Titus 3:4
(4) But after that the kindness and love of God our Saviour toward man appeared.--Another thought now wells up in the Apostle's mind. We of ourselves should never have become changed men, had not the kindness of God and His divine love for men shown itself. We, indeed, have no ground for self-exaltation, no excuse for haughty treatment of others, either in thought or action; for if we now live other and purer lives than they live, our change to better and higher things was owing to no desert or merit of ours, but solely to the mercy and the love of God. The changed life is here solely attributed to the manifestation to man of the kindness and love of God our Saviour. Here God our Saviour, as in 1Timothy 1:1, and in several other passages in the Pastoral Epistles, must be understood as "God the Father;" the "kindness" differs from the "love towards man." The first signifies generally that divine, measureless, all comprehensive love which we know is the glorious attribute of God. The second expression tells of the special love which the Almighty has for man, and which has been so marvellously shown in the sacrifice and death of the Son of God for us. The two words--the measureless, divine love which embraces all creation, and the special love of God for man--taken together, make up the one idea expressed by the "grace that bringeth salvation," of Titus 2:11 of this Epistle. In the rare word philanthropia, the "love of God toward man," a quiet but very solemn reminder is given to those "Christians" who would have no dealings with their less pure heathen neighbours. The word applied here to God tells them to love men, even the enemies of their holy religion; they are to obey the heathen magistrate, and to think kindly of and to act courteously towards their heathen neighbour, because God has loved men--all men. Here are they to be imitators of the divine pity, copyists of the divine love.

Verse 4. - When for after that, A.V.; the kindness of God our Savior, and his love toward man for the kindness and love of God our Savior toward man, A.V. Kindness (χρηστότης), used by St. Paul only in the New Testament, and by him frequently in the sense of "kindness," whether of God (as Romans 2:4; Romans 11:22; Ephesians 2:7) or of man (as 2 Corinthians 6:6; Galatians 5:22; Colossians 3:12). In Romans 3:12, where it has the wider sense of "good" or "right," it is the phrase of the LXX., who use χρηστότης for the Hebrew טוב. In like manner, χρηστός is frequently used in the sense of "kind" (Luke 6:35; Romans 2:4; Colossians 3:12; 1 Peter 2:3). This is exactly analogous to the use of κακός and κακία, in the limited sense of "malicious," "malice" (see preceding note to ver. 3). Love toward man (φιλανθρωπία); only here and Acts 28:2 in the New Testament. It occurs repeatedly in the Books of the Maccabees, and is common in good classical Greek. God our Savior (see 1 Timothy 1:1; 1 Timothy 2:3; Titus 2:10, etc.). Appeared (Titus 2:11).

3:1-7 Spiritual privileges do not make void or weaken, but confirm civil duties. Mere good words and good meanings are not enough without good works. They were not to be quarrelsome, but to show meekness on all occasions, not toward friends only, but to all men, though with wisdom, Jas 3:13. And let this text teach us how wrong it is for a Christian to be churlish to the worst, weakest, and most abject. The servants of sin have many masters, their lusts hurry them different ways; pride commands one thing, covetousness another. Thus they are hateful, deserving to be hated. It is the misery of sinners, that they hate one another; and it is the duty and happiness of saints to love one another. And we are delivered out of our miserable condition, only by the mercy and free grace of God, the merit and sufferings of Christ, and the working of his Spirit. God the Father is God our Saviour. He is the fountain from which the Holy Spirit flows, to teach, regenerate, and save his fallen creatures; and this blessing comes to mankind through Christ. The spring and rise of it, is the kindness and love of God to man. Love and grace have, through the Spirit, great power to change and turn the heart to God. Works must be in the saved, but are not among the causes of their salvation. A new principle of grace and holiness is wrought, which sways, and governs, and makes the man a new creature. Most pretend they would have heaven at last, yet they care not for holiness now; they would have the end without the beginning. Here is the outward sign and seal thereof in baptism, called therefore the washing of regeneration. The work is inward and spiritual; this is outwardly signified and sealed in this ordinance. Slight not this outward sign and seal; yet rest not in the outward washing, but look to the answer of a good conscience, without which the outward washing will avail nothing. The worker therein is the Spirit of God; it is the renewing of the Holy Ghost. Through him we mortify sin, perform duty, walk in God's ways; all the working of the Divine life in us, and the fruits of righteousness without, are through this blessed and holy Spirit. The Spirit and his saving gifts and graces, come through Christ, as a Saviour, whose undertaking and work are to bring to grace and glory. Justification, in the gospel sense, is the free forgiveness of a sinner; accepting him as righteous through the righteousness of Christ received by faith. God, in justifying a sinner in the way of the gospel, is gracious to him, yet just to himself and his law. As forgiveness is through a perfect righteousness, and satisfaction is made to justice by Christ, it cannot be merited by the sinner himself. Eternal life is set before us in the promise; the Spirit works faith in us, and hope of that life; faith and hope bring it near, and fill with joy in expectation of it.But after that,.... After all this series and course of wickedness; notwithstanding all this foolishness, disobedience, deception, bondage to sin, envy, malice, and malignity; or "when" all this was, as the word may be rendered, amidst all this iniquity; when these persons were in the full career of sin, and so had done no preparatory works, or had any previous qualifications and dispositions for the grace of God:

the kindness and love of God our Saviour toward man appeared; unto them; and the Ethiopic version adds, "unto us". The apostle takes the advantage of the above character of himself, and others in their former state, to set off and magnify the grace of God in their conversion; so contraries, as black and white, illustrate each other. By "God our Saviour" is not meant the Lord Jesus Christ, though he is commonly designed by our Saviour, and is several times called God our Saviour in this epistle; see Titus 1:3 and who is truly God, and the only Saviour of lost sinners; and whose kindness and love towards them has appeared in many instances; as in his suretiship undertakings for them, in his assumption of their nature, and in his suffering and dying in their room and stead: and yet it appears from Titus 3:6 that God our Saviour here, is distinguished from Jesus Christ our Saviour there; and therefore here must be understood of God the Father; who contrived the scheme of salvation, appointed Christ to be his salvation, and made a covenant with him, in which it secured, and sent him in time to obtain it, and through his blood, righteousness, and sacrifice, saves all his people: it is his kindness and love to men that is here spoken of; and which designs not his general and providential goodness and kindness, which extends to the whole human nature, and to all the individuals of it; but his special love and grace shown in his kindness in Christ Jesus; that good will to men the angels sung of at Christ's incarnation; or that free favour and love of God towards elect men, which is sovereign and special, from everlasting to everlasting, unchangeable and unspeakable, which is better than life; the excellency of which cannot be expressed, and which has shown itself in various instances: it is said to have "appeared"; because it was hid from all eternity in the heart of God, in the thoughts of his heart, in his purposes, counsel, and covenant, and has been made manifest in time; particularly, it has broke forth and showed itself in the mission of Christ into this world, and in redemption and salvation by him; wherein God has manifested and commended his love, and shown forth the exceeding riches of his grace; and also in the effectual calling, which being a time of life, is a time of love, and is owing to the great love of God, and is a fruit and evidence of his everlasting and unchangeable love; and it is this instance and appearance of it, which is here meant, since it follows the account of the state and condition of the saints by nature; and is what was made to them when in this state, by which means they were brought out of it.

Titus 3:3
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