Titus 1:15
(15) Unto the pure all things are pure.--The spirit of this famous saying of St. Paul, occurring almost in the same language in the Roman Letter (Romans 14:20), was the groundwork of much of the Gentile Apostle's teaching. The words of the Lord Jesus above referred to (Matthew 15:2; Matthew 15:11) contain the same grand truth. "All things" include much besides mere food--in a word, include all acts connected with every-day life which in themselves are neither right nor wrong, neither good nor evil, but which derive their colouring of good or evil solely from the doer of the act. Bengel well sums this up in his "omnia externa eis, qui intus sunt mundi, munda sunt."

But unto them that are defiled and unbelieving is nothing pure.--Here, as so often in these Pastoral Epistles, the last utterance, so to speak, of that grand life of St. Paul's, purity and sound doctrine are inseparable. Here "the defiled," "the polluted," we are told, are the unbelieving; and to these, the Apostle says, nothing is pure. Yet there is nothing in God's creation impure or evil--the evil and impurity are in the mind and heart of men; these may, and often do, defile and make impure the choicest gifts of God's creation. One word is still left to be said on the teaching of this memorable verse. Who are the pure to whom all things are pure? Only those in this world who have sought cleansing by faith in the precious blood of Christ.

But even their mind and conscience is defiled.--Here St. Paul defines exactly the sphere over which the moral defilement of these hapless ones, who belong to the Christian company, alas, only in name, extends--the mind and conscience. The first of these--the mind--is the willing as well as the thinking part of man, as it has been well defined the human spirit (pneuma) in one of its aspects, not simply quatenus cogitat et intelligit, but also quatenus vult. Defilement of this mind (nous) means that the thoughts, wishes, purposes, activities, are all stained and debased. The second of these--the conscience (suneid?sis)--is the moral consciousness within, that which is ever bringing up the memory of the past, with its omissions and commissions, its errors, its cruel, heartless unkindness, its selfish disregard of others. When this is defiled, then this last safeguard of the soul is broken down. The man and woman of the defiled conscience is self-satisfied, hard, impenitent to the last.

Verse 15. - To for unto, A.V. (twice); nothing is for is nothing, A.V.; both for even, A.V.; their conscience for conscience, A.V.; are for is, A.V. To the pure, etc. This allusion shows dearly that the "commandments of men," here condemned, are of the same kind as those referred to in the above-quoted passage in the Colossians. We learn also from Romans 14; 1 Corinthians 8; and elsewhere, what were the kind of questions which agitated the Judaizing Christians. But St. Paul in a few wise words shows the utter worthlessness of such controversies. "To the pure all things are pure." "There is nothing from without a man," said our Lord, "that entering into him can defile him" (Mark 7:15); "Neither if we cat are we the better, neither if we eat not are we the worse" (1 Corinthians 8:8); "The kingdom of God is not meat and drink, but righteousness, and peace, and joy in the Holy Ghost" (Romans 14:17). But unto those that are defiled by what comes from within them, and have no faith (Romans 14:23), nothing is pure. Their mind and conscience, being defiled, defile everything they do. The words καθαρόν and μιαίνω are the proper words for ceremonial "cleanness" and "defilement" respectively.

1:10-16 False teachers are described. Faithful ministers must oppose such in good time, that their folly being made manifest, they may go no further They had a base end in what they did; serving a worldly interest under pretence of religion: for the love of money is the root of all evil. Such should be resisted, and put to shame, by sound doctrine from the Scriptures. Shameful actions, the reproach of heathens, should be far from Christians; falsehood and lying, envious craft and cruelty, brutal and sensual practices, and idleness and sloth, are sins condemned even by the light of nature. But Christian meekness is as far from cowardly passing over sin and error, as from anger and impatience. And though there may be national differences of character, yet the heart of man in every age and place is deceitful and desperately wicked. But the sharpest reproofs must aim at the good of the reproved; and soundness in the faith is most desirable and necessary. To those who are defiled and unbelieving, nothing is pure; they abuse, and turn things lawful and good into sin. Many profess to know God, yet in their lives deny and reject him. See the miserable state of hypocrites, such as have a form of godliness, but are without the power; yet let us not be so ready to fix this charge on others, as careful that it does not apply to ourselves.Unto the pure all things are pure,.... The apostle having made mention of Jewish fables, and the traditions of the elders, takes notice of some darling notions, that these judaizing Christians had imbibed or retained; that there were some things, which being touched, or handled, or tasted, occasioned uncleanness, and which the apostle denies to them that are "pure"; by whom are meant, not such who are so in their own eyes, who yet may not be cleansed from their filthiness; nor do any become pure through ceremonial, moral, or evangelical performances, done by them; they are only pure, who are justified from all sin by Christ's righteousness, and are clean through the word or sentence of absolution spoken by him; and who are washed from their sins in his blood, and have that sprinkled upon their consciences, by which they are purged and cleansed from all sin; and who have the clean water of sanctifying grace sprinkled upon them, and have clean hearts, and right spirits created in them; and whose hearts are purified by faith, and have true principles of grace and holiness formed in them; whose graces are pure and genuine, their faith is unfeigned, their love is without dissimulation, and their hope without hypocrisy; and who, in consequence of all this, love pureness of heart, speak the pure language of Canaan, hold the mystery of the faith in a pure conscience, and follow after purity of life and conversation: to these "all things are pure"; whatever they touch, or handle, or eat, nothing can defile them; for it is not what enters into man that can pollute him; nor is any creature unclean of itself, but good, and to be received with thanksgiving; see Matthew 15:11.

But unto them that are defiled and unbelieving is nothing pure; all mankind are defiled with sin; they are altogether become filthy; there is none good, no, not one; and all of them, or that belong to them, are unclean; the members of their body, and the powers and faculties of their soul, their mind and conscience, understanding, will, and affections; there is no place clean: they are originally so, from their first conception and birth; and they are actually defiled by their own evil thoughts, words, and doings: some are openly impure, like the dog and the swine, who wallow in their impieties, such are the profane part of the world; others are more secretly so, as those of a pharisaical complexion, nominal Christians, and formal professors; and such the apostle has here in view: and who, notwithstanding their profession of the Christian religion, were "unbelieving"; they had not true faith in Christ, though they professed it; they were not indeed unbelieving, as the Jews, who rejected Jesus as the Messiah: yet they did not purely and cordially embrace the doctrines of the Gospel, nor yield a spiritual and cheerful subjection to the ordinances of it; but were for mixing the ceremonies of the law with the institutions of Christ: and to these were "nothing pure"; right and lawful to be done, or not done, even in the case supposed, about eating things forbidden by the ceremonial law; to eat them would be to eat with offence, to their own consciences, on their principles, and so be evil, Romans 14:20 and to abstain from them on account of laws not in force, would be superstition and will worship, and so criminal, Colossians 2:21. There is nothing that defiled persons can do, but what is unclean; as are their persons, so are their offerings and works, Haggai 2:14, and being destitute of true faith, whatever they do is sin, and not anything they do can be acceptable and well pleasing to God, Romans 14:23. There were some things among the Jews, which were prohibited to them that were defiled, and were free to them that were pure: thus, for instance (u),

"the flesh of the most holy things, and the flesh of those which are lightly holy, boiled with flesh of delight, (or common flesh,) are forbidden "to the defiled", but are free "to the pure".''

Which one of their commentators (w) thus explains;

"the flesh of the most holy things is forbidden to strangers, though pure; the flesh of things lightly holy is free to strangers that are pure, but forbidden to them that are defiled.''

Whether there may be any allusion to this, may be considered: however, the reason the apostle gives why nothing is pure to the impure, is, because of the pollution of the superior powers and faculties of their soul:

but even their mind and conscience is defiled; there is nothing in them, or that belongs to them, that is pure; their mind or understanding, which conceives and judges of things, and forms notions of them; and the conscience, which draws conclusions from them, are both defiled with sin; and what then must the thoughts, the words and actions of such persons be? it matters not what they do, or abstain from, what they touch, taste, or handle, or if they do not, they sin in all they do.

(u) Minn. Orla, c. 2. sect. 17. (w) Bartenora, in Misn. Orla, c. 2. sect. 17.

Titus 1:14
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