|stempublishing.com : J. N. Darby : Synopsis : Titus : Chapter 2||Next chapter|
Titus charged to see that everyone is in agreement with moral and relative propriety: the danger of forgetfulness of grace and holy order among Christians
Titus, who was not only to appoint others for the purpose, but, being there clothed with authority, was himself to watch over the order and moral walk of the Christians, was charged (as is the case throughout these three epistles) to see that every one, according to his position, walked in agreement with moral and relative propriety — an important thing, and which shelters from the attacks of Satan, and from confusion in the assembly. True liberty reigns in the assembly; moral order secures this; and the enemy finds no better occasion to dishonour the Lord and ruin the testimony and throw all into disorder, thus giving the world occasion to blaspheme, than the forgetfulness of grace and holy order among Christians. Let us not deceive ourselves: if these proprieties are not maintained (and they are beautiful and precious), then the liberty (and it is beautiful and precious, and unknown to the world, who are ignorant of what grace is), the excellent liberty of the christian life, gives room for disorder which dishonours the Lord and throws moral confusion into everything.
Men destroying Christian liberty where there is disorder: the true remedy: the Spirit recognizing every relationship with God has formed: Christians to act suitably to the relationship
Often, in perceiving that the weakness of man has given occasion to disorder where christian liberty reigns, instead of seeking the true remedy, men have destroyed the liberty; they banish the power and operation of the Spirit — for where the Spirit is, there is liberty in every sense — the joy of the new relationships in which all are one. But, while severing every bond for the Lord's sake when necessary, the Spirit recognises every relationship which God has formed; even when we break them — as death does — through the exigency of the call of Christ, which is superior to them all. But while we are in them (the call of Christ apart), we are to act suitably to the relationship. Age and youth, husband and wife, child and parent, slave and master, all have their own proprieties to maintain towards each other, a behaviour in accordance with the position in which we stand.
Sound doctrine maintaining all the moral properties: the foundation of the saints' conduct
"Sound doctrine" takes account of all this, and, in its warnings and exhortations, maintains all these proprieties. This is the instruction which the apostle here gives to Titus, with regard to aged men, aged women, young women (relatively to their husbands, their children, and their whole life, which should be domestic and modest); young men, to whom Titus was to be always a pattern; slaves, with their masters; and then the duties of all towards magistrates, and indeed towards all men. But, before taking up this last point, he establishes the great principles which are the foundation of the conduct of the saints amongst themselves in this world. Their conduct towards magistrates and the world has a different motive.
The basis and motive for Christian conduct in the assembly: the motive for the character of their walk in the world
The conduct of Christians, as such, in the assembly has for its basis and motive the special doctrines of Christianity. We find these doctrines and motives in Titus 2:11-15, which speaks of that conduct. The particular motive for the character of their walk, with regard to the world, we find in the third and following verses of Titus 3.
A summary of Christianity as a practical reality for men: God's grace bringing salvation
Titus 2:11-15 contains a remarkable summary of Christianity, not exactly of its dogmas, but as a practical reality for men. Grace has appeared. It has appeared, not limited to a particular people, but to all men; not charged with temporal promises and blessings but bringing salvation. It comes from God to men with salvation. It does not expect righteousness from men, it brings salvation to those that need it. Precious and simple truth, which makes us know God, which puts us in our place, but according to the grace which has overleaped every barrier in order to address itself, in the sovereign goodness of God, to every man on the earth!
Perfect instruction with regard to our walk in this world
Having brought this salvation, it instructs us perfectly with regard to our walk in this world; and that in relation to ourselves, and to other men, and to God. Renouncing all ungodliness, and all lusts that find their gratification in this world, we are to bridle the will of the flesh in every respect and to live soberly; we are to acknowledge the claims of others and to live righteously; we are to own the rights of God over our hearts and to exercise godliness.
Our future enlightened by grace
But our future also is enlightened by grace. It teaches us to wait for the blessed hope, and the appearing of the glory of our great God and Saviour Jesus Christ.
What grace does; what Christ has done
Grace has appeared. It teaches us how to walk here below, and to expect the appearing of the glory in the Person of Jesus Christ Himself. And our hope is well founded. Christ is justly precious to us. We can have full confidence of heart in thinking of His appearing in glory, as well as the most powerful motive for a life devoted to His glory. He gave Himself for us to redeem us from all iniquity, and to purify for Himself a people who should belong to Him in His own right, and be zealous — according to His will and His nature — of good works.
Christianity as the work of the grace of God
This is what Christianity is. It has provided for all, the past, the present, and the future, according to God. It delivers us from this world, making of us a people set apart for Christ Himself, according to the love in which He gave Himself for us. It is purification, but a purification which consecrates us to Christ. We belong to Him as His peculiar portion, His possession in the world; animated with the love that is in Him, in order to do good to others and bear testimony to His grace. This is a precious testimony to that which Christianity is, in its practical reality, as the work of the grace of God.
|Previous chapter||Index||Next chapter|