(Vs. 7.) The design of Paul in verses 5-7 is to ascribe to the grace and mercy of God all that we are, all that we have and all that we shall be. We must not exalt ourselves proudly against others nor treat them unkindly (see vv.2,3). Neither regeneration, justification, nor sonship is acquired by labour, works, or law, but by the free gift of God's mercy through Jesus Christ.
"Made heirs." In eternity past God made us his sons in Christ and heirs of the grace of life by his gracious act of adoption (Eph. 1:3-5,11; Rom. 8:29-31).
"Justified by his grace." Justification is the act of God by which he wills not to impute sins to his people, but to Christ their Surety. We are righteous through the righteousness of Christ. We are totally free from all judgement, condemnation and sin by the sacrifice of Christ (Rom. 8:33,34). When Christ was raised from the dead, we were raised in him, justified, acquitted and freed from guilt (Rom. 4:7,8,23-25).
"According to the hope of eternal life." We are still in the world, though we are heirs of life and certain to possess all of his blessings in Christ. We do not yet enjoy the reality of it, but our hope in Christ and Christ, "who is our hope", give us the full and complete certainty of eternal life.
(Vs. 8.) "A faithful saying." Paul uses this expression when he wishes to make a very strong point and solemn declaration (1 Tim. 1:15; 2 Tim. 2:11). Titus is cautioned to teach those things which are certain, to dwell on those things and leave others to talk idly about other things of little importance! One thing is quite certain - those who believe God (who are justified, regenerated and children of God by his grace) are to live holy and godly lives, being very careful to maintain works of faith and labours of love. One cannot separate faith and conduct (James 2:17.20). Applying ourselves to honourable occupations and doing good to others is profitable to us and to all men.
(Vs. 9.) "Avoid foolish questions" which contribute nothing to godliness. It is necessary to seek in order to find, but there is a limit to seeking. We bow to things God has revealed and leave the secret things to him (2 Tim. 2:23).
"Avoid genealogies." Foolish men spend time studying the lineage of tribes, races and leaders. This is a total waste of time (1 Tim. 1:4).
"Avoid contentions and strivings about the law." The law itself does not produce contention, for those who love God love God's law. Legalists and ceremonialists disturb the peace of the church by their absurd controversies over the observance of ceremonies, foods and drinks, holy days and circumcision. In our preaching and teaching we should always be concerned for those things that are true, that bring glory to Christ and that are profitable and useful to believers. Contentions and strivings about the law are not!
(Vs. 10, 11.) A "heretic" is one who denies a fundamental doctrine of Christianity having to do with the doctrine of the Trinity, the deity of Christ, the doctrines relating to the person, office and work of Christ and the inspiration of the Scriptures. (A heretic prefers his own opinion to the clear revelation of Scripture.) "After his error has been solemnly admonished by the church at least twice, have nothing to do with him socially, privately, or in church communion." Such a person has departed from the faith, is corrupted and will go on sinning against God, proving himself unworthy of fellowship. The church is justified in its rejection and exclusion of him.
(Vs. 12,13.) These men were evidently ministers of the gospel, friends and co-labourers with Paul. He would send one of them to Crete to aid the church while Titus came to confer with him. Paul wanted Titus to bring Zenas and Apollos with him, seeing that they wanted for nothing. The church should always see that God's true servants are properly cared for.(Vs. 14.) Two popular applications of this verse are:
1. Let our people apply themselves to honest labour and employment so that they can supply their families, help those in need, support the gospel and relieve the poor. We must not live idle and unfruitful lives.
2. All good works in general are intended and done from a principle of love, with a view to the glory of God. Good works are the fruit of the Spirit and of God's grace. They are fruits of righteousness. People who are without them are like trees without fruit - useless and unprofitable!
(Vs. 15.) "All who are with me wish to be remembered to you." They send their greetings. "Greet those who love us in Christ. God's favour and blessings be with you all. Amen; so be it."