Titus 3:4
But when the kindness of God our Savior and His love for mankind appeared,
Abundant Supply of GraceT. Taylor, D. D.Titus 3:4-7
Eminent HolinessThe EvangelistTitus 3:4-7
God's KindnessTitus 3:4-7
God's Kindness Only Partially Seen by the SoulTitus 3:4-7
God's Love IncomparableJohn R. Miller.Titus 3:4-7
God's Love to MenRichard Newton.Titus 3:4-7
God's Method of JustificationJ. Bunting.Titus 3:4-7
Good Work, no Ground of Acceptance with GodMajor Whittle.Titus 3:4-7
Good Works not to be Relied OnT. Secker.Titus 3:4-7
Heirs of Eternal LifeT. Taylor, D. D.Titus 3:4-7
Looking for the Hope of Eternal LifeMrs. Bottome.Titus 3:4-7
RegenerationWeekly PulpitTitus 3:4-7
RegenerationH. Quick.Titus 3:4-7
Relation of Justification to RegenerationR. W. Hamilton, D. D.Titus 3:4-7
SalvationO. McCutcheon.Titus 3:4-7
Salvation by GraceExpository OutlinesTitus 3:4-7
Salvation Viewed from God's SideBp. Jackson.Titus 3:4-7
Salvation, not of Works, But of GraceHomilistTitus 3:4-7
Salvation, not of Works, But of GraceD. Thomas Titus 3:4-7
Spiritual WashingTitus 3:4-7
St. Paul's GospelJ. O. Dykes, D. D.Titus 3:4-7
That Being Justified by His GraceD. Thomas, D. D.Titus 3:4-7
The Difficulty of Removing the Pollution of SinTitus 3:4-7
The Disposition of GodH. W. Beecher.Titus 3:4-7
The Finished Work of ChristTitus 3:4-7
The Laver of RegenerationT. Taylor, D. D.Titus 3:4-7
The Laver of RegenerationA. Plummer, D. D.Titus 3:4-7
The Origin, Nature, Means, and End of SalvationT. Croskery Titus 3:4-7
The Power of God's KindnessJ.W. Lance.Titus 3:4-7
The Renewing of the Holy GhostD. Moore, M. A.Titus 3:4-7
The Renewing of the Holy SpiritE. H. Hopkins.Titus 3:4-7
The Source of SalvationF. Wagstaff.Titus 3:4-7
The Way of SalvationTitus 3:4-7
Working Hard for SalvationTitus 3:4-7

The apostle reflects that he and other believers had no excuse for treating the heathen with haughtiness, since it was owing to no merit of his or theirs that their own lives had become purer.

I. THE MANIFESTATION OF THE DIVINE GOODNESS AND LOVE TO MAN. "But when the kindness of God our Savior and his love to man appeared."

1. The time of this manifestation. The expression implies a definite point of time. It was "the fullness of the time" (Galatians 4:4).

(1) It was the period fixed in the Divine purpose from eternity.

(2) It was the time of the probation of the Jews, ending in the most awful series of judgments that ever befell a people.

(3) It was a time when the Greek tongue and the Roman arms made a highway for the gospel.

(4) It was a time when pagan thought had exhausted every experiment in the art of living, to find that all was "vanity and vexation of spirit."

(5) Yet it is not implied that the manifestation of Divine kindness had not been enjoyed already in pre-Christian ages; for it was in virtue of this manifestation, in the fullness of times, that God's love flowed forth in blessing during Jewish ages.

2. The nature of this manifestation.

(1) It was a manifestation of kindness and love to man.

(a) Kindness is the more general term, unlimited, undefined, all-embracing, touching the whole creation.

(b) Love to man is his special and distinguishing love to the children of men as distinct from angels.

(2) It was the love of the Father - "our Savior-God."

(a) The title" Savior," so often given to the Son, is here given to the Father, because he is the Fountain from whence flow all the streams of Divine mercy. The Son is "the Unspeakable of the Father;" for he "so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son" (John 3:16). The atonement was not, therefore, the cause, but the effect, of the Father's love.

(b) This fact, exhibiting the mine of power and love in the Creator, greatly enhances the certainty and glory of redemption.

(c) It is our Father who is our Savior. Mark the clear relationship, in spite of all our waywardness and sin.

II. THE METHOD OF THIS DIVINE MANIFESTATION. "Not by works of righteousness we did, but according to his mercy he saved us." The Divine goodness and love were manifested in salvation. "He saved us." This salvation, procured by the obedience and death of Christ, has its origin, not in works of righteousness done by man, as entitling him to it, but solely in Divine mercy. Mark the conditions and the means of this salvation.

1. The conditions of salvation.

(1) Not by works of righteousness.

(a) We are not saved by our own works, even though they should be done in obedience to a righteous law (Romans 3:20; Galatians 2:16; Ephesians 2:4, 8, 9; 2 Timothy 1:1, 9).

(b) If we were saved in this way, Christ should have died in vain (Galatians 2:21). His death would have been quite unnecessary.

(c) Experience proves the impossibility of our being able to do the works of perfect righteousness (Romans 3:23).

(2) The condition of salvation is Divine mercy. "According to his mercy."

(a) God is rich in mercy (Ephesians 2:4).

(b) It streams forth from the blood and righteousness of Christ (Romans 3:24, 25; Romans 6:23).

(c) It was through the tender mercy of God that Christ, as the Dayspring from on high, visited the earth (Luke 1:78).

(d) The pardon of sin is according to the multitude of his tender mercies (Psalm 51:1, 2).

(e) Eternal life is the effect of God's mercy.

2. The means of salvation. "By the washing of regeneration and the renewing of the Holy Ghost, which he poured on us abundantly through Jesus Christ our Savior." The Greek word is "laver," as if to show that the reference is to baptism.

(1) The washing of regeneration refers to the beginning of the spiritual process in the soul, as it is the Spirit who regenerates the soul. There is nothing in the passage to support the doctrine of baptismal regeneration.

(a) The connection of baptism with regeneration no more proves that all the baptized are regenerated than the expression, "we are sanctified by the truth," implies that the truth in all cases has this effect, or that "the gospel of your salvation" implies that salvation always follows the hearing of the gospel.

(b) As a matter of fact, believers in apostolic times were regenerated before they were baptized; therefore they were not regenerated by baptism. This was the case with the three thousand at Pentecost (Acts 2.), with Lydia and the Philippian jailor (Acts 16.).

(c) There is no necessary connection between baptism and regeneration, for Simon Magus was baptized without being regenerated (Acts 8:9-24).

(d) It is strange that, much as John speaks of regeneration in his First Epistle, he never connects baptism with it. He says that those who are "born of God" do righteousness, and overcome the world. Why should he mention these tests at all, when he might have known that, had they been baptized, they must have been regenerated?

(e) The Apostle Peter shows us the meaning of baptism when he says that "baptism doth now save us" (1 Peter 3:21). How? "Not by putting away the filth of the flesh " - which is easily done by the external application of water - " but the answer of a good conscience toward God; "as if to show that such an answer, representing the reality and sincerity of our profession, was separable from the putting away of the faith of the flesh.

(f) The expression, "baptism for the remission of sins," does not imply that baptism is the cause of their remission, for in all the cases referred to the remission had already taken place before baptism (Acts 2:38; Acts 22:16). The baptism was a sign or seal of a remission already accomplished. Saul was a true believer before Ananias said to him, "Arise, and be baptized, and wash away thy sins, calling on the Name of the Lord." Besides, it was by calling on the Name of the Lord that his sins were washed away. This is the force of the Greek construction.

(2) The renewing of the Holy Ghost refers to the continuance of the spiritual process in the soul. Thus "the inward man is renewed day by day" (2 Corinthians 4:16). This points to progressive sanctification.

(a) The renewed are the children of God, the heirs of the eternal


(b) The effects are the fruits of righteousness in our life and conversation. Thus there is a firm connection between the regeneration and the renewal, which cannot be said of baptism and renewal. Christendom is baptized, yet how little grace is manifest among its millions!

(c) The source of this renewal is the Holy Ghost, who has been poured out upon us richly through Jesus Christ our Savior. It was in virtue of the mediatorship that the Spirit was given, and still works in the Church of God. For

(a) all salvation is by him;

(b) the grace of regeneration is out of his fullness;

(c) the gift of God, which is eternal life, is through him.

III. THE END OF THIS MANIFESTATION OF DIVINE GOODNESS AND LOVE. "That being justified by his grace, we should be made heirs according to the hope of eternal life." God saves us according to his mercy by regeneration; but the first effect of regeneration is faith, and faith is the instrument of our justification. There is no difference in the order of time between regeneration and justification, but regeneration must precede justification in the order of nature. Therefore the apostle here goes upon the order of nature.

1. The nature of justification. It includes' pardon of sin and. acceptance, into God's favor.

2. The ground of justification. "Being justified by his grace.

(1) Not by works;

(2) but by the grace of the Father, who is the Justifier. It is by grace, because

(a) it is of faith (Romans 5:1; Romans 3:28);

(b) it is by the death of the Son of God.

3. The privileges of justification. "That we should be made heirs according to the hope of eternal life."

(1) Eternal life is an inheritance; it is not earned by our obedience and our righteousness; it is a free gift.

(2) We are predestinated to this inheritance in Jesus Christ (Ephesians 1:5, 11).

(3) The grace of adoption, which is linked with our justification, opens the way to our enjoyment of the inheritance.

(4) It is an inheritance which is not yet fully enjoyed; for we are heirs "according to the hope of eternal life."

(a) There are "things hoped for" held out to us through faith (Hebrews 11:1).

(b) "It doth not yet appear what we shall be;" but when "we shall be forever with the Lord," we shall actually possess and enjoy our inheritance. - T.C.

But after that the kindness and love of God
In the incarnation of Christ, His life and miracles and mercies and divinest teaching; in His sacrificial death upon the cross, His resurrection and ascension, we have that manifestation of the kindness of God which is intended and calculated to lift us up out of our sins, and to bring us into His own most holy fellowship. And see how broad and far-reaching this kindness is; it is not for the elect nor for the Church, though these of course are included, but for man as such — for the whole human family, without exception. Wide as the world is Thy command, vast as eternity Thy love! We know something of this power of kindness to subdue the evil and develop the good even between man and man. It has many a time succeeded where everything else has failed, and where it fails we know of nothing else likely to succeed. Pinel, the celebrated Frenchman, was the first to introduce into Europe a more humane treatment of the insane. In the madhouse at Paris there had been confined for some twenty years a sea captain, furious in his madness, ferocious and untameable. Two of the keepers had been struck dead by him with a blow from his manacled hands. He was chained to his seat when Pinel approached him, and with cheerful face and kindly manner, said, "Captain, I am going to release you and take you into the open air." The mariner laughed out right and said, "You dare not do it." It was done, the poor wretch staggered to the door accompanied by Pinel, and lifting up his eyes to the blue heavens above, a sight he had not seen for twenty years, said, as the tears coursed down his face, "Oh, how beautiful!" and from that hour became perfectly docile. If human kindness meets such returns, shall God's love go unrequited, no echo answering to the Divine from the human?

(J.W. Lance.)

Note at the outset two points. First, the central words, on which as on a peg the whole structure both of thought and of expression hangs, is the proposition — "He saved us." In what sense is man lost? In what must his salvation consist? What is necessary in order to it? In proportion as these questions are answered in a profound or in a shallow way will be our appreciation of those redemptive actions of God — the mission of His Son and the outpouring of His Spirit. Next, let it be noted that in this saving of man by God three leading points have to be attended to: The source or origin of it; the method of it; the issues and effects of it. What we have to ask from St. Paul is a distinct reply to these three great queries —


2. Through what methods does it operate upon us?

3. To what ultimate issues does it conduct those who are its objects?

I. The answer to the first of these need not detain us long. True, it is a point of primary importance for the immediate purpose of the writer in the present connection. What he is engaged in enforcing upon Cretan Christians is a meek and gentle deportment toward their heathen neighbours. With this design, it is most pertinent to observe that they have not themselves to thank for being in a better state than others — saved Christians instead of lost heathen; not themselves, but God's gratuitous kindness. It is worth remarking too in this connection, how singularly human are the terms selected to express the saving love of God. Two terms are used. The one is God's "kindliness" or sweet benignity, like that gentle friendliness which one helpful neighbour may show to another in distress. The other is God's "love for man," literally, His philanthropy, or such special benevolence to all who wear the human form as might be looked for indeed among the members of our race themselves, but which it startles one to find is shared in by Him who made us. These curiously human phrases are chosen, it is to be presumed, because St. Paul would have us imitate in our dealings with one another God's behaviour towards us. In substance, however, they describe just the same merciful and compassionate love in God our Saviour, to which the whole New Testament traces back man's salvation as to its prime or fontal source. It is quite in harmony with this ascription of our salvation to God's love as its fountainhead, that, throughout his account of the process, Paul continues to make God the subject of his sentence, and man its object. All along the line God appears as active and we as receptive; He is the doer or giver, man the field of His operations and the recipient of His benefits.

II. We pass next from the epiphany of God's unmerited kindness in the advent of the Saviour, TO THAT PROCESS BY WHICH INDIVIDUALS, at Crete or elsewhere, BECOME PARTAKERS IN HIS SALVATION. The conversion of one born a heathen wears a conspicuous character, which is usually awanting to cases of conversion among ourselves. The day of their baptism, on which they sealed their conversion to the Christian faith, had marked a complete revolution in every department of their life. It had in many cases severed family ties. It had in all cases made them marked men in society. It had brought them into the circle of a strange community, and affiliated them to new comrades under the badges of a foreign religion. Outwardly, no less than inwardly, they were become new creatures; the old had passed away and all things were become new. The font at which they sealed their vows of discipleship had proved to be a second birth — the starting point for a changed life. Of course it is still the same among the converts who are won at our mission stations abroad; and we require to keep the condition of an infant missionary church well in mind if we would do justice to such language as St. Paul has here employed to describe the conversion of his readers. He speaks of the change in phrases borrowed both from its outer and inner side, its ritual and its spiritual elements. Inwardly, the convert was saved by the power of the Holy Spirit regenerating and renewing him. Outwardly, this spiritual second birth found its expressive seal in the bath or laver of holy baptism. Paul's language could not mislead his Cretan readers. But it was admirably adapted to revive their most touching recollections. As they read his words, each one of them seemed to himself to stand once more, as on the most memorable and solemn day of his life, beside the sacred font. Once more he saw himself descend into the laver to symbolise the cleansing of his conscience from idol worship, from unbridled indulgence, from a vain conversation, by the precious death and burial of his Lord. By that act how utterly had he broken once for all with his earlier life and its polluted associations, leaving them behind like a buried past! Coming up afresh to commence the new pure career of a Christian disciple, he had received the symbolic white robe amid the congratulations of the brotherhood, who thronged around to welcome the newborn with a kiss of love — to welcome him among that little band who, beneath the cross, had sworn to fight the devil in Jesus' strength, and, if need arose, to shed their blood for Jesus' name! How keenly, as all this rushed back upon the Christian's recollection, must he have felt that a change so wonderful and blessed was the Lord's doing. What power, save God's, could have turned backward the currents of his being, reversing the influences of education with the traditions of his ancestry and the usages of his fatherland? What hand but the Almighty's could have snatched him out of the doomed nations over which Satan reigned, to translate him into that kingdom of light — the kingdom of God's dear Son? Where was the spiritual force that could have opened his eyes, cleansed his conscience, quickened his heart, and made a new man out of the old one, save that Divine Spirit whose advent at Pentecost had been the birthday of a new era for the human family? The grateful praise which could not fail to mount to the lips at such a recollection, was a doxology to the Triune God, into whose name he had been baptized: to the Father unseen, eternal fountainhead of mercy; to the Incarnate Son, sole channel for its manifestation to guilty men; to the Holy Ghost, who, like a stream of life, had been plentifully poured forth from the Father, through the Son, to be the effectual giver of life in sinful souls!

III. Consider, in the last place, WHITHER THIS SAVING ACTIVITY ON THE PART OF THE GODHEAD IS CARRYING SUCH AS SURRENDER THEMSELVES TO IT. What is to be the outcome of His redemptive undertaking? In this alone, that the sinner is justified freely by His grace? Is the release of the guilty from condemnation and penalty the issue of all that God has done in His kindness? No; but that, "having been justified, we should be made heirs." Birth of the Divine Spirit involves sonship to God Himself. The privilege of sons is to inherit; "heirs," therefore, of "life eternal." The word is one which opens, as it were, a door into heaven. It is true that it is not yet apparent what the children of God shall hereafter be, for purity, for freedom, for wisdom, for felicity. But forth from that opened door, how there streams to meet us a radiance of the unseen glory, which in the twilight of this lifetime dazzles our earthly eyes! For that undiscovered heritage of the saints in light we can only hope. To this point, therefore, and no further, does the Christian gospel conduct its disciple. Here for the present it leaves him, sitting patient and expectant by the gate of Paradise, to await, with steadfast heart, the moment that shall disclose to him his patrimony of bliss. While he sits and waits, shall he not behave himself as a child of God, and strive to grow more meet for the heritage of the holy?

(J. O. Dykes, D. D.)

The sun that shines on you shall set, summer streams shall freeze, and deepest wells go dry; but God's love is a stream that never freezes, a fountain that never fails, a sun that never sets in night, a shield that never breaks in fight.

The sun appears red through a fog, and generally red at rising and setting, the red rays having a great momentum which gives them power to traverse so dense an atmosphere, which the other rays have not. The increased quantity of atmosphere which oblique rays must traverse, loaded with the mists and vapours which are usually formed at those times, prevents the other rays from reaching us. It is thus that but a few of the rays of God's love — like the red rays — reach the soul. Sin, passion, and unbelief surround it as with a dense atmosphere of mists and vapours; and, though the beams of God's love are poured out innumerable as the sun's rays, they are lost and scattered, and few of them shine upon the soul. (H.G. Salter.)

If an angel were to fly swiftly over the earth on a summer morning, and go into every garden — the king's, the rich man's, the peasant's, the child's — and were to bring from each one the choicest, loveliest, sweetest flower that blooms in each, and gather them all in one cluster in his radiant hands, what a beautiful bouquet it would be! And if an angel were to fly swiftly over the earth into every sweet and holy home, into every spot where one heart yearns over another, and were to take out of every father's heart, and every mother's heart, and out of every heart that loves, its holiest flower of affection, and gather all into one cluster, what a blessed love garland would his eyes behold! What a holy love would this aggregation of all earth's loves be! Yet infinitely sweeter and holier than this grouping of all earth's holiest affections is the love that fills the heart of our Father in heaven.

(John R. Miller.)

I was leaving a gentleman's house where I had been paying a visit, said a minister of the gospel, when I put this question to the servant maid who was about to open the door: "My friend, do you love God?" "I am afraid not," she answered, "and I fear I never shall." "Well." I said," you may at least depend on this — it is certain that God loves you." "How can you possibly tell that?" asked the master of the house, who was going downstairs with me. "This is the first time you have ever seen this woman; you know nothing about her character. You cannot tell whether she attends to her duties properly or not." "Never mind about that," I said, "It is certain that God loves her, and you too. I am quite sure of this, because God has told us that His love to us does Hot depend on what we are, or what we deserve. The Bible tells us, 'God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son' to die for it; and again it tells us, 'Herein is love; not that we loved God; but that God loved us, and sent His Son to die for our sins'" (1 John 4:10). "If that is so," said the gentleman, "and your words seem to prove it, what a shame it is that I don't love Him. May I say to myself, without any fear of making a mistake, 'It is certain that God loves me'?" "Indeed you may," I said; "and I pray to God you may soon be able to say, 'It is certain that I love Him.'" And Jesus may well be called a loving messenger, because He came into the world, not only to tell us this great truth, but also to be Himself the proof of it.

(Richard Newton.)

God's forgiveness is unspeakably generous, and, if I may so say, unspeakably more fine, delicate, and full of strange gentleness than ours. I believe the more we come to know the disposition of Almighty God, the more we shall find in it, in magnitude and power, those traits which we call, among men, rare in their excellence. And when God undertakes for us, if we have thrown our selves upon His mercy, and we have really meant to be His, and are really striving to be His, I believe that His feeling toward us transcends that of the tenderest love, of the most generous parentage, and of the most romantic friendship in men; that He is not less than men in these emotions of friendship and of generosity in it, but transcendently more; that in Him they spread over a broader ground, and take on a more wondrous experience. And instead of being likely to over estimate the volume of the Divine goodness and mercy towards those who fear Him, we are always under the mark. We always think less of God, and more meanly of the Divine nature than we ought to do.

(H. W. Beecher.)

Not by works of righteousness

1. Could we render such works, they would save us.

2. Without rendering such works, we cannot be saved.


1. The special work of this redemptive mercy.



2. The Divine Administrator of this redemptive mercy — the Holy Ghost.

3. The glorious medium of this redemptive mercy — Jesus Christ.

4. The sublime result — "That being justified," etc.

(1)This rectitude inspires with the highest hope.

(2)Inaugurates the highest relationship — "Him."


I. SALVATION BASED UPON DIVINE MERCY. "Kindness" or goodness, "Love." Margin "pity" Literally, "philanthropy"; that is "the love of man" (John 3:16).


1. There is in the best of us an absence of good (i.e., meritorious) works.

2. Redemption can only be attained by a new creation. "Regeneration," or "new birth."


1. Abundantly — as an exhibition of abundant mercy.

2. Abundantly — as a remedy for great sin.

3. Abundantly as a provision for all who will repent.


1. Justification a ground of hope.

2. Hope of eternal life.

(F. Wagstaff.)


1. Where there is no salvation, there are no works of righteousness (Genesis 6:5; Galatians 5:19-21).

2. Works of righteousness, even where they exist, possess no saving effect. They are the evidences, not the causes, of salvation.

3. The Bible disclaims the merit of human agency in salvation (Isaiah 64:6; Daniel 9:7; Romans 3:20-28; Romans 11:5, 6; Galatians 2:21; Ephesians 2:8, 9).

II. SALVATION ORIGINATES IN THE DIVINE COMPASSION. "According to His mercy He saved us," etc.

1. Our salvation accords with the tender sympathies attributed to that mercy (Psalm 25:6; Psalm 51:6; Isaiah 63:15; Luke 1:78; James 5:11).

2. It accords with the readiness ascribed to that mercy (Nehemiah 9:17; Isaiah 30:18; Micah 7:18).

3. It accords with the description given of the greatness, fulness, and extent of that mercy (Numbers 14:19: Psalm 5:7; Nehemiah 9:19; Psalm 119:64; Psalm 145:9).

4. It accords with the perpetuity of that mercy (Psalm 118:1).

III. SALVATION IS ATTENDED BY AN IMPORTANT CHANCE. We are saved "by the washing of regeneration," that is, delivered from sin and all its tremendous consequences in the other world.

1. Delivered from the love of sinful pleasures and carnal delights, by having the "love of God shed abroad in our hearts."

2. From the guilt of sinful practices, by having a knowledge of salvation by the remission of our sins.

3. From the prevalence of sinful habits, by the principles of holiness, and the power of the Divine Spirit.

4. From the commission of sinful acts, by the total regeneration of our natures (1 John 5:18).

IV. SALVATION IS ACCOMPLISHED BY A DIVINE INFLUENCE. "By the renewing of the Holy Ghost," All the influences of God upon the human soul are effected by the agency of the Holy Ghost.

1. The light and information which we receive on Divine subjects are communicated by the Holy Ghost (John 14:26; 1 Corinthians 2:11, 12; 1 John 2:20).

2. The conviction we have of our personal danger is derived from the same source (John 16:8).

3. The change which is produced in the minds of Christian believers is attributed to the Holy Ghost (John 3:5-8; 1 Corinthians 6:11; 2 Corinthians 3:18).

4. The assurance of salvation is by the witness of the Holy Ghost — the Comforter (John 14:16; Romans 8:16).Inferences:

1. How awful the delusion of those who depend on themselves or their works for salvation!

2. How deeply we are indebted to the Divine mercy for salvation! Let us sing of the mercies of the Lord forever.

3. How indispensable is regeneration! Salvation without it is impossible.

4. How deeply anxious should we be to secure the influences and agency of the Holy Ghost (Luke 11:13). (Sketches of Sermons.)


1. Because of our relation to God. We are His creatures; we owe Him everything always; and therefore never can acquire any surplus merit to place to the account of past shortcomings and offences.

2. Because of our moral inability to perform works of righteousness, on account of the depravity and corruption of our nature.

3. Because every attempt to procure salvation by works implies the principle of "value for value," and our works would be no equivalent for the salvation required.


1. It has its origin in God's kindness and love toward man (ver. 4).

2. His kindness and love were manifested through Jesus Christ our Saviour (ver. 6).

3. This salvation includes justification by His grace, adoption into His family by His love, regeneration by the power of the Holy Ghost, the blessed hope of eternal life while here, and the blessed reality of eternal life hereafter (vers. 5, 7).

(O. McCutcheon.)

Expository Outlines.
I. PREVIOUS CHARACTER. Two great lessons —

1. Adoring gratitude.

2. Deep humility.

II. PRESENT STATE. Sinners saved by grace.

1. The originating cause of salvation.

2. The efficient means of salvation.


1. This hope is supporting.

2. Sanctifying.

(Expository Outlines.)

In this passage, which is a brief but pregnant epitome of the gospel, the scheme of man's salvation is regarded only from the side on which it is wholly God's work, without taking note of the conditions and qualifications which, however much they too are God's work, are required from the cooperation of man. The apostle was dwelling on the truth that the change referred to in ver. 3 is not due to ourselves or our own merit, but to God's grace. He therefore had no occasion to allude here to the qualifications or stipulations required at baptism, nor to the faith by which man is justified, nor to "the working out his own salvation," which is one of the instruments by which the Holy Ghost renews us day by day, nor to the holiness which is the character and badge of the heirs of eternal life. All this is needed; but, viewed from God's side, it is not by anything which man has done or could do, but by His own free mercy that God has saved him.

(Bp. Jackson.)

A Christian lady was visiting a poor, sickly woman, and after conversing with her for a little she asked her if she had found salvation yet. "No," she replied, "but I am working hard for it." "Ah, you will never get it that way," the lady said. "Christ did all the working when He suffered and died for us, and made complete atonement for our sins. You must take salvation solely as a gift of free, unmerited grace, else you can never have it at all." The poor woman was at first amazed beyond measure, and felt for the moment as if all hope had been taken from her; but very soon the enlightenment came, and she was enabled to rest joyously on Jesus alone. When speaking afterwards of the friend who had been so helpful, she said, "Oh, how I will welcome her into heaven, for she guided me to the Saviour."

A man whom I knew in Chicago failed in business, and got into difficulties. He had paid his creditors what proved to be worthless notes, for he had no assets. He coolly proposed to put matters right by handing to his creditors more worthless notes. Now, many of you are trying to act like that. You have no spiritual assets, you have nothing with which to pay, and yet you are proposing to pay God with what is worthless to save you. Suppose you owe a grocer £20, and you go and tell him that you are not going in debt in future, what answer would you expect? He would say: "All very well so far as it goes; I'm glad to hear it. But your keeping out of debt in the future won't pay what you owe me now. What about that £20 already due?" A hundred years ago, when Prince Charles the Pretender headed a rebellion, many risked their lives and property for his sake, feeling sure that if he succeeded he weald reward them handsomely. But he did not succeed. He lost, and so they lost. What could they get from him, when he had nothing to pay? At the close of our late American Civil War, between the Federals and rebel Confederates, a man in Georgia wanted to pay, as his tax, money issued by the Confederate Government. But of course the officer representing the revenue of the Federal Government said, "That won't do. Your money is worthless. It was issued by rebels, and we cannot accept it." The man who expects God to accept him on the ground of his good works, or of anything that he can do, is acting like that. In America no man lost his life or his estate through engaging in that great rebellion, because mercy was shown. But for all that the government could not recognise the currency of rebels. Mercy is offered to all men, but everything with which they hope to purchase pardon and peace is simply worthless.

(Major Whittle.)

Though good works may be our Jacob's staff to walk with on earth, yet they cannot be our Jacob's ladder to climb to heaven with. To lay the salve of our services upon the wound of our sins, is as if a man who is stung by a wasp should wipe his face with a nettle; or as if a person should busy himself in supporting a tottering fabric with a burning firebrand.

(T. Secker.)

The washing of regeneration
Weekly Pulpit.
The main thoughts which run through these verses are the cause and method of redemption. These are set against the old state of sin, in which we were "foolish, disobedient, deceived, serving divers lusts and pleasures, living in malice and envy, hateful, and hating one another."

I. SALVATION AS TO ITS PRIMARY CAUSE. The cause is Divine, lodged within the Divine heart, and is twofold.

1. Love. The love of God for a "world of sinners lost," is the first cause of man's redemption. That love is like Himself — free, boundless, inexplicable, and eternal. "For God so loved the world," etc. "God is love."

2. Mercy. The object of love can only be touched by the hand of mercy. This speaks of the sinfulness of our nature, and that compassion which has found a way for love to operate on the human heart. The original of the gospel is not a human device, or the work of righteousness, but the gift of God to fallen man.

II. SALVATION AS TO ITS METHOD. There are here also two observations made by the apostle.

1. The removal of guilt. The washing of regeneration means the removal of the guilt of the soul, and the acceptance of the peace of the Father. It was the custom to sprinkle the proselytes with water, in token of their renouncing their idolatry, and be made clean to enter the service of the true God.

2. The renewal of Divine influences. The Spirit rests on believers to light them, and to guide them; also to comfort them. Regeneration must be followed by the indwelling Spirit. This is a comparison taken from nature, where all living things are renewed in the spring of the year. Thus we are reminded of the necessity for the constant power of the Holy Ghost in our daily life.

(Weekly Pulpit.)


1. It creates a new thing in man (2 Corinthians 5:17). Like a vessel with a new commander, steering a new course, by a now compass, to a new haven. The old nature remains, though the new nature has come, and there are now in the one man the carnal and the spiritual mind — the human and the Divine life — that which is born of the flesh, and that which is born of the Spirit — the old man of sin that is to be crucified, and the new man that is to be renewed daily in the image of Him that created him, until he shall come to the full stature of a man in Christ Jesus.

2. It is a restoration of a former state. That which was lost by sin is restored by regeneration,

3. It is a renovation of the whole man. Though every part be not thoroughly sanctified, yet the regenerate are sanctified in every part. They have a perfection of parts, though not of degrees. The renewing is going on in every part, though every part is not perfectly renewed. The seat and centre of this renewing work is the heart. The might of the Spirit is exerted in the inner man. And from thence He works outwardly to the utmost extremity. Just as the vital fluid is driven by the propelling power of the animal heart to every extremity of the body, so is the renewing energy sent forth from the centre of moral and spiritual life — the inner man by the power of the indwelling spirit. And so will He continue to work until the day of perfection shall come, when we shall be presented faultless before the throne of glory, without spot or wrinkle, or any such thing,

II. THE RENEWER. "The Holy Ghost."

1. Not an influence, but a Person, having ascribed to Him in Holy Scripture the attributes and actions of a person, and that a Divine and omnipotent person. To Him is confided the work of carrying out the purposes of the Father by applying the truth and work of the Son. It is by the Spirit's overshadowing of the soul that the new creature is conceived and brought forth. The babe of grace can call no man on earth father. And while a man's regeneration is not of his fellow man, neither is it of himself. They which are born of the flesh contribute nothing to their own being, neither do they that are born of the Spirit; they are begotten of God.

2. But the Holy Ghost, in His renewing, uses — Instrumentality. The one grand instrument is the Word (James 1:18; 1 Peter 1:23).(1) It may be by the Word read. and Luther tell us they were converted by the reading of the Word; so have many thousands of others. In Madagascar we have a striking illustration of this, in the conversion of many thousands by reading only fragments of the Word of God, left in their country by the banished missionaries.(2) It may be by the Word remembered. I read once of an aged man, who had lived an ungodly life, and had wandered thousands of miles away from his native home, who one day, while he was sitting under a tree, had suddenly brought to his remembrance truths he had read and heard when a child and youth, but which had been long forgotten. They came with such irresistible power that his conversion was the result.(3) It may be by the Word lived and acted out. There are those who will not read the written Word, neither will they go to hear the Word preached, but who are willing readers — unconscious readers of the lives of Christians among whom they dwell. God expects His people, whom He has regenerated, to be "living epistles of Christ, known and read of all men." Was it not in this sense that Paul exhorted believing wives to win their unbelieving husbands "without the Word," by their "chaste conversation, coupled with fear."(4) It may be by the Word spoken — as a man would speak to his friend. The kind and faithful teachings of friendship have often proved the instrument, in the hands of the Holy Ghost, for the accomplishment of this great object. "I owe much to the public ministry of the Word," said a recent convert to his minister; "but it was the Word spoken by a friend that was made by God the immediate instrument of my conversion."(5) But it is principally by the preached Word that God works. The public ministry of the Word is God's appointed institution for the accomplishment of this glorious end. The preacher is the spiritual husbandman, sowing broadcast the incorruptible seed of the Word, which shall spring up and bring forth fruit, some thirty, some sixty, and some a hundred-fold. This is all the minister can do; sow the seed in prayer, and faith, and hope — God must give the increase.

(H. Quick.)

I. We must conceive that IN EVERY SACRAMENT THERE BE THREE ESSENTIAL PASTS, the absence of any of which destroys the whole.

1. The sign.

2. The thing signified.

3. The analogy between them, which is the union of them both.The first is some outward and sensible thing; the second, inward and spiritual; the third, mixed of them both. As in baptism the sign is water, the thing signified the blood of Christ. The analogy or union standeth in this resemblance, that as the former outwardly washeth the filthiness of the body, so the latter inwardly purgeth the soul from all sin. By reason of which relation and near affection between the sign and the thing signified, it is usual in the Scriptures by an improper, but sacramental speech.

1. To call the sign by the name of the thing signified, and contrarily. And thus baptism is called the washing of the new birth, because it is a sign, seal and instrument of it.

2. To ascribe that to the sign which is proper to the thing signified, and so baptism is here said to save, as also 1 Peter 3:21, which is indeed the property of the blood of Christ (1 John 1:7), but by the near affinity of these two in the sacrament it is said so to do, to note unto us —(1) Not to conceive of the sacramental elements as bare and naked signs, so to grow into the contempt of them.(2) As we may not conceive them idle sins, so neither idle signs by insisting in them as though they were the whole sacrament, for they are but outward, whereas the principal matter of a sacrament is spiritual and inward.(3) That then we truliest conceive of a sacrament, when by looking at the one of these we see both, neither making the sign a vain symbol, nor yet ascribing anything to it transcending the nature of it, such as are the peculiars and the prerogatives of God, but in the sign and action, which is outward, be led to those which are spiritual and inward.


1. As it is an institution of God signifying the good pleasure of God for the pardoning of sin, and accepting to grace in Christ; for as the word signifieth this, so doth also the sacrament which is a visible word. And thus is it truly said of the Word and sacraments too that they save and sanctify, because they signify the good pleasure of God in saving and sanctifying us, even as we say a man is saved by the king's pardon, not that the pardon properly doth it, for that is the mere merciful disposition of the king, but because the pardon (written and sealed perhaps by another), signed by the king, is the ordinary instrument to manifest the merciful mind of the king in pardoning such a malefactor,

2. As it is a seal or pledge of our sanctification and salvation, as certainly assuring these to the soul of the believer, as he is or can be assured of the other, that as a man having a bond of a thousand pounds sealed him may truly say of it, here is my thousand pound, that is, a security, as surely confirming it unto me as if I had it in my hands, or as I have this even so may the believing party baptized say of his baptism, Here is my regeneration, here is my salvation.

3. As it is a means to excite and provoke the faith of the receiver to lay hold upon the grace of the sacrament, and apply it to these purposes, in which regard it be as truly said to renew as faith is said to justify, and that is only as it may be a means or hand to lay hold on Christ our righteousness; so baptism is a means helping forward our renewing by the true understanding and conscionable and serious meditation of it.

4. In that in the right use of it, it giveth and exhibiteth Christ and all His merits to the fit receiver, for then God's grace putteth forth itself, and after a sort conveyeth itself in and by this instrument into the heart of the worthy receiver. And thus principally it is the laver of regeneration, because in it and by it as a means and organ the Holy Ghost freely worketh His grace in such as in whom He delighteth.

(T. Taylor, D. D.)

On man's aide there is the washing with water; and on God's side there is the washing away of sin and pouring out of the Spirit. The body is purified, the soul is purified, and the soul is hallowed. The man is washed, is justified, is sanctified. He is regenerated: he is "a new creature." "The old things," his old principles; motives, and aims, then and there "passed away": "behold, they are become new" (2 Corinthians 5:17). Can any one reasonably doubt that, when the apostle speaks of "the washing of regeneration," he means the Christian rite of baptism, in which, and by means of which, the regeneration takes place? We are fully justified by his language here in asserting that it is by means of the baptismal washing that the regeneration takes place; for he asserts that God "saved us through the washing of regeneration." The laver or bath of regeneration is the instrument or means by which God saved us. Such is the natural, and almost the necessary meaning of the Greek construction. And there are numerous analogies which throw light upon the question, proving to us that there is nothing exceptional in God (who of course does not need any means or instruments) being willing to use them, doubtless because it is better for us that He should use them. In what way is the employment of perceptible means a help to us? In two at least. It serves the double purpose of being both a test to faith and an aid to faith.

1. The acceptance of divinely appointed means is necessarily a test of faith. Human intellect is apt to assume that Omnipotence is above using instruments. "Is it likely," we ask, "that the Almighty would employ these means? Are they not altogether beneath the dignity of the Divine nature? Man needs tools and materials; but God needs neither. It is not credible that He has ordained these things as conditions of His own operation." All which is the old cry of the captain of the host of Syria. Therefore humbly to accept the means which God has revealed as the appointed channels of His spiritual blessings is a real test of the recipient's faith. He is thus enabled to perceive for himself whether he does sincerely believe or not; whether he has the indispensable qualification for receiving the promised blessing.

2. The employment of visible means is a real aid to faith. It is easier to believe that an effect will be produced, when one can perceive something which might contribute to produce the effect. It is easier to believe when one sees means than when none are visible; and it is still easier to believe when the means seem to be appropriate. The man who was born blind would more readily believe that Christ would give him sight when he perceived that Christ was using spittle and clay for the purpose; for at that time these things were supposed to be good for the eyes. And what element in nature is more frequently the instrument both of life and of death than water? What could more aptly signify purification from defilement? What act could more simply express death to sin and a rising again to righteousness than a plunge beneath the surface of the water and a re-issuing from it? Faith in the inward gift, promised by God to those who believe and are baptized, becomes more easy when the outward means of conferring the gift, not only are readily perceived, but are recognised as suitable. In this way our faith is aided by God's employment of means. Is the "renewing of the Holy Ghost" the same thing as the "washing of regeneration"? In this passage the two expressions refer to the same fact, but in their respective meanings they are not co-extensive. The Greek construction is ambiguous like the English; and we cannot be sure whether St. Paul means that God saved us by means of the washing and by means of the renewing, or that God saved us by means of a laver, which is both a laver of regeneration and a laver of renewal. The latter is more probable: but in either case the reference is to one and the same event in the Christian's life. The laver and the renewing refer to baptism; and the regeneration and the renewing refer to baptism; viz., to the new birth which is then effected. But, nevertheless, the two expressions are not co-extensive in meaning. The laver and the regeneration refer to one tact, and to one fact only: a fact which takes place once for all and can never be repeated. A man cannot have the new birth a second time, any more than he can be born a second time: and hence no one may be baptized twice. But the renewing of the Holy Spirit may take place daily.

(A. Plummer, D. D.)

The following is related in the life of the late Dr. Guthrie. James Dundee, a weaver, lived on a lone moor, where, beyond his wife's, he had no society but that of God and nature. James might have been a poet, though I don't know that he ever cultivated the muse; a man he was of such an impassioned nature, lofty thoughts, and singularly vivid imagination. On the morning of a communion Sabbath he rose, bowed down by a sense of sin, in great distress of mind. He would go to church that day, but, being a man of a very tender conscience, he hesitated about going to the Lord's table. He was in a state of great spiritual depression. In this state of mind he proceeded to put himself in order for church, and while washing his hands, no one being by, he heard a voice say, "Cannot I, in My blood, as easily wash your soul, as that water does your hands?" "Now, minister," he said, in telling me this, "I do not say there was a real voice, yet I heard it as distinctly, word for word, as you now hear me. I felt a load taken off my mind, and went to the table and sat under Christ's shadow with great delight."

The word "renewing" is used in the Scriptures in reference to the starting point of the Christian life — regeneration, and to the progressive development of it, day by day. Consider it now in the latter sense, that is in connection with the Holy Spirit's work in those who have "life eternal."


1. Bringing back the wanderer (Hosea 14:1, 2; Job 22:23).

2. Settling the unstable (Psalm 51:10; Psalm 57:7; Ephesians 3:17).

3. Comforting the fearful (Psalm 23:3; Psalm 51:12).


1. Separating us from the things that hinder our growth (2 Corinthians 6:16-18).

2. Bringing us into closer contact with the Fountain of Supply (Isaiah 40:31; Ephesians 3:17).

3. Enlarging our capacity and powers of reception (2 Corinthians 4:16).


1. Illuminating the mind (Romans 12:2; Colossians 3:10).

2. Gladdening the heart (Romans 15:13; Romans 14:17).

3. Energising the will (Ephesians 3:16; Ephesians 4:23).

4. Transfiguring the character (2 Corinthians 3:18).

(E. H. Hopkins.)

Renewing of the Holy Ghost

1. As embodied in the devotional sentiments of holy men. Hear David. "Create in me a clean heart," etc. "Cast me not away from Thy presence," etc. "Teach me to do Thy will," etc. "Thy Spirit is good; lead me," etc. And so Paul. "Now the God of peace fill you with all joy," etc.

2. As a fulfilment of ancient promise. "I will pour water on him that is thirsty, and floods upon the dry ground." "I will pour My Spirit upon thy seed, and My blessing upon thine offspring." "A new heart also will I give you, and a new spirit will I put within you." "And I will put My Spirit within you, and cause you to walk in My statutes." If from these examples we pass to the New Testament, to consider how far the supposition of this great spiritual change enters into the pleas and arguments by which the sacred writers exhort their converts to the duties of practical godliness, we find the great promise of Whitsuntide sharing equally with our Lord's proper oblation a claim to be received as among the very necessities of our salvation. "If any man have not the Spirit of Christ he is none of His." "Now we have received not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit which is of God." "Know ye not that ye are the temple of God, and that the Spirit of God dwelleth in you?" "Hereby we know that we dwell in Him, and He in us, because He hath given us of His Spirit." These passages, with numberless others which might be quoted, show to us how completely the work of Christ for man, and the work of the Spirit in man, are looked upon by the inspired penman as joint and co-equal parts of a common salvation, the constituent elements of one great truth, successive and inseparable links in that chain of mercy by which sinners are to be lifted up from earth's lowest pit, and set down with Christ on heaven's highest throne.

3. As practically attested by the great facts of gospel history. The great miracle of Pentecost is one standing witness that without the agency of the Divine Spirit there never was, and never can be, such a thing as true conversion. It was not Peter's preaching that turned the hearts of those three thousand. He might have exhibited truth to the understanding of that great audience; he might have addressed powerful appeals to their consciences; he might even have lodged a deep conviction of the truth of all he said in their very souls; but so to convince them as to make them yield, so to prick their hearts that into its open pores there should be received and welcomed "the truth as it is in Jesus," this was a work to be done, "not by might, nor by power, but by My Spirit, saith the Lord of Hosts." The manner in which the notorious Earl of Rochester describes his conversion is strikingly illustrative of some great influence from without, acting upon, though still concurrently with his own natural faculties. He was reading, he tells us, the 53rd chapter of Isaiah, and his language is that there was some inward force upon him which convinced him that he could resist no longer, for the words had an authority which did shoot like rays or beams in his mind; and this power did so effectually constrain him that he did, ever after, as firmly believe in his Saviour as if he had seen Him in the clouds.


1. First, we attribute to Him a true and proper indwelling in our souls (John 14:17).

2. Again, by the influences of this Spirit alone, are both produced and maintained within us all those affections and dispositions which constitute the renewed man.

3. Further, it is helpful to that renewing process which the Spirit of God carries on within us, that He testifies to the reality of His own work. Without raising the question of how much or how little of assurance must be inseparable from true conversion, the various expressions, witness of the Spirit, earnest of the Spirit, seal of the Spirit, must imply that one office of this Divine Agent is to supply some form of corroborative testimony to our own minds that we are the children of God. "He that believeth on the Son of God hath the witness in himself."

4. Once more, the renewing power of the Holy Ghost is to be looked for in the daily sanctification of our souls, and the preparing them for a condition of endless life.

(D. Moore, M. A.)

At Portland navy yard one of the United States ships came in for repair and fumigation, as yellow fever had broken out amongst her crew during her previous voyage. She was thoroughly scraped and repainted, and then put into commission again, but she was less than a month at sea when the fever once more appeared. It was decided to open her up and expose the fever spores to a thorough freezing during the winter, as medical men said that the spores could not live in cold weather. In the spring she was again painted and refurnished, but the fever appeared again. Then it was found that, though a noble-looking vessel, death was in her, and she was towed to sea and sunk. So is it with all who have not been born again; they carry within their hearts the seeds of a fatal fever, and unless they are completely cleansed from it by Christ they will one day go down in the sea of the Divine wrath.

Which He shed on us abundantly, through Jesus Christ

1. We have the accomplishment of many prophecies and promises, as Isaiah 11:9; Daniel 12:4. Many prophecies were then sealed, and the book shut until the term of time; but then many should run to and fro, and knowledge should be increased.

2. We have the truth of many types and resemblances, as of the waters running from under the threshold of the sanctuary, still rising to increase; and of the proceedings of the New Testament, typified in the cloud which at the first appearance was no bigger than a man's hand, but after rose to that greatness as to cover the whole heavens.

3. If we compare our Church with that of the Jews' we shall observe that the Lord did but drop and sprinkle these graces here and there upon a few persons where He pleased, but now hath poured out His Spirit and opened a fountain of grace to the house of Judah and Jerusalem, even for all true believers.(1) If such plenty of grace be poured out upon us, our care must be to be found answerable thereunto, that according to our proportion our increase may be; for we may not think the return of one talent sufficient if we have received five or ten, seeing where much is given much will be required. Hath the Lord so richly shed out His Spirit that whereas the most excellent patriarchs saw Christ only afar off, the most simple of our age may see Him in the Word and sacraments even crucified before his eyes, and will it not be expected that in all things we should be made rich in Him? And thus have we ministered unto us a ground of examination whether we find the fruits and work of these waters upon us.(2) If upon this examination we feel not this plenty of grace, we must beware of accusing God, but condemn ourselves in whom all the fault is, as who refuse and despise so great grace. If any ask how it can come to pass that such excellent grace should be refused, I answer there are three main causes of it —

1. Ignorance and blindness of mind.

2. Hardness of heart.

3. Security, which three destitute us of so abundant grace as is offered.

II. All the grace that is bestowed on us IS BY MEANS OF JESUS CHRIST, FOR WITH HIM IS THE FOUNTAIN AND HEADSPRING; yea, He is the head which sendeth life, sense, motion, and direction into all the members, resembled in that holy ointment which ran down from Aaron's head and beard even to the skirts of his garment. The evangelist, after he had affirmed that Christ was full of grace and truth, addeth that of His fulness we receive grace for grace, so the apostle (Colossians 2:9, 10).(1) Want we any grace? call upon God in the name of Christ. "Whatsoever ye ask the Father in My name, He will give it unto you." Get Christ to be thine own, become a true believer, that thou mayest in Him begin thy prayer with Our Father; this is the way to be rich in grace.(2) Hast thou received any spiritual grace? sacrifice not unto thine own net, but be thankful unto God in Christ.(3) Take heed of quenching that grace, neither grieve that good Spirit of God by thy sin, for thou camest hardly by it, for Christ must come down from heaven, humble Himself to the death, rise again, ascend, and now make continual intercession before He could procure thee the least grace. A thing very little thought of.

(T. Taylor, D. D.)

The Evangelist.
Our text combines doctrine and practice, faith and morals, and makes the one the proper foundation of the other. That, being justified by His grace, we should be made heirs. This is a faithful saying — that they which have believed be careful to maintain good works. It is worthy of remark that there are four passages of Scripture in which the expression "a faithful saying" is employed, and each faithful saying is worthy of all acceptation (1 Timothy 1:15; 1 Timothy 4:8, 9; 2 Timothy 11:11-13; Titus 3:8). And they all mark out the connection between faith and obedience — between holiness and happiness — between principle and practice.


1. The doctrine of justification by faith, through the merits and advocacy of Christ, constitutes the alone basis of our acceptance with God. We are said to be justified by His grace. This doctrine forms the only answer to the question which in every age has baffled the wisdom of the wise, and brought to nought the understanding of the prudent. How shall man be just with God? A cordial reception of Jesus Christ as the end of the law for righteousness to every one that believeth, entitles the returning offender to life by a merciful appointment, and brings him into a state of personal acceptance with God. This doctrine may well be considered as the cardinal doctrine of Christianity, and as lying at the very foundation of all our hopes for eternity. So deep and aggravated is our guilt, that it is quite evident that if we be not accepted by the merits and righteousness of another we cannot be accepted at all; for it is clear we have no righteousness of our own. This therefore forms, as the text states, a singular exhibition of Divine benignity and grace. Grace provided the Saviour revealed in the gospel — grace accepted His substitution in the sinner's place — grace communicated the principle of piety implanted in the human heart — grace preserves that principle from extinction, amidst all the storms and tumults of this opposing world — and grace crowns the subjects of its influences with glory at last.

2. The doctrine of justification, so far from lessening the obligations to obedience, furnishes the most powerful of all inducements to eminent holiness. The pardoned offender is not rendered lawless; a justified state is not exempted from obligation. We are not without law to God, but under the law to Christ. It is no part of the Divine design to raise up one light in order to extinguish another. What was once truth is always truth; what was once duty is always duty. All the original grounds of moral obligation remain. If God was our Creator before our conversion, He is our Creator still — a faithful Creator. If God was our Judge before, He is our Judge still. Neither does Divine grace destroy or change any of the relations in which we previously stood to each other, nor cancel any of the duties arising out of those relations. Neither does Divine grace alter the nature of sin, nor render it one whir less than before the abominable thing which God hateth. The plague does not cease to be the plague because a remedy has been mercifully provided for it. The gospel has produced no change in our moral relation to God, nor in our relation to our fellow man; and, therefore, all the antecedent obligation to obedience remains unchanged; and they that have believed in God are enjoined carefully to maintain good works. The gospel superadds motives and inducements unknown before to induce conformity to the Divine will. The grace of God, that bringeth salvation, teacheth us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly. All false religions attempt to lower the standard of morals, in order to fall in with the weakness or wickedness of mankind. But Christianity presents us with raised views of the spirituality of the Divine law. It presents us with the most powerful motives to holiness — derived from the love of God — the Cross of Christ — the glories of the coming world, and especially from the great work of redemption.

II. THAT THESE PRINCIPLES, IN THEIR CONNECTION WITH EACH OTHER, ARE TO BE EXPLICITLY ASSERTED AND MAINTAINED. "These things I will that thou affirm constantly." They are to be affirmed in their connection with each other — that is, the doctrine of justification is to be affirmed — and the doctrine of sanctification is to be affirmed too: the one as the cause, the other as the effect; the one as the root, the other as the fruitful branch. And observe to what class of characters the exhortations and commands of the gospel are to be specifically addressed That they which have believed in God might be careful to maintain good works; plainly proving that the most advanced Christians require to be frequently admonished. Our text says these truths are to be constantly affirmed. These good works are to be expressly enjoined upon those who believe. We are not to leave them to implication and inference, as though we presumed that they would follow as a necessary result from the mere belief of the doctrine of justification, but they are to be plainly stated and enforced. This is to be done in defiance of opposition and contradiction, which supposes objection and denial on the part of some. The reasons why we should thus constantly urge these truths will be perceived at a glance.

1. Because we are always liable to overlook and forget them amidst the active engagements and snares of life. The gospel ministry was instituted for this purpose.

2. Because the personal sanctity of Christians is the final object of the dispensation of mercy. To this everything in the Divine economy tends; in this everything terminates. It is no inferior degree of excellence to which we are taught to aspire; we are not to begin only, but to advance and persevere — we are to maintain good works, and to be careful to maintain them. The marginal rendering is more emphatic still — the force of the Greek word being to go before in good works — to excel, to emulate — to attain eminence in holiness and devotion. Plutarch tells us that it was the aim of Tully, that it was his ambition, to be eminent in all that he undertook. How much more should Christians desire to attain the highest measures of moral and religious excellence.

3. Because advancement in holiness is essential to the enjoyment of all genuine consolation. The state of grace is only evidenced by the sanctities of the Christian character.

4. Because the absence of these good works proves the destitution of Christian principle, and leaves the individual exposed to a fearful disappointment and a final doom.

III. THAT FROM THE FAITHFUL EXHIBITION OF THESE TRUTHS THE HAPPIEST RESULTS ARE TO BE ANTICIPATED TO THE CHURCH AND THE WORLD. THESE THINGS ARE GOOD AND PROFITABLE TO MEN. They are good in themselves, and good in their influence upon the mind. Many things may be good that are not profitable, and some may be thought profitable that are not good; but these are both good and profitable. They are good in the Divine esteem — good as the transcript of His own infinite excellence — good as perfectly accordant with all His revelations to man — good in their origin — good in their progress — good in their end. They come from heaven and lead to it. They are good and profitable, as opposed to those "foolish questions, and genealogies, and contentions, and strivings about the law," which we are told in the next verse to avoid as unprofitable and vain.

(The Evangelist.)

That being justified by His grace Justification; faith; works: —


1. All souls in their unrenewed state are unrighteous.

2. Restoration to righteousness is the merciful work of God.

3. In this moral rectification of soul there is the heirship of eternal good.


1. To believe in what He is in Himself — the only absolute existence, without beginning, without succession, without end, who is in all and through all, the All-Mighty, the All-Wise, the All-Good Creator and Sustainer of the universe.

2. To believe in what He is to us — the Father, the Proprietor, and the Life.


1. Good works are —

(1)Works that have right motives.

(2)Works that have a right standard.

2. The maintenance of these works requires strenuous and constant effort.

3. The great work of the Christian ministry is to stimulate this effort.

(D. Thomas, D. D.)

1. The originating cause is the grace, the free, sovereign, undeserved, and spontaneous love of God towards fallen man (Titus 3:4, 5; Titus 2:11; Romans 3:24).

2. Our Lord Jesus Christ is the sole meritorious cause. All He did, and all He suffered, in His mediatorial character, may be said to have contributed to this great purpose.

3. The instrumental cause of justification. The merit of the blood of Jesus does not operate necessarily so as to produce our pardon as an immediate and unavoidable effect, but through the instrumentality of faith.Hence —

1. We are not justified, in whole or part, by the merit of our own works, whether past, present, or future.

2. Our repentance is neither the meritorious course, nor the immediate instrument of justification.

3. The Holy Spirit's work of regeneration and sanctification is not the previous condition of our free justification or the prerequisite qualification of it.

4. Our justification is not by the merit of faith itself; but only by faith, as that which embraces and appropriates the merit of Christ.

(J. Bunting.)

Justification is a qualification of title; regeneration of nature. Justification alters the relative character; regeneration the personal. Justification reconciles us to the Divine favour; regeneration to the Divine service. Justification removes every obstacle of law; regeneration every obstacle of disposition. Justification destroys the incapacity of guilt; regeneration the resistance of depravity. Justification makes us one with God in acceptance; regeneration makes us one with Him in will. Justification opens heaven; regeneration causes us to walk in its white. Justification furnishes the song of deliverance; regeneration teaches us to modulate it.

(R. W. Hamilton, D. D.)

A poor man was very anxious about his soul. Though he knew the Bible well, yet he could not get over one difficulty, which was that he wanted to do something to save himself; it was too easy a way to be saved by Christ without doing anything to merit salvation himself; at least so he thought. One day an evangelist called at his workshop, and saw a gate all painted and varnished, ready to be hung in its place. "John," he said, "is this gate complete?" "Yes, sir; it is quite finished; it has got the last coat of varnish." "You are perfectly certain?" "Yes, quite." The evangelist took up a plane, and in a moment had taken a shaving off the top bar. "Stop, stop, sir!" cried John, "you are spoiling the gate." "Ah, John, that is what you want to do with Christ's work; He has completed the work of your salvation, yet you want to spoil it by doing something — you don't know what — to improve upon it!" This practical hint was just what John needed, and there and then he gave up trying to improve upon the work of Christ, and gave himself up to be saved at once, just as he was, in the workshop.

We should be made heirs
In these words is laid down the second end of that new condition into which believers are brought. In which for the meaning two parts must be considered —

1. The right and privilege of believers who, being once justified by faith, are made heirs of life eternal.

2. Their present tenure of this their inheritance by hope.

I. For the former, THE WORD HEIR IN THE FIRST AND PROPER SIGNIFICATION BETOKENETH A LOT, and is used sometimes in the New Testament with allusion unto the twelve tribes, whose portions were divided and distributed unto them by lot, as Ephesians 1:11, whence that people were more peculiarly called the lines and heritage of the Lord, as whom Himself made partakers of all the good things of that land; and by proportion those also who by faith laid, or shall lay, hold upon His covenant, for all those spiritual and eternal good things shadowed out thereby. But commonly it signifieth those who after a man's death succeed him in his goods and possessions, especially children, whose right it is to inherit their father's lands and possessions; and thus must we become heirs by becoming the sons and children of God. Now, whereas children are either natural or adopted, our title to this inheritance cometh in by the grace of adoption, seeing Christ is the only natural Son, as we confess in our creed; and the phrase of the text is observable, which faith we are made heirs, but not so born; so as this inheritance belongeth properly unto Christ the natural son, the heir, and firstborn of many brethren, and consequently through Him communicated unto us, who are sons by adoption (John 1:12).

II. THE PRESENT TENURE OF THIS INHERITANCE IS BY HOPE, for our inheritance is not so much set before our bodily eyes as the eyes of our faith, which is not of things present, but of things to come. And yet although it be an estate to come, the Lord would not leave us without such graces as being conversant about it might serve us in this life to retain our hold and comfort therein, such as are faith, hope, and patience. Now hope signifieth two things —

1. The thing hoped for. "Hope which is seen is not hope" (Romans 8:24). "What is the hope of the calling" (Ephesians 1:18).

2. For the gift whereby we hope and expect good things promised, and this must of necessity here be meant, because life eternal of which we have spoken is the thing hoped for.This grace hath the Lord for our encouragement and comfort, in and for the state of this life only, put into the hearts of His elect, that they might hereby have a certain hold and expectation of all that good which God of His mercy through the merit of His Christ hath promised; the which shall cease when they come once to see that which they now hope for, seeing hereafter can be no hope, not in heaven, for the godly shall enjoy all blessedness their hearts can wish; not in hell, for the damned can never hope for any good.

1. That which the apostle specially aimeth at is that heaven is not merited, but a free gift; here it is called eternal life, which is the gift of God (Romans 6:23). It is called here an inheritance, in that the elect are called heirs; it is against the nature of an inheritance to come any way but by free gift, legacies we know are most free without desert, without procurement, and what an absurd thing were it for a child to go to his father to offer to buy his inheritance? It is said here further that we are made heirs, that is adopted, not born to the inheritance, and therefore it is so much the more free. And lastly, it is here called an eternal inheritance, which, if it be so, how can it be merited, being so far disproportionable to anything we can do.

2. It teacheth us if we would have right to eternal life to become the sons of God, and consequently heirs; seek to be resolved that thou hast a child's part in heaven. How shall I come to know this? A man may know himself an heir of grace by two things —(1) By the presence of faith, for this intitleth into the covenant. Noah by faith was made heir of the righteousness which is by faith (Hebrews 11:7). Faith in the Son of God it is which maketh thee the King's son and free born; this is the means of thy freedom, here cometh in thy title, if thou reliest only upon the mercy of God in Christ for thy salutation.(2) By the presence of sanctification of heart, sanctimony of life (1 Corinthians 6:10, 11).

3. This doctrine teacheth us to set our hearts upon this inheritance; a man that hath any possibility to befal him cannot keep his mind, but it will be running after it, insomuch as many wicked children in regard of their patrimony will inquire into their fathers' years, and grow sick of their mothers, and it is ordinary that such as look for windfalls by decease will be feeding their hearts with their hopes; so should it be with us, who may, without injury to our Father, long after our inheritance in heaven; and as we see men take no content in any part of the earth, no nor in the whole, comparable to that peace or portion which is their own, even so should not we suffer our hearts so to wander after earth or earthly things, as that we settle our contentment anywhere but where our inheritance and our treasure is. The which desire if it filled our hearts, three worthy fruits of it would manifest themselves through our lives.(1) It would moderate the eager cares of this life, and would not suffer men to become drudges, or sell themselves as slaves unto the earth, for he that taketh himself to be an heir of heaven is well enough provided and cared for already, his Father hath left him so well as he need not basely shift for himself.(2) It would content the mind with any present condition.

4. Set thyself well to keep this inheritance and the deeds of it, lay up the covenant safe in the closet of the soul, hide the Word, which is the indenture of God passing it unto thee, in the midst of thy heart, let not Satan nor any cheater defraud thee of it.

5. This doctrine affordeth sundry grounds of most sweet consolation.(1) The meanest believer is a great heir, and that to all God's best blessings, a truth which few see as they might and ought, and therefore fail of that comfort which God hath put into their hands.(2) God's children being such heirs, they cannot but in the meantime be well provided for till their patrimony fall. We know that great heirs in their minority are well and honestly maintained, their fathers being rich and kind will not suffer them to want things fit for them, and what they want in the purse they have in their education, and if they be any way scanted for the present they shall afterward find it with much advantage.(3) In any want thou, being thy Father's heir, mayest boldly repair to thy Father, with good hope to speed in any request which He seeth fit for thee and making for thy good.

(T. Taylor, D. D.)

One bright morning last summer, while travelling in Switzerland, I took my seat on the top of a diligence as we passed along the magnificent country from Geneva to Chamounix. I was full of expectation to see Mont Blanc. Our driver said, as we drew nearer the object of our journey, "Unless a cloud sails up and covers its forehead you will see it leaning up against the clear blue sky." I need not tell you I kept looking up, feeling that every moment brought me nearer to the sight I so much wanted to see.

(Mrs. Bottome.)

Titus 3:4 NIV
Titus 3:4 NLT
Titus 3:4 ESV
Titus 3:4 NASB
Titus 3:4 KJV

Titus 3:4 Bible Apps
Titus 3:4 Parallel
Titus 3:4 Biblia Paralela
Titus 3:4 Chinese Bible
Titus 3:4 French Bible
Titus 3:4 German Bible

Titus 3:4 Commentaries

Bible Hub
Titus 3:3
Top of Page
Top of Page