INSTRUCTING US: paideuousa (PAPFSN)
hemas: (Mt 29:20; 1Th 4:9; Heb 8:11; 1Jn 2:27) (Acts 7:22, Heb
For an excellent Mp3 message on Titus 2:11-15
listen to John Piper -
Our Hope: The Appearing of Jesus
It trains us to avoid ungodly lives
filled with worldly desires (GWT)
It teaches us not to live against God
and not to do the evil things the world wants to do. (ICB)
It teaches us to say "No" to
ungodliness and worldly passions (NIV)
And we are instructed to turn from
godless living and sinful pleasures. (NLT)
training us to renounce ungodliness
and worldly passions (ESV)
it has taught us that we should give
up everything contrary to true religion and all our worldly passions
It has trained us to reject and
renounce all ungodliness (irreligion) and worldly (passionate) desires
That grace instructs us to give up
ungodly living and worldly passions (TEV)
the grace of God...schools us to
renounce irreligion and worldly passions (Moffatt)
Instructing us - What or who is instructing? The "Schoolmaster" is
Grace. In the previous verse Grace was the Savior that
rescued those who believed from sin and death, the spiritual transaction
(past tense salvation). In this verse Grace instructs and teaches
and disciplines us and provides the power in our daily struggle against
sin (cf Gal 5:17-note,
Ro 8:13-note). In contrast to the one time event of justification, progressive
sanctification (present tense salvation) is a daily process. We will
remain in this "classroom" of sanctification until we see Jesus our the
Blessed Hope at which time we will experience glorification
(future tense salvation). (Related Resource:
Tenses of Salvation)
Lehman Strauss says that this verse tells us...
that the operation of grace in
salvation is a continuous, lifelong work until grace finds its
consummation in glory.
Concordia Self-study Commentary writes that...
grace is a training grace which makes man’s life sound in
every respect. Under the benign sway of this grace (cf. Ro 6:14-note) man’s relationship to
himself is one of self-control ("sensibly"); to his fellowman,
one of justice ("righteously); and to his God, one of piety
(godly). God’s grace fulfills His ancient intention and promise
of a people redeemed and purified for a life of service to Him. (Titus
2:14; cf. Ps 84:11-note)
(Concordia Self-study Commentary. St. Louis: Concordia Publishing House)
deSilva in the Ashland Theological Journal writes that...
Both Titus 2:11–14 and 2Pe 1:4
focus on the transformation of our lives from lives marked by “the
corruption that is in the world because of lust” or by “impiety and
worldly passions” into “lives that are self-controlled, upright, and
godly,” reflecting our participation “in the divine nature.”
Sanctification, in essence, is simply a right response to God’s
gifts, putting the resources God has made available for holiness in
Christ to good and proper use. (ATJ, 31, 1999, page 32)
Titus 2:11 has shown that salvation has
been brought to all men, but verse 12 shows that this grace in its
teaching ministry is not universal. It is restricted to those who have
appropriated the saving grace of God and are themselves children of God
by faith in Christ Jesus. One may well ask, “Why is there this
contrast?” The answer to this question is found in the Greek word παιδεύουσα. (see paideuo below). This word generally translated, “teaching”
(Ed: "instructing" in NAS) is more correctly rendered, “disciplining.”
It is this truth that is often misunderstood. God does not discipline
one who is not saved, for there would be no purpose in such action. He
might judge such a one because of his sin, but discipline from Him is
always reserved for saved people. The reason for this is evident. God
has a place which He desires each one of His children to occupy. He has
a work for each one to do. It is only as He prepares His children for
their appointed tasks that they will accomplish His will. Many are happy
enough to welcome God’s saving grace and find continual consolation in
the fact that He keeps, but how few take pleasure in the gracious
discipline He gives. Paul knew better than anyone else, the value of
this aspect of God’s grace, and he told the Corinthian Church that he
was exceedingly joyful in all tribulation (2Cor 7:4). He knew that
tribulation worketh patience, and patience experience, and experience
hope (Ro 5:3, 4-see notes
He therefore could tell those to whom he wrote to glory in tribulation
Discipline of Grace in Bibliotheca Sacra 93:370. April 36. p. 167)
Journal Subscription info) (22
journals - 500 yrs of articles searchable by topic or verse! Incredible
(paideuo from país = child)
refers primarily to the training or discipline of children (whether in
the schools of men - Acts 7:22, Acts 22:3 or in the school of God,
Titus 2:12, et al), at one end of the
spectrum training by teaching, instructing, educating or nurturing and
at the other end of the spectrum utilizing correction and punishment if
necessary (which it usually is for children) as a part of the training
or child rearing process bringing them to maturity (this end of the spectrum conveyed by English
words like chastise or chasten - see below - as morally disciplining an
adult, correcting them and giving them guidance). In that regard we will
briefly look at some of the most common English words used to translate paideuo and will attempt to draw out the sometimes subtle
differences in meaning. From this introduction, you can see that
the meaning of paideuo is dependent on the context.
Spurgeon comments that paideuo...
is a scholastic term, and has to do
with the education of children; not merely the teaching, but the
training and bringing of them up. The grace of God has come to be a
schoolmaster to us, to teach us, to train us, to prepare us for a more
developed state. Christ has manifested in his own person that wonderful
grace of God which is to deal with us as with sons, and to educate us
unto holiness, and so to the full possession of our heavenly heritage.
We are the many sons who are to be brought to glory by the discipline of
So then, first of all, grace has a
discipline. We generally think of law when we talk about schoolmasters
and discipline; but grace itself has a discipline and a wonderful
training power too. The manifestation of grace is preparing us for the
manifestation of glory. What the law could not do, grace is doing.
The free favor of God instills new
principles, suggests new thoughts, and by inspiring us with gratitude,
creates in us love to God and hatred of that which is opposed to God.
Happy are they who go to school to the grace of God!
This grace of God entering into us
shows us what was evil even more clearly than the commandment does. We
receive a vital, testing principle within, whereby we discern between
good and evil.
The grace of God provides us with
instruction, but also with chastisement, as it is written, “As many as
I love I rebuke and chasten.”
As soon as we come under the
conscious enjoyment of the free grace of God, we find it to be a holy
rule, a fatherly government, a heavenly training. We find, not self
indulgence, much less licentiousness; but on the contrary, the grace of
God both restrains and constrains us; it makes us free to holiness, and
delivers us from the law of sin and death by “the law of the spirit of
life in Christ Jesus (Ro 8:2-note).”
(From Spurgeon's sermon
Two Appearings & the Discipline of Grace)
severe meaning of paideuo in the NT is Pilate's mistreatment of our
Luke 23:16 "I will therefore
punish (paideuo) Him and release Him...Luke 23:22 And he said to
them the third time, "Why, what evil has this man done? I have found in
Him no guilt demanding death; I will therefore punish (paideuo)
Him and release Him." (Comment: Clearly paideuo does not mean
training or correction in this context, but only maltreatment)
Paideuo is used 13 times in the NT (Luke 23:16, 22; Acts 7:22; 22:3;
1Cor 11:32; 2 Cor 6:9; 1Ti 1:20; 2Ti 2:25; Titus 2:12; Heb 12:6, 7, 10;
and 49 times in the
(Lev 26:18, 23, 28;
Deut 4:36; 8:5; 21:18; 22:18; 32:10; 2 Sam 22:48; 1 Ki 12:11, 14; 2 Chr
10:11, 14; Esther 2:7; Ps 2:10; 6:1; 16:7; 38:1; 39:11; 90:10; 94:10, 12;
105:22; 118:18; 141:5; Pr 3:12; 5:13; 9:7; 10:4; 13:24; 19:18; 22:3;
23:13; 28:17; 29:17, 19; 31:1; Isa 28:26; 46:3; Jer 2:19; 6:8; 10:24;
31:18; 46:28; Ezek 23:48; 28:3; Hos 7:12, 14; 10:10)
Paideuo is translated in the NAS as: correcting(1),
discipline(2), disciplined(2), disciplines(1), educated(2),
instructing(1),punish(2), punished(1), taught(1).
explains Who and why believers are disciplined
1Corinthians 11:32 But when we
are judged, we are disciplined by the Lord in order that we may
not be condemned (have sentence pronounced) along with the world.
Nelson's New Illustrated
Bible Dictionary has an interesting statement on discipline noting that
the biblical concept of discipline has both a positive side
(instruction, knowledge, and training) and a negative aspect
(correction, punishment, and reproof). Those who refuse to submit to
God’s positive discipline by obeying His laws will experience God’s
negative discipline through His wrath and judgment. (Youngblood,
R. F., Bruce, F. F., Harrison, R. K., & Thomas Nelson Publishers.
Nelson's New Illustrated Bible Dictionary)
As discussed below
paideuo can also be viewed as "parental" or "family"
discipline as in the following passages (He 12:5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11-see notes
9; 10; 11,
As Hiebert says
the assertions of some learned modern psychologists, the timely use of
some physical persuasion on the posterior end is truly beneficial for
the development of the child" and I would add for "the child of
Hiebert goes on to add that God's
"grace takes the believer
into its school and carries on the process of training us. Knowledge of
things spiritual is given, but when that is not enough then rebuke,
conviction, and chastening are administered. The final aim is not creed
but character. Accordingly we are told "Whom the Lord loveth He
chasteneth, and scourgeth every son whom He receiveth" (He 12:6-note).
The present tense indicates that this is a continuing process. No one
ever graduates from the school of God's grace in this life." ("Titus
and Philemon" p58, Moody, 1957) Amen to that.
The English word "discipline",
which is used to translate paideuo, is defined by Webster
as training that corrects or molds mental faculties and moral character. Discipline is derived from a Latin word meaning “instruction” or
Discipline describes the process of learning which
molds one's character and enforces correct behavior. To
discipline someone means to put them in a state of good order so
that they function in the way they were intended to function.
Discipline, in spite of a popular misconception, is not inherently
stern or harsh.
The English word "chastise"
is sometimes used to translate paideuo and conveys a
somewhat "harsher" degree of discipline.
Webster defines "chastise"
as the infliction of either corporal punishment (as by whipping) or
Havner speaking of the value of discipline quipped that...
You cannot sharpen an axe on a cake
John Trapp bluntly put it...
Better be pruned to grow than cut up
Pilate, since he had declared our Lord guiltless of the
charge brought against Him, and hence could not punish Him, weakly
offered, as a concession to the Jews, to "therefore punish (KJV = "chastise" = paideuo) Him and release Him" (Lk 23:16,
cf Lk 23:22) in context picturing punishment with blows and/or
Chasten is a broader term than
"chastise" and means the discipline or training to which one is
subjected, without, as in the other term, referring to the means
employed to this end. Chasten is from Latin castus meaning
pure or chaste and to chasten then is properly "to purify".
In Paul's use of paideuo in first Timothy, although translated "taught",
he clearly intends a harsher degree of discipline declaring
Hymenaeus and Alexander...I have delivered over to Satan,
so that they may be taught (paideuo) not to
blaspheme. (1Ti 1:20)
However one interprets this passage, it is clear that Paul is not
referring to the impartation of knowledge per se but is speaking more of
"teaching" by punishment or chastisement. And as Lea has well
said "Education in Christian behavior is seldom a painless process since
it involves the correction of human behavior which by nature stands in
opposition to God."
discussed above originally meant to bring up a child, educating
and instructing them and was used of activity directed
toward the moral and spiritual nurture and training of the child, the
to influence the child's will and behavior.
Plato wrote (in "Laws", 659)
Education (paideia noun form of
is the constraining and directing of youth toward that right reason
which the law affirms, and which the experience of the best of our
elders has agreed to be truly right.
uses in Acts emphasize the educational component of
(who) was educated (paideuo) in all the learning
of the Egyptians ("the school of men") and he was a man of
power in words and deeds. (Acts 7:22)
Paul describes himself as
a Jew, born in Tarsus of Cilicia, but
brought up in this city, educated (paideuo)
under Gamaliel ("the school of men"), strictly according to the law of our fathers, being
zealous for God, just as you all are today. (Acts 22:3)
gives instruction to all who would seek to be the Lord's bond-servant
= a necessity) not be quarrelsome, but be kind to all, able
to teach, patient when wronged, 25 with gentleness correcting those who
are in opposition, if perhaps God may grant them repentance leading to
the knowledge of the truth, with gentleness correcting (paideuo -
those who are in opposition, if perhaps God may grant them repentance
leading to the knowledge of the truth (see notes
2 Ti 2:24;
the objects of this instruction are those who teach false doctrine and
live ungodly lives, this particular instruction is in the form of
correction so that they may repent and learn the truth.
HAVE YOU ENTERED
GOD'S SCHOOL OF GRACE?
Lehman Strauss writes that...
When the believing sinner accepts the
work of divine grace which sent Christ to Calvary for his redemption, he
matriculates (enrolls as a member) in the school of grace. Grace becomes
his teacher to train, educate, and instruct him.
The end of the training
course is the second appearing of Christ, and with that great event ever
before him, he allows grace to correct and chasten him.
But keep in mind
that the instruction is for believers only. While grace is bringing
salvation to “all men,” it is obvious that all do not want salvation on
God’s terms. They who refuse to enter the school of grace cannot receive
its instruction. Grace teaches “us,” that is, the Christian believers.
With the second appearing of Christ before us (Titus 2:13), we readily submit to the
disciplinary process of grace. The first lesson grace teaches us is a
negative one. The Christian must deny or denounce ungodliness. “Ungodliness”
asebeia) is just the opposite of “godliness” (Gr. eusebeia) (Titus
1:1). The first act of saving grace is to rid the believer of impiety or
irreverence toward God. Ungodliness, which is irreverence toward God, is
usually the root of all other sins. I am amazed at the irreligious
contempt for God in our day.
We can be certain that the person who has
not denied ungodliness does not know the grace of God. He is not living
with Christ’s return in view.
Believers must deny “worldly lusts,” those desires having the
character of this present age however refined they may appear. The
school of grace teaches us to “love not
the world, neither the things
that are in the world”
“Be not conformed
to this world” (Ro 12:2-note),
because the “friendship of the world is enmity with God” (Jas
4:4-note). The Christian who is looking for that “blessed hope,” which
is the appearing of Jesus Christ, will not be lusting after the
pleasures and treasures of the world. It was Zacharias who said that
God redeemed us that we “might serve him without fear, in holiness
and righteousness before him, all the days of our life” (Luke
The blessed hope is indeed a sanctifying hope.
The teaching of grace, in view of the coming again of Christ, is not all
negative. On the positive side we are exhorted to “live soberly,”
that is in a sober-minded or sound-minded manner. Here is an exhortation
enjoined upon all Christians. “Aged men be sober…aged women
likewise…teach the young women to be sober…young men likewise exhort to
be sober minded” (Titus 2:2–6). The Christian’s mind is set in
proper balance who looks expectantly for Christ’s return.
look for the coming again of the Lord Jesus is an effective
counteraction for an unbalanced mind.
We should live “righteously.” Righteous living is right living
before my fellowman. Then we are to live “godly.” Godly living is
a right condition before God. Twice in the New Testament the words
“holiness and righteousness” appear together (Luke 1:75; Eph 4:24),
expressing the ideas of character before God and conduct before men. The
hope of the coming again of Jesus Christ to claim His church provides
incentive and stimulus for right living. It is a sanctifying hope.
Jesus Christ came the first time in order that He might get us ready for
His second coming. (Our
Only Hope BSac 120:478 - Apr 1963) (22
journals - 500 yrs of articles searchable by topic or verse! Incredible
- God's discipline of His children
brings them up and handles them as one would a child who is growing to
maturity and who is in continual need of direction, teaching,
instruction and a certain measure of compulsion in the form of even
chastisement or chastening. God deals with saints as sons and daughters
because He loves us too dearly to allow us to go on in sin. Like
wandering sheep we soon feel the shepherd’s crook on our necks pulling
us back into the fold and unto Himself. (2Cor 6:9; cf. Pr 3:12).
The writer of Hebrews
discusses God's familial, filial discipline at some length reminding all
sons and daughters who are experiencing His discipline to receive it and
not (to) regard lightly the
(paideia - the related noun) of the Lord, nor faint when you are
reproved by Him,
for those whom the Lord loves, He (continuously as they need it)
(paideuo) and He scourges every
son whom He receives" adding that
"it is for
discipline (paideia) that you
endure; God deals with you as with sons; for what son is there whom his
father does not
But if you are without
(paideia) of which all have become partakers, then you are illegitimate
children and not sons.
Furthermore, we had earthly fathers to
(paideutes - noun form) us and we respected them; shall we not much
rather be subject to the Father of spirits, and live?
disciplined (paideuo) us for a
short time as seemed best to them, but He
us for our good, that we may share His holiness.
for the moment seems not to be joyful, but sorrowful; yet to those who
have been trained by it, afterwards it yields the peaceful fruit of
righteousness. (see notes
The exhortation is not
to reject discipline or be dejected by it, but to accept it and be
instructed by it. Whatever discipline we are experiencing, we can be
sure that His chastening hand is controlled by His loving heart.
In the context of
participating in the Lord's supper (communion), Paul warns that against
partaking without self-examination, the consequences of which can
include sickness and even death. Paul writes that
when we are
judged, we are disciplined (KJV, "chastened") by the Lord in
order that we may not be condemned along with the world. (1Cor 11:32)
chastens His own children to drive them back to righteous behavior and
sends death to some in the church to encourage those who remain to
repent and choose holiness rather than sin. In so doing God is not doing
so as would a judge condemning a criminal, but as a loving Father
punishing His disobedient children. Chastening proves His love for us,
and chastening can, if we cooperate, perfect His life in us.
Septuagint (LXX) uses paideuo 62
times. For example, the psalmist extols the benefit of divine discipline
Blessed is the man whom Thou dost chasten (Lxx
= paideuo), O LORD and dost teach out of Thy law. (Ps 94:12)
Spurgeon comments that
Though he may not feel blessed while smarting under the rod of
chastisement, yet blessed he is; he is precious in God’s sight, or the
Lord would not take the trouble to correct him. The psalmist calls the
chastened one a man in the best sense, using the Hebrew word which
implies strength. He is a man, indeed, who is under the teaching and
training of the Lord.
enables the afflicted psalmist to see his troubles as part of God’s
discipline and education for him. It is a great thing to be thus taught
by the Lord. In another psalm, David prays
O Lord, rebuke me not in Thy wrath and
chasten (Lxx = paideuo) me not in Thy burning anger. (Ps
Spurgeon paraphrases it this way
Turn not the rod into a sword; smite not so as to kill. True, my sins
might well inflame Thee, but let Thy mercy and longsuffering quench the
glowing coals of Thy wrath. Let me not be treated as an enemy or dealt
with as a rebel. Bring to remembrance Thy covenant, Thy fatherhood, and
my feebleness, and spare Thy servant.
although this last example uses the related noun paideia, the
truth conveyed is the same, Solomon writing that
discipline are the way of life (NIV has "the corrections of
discipline are the way of life") (Pr 6:23, 20, 21, 22)
When the believing sinner
Christ by faith and is born again, he then enters into God's
"classroom of grace", grace now becoming his teacher to train, educate, and
instruct him. In other words, the "Grace
of God" is personified as our
pedagogue or schoolmaster (Gk paidagogos [from pais =
child + agogos = leader] an instructor of teacher of children, a slave who escorted children to school).
Vine says that paideuo refers to
a training gracious and firm. Grace, which brings salvation, employs
means to give us full possession of it.
Accordingly the thought here, as indicated in what follows, is that of
training believers by way of discipline as well as instruction, so as to
subdue our carnal inclinations and guide us in our new manner of life in
Christ and under grace.
present tense indicating that "the grace of God" is continually
assisting the believer in the development of their ability to make
appropriate choices against ungodliness and for godliness.
What Paul is saying is that
grace of God not only saves us ("saving grace") but operates in the lives of those who are saved,
exerting its dynamic effect ("sanctifying grace") in every aspect of the "child rearing" process --
training, teaching, encouraging, correcting and disciplining us for our
good and God's glory. The grace of God is o assist in the
development of a person’s ability to make appropriate choices, practice
The great Master-builder squares and polishes with many strokes of the
chisel and hammer the stones which shall find a place at last in the
walls of the heavenly Jerusalem.... It is the crushed grape, and not the
untouched, from which the costly liquor distils.
Wiersbe adds that
Those who use God’s grace as an excuse for sin
have never experienced its saving power (Ro 6:1-note;
Jude 1:4). The same grace that redeems
us also renews us so that we want to obey His Word (see note
Titus 2:14) (Wiersbe,
W: With the Word: Chapter-by-Chapter Bible Handbook. Nelson
There is no surer way of allowing a child to end in ruin than to allow
him to do as he likes. The child who gets his own way brings shame to
his mother and is ultimately condemned along with the world. [Pr 6:23 Ps
see Spurgeon's comment) Grace does not include
(as one well known theologian has written)
"the Christian's liberty to do precisely as he chooses." Clearly, grace does not grant permission to live in the
flesh for that would "turn the grace of our God into licentiousness"
(Jude 1:4) but supplies power to live
controlled by the Spirit (Ro 8:12, 13-notes
Grace is not license to do as we please, but the power to do as we should! Grace is God's enabling me to
overcome sin ("sanctifying grace"). I cannot overcome it...it will overcome me if I try. All
attempts to defeat the flesh in my own power will fail. It is not by
"trying in self" but by "dying to self" that we enter into victory over
sin. I can't. God never said I could. But He can and He always said He
would. As those who have experienced a new birth, we now need to be
continually instructed by grace in the way we should walk so that we do
not dishonor the "family name" ("sons of God"). As
Vance Havner said...
We can never be blessed until we
learn that we can bring nothing to Christ but our need.
needed for every service, mercy for every failure and peace for every
Thomas Brooks put it well when
The more grace thrives in the soul,
the more sin dies in the soul....
A man may find out many ways to hide
his sin, but he will never find out any way to subdue his sin, but by
the exercise of grace.
Patrick Fairbairn writes that...
Herein lies the difference between the law
and the gospel. The former shows itself in a denial of ungodliness and
worldly lust—in an avoiding of those things which tend to dishonor God,
and pamper worldly desires and appetites. The latter, in an active
following after good—a necessary counterpart and complement to a
renunciation of evil. ‘Soberly’ expresses the self-command and restraint
which the Christian should always exercise over his thoughts and
actions. ‘Righteously’ describes the integrity that should regulate all
his dealings towards his fellow men. ‘Godly’ indicates the state of mind
and conduct he should maintain in his relation toward God.
about sensibly, godly and righteously noting that...
In the original these adverbs stand
emphatically before the verb. They look in three directions, though
sharp distinctions need not be pressed:
"self-controlled" ("soberly"), already stipulated for different groups
(Titus 1:8; 2:2, 5) and now demanded of every believer;
(2) outward, "upright"
("righteously"), faithfully fulfilling all the demands of truth and
justice in our relations with others;
(3) upward, "godly"
("reverently"), fully devoted to God in reverence and loving obedience.
Scofield observes that Titus 2:11-14
for their perfect balance of doctrine with living. Beginning with the
incarnation ("the grace of God...has appeared"),
they relate this doctrine to a life that denies evil and practices good
here and now (Titus 2:12); that sees in the return of Christ the incentive for
godly conduct (the blessed hope" Titus 2:13-note), which works itself out in the form of personal holiness and good works,
the purpose of the atonement (Titus
2:14). The passage is one of the most concise summations in
the entire New Testament of the relation of Gospel truth to life.
Instructing us - The previous
passage ended with the grace of God appearing to all men, but now Paul
ratchets it down to "us", which would include himself and
indicates he is
speaking specifically to believers.
Spurgeon comments on this in his sermon observing that...
Grace has its discipline,
and grace has its chosen disciples, for you cannot help
noticing that while the eleventh verse says that, “the grace of God
that brings salvation has appeared to all men,” yet it is clear
that this grace of God has not exercised its holy discipline upon all
men, and therefore the text changes its “all men“ into “us.”
Usually in Scripture when you get a generality you soon find a
particularity near it. The text hath it, “instructing us to deny
ungodliness and worldly desires and live soberly, righteously, and godly
in this present age.”
Thus you see that grace has its own
disciples. Are you a
disciple of the grace of God? Did you ever come and submit yourself to
it? Have you learned to spell that word “faith?” Have you childlike
trust in Jesus? Have you learned to wash in the laver of atonement? Have
you learned those holy exercises which are taught by the grace of God?
Can you say that your salvation is of grace? Do you know the meaning of
that text, “By grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of
yourselves: it is the gift of God?”
If so, then you are His disciples,
and the grace of God which has appeared so conspicuously has come to
discipline you. As the disciples of grace, endeavor to adorn its
doctrine. According to the previous verses (see note
even a slave might do this. He might be an ornament to the grace of God.
Let grace have such an effect upon your life and character that all may
See what grace can do! See how the
grace of God produces holiness in believers!
All along I wish to be driving at
the point which the apostle is aiming at: that we are to be holy — holy
because grace exercises a purifying discipline, and because we are the
disciples of that grace. (From Spurgeon's sermon
Two Appearings & the Discipline of Grace)
hina arnesamenoi (AMPMPN) ten asebeian:
Lk 9:23, Ro 6:12,13, 14, 8:13, 13:12,13, 14 2Cor 7:1, Gal 5:16, Gal
5:24, Eph 4:22, 23, 24, 25, Col 3:5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 1Th 4:7, Heb 11:24, 25,
26, 27f, 1Pet 2:11, 12, 2Pe 1:4, 1Jn 2:15, 16, 17) (Isa 55:6, 55:7; Ezek
18:30;18:31, 33:14; 33:15 Mt 3:8, 3:9, 3:10; 16:24; Lk 1:75; Ro 6:4,
6:5, 6:6; 6:12, 6:19, 8:13; 13:12, 13:13 ;1Cor 6:9, 10, 11; 2Cor 7:1;
Gal 5:24; Eph 1:4; 4:22, 23, 24, 25; Col 1:22; Col 3:5, 3:6, 3:7, 3:8,
3:9; 1Th 4:7; Jas 4:8, 4:9, 4:10; 1Pe 2:11, 12; 4:2 4:3 4:4 4:5; 2Pe
1:4; 2:20, 2:21, 2:22; 1Jn 2:15, 2:16, 2:17; Jude 1:18) (ungodliness Ro
1:18, 2Ti 2:16, Jude 1:18)
(contrast "godliness" Titus 1:1-note)
Remembering that instructing
also has the inherent meaning of disciplining recall Solomon's
Proverb which says...
The refining pot is for silver and
the furnace for gold, but the LORD tests (bachan - focuses attention on
an examination to prove the existence of some spiritual quality, such as
integrity; Lxx =
dokimazo) hearts. (Proverbs 17:3)
God's tests of the character of His children are always constructive not
destructive in their intent. Remember that gold is most valuable when it
has been intensely heated in the furnace in order to remove all dross
(the scum on top, the impurities, that which is worthless) leaving one
with pure gold (cp Job 23:10). How beautiful does the glory of the
purified gold shine forth giving the metal its great valuable, a value
made possible only by it having endured the refiner's fiery furnace.
There is no other known method for removing the dross than by the
furnace. In the same way, God's "furnace of discipline (instruction)"
removes the dross from the believer’s heart in a way that no other
process can accomplish. And although He need not use any one, He chooses
to use tested men and women, those prepared personally by Himself as the
(hina) is a conjunction which expresses the purpose
of the child rearing of believers -- "to deny ungodliness..."
Paul is calling for a conscious choice of denial to be made as a first
step in the new life of grace. There must be a conscious, willful
repudiation of thoughts, words, and actions that are opposed to true
Van Oosterzee rightly said
The true learning of heaven must
begin with the unlearning and laying off of all which stands in the way
of the development of the new man.
A W Pink says...
Alas, many who are glad to hear
of the grace which brings salvation, become restless when the preacher
presses the truth that God's grace teaches us to DENY. That is a very
unpalatable word in this age of self-pleasing and self-indulgence; but
turn to Mt 16:24, "Then said Jesus unto His disciples, If any man will
come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow
Me." And again, "Whoever does not bear his cross, and come after Me,
cannot be My disciple" (Lk 14:27)—that is the unceasing demand of
Christ, and nothing but Divine grace working within—can enable any one
to meet it.
Grace teaches NEGATIVELY—it teaches us to renounce evil...Grace teaches
a Christian to mortify his members which are upon the earth, "to deny
ungodliness and worldly lusts." Grace teaches the believer to resist
these evils—by preventing the flesh from ruling over him, and that, by
refusing to allow sin to dominate his heart.
Preparing for Glory)
The IVP NT Commentary has an
interesting comment on deny writing:
Part of the
earliest gospel message was the call to repent (Mark
1:15). It meant “to change the mind,” to leave behind an old
way, a godless way, and turn to follow God. Paul’s material here uses a
different word, deny. But the thrust is the same. The
original language of this verse makes it clear that pursuit of the new
life below is actually contingent upon this denial. As the NIV
interprets it, say “No,” this denial is to be final and almost
Spurgeon observes that...
The discipline of grace, according to
the apostle, has three results — denying, living,
looking. You see the three words before you. The first is
When a young man comes to college he
usually has much to unlearn. If his education has been neglected, a sort
of instinctive ignorance covers his mind with briars and brambles. If he
has gone to some faulty school where the teaching is flimsy, his tutor
has first of all to fetch out of him what he has been badly taught.
The most difficult part of the
training of young men is not to put the right thing into them, but to
get the wrong thing out of them.
A man proposes to teach a language in
six months, and in the end a great thing is done if one of his pupils is
able to forget all his nonsense in six years.
When the Holy Spirit comes into the
heart, he finds that we know so much already of what it were well to
leave unknown; we are self-conceited, we are puffed up. We have learned
lessons of worldly wisdom and carnal policy, and these we need to
unlearn and deny. The Holy Spirit works this denying in us by the
discipline of grace. (From Spurgeon's sermon
Two Appearings & the Discipline of Grace)
= negation + rheo = say) literally
means "to say no", to say
one does not know about or is in any way related to some
person or some thing. Webster says that to deny implies a
firm refusal to accept as true, to grant or concede or to acknowledge
the existence or claims of.
Arneomai is used 33 uses in
the NT (Matt. 10:33; 26:70, 72; Mk. 14:68, 70; Lk. 8:45; 9:23; 12:9;
22:57; Jn. 1:20; 13:38; 18:25, 27; Acts 3:13, 14; 4:16; 7:35; 1Ti 5:8;
2Ti 2:12f; 3:5; Titus 1:16; 2:12; Heb. 11:24; 2Pe 2:1; 1Jn. 2:22f; Jude
1:4; Rev. 2:13; 3:8)
and is translated: denied(9), denies(4), deny(13), denying(3),
disowned(3), refused(1). It is used once in the
Genesis 18:15 Sarah denied it
however, saying, "I did not laugh"; for she was afraid. And He said,
"No, but you did laugh."
means to refuse to consent to something or reject something
offered. For example
By faith Moses, when he had grown up,
refused to be called the son of Pharaoh’s daughter (see note
Moses learned that it is not the possession of things,
but the refusing and forsaking of them that brings rest, resting
ultimately by faith in the promises of God. The decisions we make today
(including those things we "deny") will determine the rewards of
tomorrow. Our instructor grace will empower us to deny the
temporal for the eternal.
Arneomai means to state that something
is not true. E.g., the Jewish council seeking to punish Peter and
"What shall we do with these men? For the fact that a
noteworthy miracle has taken place through them is apparent to all who
live in Jerusalem and we cannot deny it." (Acts
means to disclaim association with a person or event
(repudiate, disown, verbally or non-verbally). E.g., John asks the
"Who is the liar but the one who denies that
Jesus is the Christ? This is the antichrist, the one who denies (present tense = continual, habitual denial, not just a momentary
lapse) the Father and the Son." (1Jn 2:22)
Jude warns that
"certain persons have crept in unnoticed
(secretly, stealthily, subtly insinuating themselves), those who were
long beforehand marked out for this condemnation, ungodly (corrupt
in doctrine, depraved in conduct) persons who turn the grace of our
God into licentiousness (unrestrained vice, gross immorality) and
deny our only Master and Lord, Jesus Christ." (Jude
Similarly Paul earlier had earlier describe some in Crete
"(continually) profess to know God, but by their deeds they
deny (present tense = the habit of their life, continually
disown and renounce) Him (by their actions), being detestable (loathsome, root word means to "stink"!) and disobedient, and
worthless (unable to do anything that pleases God) for any good
deed." (see note
C S Lewis was correct when he said that
"Of all bad
men religious bad men are the worse."
Arneomai means to say "no" to
oneself in order to live wholly for Christ. Luke records Jesus'
If anyone wishes to come after Me, let him deny
himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow Me. (Lk 9:23)
John MacArthur remarks that
to deny carries the idea of a
conscious, purposeful action of the will. It means to say "no". It is to
confess and consciously turn away from that which is sinful and
destructive and to move toward that which is good and godly. It includes
the commitment a believer makes when he first acknowledges his sin and
receives Christ as Savior and Lord as well as the countless other
decisions he makes to deny and forsake the ungodliness and worldly
desires that continue to find their way back into his life. (MacArthur.
Titus: Moody Press)
aorist tense of deny (arneomai) calls for a
definite, effective refusal, renunciation and turning away from whatever
is ungodly, corrupting and destructive. By saying "Yes" to
Jesus in salvation, we are
now empowered (and obligated - see Ro 8:12, 13-notes
to say "No" to the powerful, pervasive ungodly and worldly
desires that continue to
mind. Before salvation, when we were in Adam and the power of sin ruled
over us, this denial was an
IM-possibility but now that we are in Christ it is a
The same grace that saved us now trains us in God's school of holiness.
As MacDonald puts it
there are “No-No’s” in that school which we must learn to renounce. (MacDonald,
W & Farstad, A. Believer's Bible Commentary: Thomas Nelson)
middle voice which is reflexive
(Webster defines "reflexive" as of, relating to, or constituting
an action [as in “he perjured himself”] directed back on the
agent or the grammatical subject) and indicates that we
ourselves initiate the action of denying and then experience participating in results of
GRACE DOES NOT
LEAD TO LICENTIOUSNESS!
also worth noting that this section of Titus directly counters the false
assumption that too much emphasis on grace begets a licentious
lifestyle. To the contrary, Paul refutes this misconception, stating
that far from promoting licentiousness, grace actually teaches the saint
to deny ungodliness and worldly lusts! Grace is "free" but it's not
"cheap". When one truly understands God's grace, he is faced
with the truth that grace calls for ("instructs") certain ethical
Salvation is not only being set from the penalty of sin (past
tense salvation or justification) but being set free from the slavery of sin
tense salvation or sanctification). It is not just a change in
position from "in Adam" to "in Christ", from in the kingdom of darkness and
dominion of Satan to the kingdom of light ruled by the Lord Jesus (as
good as those truths are), but practically speaking, the salvation that
grace brings also includes a
change in attitude, appetite, ambition, and action. The same "grace of
God" that redeemed us, now daily reforms us and conforms us
more and more into "the image of His Son". (Ro 8:29-note)
What does this
act of denial of ungodliness and worldly desires look like? There
are multiple passages that describe our new power over sin, the world
and the devil and the responsibility we now have
to walk in a manner worthy (holy walking that "balances"
our high calling) of the calling with which we have been called" (see
a few passages with brief comments:
Romans 6: Paul explains to the
Roman saints that in light of their death to the power of the sin
nature, now they are charged to
not let sin
reign (as a king - the sinful nature is a dethroned monarch) in your mortal body so that you obey its lusts
(implying that temptations will continue to come in the form of strong
desires, but that now believers don't have to yield, instead putting
into practice the power made possible by Christ's triumph over sin at
Calvary), and do not go
on presenting the members of your body to sin as instruments of
unrighteousness (which parallels negative instruction of grace to deny ungodliness, etc) but present yourselves to God as those alive from the
dead, and your members as instruments of righteousness to God (which
parallels the positive instruction of grace to live sensibly, etc). For sin
shall not be master over you (implying that sin can still exercise
control in our bodies, but it does not have to reign there - we all
occasionally let sin take over but that's not to be our habitual
practice), for you are not under law, but under
grace. (see notes
As Denney puts it
It is not restraint but inspiration
that liberates from sin; not Mount Sinai but Mount Calvary which makes
Romans 8: Paul explains how to deny ungodliness writing to the Romans saints that
under obligation, not to the flesh, to live according to the flesh--for if you are living
(habitually) according to the flesh, you must die but if by
the Spirit you are (habitually) putting to death the deeds of the body, you will
(really and genuinely) live. (see notes
Phillips paraphrases it -
Cut the nerve of your instinctive
actions by obeying the Spirit
Wiersbe notes that...
It is not enough for us to have the
Spirit; the Spirit must have us! Only then can He share with us the
abundant, victorious life that can be ours in Christ. (Wiersbe,
W: Bible Exposition Commentary. 1989. Victor)
MacArthur adds that
the Spirit provides us with the
energy and power to continually and gradually be killing our sins, a
process never completed in this life. The means the Spirit uses to
accomplish this process is our faithful obedience to the simple commands
of Scripture. (MacArthur,
J.: The MacArthur Study Bible Nashville: Word Pub)
Looked at from another
viewpoint Paul is saying that life lived under the tutelage of "the
Spirit of Grace" will demonstrate itself in the way one conducts
himself or herself in daily life.
How are you doing?
(spiritual darkness, man's depravity, Satan's dominion) is almost gone (hastening to a close, time is short compared to eternity),
and the day (dawning of Messiah's return and reign) is at hand.
(Motivated by the imminence of Christ's return) Let us therefore lay aside
(fling off like filthy clothes, confess, repent, forsake, renounce, deny
~ the "negative" aspect of the process of daily sanctification) the deeds (sins) of darkness (everything evil and opposed to God) and put on ("positive" side of daily sanctification) the armor (or
weapons both apropos terms for saints on earth are still at war with sin
and Satan) of light (protection provided by practical
righteousness and a holy life). Let us behave properly (live
decently, a lifestyle pleasing to God) as in the (open light of) day (parallels "live sensibly, etc"),
not in carousing (wild parties, sexual orgies, brawls, riots) and drunkenness, not in sexual promiscuity and
sensuality, not in strife and jealousy (parallels deny "ungodliness,
etc"). But put on the Lord Jesus
Christ (feed your inner man His Word), and make no provision for the flesh
(demands a deliberate denial and turning away from desires to indulge
the flesh) in regard to its lusts. (see notes
2 Corinthians 7:1
Therefore, having these promises
2Cor 6:17,18), beloved, let us cleanse ourselves (parallels "deny ungodliness") from all defilement of flesh and spirit, perfecting (as our habitual practice = a process,
daily sanctification) holiness (parallels "live sensibly") in the fear of God.
1 Peter 2:11
Beloved, I urge you as aliens and
strangers to abstain (continually) from fleshly lusts, which wage war
(continually strategize) against the soul. (note)
Fleshly lusts are personified as if
they were an army of rebels or guerrillas who incessantly search out and
try to destroy the Christian’s joy, peace and usefulness. (MacArthur,
J.: The MacArthur Study Bible Nashville: Word Pub)
Instructed by the grace of God, deny
these "rebels" entry into the fortress of your mind, remembering that
they gain entry especially through the "eye gate."
God through His prophet Isaiah had a
similar "negative/positive" charge to Israel (although it was in
the context of national/personal unfaithfulness) saying
yourselves, make yourselves clean. Remove the evil of your deeds from My
sight. Cease to do evil. Learn to do good. Seek justice. Reprove
the ruthless. Defend the orphan. Plead for the widow." (Isaiah 1:16, 17)
(Comment: "The true learning of heaven must begin with the unlearning and
laying off of all which stands in the way of the development of the new
says that grace instructs saints to make a conscious, willful
repudiation of thoughts, words, and actions that are opposed to true
What have we to deny? First, we have
to deny ungodliness. That is a lesson which many of you have
great need to learn.
Listen to working-men. “Oh,” they
say, “we have to work hard, we cannot think about God or religion.”
This is ungodliness! The grace of God teaches us to deny this; we come
to loathe such atheism.
Others are prospering in the world,
and they cry, “If you had as much business to look after as I have, you
would have no time to think about your soul or another world. Trying to
battle with the competition of the times leaves me no opportunity for
prayer or Bible-reading; I have enough to do with my day-book and
ledger.” This also is ungodliness!
The grace of God leads us to deny
this; we abhor such forgetfulness of God. A great work of the Holy
Spirit is to make a man godly, to make him think of God, to make him
feel that this present life is not all, but that there is a judgment to
come, wherein he must give an account before God. God cannot be
forgotten with impunity. If we treat Him as if He were nothing, and
leave Him out of our calculations for life, we shall make a fatal
O my hearer, there is a God, and as
surely as you live, you are accountable to Him.
When the Spirit of God comes with
the grace of the gospel, He removes our inveterate ungodliness, and
causes us to deny it with joyful earnestness. (From Spurgeon's
Two Appearings & the Discipline of Grace)
obviously refers to the person who is
openly immoral or evil, but it also includes the outwardly nice person
who simply has no place for God in his life. His everyday life is
organized, motivated, and run by self, with no place for God. The person
who has tasted God’s grace will say no to such godless living. (Cole)
A W Pink says that...
Ungodliness is failing to
give God His due place in our hearts and lives. It is disregarding His
precepts and commands. It is having preference for the creature, loving
pleasure more than holiness; being unconcerned whether my conduct
pleases or displeases the Lord. There are many forms of ungodliness
besides that of open infidelity and the grosser crimes of wickedness.
We are guilty of ungodliness when we are prayerless. We are
guilty of ungodliness when we look to and lean upon the creature;
or when we fail to see God's hand in providence—ascribing our blessings
to "luck" or "chance." We are guilty of ungodliness when we
grumble at the weather.
Preparing for Glory)
(763) (asebeia from a = w/o + sébomai
= worship, venerate) means
want or lack of reverence or piety toward God (which speaks of one's
heart attitude) speaks of a want of reverence and as used in the NT
describes those living without regard for God. They conduct themselves in
such a way as to effectively deny God's existence and right as Supreme
Ruler and Authority.
BDAG adds that in general
is understood vertically as a lack of
reverence for deity and hallowed institutions as displayed in
sacrilegious words and deeds: impiety; its corollary adikia refers
horizontally to violation of human rights (Arndt,
W., Danker, F. W., & Bauer, W. A Greek-English Lexicon of the New
Testament and Other Early Christian Literature)
Asebeia is used 6 times in the
Romans 1:18 (note)
For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness
and unrighteousness of men, who suppress the truth in unrighteousness,
Romans 11:26 (note)
and thus all Israel will be saved; just as it is written, "The Deliverer
will come from Zion, He will remove ungodliness from Jacob."
2 Timothy 2:16 (note)
But avoid worldly and empty chatter, for it will lead to further
Titus 2:12 (note)
instructing us to deny ungodliness and worldly desires and to
live sensibly, righteously and godly in the present age,
Jude 1:15 to execute judgment
upon all, and to convict all the ungodly of all their ungodly deeds
which they have done in an ungodly way, and of all the harsh things
which ungodly sinners have spoken against Him."
Jude 1:18 that they were
saying to you, "In the last time there shall be mockers, following after
their own ungodly lusts."
Asebeia is found some 73 times
(Deut. 9:4f; 18:22; 19:16; 25:2; 1 Sam. 24:11; Job 35:8; 36:18; Ps.
5:10; 32:5; 65:3; 73:6; Prov. 1:19, 31; 4:17; 11:5; 28:3f, 13; 29:25;
Eccl. 8:8; Isa. 59:20; Jer. 5:6; 6:7; Lam. 1:5; Ezek. 12:19; 14:6;
16:43, 58; 18:28, 30f; 21:24; 22:11; 23:27, 29, 35, 48f; 33:9; Hos.
10:13; 11:12; Amos 1:3, 6, 9, 11, 13; 2:1, 4, 6; 3:14; 5:12; Obad. 1:10;
Mic. 1:5, 13; 3:8; 6:7, 12; 7:18; Hab. 1:3; 2:8, 17; Zeph. 1:9; Mal.
suggests a disregard of the existence of God, a refusal to retain Him in
knowledge and a habit of mind that leads to open rebellion. It is a general
reference to all that is "anti-God".
Robert Leighton wrote that...
The carnal mind sees God in nothing,
not even in spiritual things. The spiritual mind sees him in everything,
even in natural things.
Hiebert adds that
suggestive of the whole inner and outer life of the one who lives
without God and in opposition to His law.
Augustine concurs noting
No man says, 'There is no God' but he
whose interest it is there should be none.
The International Standard Bible
Encyclopedia adds that ungodliness
can be a state of mind in which a
person actively opposes and struggles against God or passively disobeys
and remains indifferent. Yet “ungodliness” is not only a state of mind;
it refers to one’s actions and manner of life.
Asebeia describes the
spiritual condition of those alienated from God as Paul describes in
where he explains that
the wrath of God is revealed from heaven
against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who suppress
the truth in unrighteousness"
John MacArthur commenting on this
verse writes that
"Ungodliness refers to lack of reverence
for, devotion to, and worship of the true God, a failure that inevitably
leads to some form of false worship...Unrighteousness encompasses the
idea of ungodliness but focuses on its result. Sin first attacks God’s
majesty and then His law. Men do not act righteously because they are
not rightly related to God, who is the only measure and source of
righteousness. Ungodliness unavoidably leads to unrighteousness. Because
men’s relation to God is wrong, their relation to their fellow men is
wrong. Men treat other men the way they do because they treat God the
way they do. Man’s enmity with his fellow man originates with his being
at enmity with God. (MacArthur,
J: Romans 1-8. Chicago: Moody Press)
Trench says that the idea of active
opposition to religion is involved in the adjective "ungodly"
(and the noun ungodliness) , and represents a deliberate
withholding from God of His dues of prayer and of service. Ungodliness
pictures a standing, so to speak, in battle array against God and His
claims to respect, reverence and obedience! Not regarding man's impiety
toward His Name and His character
while we were still helpless, at the
right time Christ died for the ungodly. (see note
Ungodliness is the attitude and action that describes
every sinner who has not trusted the Lord Jesus for salvation.
Ungodliness means lack of love or total
disregard for God. Believers must refuse any action that lacks
reverence for God. We live in an age when many totally
reject God’s influence in every area of their life but we as new
creations in Christ must firmly renounce
Calvin rightly declared that...
There is no stupidity more brutish
than forgetfulness of God.
Adam Clarke defines ungodliness as
All things contrary to God; whatever would lead us to doubt His being,
deny any of His essential attributes; His providence or government of
the world, and His influence on the souls of men. Everything, also,
which is opposed to His true worship; theoretical and practical atheism,
deism, and irreligion in general. (Clarke's Commentaries)
Matthew Poole says that ungodliness
living without regard to any Divine
Being, or according to our own erroneous and superstitious conceits and
opinions of him.
Anomia (literally "without law" or "lawless") is disregard
for, or defiance of, God’s laws whereas asebeia is the
same attitude towards God’s Person.
Ungodliness is usually the root of all other sins. The
irreligious contempt for God in our day is astounding. We can be certain
that the person who has not denied ungodliness does not know the grace
of God and is certainly not living in the light of Christ’s imminent return.
John MacArthur agrees adding that the
person whose life is characterized by ungodliness cannot be truly saved,
no matter how vocal and orthodox his profession of Christ may be. (MacArthur.
Titus: Moody Press)
Application Bible Commentary has an interesting note on "saying no",
we can do nothing to earn our salvation through any service we give or
even by living morally upright. However, once we have accepted God’s
salvation, His grace makes ethical demands of us both outwardly and
inwardly. Grace teaches and enables us to say no outwardly to
non-Christian activities and inwardly to non-Christian desires. Some
people talk as if they were hypnotized and helpless victims of their own
desires. But Christians are expected and enabled to just say no. (Barton,
B, et al: The NIV Life Application Commentary Series: Tyndale)
DESIRES: kai tas kosmikas epithumias:
(1Jn 2:15, 16,17, 2Ti 2:22,1Pet
2:11,1Ti 6:9, Jas 4:4, cf Gal 6:14)
A W Pink says that worldly
are those affections and appetites
which dominate and regulate the man of the world. It is the heart
craving worldly objects, pleasures, honors, riches. It is an undue
absorption with those things which serve only a temporary purpose and
use. Worldly lusts cause the things of Heaven to be crowded out
by the interests and concerns of earth. This may be done by things which
are quite lawful in themselves—but through an immoderate use they gain
possession of the heart. Worldly lusts are the lust of the
flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life (1Jn 2:16-notes).
Now Divine grace is teaching the Christian to deny ungodliness and
worldly lusts. It does this by putting upon him "the fear of the
Lord," so that he departs from evil (cp Job 1:1). It does this by
occupying the heart with a superior Object—when Christ was revealed to
the heart of the Samaritan woman—she "left her waterpot" (Jn 4:28, cp Jn
14:15, 21). It does this by supplying powerful motives and incentives to
personal holiness (cp 2Co 5:9, 10). It does this by the indwelling
Spirit resisting the flesh (Gal 5:17-note).
It does this by causing us to subordinate the interests of the body
unto the higher interests of the soul.
Preparing for Glory)
as discussed in more detail below are those sinful impulses that express
themselves through the "instruments" (Ro 6:12, 13-see notes
13) of a believer's physical body.
They are those overpowering attractions for the secular world. Worldly
desires include selfishness, pride, seeking after status and power,
greed, lust, and living for sinful pleasure rather than finding pleasure
in God above all else. Grace trains you to say no to these
things, because God and His grace are far sweeter than anything the
world can offer.
addressed these impulses in his first epistle, warning saints
imperative + a negative
particle ["not"] means to stop doing this or
do not have the habit of showing affection and devotion for) the
world (kosmos - seductive Satan steered system of values,
priorities, beliefs that excludes and actively opposes God and subtly
attracts one's affection, participation and loyalty), nor the things
in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not
in him. For all that is in the world, the lust of the
for sensual gratification proceeding from our flesh = the sin nature of
man, that rebellious self dominated by sin, in opposition to God. Satan
uses the evil world system to incite the flesh] and the lust of the
eyes [greedy longings of the mind - Satan uses the eyes as a
strategic avenue to incite wrong desires, eg Ge 3:6 Josh 7:20, 21]
and the boastful pride of life [assurance in one’s own resources or
in the stability of earthly things; arrogance over one’s circumstances,
which produces haughtiness or exaggeration, parading what one possesses
to impress others] ("the infernal trinity"), is not from the Father,
but is from the world. And the world is passing away, and also its
lusts; but the one who does the will of God abides forever. (1John
Thomas Constable has a succinct summary of John's
The lust of the flesh is the desire to do something
apart from the will of God. The lust of the eyes is the desire to
have something apart from the will of God. The pride of life is the
desire to be something apart from the will of God. The first
desire appeals mainly to the body, the second to the soul, and
the third to the spirit. Perhaps the most common manifestation of
the lust of the flesh in modern western civilization is illicit sex
(hedonism, idolizing pleasure). Perhaps the most common manifestation of
the lust of the eyes is excessive buying (materialism, idolizing
possessions). Perhaps the most common manifestation of the pride of life
is trying to control (egoism, idolizing power). (Titus
Notes) (Bolding added)
C H Spurgeon writes that...
We next deny “worldly lusts:”
that is, the lusts of the present world or age, which I described to you
just now as coming in between the two appearings. This present age is as
full of evil lusts as that in which Paul wrote concerning the Cretans.
The lust of the eye, the lust of the flesh, and the pride of life are
yet with us.
Wherever the grace of God
comes effectually, it makes the loose liver deny the desires of the
flesh; it causes the man who lusted after gold to conquer his
greediness; it brings the proud man away from his ambitions; it trains
the idler to diligence, and it sobers the wanton mind which cared only
for the frivolities of life.
Not only do we leave these lusts, but
we deny them. We have an abhorrence of those things wherein we formerly
placed our delight. Our cry is, “What have I to do any more with
To the worldling we say, “these
things may belong to you; but as for us, we cannot own them; sin shall
no more have dominion over us. We are not of the world, and therefore
its ways and fashions are none of ours.”
The period in which we live shall
have no paramount influence over us, for our truest life is with Christ
in eternity; our conversation is in heaven.
The grace of God has made us deny the
prevailing philosophies, glories, maxims, and fashions of this present
world. In the best sense we are nonconformists. We desire to be
crucified to the world and the world to us. This was a great thing for
grace to do among the degraded sensualists of Paul’s day, and it is not
a less glorious achievement in these times. (From Spurgeon's sermon
Two Appearings & the Discipline of Grace)
can pertain to the earth as a physical phenomenon. The only 2 NT
uses are here and Heb. 9:1 where we
Now even the first covenant had regulations of
divine worship and the earthly (in contrast to the heavenly) sanctuary. (see
The other connotation of kosmikos
and the manner used here in Titus, is pertaining to the the interests
that prevail upon the earth, with the implication that these are at
enmity with God. In this latter sense, kosmikos describes
those passions, desires and
sinful pleasures which have the character of "this
(Gal 1:4) a world system which "lies in the power of the evil one
(Satan)" (1Jn 5:19).
The root word
originally in classical Greek meant
order and hence order of the world or the ordered universe. One of the
meanings in the the NT is in reference to the order of things which are
alienated from God, as manifested in and by the human race. Thus
is sometime used to describe humanity as alienated from
God, and acting in opposition to Him. That is the sense conveyed by the
adjectival form "worldly" in Titus 2:12, and describe
those desires in the world which estrange a person from God.
(1939) (epithumia from verb
epithumeo = set heart upon
in turn epi = upon
+ thumos = passion) (click
detailed definition) describes a drive or passion directed
upon or toward an object and in the NT most often refers to the depraved cravings
and inner vile unrestrained desires that arise from our fallen flesh nature
inherited from Adam (Ro 5:12-note)
Worldly desires are
passions for the pleasures and
pursuits of this present passing world. These desires are motivated by an anti-God mind-set.
Adam Clarke defines worldly
desires as those
desires, affections, and appetites,
as men are governed by who have their portion in this life, and live
without God in the world." (Clarke's Commentaries)
St. Bernard in a sermon
We deny “worldly lusts” when we
withhold our consent from them, when we refuse the delight which they
suggest, and the act to which they solicit us, nay, tear them up by the
roots out of our soul and mind." [St. Bernard, Sermon 11, from A
Commentary, Critical and Explanatory).
After spending two chapters
explaining to the Colossian saints the glories of their salvation by
grace and their completeness in Christ, Paul turns to the practical
outworking of this truth charging that since they had
"been raised up
with Christ (in union with Christ, they have been spiritually
co-resurrected), (they were to) keep seeking the things above,
where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God" and were to keep
setting their "mind on the things above, not on the things that are
on earth" explaining that that these attitudes were now possible
because they had "died and (their) life (was) hidden with
Christ in God" and that now "Christ (was their very) life."
cf Gal 2:20-
In contrast to the order of
the instructions in Titus 2:12 (negative, then positive), in his charge
to the Colossians, Paul first accentuates the positive (seek heaven) and
then the negative (don't seek earthly things -- parallels "deny...
The spiritual meaning of all this is that we have
said "goodbye" to the former way of life, and have entered into a
completely new quality of life, the very life of the risen Lord Jesus
Christ, Whose life empowers us to deny worldly desires,
etc. Although we are still on earth, we need resist being tethered to
the temporary trinkets and trifles of this world by continually seeking
to cultivate an eternal, heavenly mindset. To paraphrase a wise saying: A little faith will bring
your soul to heaven, but a great faith (manifest by uncompromising
obedience) will bring heaven into your soul.
Spurgeon observes that...
Christians are not to run out of the
world, as monks and hermits sought to do, but to live “in this present
world.” Yet, while in the world, we are to be godly, that is, full of
God. That kind of life which is without God is not for Christians. Those
worldly desires, the pride and ambition, which are common to worldly
men, are not to have power over us; we are to deny them, and to live
soberly. This word relates not only to eating and drinking, but to the
general sobriety of a man’s mind: “Denying ungodliness and worldly
lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly, in this present
For believers, worldly
(epithumia) (Click discussion of epithumia) can be defined as those passions that originate in the flesh (which is
still entrenched [see Ro 6:12-note,
Ga 5:17-note], albeit crucified [cf
Gal 6:14, Col 2:11-note]
in believer's mortal bodies -- Gal 5:16-note;
Ro 6:12, 13, 14-see notes
and which refuse to submit to God. These
desires are those strong attractions
resident in even the sweetest believer's fallen nature (the
flesh) and are fed by
the corrupt, decaying world system's deceitful thinking and drive for
passing pleasure. (Ro 7:18-note)
Internet is a very good example...even the ''good'' things of the
''net'' can result in lost time (cf He 12:1-"encumbrance")
with the man of God failing to buy up every opportunity
(Col 4:5-note). We
must deny the ''good'' for the sake of God's best! Denial of self is
definition of a disciple of Christ (Mk 8:34, 35)
desires as those "things which do not pass over with us into
heaven but are dissolved together with this present world. A man is very
short-sighted if he sets all his heart and expends all his labour on
things which he must leave behind when he quits this world. But an
even simpler interpretation of worldly desires is that they are for
things we could not show to God. It is only Christ who can make not
only our outward life but also our inward heart fit for God to see."
(Bolding added. From Barclay, W: The Daily study Bible Series. The
How did Paul tell the saints in
Galatia to "deny...worldly desires"? Kenneth Wuest paraphrases
it by stating that you must be ordering
"your behavior in the sphere
of, by means of, the Spirit, and you will positively not fulfill the
desires of the flesh."
The Amplified version translates it
walk (walking pictures progress, one
step at time) and live [habitually] in the [Holy] Spirit [responsive to
and controlled and guided by the Spirit]; then you will certainly not
gratify the cravings and desires of the flesh (of human nature without
God)." (see note
In short let your Instructor and
Teacher, "the Spirit of grace" (see note
have His way. Remain in communion with Christ. Make decisions against
evil and for good in the light of His holiness
for the eyes of the LORD move to and
fro throughout the earth that He may strongly support those whose heart
is completely His (2Chr
AND TO LIVE SENSIBLY:
36:27 Ps 105:45; Mt 5:19 20; Lk 1:6;1:75, 3:9, 10, 11, 12, 13; Acts
24:16; 24:25 Ro 6:19; 1Ti 4:12; 1Pe 1:14, 1:15,1:16, 1:17, 1:18; 2Pe
1:5, 1:6, 1:7, 1:8; 3:11; 1Jn 2:6; Re 14:12)
so that we can live self-controlled,
moral, and godly lives in this present world (GWT)
That grace teaches us to live on
earth now in a wise and right way--a way that shows that we serve God
and to live self-controlled, upright
and godly lives in this present age (NIV)
We should live in this evil world
with self-control, right conduct, and devotion to God (NLT)
and to live self-controlled, upright,
and godly lives in the present age (ESV)
we must be self-restrained and live
upright and religious lives in this present world (NJB)
to live discreet (temperate,
self-controlled), upright, devout (spiritually whole) lives in this
present world (Amp)
and to live self-controlled, upright,
and godly lives in this world (TEV),
the grace of God...schools us to
renounce irreligion and worldly passions (Moffatt)
The goal of God’s curriculum in the
school of grace is living. The life of a disciple of Christ is not
just "saying no" to the "bad" but saying "yes" to the "best", and
it's all made possible
empowered by the Spirit (and not a spirit of legalism with a list of
"don'ts and do's"!) and the grace in
which we now stand. If the Christian life ended with the "don'ts"
(the denials, the "Thou shalt not's"), all it would only be a
life of avoidance. And that's not much to look forward to, so in this
section Paul seeks to spur his readers on toward the "Thou shalt's".
Spurgeon adds that...
brethren, you cannot be complete with
a merely negative religion; you must have something positive; and so the
next word is living — that “we should live soberly, righteously, and
godly, in this present world.”
Observe, brethren, that the Holy
Ghost expects us to live in this present world, and therefore we are not
to exclude ourselves from it. This age is the battle-field in which the
soldier of Christ is to fight. Society is the place in which
Christianity is to exhibit the graces of Christ. If it were possible for
these good sisters to retire into a large house, and live secluded from
the world, they would be shirking their duty rather than fulfilling it.
If all the good men and true were to form a select colony, and do
nothing else but pray and hear sermons, they would simply be refusing to
serve God in His own appointed way. No, you have to live soberly, godly,
righteously in this world, such as it is at present. It is of no use for
you to scheme to escape from it. You are bound to breast this torrent,
and buffet all its waves. If the grace of God is in you, that grace is
meant to be displayed, not in a select and secluded retreat but in this
present world. You are to shine in the darkness like a light. (Mt 5:16-note)
(From Spurgeon's sermon
Two Appearings & the Discipline of Grace)
(zao - see study of noun
zoe) means to live in such a way so as to enjoy real life
as God intended it to be enjoyed. How is this possible? Jesus has bought us from
our former slavery to self, Satan and soft things of the world (Titus
His Spirit is the Source of the grace which includes the motivation to live in holy conduct
and godliness. This new life is the perfect fulfillment of the prophecy
in Ezekiel in which God promised
"I will put My Spirit within you and
cause you to walk in My statutes (His part), and you will be
careful to observe My ordinances (our responsibility "to live
sensibly, etc")." (Ezek 36:27).
Paul gives us a NT parallel in his letter to the Philippians exhorting
imperative) (not "for" but) out (describes
sanctification, the process of continually working to bring about the
goal which is Christ-likeness - the believer's responsibility e.g., to "deny
ungodliness") your salvation with fear and trembling for it is
God (cp "the grace of God") Who is at work in you both to
will and to work for His good pleasure." (see notes
The apostle John writes that
"the one who says he abides in Him ought himself to
walk (the idea of live or behave) in
the same manner as He walked." (1Jn 2:6)
As Adam Clarke puts it believers being
taught by grace are to have
every temper, appetite, and desire,
under the government of reason, and reason itself under the government
of the Spirit of God. (Clarke's Commentaries)
Spurgeon explains that...
This life is described in a
three-fold way. You are, first, to live “soberly“ — that is,
“Soberly” in all your eating and
your drinking, and in the indulgence of all bodily appetites — that goes
without saying. Drunkards and gluttons, fornicators and adulterers,
cannot inherit the kingdom of God.
You are to live soberly in all your
thinking, all your speaking, all your acting. There is to be sobriety in
all your worldly pursuits. You are to have yourself well in hand: you
are to be self-restrained.
I know some brethren who are not
often sober. I do not accuse them of being drunk with wine; but they are
mentally intoxicated: they have no reason, no moderation, no judgment.
They are all spur, and no rein. Right or wrong, they must have that
which they have set their hearts upon. They never look round to take the
full bearing of a matter: they never estimate calmly; but with closed
eyes they rush on like bulls. Alas for these unsober people! They are
not to be depended on, they are everything by turns, and nothing long.
The man who is disciplined by the
grace of God becomes thoughtful, considerate, self-curtained; and he is
no longer tossed about by passion, or swayed by prejudice.
There is only one insobriety into
which I pray we may fall; and truth to say, that is the truest sobriety.
Of this the Scripture saith, “Be not drunk with wine, wherein is
excess; but be filled with the Spirit.” When the Spirit of God takes
full possession of us, then we are borne along by His sacred energy, and
are filled with a divine enthusiasm which needs no restraint. Under all
other influences we must guard ourselves against yielding too
completely, that thus we may live “soberly.” (From Spurgeon's sermon
Two Appearings & the Discipline of Grace)
A W Pink says that sensibly
comes first because we cannot
live righteously or godly without it—he who takes to
himself more than is due or fit, will not give men or God their portion.
Unfortunately the word "sober" is now generally restricted to the
opposite of inebriation—but the Christian is to be sober in all things.
Sobriety is the moderation
of our affections in the pursuit and use of earthly things.
We are to be temperate in
eating, sleeping, recreation, dress.
We need to be sober-minded, and not
extremists. Only Divine grace can effectually teach sobriety, and if I
am growing in grace, then I am becoming more sober. Grace does not
remove natural inclinations and affections—but it governs
them—it bridles their excess. The first thing, then, that grace
teaches us positively is self-control. "He who is slow to anger
is better than the mighty; and he who rules his spirit than he who takes
a city" (Pr 16:32).
Preparing for Glory)
(soberly) (4996) (sophronos from
sozo = save +
mind) is an adverb meaning with sound mind and thus pertains to being
prudent. We are to live with self-control, with self-restraint, rationally (belief or
action that is in accord with reason), soberly (this word stresses
seriousness of purpose and absence of levity or frivolity),
self-controlled (exercising restraint over one's own impulses, emotions
and desires, a fruit of the Spirit Ga 5:23-note), moderately and
discreetly. (Click word study of
Titus 2:12 is the only Biblical use
To live sensibly is reflected
in the self-control which only comes through the grace of God (His
Spirit) working in
us. Living in a self-controlled manner means not yielding to various
passions and impulses. It is synonymous with the last of the fruits of
the Spirit, which is self control (Gal 5:23-note). And Jerry Bridges
reminds us that...
There is a form of self-control that
says 'yes' to what we should do as well as that which says 'no' to what
we shouldn't do.
Kehl wrote that...
True spiritual self-discipline holds
believers in bounds but never in bonds; its effect is to enlarge, expand
Paul is saying in essence now that
having denied the lusts of the world, one is called on to continually
reckon himself or herself as dead to sin (see note
This Spirit enabled attitude of mind will prevent God’s child from entertaining in his
life things that sever his communion with God.
William Barclay says that living sensibly is living
with the prudence which has
everything under perfect control and which allows no passion or desire
more than its proper place. (Barclay,
W: The Daily Study Bible Series, Rev. ed. Philadelphia: The Westminster
Believers are new creatures in Christ (2Cor
5:17) and thus are called to live now with a saved "mind of Christ"
(1Cor 2:16) which is a sound mind because it takes in sound, healthy
food and is able to make sensible, disciplined and prudent decisions in
an upside down world drunk with a myriad of intoxicating delights that
appeal to the old flesh, the eyes and the pride (1Jn 2:15, 16, 17).
John Wesley says that
in the scriptural sense, is rather the whole temper of a man, than a
single virtue in him. It comprehends all that is opposite to the
drowsiness of sin, the folly of ignorance, the unholiness of disorderly
passions. Sobriety is no less than all the powers of the soul being
consistently and constantly awake, duly governed by heavenly prudence,
and entirely conformable to holy affections. (Wesley's Notes)
Think! - Immediately following
a soccer game in Athens, Greece, years ago, 21 people died and more than
50 were injured. The tragedy occurred when a wildly excited crowd
responded to the victory of their team by blindly rushing out of the
stadium. What they didn't realize was that a gate at the bottom of one
of the 20 staircases was locked. As the mob reached the gate, many
people were trampled by the shoving masses behind them. The fans were
celebrating so loudly that they couldn't hear the screams of those who
had fallen down.
This kind of mindless activity does not happen just at soccer games. In
a subtle and even more tragic way it goes on around us every day. We may
not be shouting or blindly running in a crowd, yet we go along,
oblivious to the fact that people are dying and entering eternity
without Christ. Often we become so absorbed in our own affairs that we
fail to hear the sounds of those up ahead who are nearing the end of
their lives. In a sense, our lack of love and concern is contributing to
If we've become complacent, let's think carefully about the words of
Paul in Titus 2. He called for good judgment and clear-headed living,
without which we'll never hear the cries for help above the noise of the
crowd. — Mart De Haan (Our
Daily Bread, Copyright RBC Ministries, Grand Rapids, MI. Reprinted by
permission. All rights reserved)
If we drift aimlessly through life
And live for self each day,
The lost who often cross our path
May never find the way. --DJD
A true Christian is a person who is right-side-up
in an upside-down world.
As to his fellow-men the believer
lives “righteously.” I cannot understand that Christian who can
do a dirty thing in business. Craft, cunning, over-reaching,
misrepresentation, and deceit are no instruments for the hand of godly
men. I am told that my principles are too angelic for business life, —
that a man cannot be a match for his fellowmen in trade, if he is too
Puritanic. Others are up to tricks, and he will be ruined if he cannot
trick them in return.
O my dear hearers, do not talk in
this way. If you mean to go the way of the devil, say so, and take the
consequences; but if you profess to be servants of God, deny all
partnership with unrighteousness. Dishonesty and falsehood are the
opposites of godliness.
A Christian man may be poor, but he
must live righteously: he may lack sharpness, but he must not lack
integrity. A Christian profession without uprightness is a lie. Grace
must discipline us to righteous living. (From Spurgeon's sermon
Two Appearings & the Discipline of Grace)
A W Pink says that
concerns our dealings with our fellow
men. It is giving to each his due, dealing honorably with all; injuring
none, seeking the good of all. To live "righteously" is doing unto
others—as we would have them do unto us; it is being truthful,
courteous, considerate, kind, helpful. "Do good unto all men,
especially unto those who are of the household of faith" (Gal 6:10),
must be our constant aim. This is the second half of the Law's
requirement, that we should "love our neighbor as ourselves."
Only Divine grace can effectually "teach" us this.
Nothing but Divine grace, can
counteract our innate selfishness.
Preparing for Glory)
(1346) (dikaíos from
the adjective dίkaios which means being in accordance with what God requires)
means manifesting right conduct, waking morally upright outwardly or in
a right way which is in accordance with what God requires. It's a
more general description of observable “rightness” in all aspects of
life. It is conduct that cannot be condemned.
Dikaios pertains to what is
just or right in a judicial sense as used in 1Pe 2:23-note
describing God Who judges justly. In Luke 23:41 the adverb speaks of
treatment of someone in a manner that is deserved by virtue of the way
they live. Here in Titus (as well as 1Corinthians 15:34
and 1Th 2:10-note)
dikaios pertains to the quality of one's ethical behavior which is with
integrity, agreeably to the law of rectitude, uprightly.
Dikaios is used 5 times in NT:
Luke 23:41 "And we indeed justly,
for we are receiving what we deserve for our deeds; but this man has
done nothing wrong."
1Corinthians 15:34 Become sober-minded
as you ought (better "as is right"), and stop sinning; for some
have no knowledge of God. I speak this to your shame.
1Thessalonians 2:10 (note)
You are witnesses, and so is God, how devoutly and uprightly and
blamelessly we behaved toward you believers (Comment: From this letter,
we see that Paul was not asking Titus to do something he himself had not
Titus 2:13 (note)
instructing us to deny ungodliness and worldly desires and to live
sensibly, righteously and godly in the present age,
1 Peter 2:23 (note)
and while being reviled, He did not revile in return; while suffering,
He uttered no threats, but kept entrusting Himself to Him who judges
There are 5 uses of dikaíos in the
(Gen. 27:36; Deut. 1:16; 16:20; Prov. 28:18; 31:9)
man is righteous not only in character but in conduct. This individual recognizes God has
rights upon his life and he submits himself to be God’s rightful
possession and, therefore, acquires God’s nature and performs his duty
toward God. Whatever God says about how to live is "righteous".
Righteous denotes conduct that cannot be
condemned. In simple terms, believers under the instruction of the grace
of God, should just do right (live...righteously) no
matter what others may do! Believers who honestly understand the
grace of God will not want to live in sin. They will turn from
ungodliness and worldly lusts; they will live serious, righteous, godly
lives in this present world.
Adam Clarke says that living righteously is
"rendering to every man his due, injuring no
person in his body, mind, reputation, or property; doing unto all as we
would they should do to us; and filling up the duties of the particular
stations in which it has pleased God to fix us, committing no sin,
omitting no duty." (Clarke's Commentary)
AND GODLY: kai
eusebos: (Ps 4:3; 2Cor 1:12; 2Pe 2:9) (see
Torrey's Topic "Godly
As David writes we are to
that the LORD has set apart the
godly man for Himself
Live...godly or with
genuine piety which is instructed, initiated and empowered by the grace
of God (not self effort), which seeks to please God not men.
Spurgeon explains godly as
follows observing that...
Every man who has the grace of God in
him indeed and of a truth, will think much of God, and will seek first
the kingdom of God and His righteousness. God will enter into all his
calculations, God’s presence will be his joy, God’s strength will be his
confidence, God’s providence will be his inheritance, God’s glory will
be the chief end of his being, God’s law the guide of his conversation.
Now, if the grace of God, which has appeared so plainly to all men, has
really come with its sacred discipline upon us, it is teaching us to
live in this three-fold manner. (sensibly, righteously, godly) (From
Two Appearings & the Discipline of Grace)
A W Pink says that godly...
is the attitude of our hearts towards
God, ever seeking His glory. Godliness is made up of three ingredients,
or more accurately, it issues from three springs—faith, fear, love.
Preparing for Glory)
eu = well + sebomai = reverence <> Sebomai is from root "seb"
= sacred awe) is an attitude of reverence exhibited in
one's actions. In secular Greek use eusebos described practical
piety towards one's parents. The Greek root was also commonly used in
the Greco-Roman world of Paul to describe respect for the pagan gods.
For example in one ancient text we read
"Can there be any better or
more reverent (godly) way to honor the gods than by doing what
In summary, eusebos means reverence or awe
that is well directed - living lives that are pleasing to God. It is
not talking "godly" but living "godly".
Bryan Chapell rightly remarks that...
The goal of the godly is to adorn the
gospel with credibility and evidence of its power in their lives. The
Bible calls us to even enslave ourselves to what is disadvantageous to
us so that others will be freed from the slavery of sin. If our lives
exhibit no freedom from the passions of this world, then our lives
implicitly say the gospel makes no difference. (“Intolerant”
Grace: Titus 2:11-15 - Revival and Reformation 7:3 Summer 1998) (List
of 22 journals - 500 yrs of articles searchable by topic or verse!
Incredible Online Resource!)
Hiebert has written
There is an intimate connection between truth and godliness. A vital
possession of truth is inconsistent with irreverence...Real truth
never deviates from the path of piety. A profession of the truth
which allows an individual to live in ungodliness is a spurious
The Old Testament
teaches that living godly
is intimately related to a "fear of the Lord" where fear
connotes reverential awe or living Coram Deo (before the face of
God) recognizing that all evil is a direct affront ("in His face")
to His holy character. Thus we see men like Job
fearing God and turning away from evil (Job 1:1).
effect of holy fear is a holy (godly) life.
Noah Webster's 1828
dictionary defines "godly" as
"living in obedience
to God's commands, from a principle of love to him and reverence of
his character and precepts."
To live "godly" is to
live so as to render to God the reverence and worship associated with a
holy life. It is to have reverence for God and a life of holiness in the
world. To live godly is to live with a reverent awareness
of God’s sovereignty over every aspect of one's life, and the attendant
determination to honor him in all our conduct.
defines a life that is pleasing to God but not necessarily "pleasing" to
man for Paul writes that that
"indeed, all who desire to live
godly (eusebos) in Christ Jesus will be persecuted." (see
2 Timothy 3:12)
"Know that the Lord has set apart the godly man for Himself.
The Lord hears when I call to Him." (Ps 4:3) (See
PRESENT AGE: en to nun aioni:
(Jn 14:30, 17:14, 15, Ro 12:2 Gal 1:4
Eph 2:2 1Jn 5:19)
In this present age - “in the
here and now” in contrast to the coming age. The potential for a
victorious Christian life lies between His appearings of grace and then
In the present age emphasizes that we
do not need to isolate ourselves from this evil world in monasteries or
Christian communes. Rather, in the midst of this present evil age, we
are to live sensible, righteous, godly lives, so that those in the world
will be drawn to our Savior.
we may live lives which display a
a. to oneself: “self mastery,”
making the proper use of such desires or drives as are not sinful in
themselves, and overcoming those that are sinful;
b. to the neighbor:
“fairness,” honesty, justice, integrity in dealing with others;
c. to God: “devotion,”
godliness, true piety and reverence with respect to him who alone is the
proper Object of worship.
(nun) means "now". The negative and positive charges
Paul has just given indicate that Christian living must be demonstrated
in an evil world that is hostile to God.
Age (165) (aion)
in the present context of the rebellious spirit on the island of Crete,
refers to the "present evil age (aion) " (Gal 1:4), the world system
that "lies in the power of the evil one" (1Jn 5:19), Satan, “the god of
this world (aion)" (2Cor 4:4).
is "this present age" to be defined? This term
refers to the time (see
aion below) inaugurated by Christ’s appearing (when "the grace of
God" appeared) at His Incarnation and which will be consummated at His
triumphant return. So in that sense it refers to a time period but as
discussed below this phrase also conveys an ethical or moral meaning. In
context, Paul's point is that the same grace that saves us is
the grace which instructs and empowers us to shine forth as lights in
the "now" generation. The
gospel is not pie in the sky by and by, but it is for the here and now,
and it teaches one how to really live life and not just exist in this
present age like the rest of the world which has no concept of
the liberating truth of the gospel.
beloved, are you simply "existing" or
are you really "living" the abundant life available in Christ in this present
age as you prepare for the glorious, righteous age to come?
As Christians we are called to live “in
this present age” empowered by
our "gracious teacher"
(cf the Spirit of Grace - Heb 10:29) and we are not to live like it or
(yielded) Himself for (Gk prep "huper" = speaks of
substitution = the character of Christ's atoning sacrifice) our sins,
that He might deliver (rescue, pluck or draw out - the gospel is an
"operation rescue", an "emancipation proclamation") us
out of this present (actively) evil age, according to the will of our God
and Father (it was His idea and desire not ours)." (Gal 1:4)
Now with grace as our "trainer"
or instructor we are not to
imperative with negative implies this was already happening and they
are commanded to stop) to this world, but be (present
command to continually be
being) transformed (let what's [really Who is on the inside - cp
Col 1:27-note] on the inside shine on the outside
~ be changed in your outward expression you had before salvation to an
expression coming from your regenerated new creation in Christ) by the renewing
(qualitatively new, "brand new" way of thinking) of your mind, that you may prove
(test and determine which thoughts, words, deeds "pass the test"
as godly) what the
will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect."
Believers should not seek or desire to cultivate this present age
with its shallowness and godlessness as did
forsook (Paul because he)... loved the present age (aion)
and went on to Thessalonica..." (Young's Literal. See note
2 Timothy 4:10)
In another use of "present age" Paul exhorts Timothy to
who are rich in this present world (age = aion) not to be conceited or to fix their hope on the uncertainty of
riches, but on God, Who richly supplies us with all things to enjoy.
Paul is referring to those who belong to the unsaved portion of humanity
and are part of this age system, who think that the
material wealth which they possess is the sum of all existence.
Believers in contrast are to live soberly, righteously and godly in
this present age, motivated by the truth that the best is yet
The purpose of
Lord’s sacrifice was that He might deliver us out of the control of this present age, which is under the authority of Satan,
and which in dramatic contrast to the age "to come" (Ep 1:21-note),
the messianic age, in turn followed by the
heavens and a new earth, in which righteousness dwells. (2Pe 3:13-note)
I have always been intrigued by Paul's statement in Ephesians in which
in the ages (aion) to
come (God will) show the surpassing riches of His grace in kindness
toward us in Christ Jesus." (see note
We know the Messianic age will be followed by the new
heaven and earth, which by implication is an "age". Are
there more "ages" to follow? We will have to wait and see. One thing is
certain - "Jesus Christ yesterday and today the same, and to the
ages (aion)" (Young's Literal, He 13:8-note) so to Him "be the glory
forever and ever (literally "to the ages of the ages" - eis
tous aionas ton aionon). Amen" (Ep 13:21-note)
Why is this limited to this present
age? In this age in which sin abounds on every hand, and in which there
are so many temptations that tend to lead the child of God into a life
of ease and worldliness, there must be some measures taken to counteract
such influences. For this reason God has His lessons in grace for each
child of His. Such lessons must be learned in this age, for this is the
place where one is trained for future positions and service. At the
conclusion of this age the school days will have ended and there will be
no chance to take postgraduate courses. It will be the time then to
enter into the place prepared for us.
Then too, at the conclusion of this age the Church, composed of all of
God’s own who have lived in the dispensation of grace, will be ushered
into a realm where all will be in subjection to God. There will be no
desires from within nor any temptations from without that would tend to
sever one’s attention from the Master. All desires can then be gratified
because all desires will be according to His will. We who are now able
not to sin, by the power of God, will then be so constituted that we
will not be able to sin. We will be perfect even as our Father in heaven
is perfect so that all need for discipline will have been deleted.
Matthew Henry writes that
The gospel teaches us not only how to
believe and hope well, but also to live well, as becomes that faith and
hope in this present world, and as expectants of another and better.
There is the world that now is, and that which is to come; the present
is the time and place of our trial, and the gospel teaches us to live
well here, not, however, as our final state, but with an eye chiefly to
a future" as described in the next verse.
As Barclay puts it
The dynamic of this new life is the
expectation of the coming of Jesus Christ. When a royal visit is
expected, everything is cleansed and decorated, and made fit for the
royal eye to see. The Christian is the man who is always prepared for
the coming of the King of kings. (Barclay,
W: The Daily Study Bible Series, Rev. ed. Philadelphia: The Westminster
in Titus 2:12 represents the sum of the demonic-human philosophy of
(aion) as implied by the numerous ways it is translated into English
(see next paragraph)
is somewhat difficult to define. The specific meaning of
is best determined by the context in which it is used. As a
generalization aion usually refers to some aspect of
time past, present or future.
As discussed below it is also used
with a more figurative meaning in which it refers primarily to the
ethical/moral system of the world. To make matters even more confusing,
in a number of the 97 NT uses of aion the meaning has both a time
and an ethical connotation. The following notes summarize some
of the main uses of aion but are not intended to be all-inclusive.
is used 122 times (Mt. 12:32; 13:22, 39, 40, 49; 21:19; 24:3; 28:20; Mk.
3:29; 4:19; 10:30; 11:14; Lk. 1:33, 55, 70; 16:8; 18:30; 20:34f; Jn.
4:14; 6:51, 58; 8:35, 51f; 9:32; 10:28; 11:26; 12:34; 13:8; 14:16; Acts
3:21; 15:18; Ro 1:25; 9:5; 11:36; 12:2; 16:27; 1 Co. 1:20; 2:6, 7, 8;
3:18; 8:13; 10:11; 2 Co. 4:4; 9:9; 11:31; Gal. 1:4, 5; Ep 1:21; 2:2, 7;
3:9, 11, 21; Phil. 4:20; Col. 1:26; 1 Tim. 1:17; 6:17; 2Ti 4:10, 18;
Titus 2:12; He 1:2, 8; 5:6; 6:5, 20; 7:17, 21, 24, 28; 9:26; 11:3; 13:8,
21; 1Pe 1:25; 4:11; 5:11; 2 Pet. 3:18; 1 Jn. 2:17; 2 Jn. 1:2; Jude 1:13,
25; Re 1:6, 18; 4:9, 10; 5:13; 7:12; 10:6; 11:15; 14:11; 15:7; 19:3;
and is translated variously as: age, 20; ages, 6; ancient time, 1;
beginning of time, 1; course, 1; eternal, 2; eternity, 1; ever, 2;
forever, 27; forever and ever, 20; forevermore, 2; long ago, 1; never,
1; old, 1; time, 1; world, 7; worlds, 1.
you would like more detail on aion, click one of the
following links for work by the respected lexicographer, W E Vine:
Aion is also combined with
Greek prepositions to produce several unique references to time and this
further compounds the difficulty of presenting a single, uniform, crisp
definition. Below is a list of these phrases with representative
(3 occurrences of this phrase) = literally "from the age"
translated from of old, long ago, from ancient time: Lk 1:70; Acts 3:21,
eis ton aiona
(27 occurrences of this phrase) = literally "to the
ages", usually translated forever, as in Jn 6:51;(phrase is used
27x in the NT [Mt. 21:19; Mk. 3:29; 11:14; Lk 1:55; Jn. 4:14; 6:51, 58;
8:35, 51, 52; 10:28; 11:26; 12:34; 13:8; 14:16; 1Co. 8:13; 2Co 9:9; He
1:8; 5:6; 6:20; 7:17, 21, 24, 28; 1Pe 1:25; 1Jn 2:17; 2Jn 1:2] and to
really confuse you, when preceded by a negative particle is translated
8x as "never", eg Mk 3:29). This phrase is used 7x to
refer to Jesus as "forever", especially His priesthood.
tous aionas (26 occurrences of this phrase - Lk. 1:33; Rom. 1:25;
9:5; 11:36; 16:27; 2 Co. 11:31; Gal. 1:5; Phil. 4:20; 1 Tim. 1:17; 2
Tim. 4:18; Heb. 13:8, 21; 1 Pet. 4:11; 5:11; Rev. 1:6, 18; 4:9f; 5:13;
7:12; 10:6; 11:15; 15:7; 19:3; 20:10; 22:5) = literally "to the
ages", usually translated "forever":
Romans 1:25 (note)
eis tous aionas ton aionon = literally "unto the ages
of the ages" usually translated "forever & ever" in
1Ti 1:17, Hebrews 1:8
tous aionas ton aionon (20 verses
- Gal. 1:5; Php 4:20; 1Ti 1:17; 2Ti 4:18; He 13:21; 1Pe 4:11; 5:11; Re
1:6, 18; 4:9, 10; 5:13, 14; 7:12; 10:6; 11:15; 15:7; 19:3; 20:10; 22:5) = literally "to the ages of the ages" translated "forever
and ever" or "forevermore": Gal 1:5. This phrase "to the ages of the ages" occurs most often in the
book of the Revelation (12x), the last use in Scripture recording the
glorious truth that
"there shall no longer be any night and they
shall not have need of the light of a lamp nor the light of the sun,
because the Lord God shall illumine them and they shall reign forever
and ever ("to the ages of the ages")" (Rev 22:5)
ek tou aionos
(2 occurrences of this exact form) = literally "out of/from the age" translated "since
the beginning" (of time) Jn 9:32; and "out of this present evil
age" Gal 1:4
pro ton aionon = literally "before
the ages" translated in NIV "before time began" 1Cor 2:7;
pro ton aionon
= literally "from the ages" Ephesians 3:9
(note), Col 1:26
Aion in the plural is
used as a spatial concept, specifically as a synonym for the created
universe as having a beginning and moving forward through long but
limited time. In Hebrews we see the following examples of aion
with this use:
"in these last days has spoken to us in His Son, whom
He appointed heir of all things, through whom also He made the world. (aion)"
"By faith we understand that the worlds (aion)
were prepared by the word of God, so that what is seen was not made out
of things which are visible." (see note
Here are a few examples of the ways aion is used in the NT in an attempt to give you a sense
of how you have to use the context to interpret the intended meaning:
Mt 12:32 "And whoever shall speak a word against the Son of
Man, it shall be forgiven him; but whoever shall speak against the Holy
Spirit, it shall not be forgiven him, either in this age (aion)
or in [the age] to come."
Eph 1:21-note "far
above all rule and authority and power and dominion, and every name that
is named, not only in this age (aion), but also in the one
In both of these preceding passages aion refers
primarily to the time period we are living in now and which precedes the
time period or age to come which is often referred to as the Messianic
age during which Christ will reign for 1000 years. See the next verse
for who is ruling this current age or time period.
2 Corinthians 4:4
case the god of this world (aion) has
blinded the minds of the unbelieving, that they might not see the light
of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God."
clear reference to Satan, Paul explains that the time period we are
living in now (which precedes the Messianic age to come as discussed
above) is ruled by Satan. In this case although Paul is referring
primarily to a time period, the context indicates that it is a time
period with a definite anti-God ethic or moral atmosphere. So in this
use you can get a sense of how the time and ethical meanings of
aion can overlap in a single verse.
And do not be
conformed to this world (aion), but be
transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what the
will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect. (note)
In this use there is clearly an
ethical sense intended. Don't be poured into the mold of this world and
the way it thinks and acts which is predominantly anti-God.
refers to the popular culture and manner of thinking that is in
rebellion against God and which will try to conform us to its ungodly
pattern. As discussed more below, this figurative ethical/moral meaning
of aion is closely related but still subtlety different
from kosmos which like aion is also
occasionally translated "world" (albeit much less often
than is kosmos). Remember that there are 3 closely related words
which the NT translates "world" -- aion,
kósmos and oikouméne
(the inhabited earth).
Click to study Vine's overview of kosmos, aion
Bengel defines aion as
the subtle, informing spirit of the kosmos
or world of men who are living alienated and apart from God.
Trench adds that kósmos is
"world contemplated under aspects of space"; aion
is the world "contemplated under aspects of time."
Both aion and kosmos are used in the following verse, where Paul is reminding the Ephesians who they were before Christ became
their life, writing that they had
formerly walked according to
the course ("ways", NIV) (aion) of this world (kosmos),
according to the prince of the power of the air, of the spirit that is
now working in the sons of disobedience. (see note
Here both aion and kosmos
are used together to convey the sense of "the spirit of this age"
in which we live. It describes a lifestyle in which people follow the
ways of the world. It is dominated by the humanistic philosophy that
seeks to eliminate God from every aspect of life. This is the same
meaning that Paul intends to convey in using aion in Titus
2:12 in the phrase "in this present age". It's not just
the time we live in but also the ethical/moral atmosphere which
surrounds us and which we "inhale". John also uses both aion
and kosmos in his encouraging reminder to believers that
world (kosmos) is
passing away and also its lusts; but the one who does the will of God
abides forever (eis
ton aiona - to the age). (1Jn 2:17)
Trench goes on to explain that aion
"has a primary and physical, and
then, super induced on this, a secondary and ethical, sense. In its
primary, it signifies time, short or long, in its unbroken
duration...but essentially time as the condition under which all created
things exist, and the measure of their existence." He goes on to
comment that aion "thus signifying time, ... comes
presently to signify all which exists in the world under conditions of
time...and then, more ethically, the course and current of this world’s
Trench adds that
We speak of ‘the times,’ attaching to
the word an ethical signification; or, still more to the point, ‘the
age,’ ‘the spirit or genius of the age,’ ‘der Zeitgeist.’ (the
spirit of the age) All that floating mass of thoughts, opinions,
maxims, speculations, hopes, impulses, aims, aspirations, at any time
current in the world (Ed note: sadly American television is an all
too accurate barometer of this godless "spirit"), which it may be impossible to seize and accurately
define, but which constitute a most real and effective power, being the
moral, or immoral, atmosphere which at every moment of our lives we
inhale, again inevitably to exhale,—all this is included in the aion. (Trench, R. C. Synonyms of the New Testament.)
Vine says that aion
signifies a period of indefinite duration, or time viewed in relation to
what takes place in the period. The force attaching to the word is not
so much that of the actual length of a period, but that of a period
marked by spiritual or moral characteristics. (Vine,
W E: Vine's Complete Expository Dictionary of Old and New Testament
Words. 1996. Nelson)
adds an interesting comment writing that
The origin of this word (aion),
as it is used in the New Testament, is found in an expression frequently
used by the Jews, who were accustomed to distinguishing between the
times before the Messiah and the times under the Messiah by calling the
former period this world or “this age” and the latter “the world (or
age) to come.
This "now age" or "present age"
indeed does imply that
there is a "next" age referring to the Messianic,
millennial Kingdom with Christ reigning on earth, which is followed by
new heavens and a new earth, in which righteousness dwells.
2 Peter 3:13).
Vincent explains that aion
refers in essence to
time, as the condition under
which all created things exist, and the measure of their existence: a
period of existence; a lifetime; a generation; hence, a long space of
time; an age, era, epoch, period of a dispensation. On this primary,
physical sense there arises a secondary sense, viz., all that exists in
the world under the conditions of time. From this again develops a more
distinctly ethical sense, the course and current of this world’s
affairs... and this course as corrupted by sin; hence the evil world.
It is this latter sense that Paul
intends here in Titus 2:12.
Kenneth Wuest adds that
this present age...is not
content to perish in its own corruption, but seeks to drag all men with
it down to its own inevitable destruction.
K. S. Wuest's Word Studies from the Greek New Testament: Eerdmans)
Barnyard Ducks - Does the
following anonymous poem describe how you feel?
My soul is like a
Muddling in the barnyard muck,
Fat and lazy with useless wings;
But sometimes, when the northwind sings
And wild ducks fly overhead,
It ponders something lost and dead,
Then cocks a wary, bewildered eye
And makes a feeble attempt to fly.
It's quite content with the state it's in,
But it's not the duck it might have been.
Are you haunted by
the fear that you'll never be what God meant you to be? That you're
preoccupied with the trinkets of this passing world? Are you "living in
the barnyard" when you could be soaring?
Do you really want to fly? Do you long to soar above the pettiness and
insignificance of the barnyard muck?
You can! Put aside the sin and worldly weights that are holding you down
(Heb. 12:1) and get busy with the tasks the Lord has for you. Only in
Christ do we find the fulfillment He longs for each of us to enjoy.
Remember that Jesus came to set you free and let you soar as you look
for His coming (Titus 2:11-13). Isn't it time you got out of the mud and
flying? -- Haddon W. Robinson (Our
Daily Bread, Copyright RBC Ministries, Grand Rapids, MI. Reprinted by
permission. All rights reserved)
In this world but
never of it,
Help me, Lord, to live this day
Free from all that would entangle,
Of the dazzle and array. -- Graves
If your Christian life is a drag,
worldly weights are probably to blame.