1: Remind them - All the Cretan Christians. To be subject
- Passively, not resisting. To principalities - Supreme. And
powers - Subordinate governors. And to obey - Them actively, so
far as conscience permits.
2: To speak evil - Neither of them nor any man. Not to be
quarrelsome - To assault none. To be gentle - When assaulted.
Toward all men - Even those who are such as we were.
3: For we - And as God hath dealt with us, so ought we
to deal with our neighbour. Were without understanding - Wholly
ignorant of God. And disobedient - When he was declared to us.
4: When the love of God appeared - By the light of his
Spirit to our inmost soul.
5: Not by works - In this important passage the apostle
presents us with a delightful view of our redemption. Herein
The cause of it; not our works or righteousness, but
"the kindness and love of God our Saviour."
The effects; which are,
Justification; "being justified," pardoned and accepted
through the alone merits of Christ, not from any desert
in us, but according to his own mercy, "by his grace,"
his free, unmerited goodness.
Sanctification, expressed by the laver of regeneration,
(that is, baptism, the thing signified, as well as the
outward sign,) and the renewal of the Holy Ghost; which
purifies the soul, as water cleanses the body, and renews
it in the whole image of God.
The consummation of all; - that we might become heirs of
eternal life, and live now in the joyful hope of it.
8: Be careful to excel in good works - Though the apostle
does not lay these for the foundation, yet he brings them in at
their proper place, and then mentions them, not slightly, but
as affairs of great importance. He desires that all believers
should be careful - Have their thoughts upon them: use their best
contrivance, their utmost endeavours, not barely to practise,
but to excel, to be eminent and distinguished in them: because,
though they are not the ground of our reconciliation with God,
yet they are amiable and honourable to the Christian profession.
And profitable to men - Means of increasing the everlasting
happiness both of ourselves and others.
10: An heretic (after a first and second admonition)
reject - Avoid, leave to himself. This is the only place, in the
whole scripture, where this word heretic occurs; and here it
evidently means, a man that obstinately persists in contending
about "foolish questions," and thereby occasions strife and
animosities, schisms and parties in the church. This, and this
alone, is an heretic in the scripture sense; and his punishment
likewise is here fixed. Shun, avoid him, leave him to himself.
As for the Popish sense, "A man that errs in fundamentals,"
although it crept, with many other things, early into the
church, yet it has no shadow of foundation either in the Old or
11: Such an one is perverted - In his heart, at least.
And sinneth, being self - condemned - Being convinced in his
own conscience that he acts wrong.
12: When I shall send Artemas or Tychicus - To succeed thee
in thy office. Titus was properly an evangelist, who, according
to the nature of that office, had no fixed residence; but
presided over other elders, wherever he travelled from place to
place, assisting each of the apostles according to the measure
of his abilities. Come to me to Nicopolis - Very probably not the
Nicopolis in Macedonia, as the vulgar subscription asserts:
(indeed, none of those subscriptions at the end of St. Paul's
epistles are of any authority:) rather it was a town of the
same name which lay upon the sea - coast of Epirus. For I have
determined to winter there - Hence it appears, he was not there
yet; if so, he would have said, to winter here. Consequently,
this letter was not written from thence.
13: Send forward Zenas the lawyer - Either a Roman lawyer
or an expounder of the Jewish law.
14: And let ours - All our brethren at Crete. Learn - Both
by thy admonition and example. Perhaps they had not before
assisted Zenas and Apollos as they ought to have done.