James Nisbet Commentary - Titus 2:11 - 2:14

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James Nisbet Commentary - Titus 2:11 - 2:14

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This Chapter Verse Commentaries:


‘For the grace of God that bringeth salvation hath appeared to all men, teaching us … and purify unto Himself a peculiar people, zealous of good works.’


This is the little compendium of the Gospel which St. Paul left in the hands of his spiritual son Titus, in order that by it he might win to Christ those difficult and half-civilised people of Crete.

I. Look up and look on.—But this life disengaged from the entanglement of ungodliness and worldly lusts, this life of self-discipline and the love of God with all the heart, such a life must be under any circumstances an arduous one. St. Paul knew that what he begged Titus ask of the Cretans was a hard thing. What will he do or say to help them? The answer St. Paul gives is in the words of the text. What is it, then, that will help us? He answers, ‘Ye men and women, who wish to live as God has made you to live, and as God wills you to live, when the yoke presses heavily upon you, then look up and look on. This hardness which you know, the bitterness of the detained and baffled life, will not always be. There cometh for you all a golden time. Look on.’ He points to the realisation of that blessed hope of the reappearing of Christ, the coming of Him Who once came in weakness and meekness, in lowliness, in suffering and in death, but Who is to come in His glory. And the appearing of Christ in His glory shall put an end to the strife of life and bring you to victory in the battle, and shall land you upon the safe shore where sin and sorrow and death are not, but where the light is clear and the peace is perfect, and God will welcome His sons unto His kingdom which He hath made theirs.

II. A ray from the Cross.—And next He bids them, and bids us, lift up our eyes to the Cross, to Him Who gave Himself upon the Cross. And be careful to make that gift personal and particular to yourself. Not for an indistinguishable crowd of uncounted millions, but for an individual soul, for mine and for yours, Christ gave Himself upon the Cross. Let men do what they will, Christ loves me, and in His love I am rich and I am strong. By this gift of Himself He has redeemed us from all iniquity, from the guilt and the power of sin, to purify us to Himself as ‘a. peculiar people.’

III. A peculiar people.—Mark the word, a word which comes only here in Holy Scripture, and which seems, so scholars tell us, to be perhaps more nearly represented by the word ‘treasured.’ ‘That He might purify unto Himself a “treasured” people,’ in whom is the power of a life like His own, whose hearts are touched with the fire of His own, a treasured people zealous of good works, redeemed, purified, drawn to Himself in a life that He treasures, that burns with a soul like His own for good works—these are the possibilities of a Christian soul.

Rev. E. F. Russell.