαός. See Exodus 19:5; Exodus 23:22; Deuteronomy 7:6; Deuteronomy 14:2; Deuteronomy 26:18. The phrase was originally applied to the people of Israel, but is transferred here to believers in the Messiah - Jews and Gentiles. Comp. 1 Peter 2:10. Περιούσιος is from the participle of περιεῖναι to be over and above: hence περιουσία abundance, plenty. Περιούσιος also means possessed over and above, that is, specially selected for one's own; exempt from ordinary laws of distribution. Hence correctly represented by peculiar, derived from peculium, a private purse, a special acquisition of a member of a family distinct from the property administered for the good of the whole family. Accordingly the sense is given in Ephesians 1:14, where believers are said to have been sealed εἰς ἀπολύτρωσιν τῆς περιποιήσεως with a view to redemption of possession, or redemption which will give possession, thus equals acquisition. So 1 Peter 2:9, where Christians are styled λαὸς εἰς περιποίησιν a people for acquisition, to be acquired by God as his peculiar possession. Comp. 1 Thessalonians 5:9; 2 Thessalonians 2:14, and περιποιεῖσθαι to acquire, Acts 20:28. The phrase καθαρίζειν λαὸν to purify the people, in lxx, Nehemiah 12:30; Judith 16:18.

Zealous (ζηλωτὴν)

Lit. a zealot. Comp. Acts 21:20; Acts 22:3; 1 Peter 3:13. Only here in Pastorals. In Paul, 1 Corinthians 14:12; Galatians 1:14. For the word as a title, see on the Canaanite, Matthew 10:4, and see on Mark 3:18.

Authority (ἐπιταγῆς)

See on 1 Timothy 1:1.

continued...

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