The Divine Lamp

The unfolding of thy words gives light; it imparts understanding to the simple…Make thy face shine upon thy servant, and teach me thy statutes

Father MacEvilly’s Commentary on Titus 2:11-14, 3:4-7

Posted by Dim Bulb on January 8, 2013

This post includes Fr. MacEvilly’s paraphrasing (in purple text) of the verses he is commenting upon. I’ve also provided his summaries of chapters 2 and 3 to help provide context.

A Summary of Chapter 2~In this chapter, the Apostle, after exhorting Titus to teach sound doctrine, points out to him what instructions he should deliver to persons of different ages and conditions in life (6). He admonishes him to show himself as a model in the practice of every virtue (7-10), He proposes the example of Christ, our Saviour, who appeared visibly in order to instruct all classes of men, both by word and example, as a motive to stimulate him to teach the same, with greater zeal. He shows what it is that Christ has taught us (12, 13). He points out the end and object of Christ’s death (14). He, finally, wishes that Titus should authoritatively teach all these things (15).

Tit 2:11  For the grace of God our Saviour hath appeared to all men:

For the salutary beneficence of God’s redemption has been made manifest to all classes of men without exception.

By “the grace of our Saviour,” or (as in the Greek,  η χαρις  η σωτηριος) the
salutary grace, some understand, as in Paraphrase, the salutary benevolence of God displayed in the work of redemption (see 2 Cor 6:1); others, Christ himself, the fountain of grace, the divine essential grace. This shows that as the benefit of redemption was displayed to all classes, men, women, slaves, &c.; so, Titus should instruct every class, not excepting slaves.

Tit 2:12  Instructing us, that, denying ungodliness and worldly desires, we should live soberly and justly and godly in this world,

Instructing us to renounce impiety, and worldly corrupt desires, and to lead in this world a life of wisdom and temperance in regard to ourselves, of justice and equity towards the neighbor, and of piety and religion towards God.

“Impiety,” i.e., unbelief, “worldly desires,” the corrupt passions of ambition, avarice, lusts, &c.—”we should live soberly, justly, and piously,” by fasting, alms, deeds, and prayer; these good works are specially recommended to all, specially opposed to the three enemies of salvation—the world, the flesh, and the devil; and to the three great leading maxims of the world—”the concupiscence of the flesh, of the eyes, and the pride of life.”—(1 John 2:16).

Tit 2:13  Looking for the blessed hope and coming of the glory of the great God and our Saviour Jesus Christ.

Expecting eternal happiness, the object of our hope, and the glorious coming of our great God and Saviour Jesus Christ.

“The blessed hope;” “hope” means the thing hoped for, the object of hope.

“The great God.” The article in the Greek shows that by this is meant, our Saviour Jesus Christ. Besides, it is our Saviour alone that “the glorious coming” is attributed in Sacred Scripture. Hence, an argument for the Divinity of Christ.

“The blessed hope,” regards the beautitude of our souls at death—”the coming,” &c., the glorification of our bodies.

Tit 2:14  Who gave himself for us, that he might redeem us from all iniquity and might cleanse to himself a people acceptable, a pursuer of good works.

Who has delivered himself up to death for us, to redeem and purify us from all iniquity and from the stains of sin, and after thus cleansing us by his blood, to claim us as his peculiar people, his precious distinguished possession, a people exceedingly zealous for good works.

He not only was born for us, and appeared to us, and instructed us, but he also died for us. “A people acceptable.” St. Jerome has translated it, “an especial, eminent people.” It is allusive to the passage in Exodus 19:5, when God says of the Jews, “you shall be my peculiar possession,” &c. The Hebrew for “peculiar possession,” Segullah, according to St. Jerome, signifies “a most precious treasure.” St. Paul here followed the Septuagint version, which means, “acceptable people,” an excellent possession, &c.

A Summary of Chapter 3~In this chapter, the Apostle inculcates certain duties that were obligatory on the faithful in general, viz., subjection to the existing civil authorities, mildness tozvards all men, not excepting unbelievers. This feeling they will the more readily cultivate even towards unbelievers, by reflecting that they themselves were formerly like them, and also by reflecting that it was solely owing to the mercy of God that they were rescued from their former state. He shows the greatness of this mercy and its admirable results (3-7); and he exhorts Titus to point out this mercy to the faithful (8). He prohibits useless questions, etc., and he instructs him to avoid a heretic, who, after being twice admonished, contumaciously persists in error (10, 11). He invites Titus to come to him, etc.

Tit 3:4  But when the goodness and kindness of God our Saviour appeared:

But when the goodness and singular love for men of God our Saviour shone forth (by the preaching of the Gospel),

Another motive to induce them to act compassionately, &c., is the example of God himself—” The kindness.” The Greek is, φιλανθρωπια, philanthropy. Some refer this to the Incarnation, but erroneously; for, there is question of God the Father, as he is distinguished from Jesus Christ (verse 6).

Tit 3:5  Not by the works of justice which we have done, but according to his mercy, he saved us, by the laver of regeneration and renovation of the Holy Ghost.

Not in consideration of the good works which we performed (for, there were no such works in existence), but out of pure gratuitous mercy, he saved us by baptism, wherein we are regenerated into sons of God and were made new men, through the grace of the Holy Ghost.

It was not in consideration of our just works that he saved us; for, before his
grace there were no good works, or “works of justice,” entitled to a reward; but it was out of his purely gratuitous mercy, he “saved us,” i.e., bestowed on us justification, which places us in the way of finally arriving at perfect eternal salvation, and is itself initial salvation. The means by which he has bestowed on us this justification is through the waters of baptism externally poured on us, and by the grace of the Holy Ghost, which is attached to the rite of baptism, interiorly giving us a new birth, a new spiritual essence, making us sons of God, perfectly renewing us, so that we become invested with the virtues of wisdom, faith, &c., opposed to the former vices to which we were slaves. The external instrumental cause of this renovation is baptism; the efficient invisible cause, which the external operates, is, the grace of the Holy Ghost. This passage manifestly shows that justification does not consist in the mere imputation of the justice of Christ; but that it is the inherent principle of this new life, so long as it perseveres.

Tit 3:6  Whom he hath poured forth upon us abundantly, through Jesus Christ our Saviour:

Whom God the Father has copiously and abundantly poured forth on us, through Jesus Christ our Saviour.

“Whom,” i.e., the Holy Ghost, “he hath poured forth upon us,” i.e., God the Father (verse 4) hath poured forth upon us abundantly, “through Jesus Christ our Saviour,” in the sacraments of baptism and confirmation, which, immediately after baptism, was given by the imposition of hands. The entire Trinity is referred to in this verse, distinctly contributing by an operation peculiar to each person to our new spiritual existence. The Eternal Father, the Principle of the Divinity itself, is the Father of the baptized, and the Principle of his divine existence; the Eternal Son is, with the Father, the Principle of the effusion of the Holy Ghost; and the Holy Ghost, the Spirit of the Father and Son, becomes the spirit of the baptized, his heart and soul, his supernatural and divine life.

Tit 3:7  That, being justified by his grace, we may be heirs according to hope of life everlasting.

So that, cleansed from sin and gifted with justice through his grace, we are constituted heirs of eternal life, which we have at present, only in the certain hope of one day obtaining it.

Justification implies the remission of sin and the infusion of justice by sanctifying grace, and this holy state constitutes us the rightful heirs of eternal life, which we do not yet actually possess, but which, like the youthful heir, during his minority, we hope one day to attain, and actually enjoy.

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