(Vs. 1.) From this and other passages it is evident that the apostle thought it most important for believers to be law-abiding, peaceful people, submitting to those in authority. We are all by nature desirous of power and prone to have our own way. It takes much grace to be an obedient servant, a submissive wife or child, a peaceful citizen, especially if those in authority are opposed to Christ (Rom. 13:1-3; 1 Peter 2:13-18).
"Be prepared and willing to do any upright and honourable work." Let our lives be characterized by goodness and gentleness to all (Rom. 13:7,8). The grace of Christ is not limited to religious affiliations, but controls the whole of our lives.
(Vs. 2.) The good minister of Christ will remind believers to "speak evil of no man". This is the method of maintaining peace and friendship with all men! A man's name, reputation and character are tender topics and ought to be handled carefully! Contempt for others is usually followed by insult. A thought of contempt usually gives birth to words of unkindness. Speak not evil of those in power and authority.
"To be no brawlers." The word here is "be not contentious, quarrelsome and always fighting". There are other ways of fighting than with fists and guns; the believer is to engage in neither! Church members, married people, parents and children, neighbours who are forever quarreling, striving and bickering are very unbecoming to Christ and generally reveal by their attitude their ignorance of his grace. Let us be gentle and forbearing showing real courtesy and kindness to all people (Eph. 4:32).
(Vs. 3.) Nothing will subdue a man's pride, moderate his severity toward others and cause him to be gentle and forgiving like remembering what he was by nature before Christ forgave him and made him a new creature! Ignorance of our past sins and our present faults is the only reason why we are unforgiving, unmerciful and critical! In order that we might be more gentle and loving toward others, Paul exhorts us to remember what we were: "Foolish, disobedient to God, deceived in heart and mind, serving our fleshly lusts, living in hatred and envy." This knowledge of what we were and what God has been pleased to do for us by his grace alone should bring forth great grace and kindness toward those whom we regard to be wrong. Since our Lord by these marks distinguishes the children of God from unbelievers, we must both love and be beloved (1 John 4:7,8).
(Vs. 4.) "The goodness and love of God our Saviour" was made known to all of the saints of the Old Testament in promise, prophecy and blessings. The goodness and love of God our Saviour is said to have "appeared" (was manifested) when our Lord Jesus came to earth in the flesh. He gave actual demonstration that he did not in vain promise salvation to men. This verse refers to the manifestation of his goodness and love to us personally and in a special manner by his Spirit. The grace and love of Christ "appeared" to us when we were enlightened in the knowledge of the gospel!
(Vs. 5.) The Lord saved us, not because of any works of righteousness that we had done, but wholly and completely because of his mercy and grace (2 Tim. 1:9). The motive and reason for our redemption are found in God, not in us. It is foolishness to think that a man comes to God by his own merit, works, or deeds. We by nature depart further and further from God until he puts forth his hand and brings us to himself by the "washing of regeneration" (that is, the regenerating work of the Holy Spirit)! We are born of water and the Spirit. The cause of regeneration is the Spirit and the means is the Word of God, whereby we are washed and cleansed. Our hearts are purified by faith and our consciences are purged by the blood of Christ. "The renewing of the Holy Ghost" refers to the new creature, the new man, the new heart and the newness of life and conduct under the influence of the Spirit of God. We have no cause to boast in ourselves or over others (I Cor. 4:7). Let us show mercy as we have received mercy!
(Vs. 6.) The love and kindness of God the Father come through Christ. The mercy of God is through Christ. Salvation itself is by and through Christ. The grace communicated in regeneration and renewing is out of Christ's fulness, the Spirit himself being given forth through Christ. Christ's every supply of grace, by which the work is carried on, is wrought in us by Christ's hands (Eph. 2:8.10).