Titus 3:1 Commentary

 

 

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Titus 3:1 Commentary

Titus 3:1 Remind them to be subject to rulers, to authorities, to be obedient, to be ready for every good deed (NASB: Lockman)

Greek: Hupomimneske (2SPAM) autous archais exousiais hupotassesthai, (PPN) peitharchein, (PAN) pros pan ergon agathon hetoimous einai, (PAN
Amplified: REMIND PEOPLE to be submissive to [their] magistrates and authorities, to be obedient, to be prepared and willing to do any upright and honorable work,
 (Amplified Bible - Lockman)
KJV
:  Put them in mind to be subject to principalities and powers, to obey magistrates, to be ready to every good work,
NLT
: Remind your people to submit to the government and its officers. They should be obedient, always ready to do what is good.  (
NLT - Tyndale House)
Phillips: Remind your people to recognize the power of those who rule and bear authority. They must obey the laws of the state and be prepared to render whatever good service they can.  (
Phillips: Touchstone)
Wuest: Be constantly reminding them to put themselves in subjection with implicit obedience to rulers who have been delegated their authority, to be obedient, to be ready to every good work, (
Eerdmans
Young's Literal: Remind them to be subject to principalities and authorities, to obey rule, unto every good work to be ready,

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Titus 3 Commentary -The New Testament for English Readers
Titus - A Practical Study: Growth Toward Godliness
Titus Commentary
Titus 3 Commentary
Titus 3 Sermon Notes
Titus 3 Commentary
Titus 3 Commentary
Titus 3:1-8 Heaven's Citizens on Earth
Titus 2:9-3:2 Being Good Citizens
Titus 3 Illustrations

Titus 3 Commentary
Titus 3:1-8 What Does God Think Of Me?
Titus Survey
Titus 3 Commentary
Titus 3 Commentary
Titus 3:1-7 Gracious Reminders
Titus 3:4-8 Motivation for Service
Titus Expository Note
Titus 3:1-7 Rambo Religion
Titus 2:2-3:8 Good Deeds In Every Station Of Life
Titus: A Guide for Christian Leaders
Titus 3 Commentary
Titus 3 Good Deeds
The Epistle to Titus
Titus Commentary
Titus 3 Commentary
Titus 3:1-3 Commentary  Titus 3:4-6
Comments on Paul's Epistle to Titus
Titus 3:1-8 How to Respond, Titus 3 - Sermon Notes
Titus 3 Commentary
Titus 3 Commentary
Titus Commentary
Titus 3 Commentary
Titus 3 Commentary (Philip Towner)

Titus 3-1-8 The Christian The State & Justification by Grace
Titus 3:1-8 Instruction to Live as Good Citizens
An Exposition of the Epistle of Paul to Titus
Titus 3 Commentary
Titus 3:1-2: Christian's Responsibility in Pagan Society - 1
Titus 3:3-8: Christian's Responsibility in Pagan Society -2

Titus 3:4-7: He Saved Us

Titus 3:1. Titus 3:2-7 Titus 3:8-15 Mp3's
Titus 3:3-7 God's Kindness to Sinners, Part 1
Titus 3:3-7 God's Kindness to Sinners, Part 2

Titus 3 Sermon Notes
Titus 3:1-8: Through the Washing of Regeneration
Titus 3:1-3 The Duty of Obedience to Authority, With Its Limits
Titus 3:4-7 Co-Operation of the Divine Persons Effecting New Birth
Titus 3 Exposition

Titus 3 Homiletics and Homilies

Titus 3:1-11 Being Good

Titus 3:1-11 The Causes of Salvation

Titus 3:1-11 False Teaching in the Church

Titus 3:1-15 Need For Reminding Elders
Titus 3 Word Studies
Titus 3:1-3 Be Mindful
Titus 3:4-7 Regenerated
Titus 3:1-3 Subject to Authority
Titus 3:4-7 Grace & Redemption

Titus 3:8-15 Deal Biblically with Heresies

Are You Regenerate?
Titus 3:4-7 The Work of the Trinity
Titus 3:3-7 He Saved Us
Titus 3:5-7 The Hope of Eternal Life

Titus 3: Exposition
Titus 3:3-8 The Maintenance of Good Works
Titus: Truth and Proof
Titus 3 Commentary
The Message of Titus

Titus 3 Word Studies

Titus 3 Commentary - Expositor's Greek Testament
Titus: Inductive Study - Lesson 1

REMIND THEM: Hupomimneske (2SPAM) autous: (Isa 43:26; 1Ti 4:6; 2Ti 1:6; 2Pe 1:12; 3:1,2; Jude 1:5)

John MacArthur has some thought provoking comments as background to this section --

This is a crucial section of instruction for today. The United States essentially is now a pagan nation. After being blessed with some 150 years of strong Christian, biblical influence, our country has been rapidly declining, especially during the last half of the twentieth century. Millions of Americans still attend church regularly, and many more consider themselves to be Christians. According to polls, most Americans claim to believe in God. But practical atheism and moral relativism have dominated our society for many decades. For the most part, the few vestiges of Christianity still reflected in our culture are weak and compromising. A growing number of those vestiges have become apostate or cultic....The many biblical tenets and standards that once were part of the fabric of our country, and that provided the undeniable cultural benefits of morality, are now gone. Whatever its form or practical benefits may have been, cultural Christianity is dead. Self-expression, moral freedom, materialism, and hedonism are the prevailing gods." (MacArthur. Titus: Moody Press) (Ed: Sounds very much like ancient Crete!)

Remind (5279) (hupomimnesko from hupó = under + mimnesko = to remind) means to put another in mind of something, to cause one to remember, bring to one's mind, remind (remind suggests a jogging of one’s memory by an association or similarity).

Hupomimnesko is used 7x in NT, once in each of the following: Lk. 22:61; Jn. 14:26; 2Ti 2:14; Tit. 3:1; 2Pe 1:12; 3 Jn. 1:10; Jude 1:5

Paul like a commanding officer to the junior officer, commands (imperative mood) Titus to continually (present tense) (present imperative) put in the Cretan Christian's mind and bring to their remembrance the importance of subjecting themselves to authority (note the reminder applies all of the admonitions in this passage). The present tense gives this verb the additional connotations of continuity and persistence.

Wuest says it this way...

Be constantly reminding them to put themselves in subjection with implicit obedience to rulers...

As God's man in Crete who was responsible to protect and lead the flock of God, Titus (as well as all church leaders and teachers of the Word) frequently need to unapologetically remind believers of God’s truth. The Bible Knowledge Commentary aptly notes that

A large part of any pastor’s public ministry is reminding people of what they already know.

The Cretans were notoriously and naturally intractable, so Paul warns Titus to be careful to insist that those who have been saved obey the properly constituted civil authorities (1Pe 2:13, 14, 15, 16-see notes V13; 14; 15; 16; 17).

The verb remind implies that the Cretan saints already knew these duties but as with all "non-glorified" saints, were in continual need of a fresh reminder. Like the hymn writer (play hymn) plainly confessed

Prone to wander, Lord, I feel it.
Prone to leave the God I love

Reminding the Cretan Christians of these truths should keep them from feeling hostile toward or superior to those who were not yet converted. The opposition of Christianity to heathenism, and the natural disposition to rebellion of the Jews under the Roman empire (of whom many lived in Crete), might lead many to forget practically what was a recognized Christian principle in theory, submission to the powers that be. Christians were often looked on with suspicion in the Roman Empire because their conduct was so different and they met in private meetings for worship (see 1Pe 2:11-25; 3:13-4:5). 

Other Uses of  Hupomimnesko

Luke records that

the Lord turned and looked at Peter (Jesus made eye contact with Peter - the verb suggests an intent, fixed look which must have magnified his shame and stirred his memory). And Peter remembered (hupomimnesko) the word of the Lord, how He had told him, “Before a cock crows today, you will deny Me three times. (Luke 22:61)

Peter used hupomimnesko writing

Therefore (read the immediate preceding context 2Pe 1 to see what it's "there for"), I shall always be ready to remind (hupomimnesko) you of these things, even though you already know them, and have been established in the truth which is present with you. And I consider it right, as long as I am in this earthly dwelling, to stir you up by way of reminder (hupomnesis - related noun form)." (2Pe 2:12, 13-note)

Later in the same letter Peter states one of his main purposes --

This is now, beloved, the second letter I am writing to you in which I am stirring up your sincere mind by way of reminder (hupomnesis)" (2Pe 3:1-note)

John uses this verb recording Jesus' promise to His disciples that

the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in My name, He will teach you all things, and bring to your remembrance all that I said to you." (Jn 14:26).

Paul commanded Timothy that he was to

Remind (present imperative = continually remind) them of these things (see 2Ti 2:1-13, especially the life and death issues in 2Ti2:11, 12, 13-note) and solemnly charge them in the presence of God not to wrangle about words, which is useless, and leads to the ruin of the hearers." (2Ti 2:14-note).

Wuest makes an excellent point that Timothy was to continually remind them because

"there is no such prophylactic (preventative) against striving (wrangling) about words as a serious endeavor to realize the relative importance of time and eternity." (Wuest, K. S. Wuest's Word Studies from the Greek New Testament: Eerdmans)

After exposing the fact that false teachers had already crept into the church, Jude then reminded his readers of God's attitude toward the first of three well known acts of apostasy from the OT:

"Now I desire to remind you, though you know all things once for all, that the Lord, after saving a people out of the land of Egypt (read Nu 13:1-33, Nu 14:1-45, 1Cor 10:5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10), subsequently destroyed those who did not believe." (Jude 1:5)

Similarly Paul reminded the Corinthians that

"these things happened as examples for us, that we should not crave evil things, as they also craved" and "these things happened to them as an example, and they were written for our instruction, upon whom the ends of the ages have come." (1Cor 10:6,11)

Them refers to all the Christians on Crete. Paul is introducing another section giving specific instructions on how God's saints (set apart ones) empowered by "the grace of God" (Titus 2:11-note) are to "live sensibly, righteously and godly" (Titus 2:12-note) as citizens "in the midst of crooked and perverse generation among whom you appear as lights in the world" (Php 2:15-note).

Spurgeon comments...

You see, they were a rough, wild, rebellious people in Crete, and Christianity comes to civilize, to sober, to sanctify, to save.

In the preceding instructions Paul had dealt primarily with how the believer was to interact in relation to fellow Christians. He now informs them that the obligations to the Gospel are also operative in a believer's relation to government and pagan society (cf "Cretans are always liars, evil beasts, lazy gluttons." - Titus 1:12-note) The truth of the Gospel is that it does not relieve saints of their civic duties but in fact enforces them. In sum, Christianity makes people better citizens in a society.

Jesus' "Beatitude Instruction" is applicable to saved saints living in the midst of Sodom-like societies --

"You are the salt of the earth; but if the salt has become tasteless, how will it be made salty again? It is good for nothing anymore, except to be thrown out and trampled under foot by men. You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden. Nor do men light a lamp, and put it under the peck-measure, but on the lampstand; and it gives light to all who are in the house. "Let your light shine before men in such a way that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father who is in heaven." (Mt 5:13, 14, 15, 16-see notes Mt 5:13; 14; 15; 16).

Too much salt ruins the taste. Too much light blinds the eyes. How are you doing?

 

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Illustration - Finally, it's easy to tell who the Christians are. They're the ones sporting a witness on their T-shirts or caps, wearing W.W.J.D bracelets, with crosses around their necks. Making a visible statement of belief has come a long way since the days of the ""Honk if you love Jesus"" bumper stickers. Is there anything wrong with wearing a witness for Christ? Of course not--as long as our behavior lives up to its ""advertising."" No wardrobe accessory can take the place of a Spirit-empowered daily life of humility and obedience that wears well in any situation. Practical is an overworked term to describe certain sections of the Bible--and probably misleading, since it implies that some parts of the Word are impractical. But having said that, Titus 3 is about as down-to-earth as it gets in helping us understand how to ""work out [our] salvation"" (Php 2:12-note). Verses 2-3 remind us that we're to be like Jesus for the best reason of all: because He reached down in mercy to save us from a life of sin. And He did it not by reforming us, but by regenerating us, making us alive again. We were dead in sin, not just slightly ill.

If God had done nothing for us except give us eternal life through Christ, we would be eternally grateful. But our loving Father did so much more. After He had rescued us from sin and washed us clean in Christ's blood, God brought us into His house and made us His heirs. This means all that God has, we now have. Therefore, living to please Him through our obedience to Him and to the human authorities He has established, and through lives of good works and humility, is nothing more than our reasonable service. Anything less would be an insult to the God who appeared in flesh to save us when we were His enemies. And what about those who are looking to cause trouble and sow discord in the body of Christ? We need to reach out to them in peace. But if they refuse to repent of their sin, we can't afford to let them drain the life from the church.

TODAY ALONG THE WAY -Actually, the idea of putting on our witness is not new at all. The Bible tells us to put on a number of things that will protect us against sin and help us live the godly lives God expects of His heirs. For example, we are told to put on the armor God has given us (Ro 13:12-
note; Eph. 6:11-note) and to put on ""the new self,"" which is more like God (Eph 4:24-note). How complete is your ""witness wardrobe"" today? (Copyright Moody Bible Institute. Used by permission. All rights reserved)
 

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TO BE SUBJECT TO RULERS, TO AUTHORITIES: archais exousiais hupotassesthai (PMN): (Dt 17:12; Eccl 8:2, 3, 4, 5; 10:4; Jer 27:17; Mt 22:21; 23:2,3; Ro 13:1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7; 1Ti 2:2; 1 Pe 2:13, 14, 15, 16, 17)

"to put themselves in subjection with implicit obedience" (Wuest)

To be subject (5293) (hupotasso from hupó = under + tasso = arrange in orderly manner) means literally to place under in an orderly fashion. In the active voice hupotasso  means to subject, bring under firm control, subordinate as used in (Ro 8:20-note)

 

Hupotasso-38x in 31v - Lk. 2:51; 10:17, 20; Ro 8:7-note, Ro 8:20-note; Ro 10:3-note; Ro 13:1-note, Ro 13:5-note; 1Co 14:32, 34; 15:27, 28; 16:16; Ep 1:22-note; Ep 5:21-note, Ep 5:24-note; Php 3:21-note; Col 3:18-note; Titus 2:5-note, Titus 2:9-note; Titus 3:1-note; Heb 2:5-note, He 2:8-note; He 12:9-note; Jas 4:7; 1Pe 2:13-note, 1Pe 2:18-note; 1Pe 3:1-note, 1Pe 3:5-note, 1Pe 5:5-note NAS- put in subjection, 5; subject, 16; subjected, 7; subjecting, 1; subjection, 4; submissive, 3; submit, 2.

 

Hupotasso - 18v in the non-apocryphal Septuagint - 1 Kgs 10:15; 1 Chr 22:18; 29:24; 2 Chr 9:14; Esth 3:13; 8:12; Ps 8:7; 17:48; 36:7; 46:4; 59:10; 61:2, 6; 107:10; 143:2; Hag 2:18; Dan 7:27; 11:37. For example...

 

Psalm 8:6-note You make him to rule over the works of Your hands; You have put (Heb shith = put, set; Lxx = hupotasso) all things under his feet,

 

Psalm 18:47-note The God who executes vengeance for me, And subdues (Heb = davar/dabar - subdue, a homonym of davar/dabar = to speak; Lxx = hupotasso) peoples under me.

 

Psalm 37:7-note Rest  (command in Hebrew - damam - be still, silent, quiet; Lxx = hupotasso) in the LORD and wait patiently for Him; Do not fret because of him who prospers in his way, Because of the man who carries out wicked schemes. (Ed: Interesting to see how the Lxx translates the command to rest or be still in His presence by the verb to be subject to - aorist imperative)

 

Psalm 62:1-note For the choir director; according to Jeduthun. A Psalm of David. My soul waits in silence (Heb = dumiyyah - a silence; a quiet waiting, a repose; Lxx = hupotasso - "Shall not my soul be subjected to God?") for God only; From Him is my salvation.
 

Hupotásso means to submit (to yield to governance or authority), to place in subjection. It is important to note that many of the NT uses are in the passive voice with a middle sense which signifies the voluntary subjection of oneself to the will of another. Husbands and wives both need to understand the voluntary nature of the submission called for in the marital relationship lest it be misapplied (discussed in more detail below).

Hupotásso was a military term meaning to  draw up in order of battle, to form, array, marshal, both troops or ships.

 Hupotásso  meant that troop divisions were to be arranged in a military fashion under the command of the leader. In this state of subordination they were now subject to the orders of their commander. Thus, it speaks of the subjection of one individual under or to another. Hupotasso was also used to describe the arrangement of military implements on a battlefield in order that one might carry out effective warfare!

In non-military use, hupotasso described a voluntary attitude of giving in, cooperating, assuming responsibility, or carrying a burden.

Spicq has some excellent, insightful comments noting that hupotasso is

a major virtue in the Christian pastoral writings, expressing the relations of subordination in the cosmic and religious order. God has placed everything in submission to Christ, to whom the angels are subordinate (Heb 2:5; 1Pet 3:22); the church is in submission to the Lord (Eph 5:24); Christians submit to God, to his law and his training, but also to one another to cooperate (1Cor 16:16) in the fear of God (Eph 5:21; cf. Ro 13:8). Woman is subordinate to man, the wife to the husband, the children to the parents (1Ti 3:4; cf. Marcus Aurelius 1.17.3), the young to the old, slaves and servants to their master (Ep 6:5, Titus 2:9; 1Pet 2:18), subjects (cf. Ep. Arist. 205, 207, 265; Josephus, War 2.140; Polybius 21.43, hoi hypotattomenoi) to their sovereign; and finally the Christian must submit to every human creature. We may conclude that the baptized (Ed: I would qualify that only one who is born by the Spirit, Jn 3:3, 5, independent of water baptism if that is what Spicq is alluding to here. cp baptizo conveying the sense of identification with Christ's death - Ro 6:3. ) person is a “son of obedience” (1Pet 1:2, 22) in all the larger or smaller human communities in which he is placed (1Pe 2:13-3:12), contributing to the maintenance of the order fixed by the plan of providence whereby all creatures are ordered in a hierarchy (Wis 11:21).

It is clear that hupotasso does not have the same range in these differing communal relationships; but it is always reverent submission, seen as a self-offering (cf. Titus 3:1, 2). It means first of all accepting the exact place God has assigned, keeping to one’s rank in this or that society, accepting a dependent status, especially toward God (Jas 4:7), like children who are submissive to a father’s discipline (Heb 12:9), after the fashion of the child Jesus. This religious subjection is made up of an obedient spirit, humaneness of heart (Ep. Arist. 257), respect, and willingness to serve. To submit is to accept directives that are given, to honor conditions that are imposed, to please one’s superior (Titus 2:9) or honor him by the homage that is obedience (cf. Ep 6:1), to repudiate egotism and aloofness. It is to spontaneously position oneself as a servant toward one’s neighbor in the hierarchy of love. (Spicq, C., & Ernest, J. D. (1994). Theological lexicon of the New Testament. 3:424-26. Peabody, MA.: Hendrickson)

Submission focuses not on personality but position. We need to see authority over us not acting on their own, but as instruments in the hand of a sovereign God. If we look at people as acting on their own we will eventually become bitter, but if we can see them as acting as God allows, we will become holy. A beautiful example of this is found in the life of Joseph. His brothers consistently mistreated him and it would have been very easy for him to become bitter at them. Yet he had a divine perspective on the whole situation and it helped him become a holy man of God.

And as for you, you meant evil against me, but God meant it for good in order to bring about this present result, to preserve many people alive. (Ge 50:20).

To be subject as used here in Titus 3:1 is in the present tense (continual action called for) and the middle voice (reflexive) which calls for the subject to initiate and then participate in the action of putting one’s self in subjection to or under the authority of another. In this context the middle voice stresses the voluntary or willing nature of their submission.

In other words, the Cretan Christians were to continually voluntarily place themselves in under the authority of the government. They were to submit not necessarily because these individuals are personally worthy of our submission necessarily, but because by submitting to them they were honoring God by obeying His Word.

Early Christian preaching was not limited to the way of salvation but included instructions concerning the practical implications of that salvation for daily living. Paul ever desired that the lives of believers should produce a favorable impression on the non- Christian world. (Gaebelein, F, Editor: Expositor's Bible Commentary 6-Volume New Testament. Zondervan Publishing)

Paul is saying that the Cretan believers can obey this instruction because God is sovereign and all government is of God. Note that Paul does not make any exceptions to the form of government, which implies that this command applies to monarchies, republics, oligarchies, etc, for all have in them the ordination and power of God for the welfare of society. Society needs to be governed for lawlessness always ends in anarchy, misery, and desolation.

Regarding subjection to the rulers and authorities it is notable that

restraint is better than the liberty of licentiousness. Compare a river that keeps its bounds to one that overflows its banks. Men... must not forget that all well-ordered societies exist only by subjection...Every community, to be kept in order, must have a recognized head — one who shall be allowed to rule, either by his own will or the organized will of the whole. Hence man, in his most savage state, has some recognized chief. (Pulpit Commentary)

This duty pertains to our attitude and conduct in regard to secular government. It is important to note that Paul specifies no particular kind or level of government or any particular kind or level of government official and thus by his "silence' he allows for no exceptions or qualifications. The Roman government under which the early church lived not only was thoroughly pagan and morally debauched but also was despotic, oppressive, unjust, and brutal.  Paul makes clear that the Christian’s obligation to respect and obey human government does not rest on its being democratic or just but solely on its being the God-ordained means by which human society is regulated.

On the other hand if subjecting ourselves results in performing some action which contradicts the clear teaching of Scripture (tantamount to the will of God), we are to obey God.

Examples of Exceptions
To Titus 3:1

Be Subject to the Authorities

In Acts we see an illustration of the "exception to the rule" -- Peter and the apostles are confronted by the Jewish leaders who declared

"We gave you strict orders not to continue teaching in this name, and behold, you have filled Jerusalem with your teaching, and intend to bring this man's blood upon us".

To this Peter and the apostles replied

"We must obey God rather than men." (Acts 5:28, 29)

Daniel 3 records a well-known example of an exception of the command to obey governing authorities. King Nebuchadnezzar's decree was

"at the moment you hear the sound ...you are to fall down and worship the golden image that Nebuchadnezzar the king has set up" (Da 3:5) and "whoever does not fall down and worship shall immediately be cast into the midst of a furnace of blazing fire." (Da 3:6)

Shadrach, Meshach and Abed-nego, choose to obey their God rather than the king, declaring

"O Nebuchadnezzar, we do not need to give you an answer concerning this matter. "If it be so, our God whom we serve is able to deliver us from the furnace of blazing fire; and He will deliver us out of your hand, O king. "But even if He does not, let it be known to you, O king, that we are not going to serve your gods or worship the golden image that you have set up." (Da 3:16, 17, 18)

Note that although they did not die, they clearly were willing to die before they disobeyed their Lord.

Other Uses
of Hupotasso

In a parallel passage in Romans 13, Paul commands that

every person (literally = every soul = a Hebraism for “every man”) be in subjection (present tense, middle voice = voluntarily and habitually) to the governing authorities (literally “authorities which have themselves over” = authorities who are over the citizen) (Ro 13:1-note)

This verse more literally reads

Let every soul voluntarily place himself habitually in subjection to the higher powers.

Paul emphasizes that

"those who refuse to obey the laws of the land are refusing to obey God, and punishment will follow" for "the authorities are sent by God to help you. But if you are doing something wrong, of course you should be afraid, for you will be punished. The authorities are established by God for that very purpose, to punish those who do wrong. So you must obey the government for two reasons: to keep from being punished and to keep a clear conscience." (Ro 13:1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7) (See notes Romans 13:1; 13:2; 13:3; 13:4; 13:5; 13:6; 13:5)

Therefore, the person who resists and opposes human government, resists and opposes God!

In another parallel passage, Peter writes to the his believing audience to

Submit yourselves for the Lord's sake to every human institution, whether to a king as the one in authority or to governors as sent by him for the punishment of evildoers and the praise of those who do right.

Peter goes on to explain the worthy goal attained by godly submission writing that

such is the will of God that by doing right you may silence the ignorance of foolish men. (1Pe 2:!5-note

The first NT use of hupotasso Luke describes provides an example for all believers, recording that as a 12 year old boy, Jesus

went down with (His parents) and came to Nazareth, and He continued in subjection (present tense = denoting habitual, continuous subjection) to them and His mother treasured all these things in her heart. (Lk 2:51)

His relationship with His Heavenly Father did not override or nullify His duty to His earthly parents. Though Jesus was the Creator of the universe, He took His place as an obedient Child in this humble Jewish family.

Luke records that

the seventy (additional disciples Jesus had appointed) returned with joy, saying, “Lord, even the demons are (present tense = continually) subject to us in Your name. (Lk 10:17, cf Lk 9:1)

In the third NT use of hupotasso, Paul describing those who are according to the flesh writes that

"the mind set on the flesh is death, but the mind set on the Spirit is life and peace, because the mind set on the flesh is hostile toward God; for it does not (present tense = habitually does not = continued insubordination) subject (hupotasso - middle voice = the voluntary subjection of oneself to the will of another) itself to the law of God, for it is not even able to do so" (Ro 8:6, 7- note)

Wuest comments that

Such a mind is not marshaled (like troops not placed in proper rank or position) under the command of God, but of Satan. Consequently, those who are within the sphere of the evil nature, are not able to please God. These are, of course, the unsaved. (Wuest, K. S. Wuest's Word Studies from the Greek New Testament: Eerdmans)

John MacArthur adds that

Even the good deeds unbelievers perform are not truly a fulfillment of God’s law, because they are produced by the flesh, for selfish reasons, and from a heart that is in rebellion. (MacArthur, J.: The MacArthur Study Bible Nashville: Word Pub)

In Romans Paul records that the Jews in

seeking (continually) to establish (to set up or erect a righteousness of their own as a monument to their own glory and not to God’s) their own (righteousness - their own means of salvation)...did not subject (hupotasso) themselves to the righteousness of God. (Ro 10:3-note)

Wuest says that hupotasso means

to arrange under, to subordinate,” as soldiers in a battalion under a commanding officer" or "to put one’s self under orders, to obey.” He goes on to help us understand the meaning of hupotasso commenting that what Paul is saying here is that the "Appropriation by faith of God’s righteousness involves not only the discarding of all dependence upon self and self-effort for salvation, but also the heart’s submission or capitulation to Jesus as Saviour and Lord. This the Jews did not want to do. (Bolding added) (Ibid)

Paul writes that God the Father

put all things in subjection (hupotasso) under His feet, and gave Him as head over all things to the church, which is His body, the fulness of Him who fills all in all. (Ep 1:22, 23-note)

Ep 1:22 is a quote from Ps 8:6 indicating that God has exalted Christ and granted Him universal dominion, over His body the church, over men and angels and over all the rest of His creation, animate and inanimate. Christ is clearly the authoritative Head because all things have been placed under His feet.

How is it possible to submit or surrender one's rights to another whether they are rulers as specified here in Titus 3:1 or others? Paul gives us the answer In Ephesians writing that believers should

not get drunk with wine, for that is dissipation, but be (continually) filled with (controlled by) the Spirit (Ep 5:18-note). 

Spirit controlled husbands and wives are then called first to

be subject to (hupotasso - present tense  = our habit, as our lifestyle, continually to) one another (What should motivate this mutual submission?) in the fear (reverential awe) of Christ (Ep 5:21-note)

Henry Alford says:

As we are otherwise to be filled, otherwise to sing and rejoice, so also we are otherwise to behave—not blustering nor letting our voices rise in selfish vaunting, as such men do,—but subject to one another. (Alford's Greek Testament)

Subjecting one’s self to another is the opposite of self assertion, the opposite of an independent, autocratic spirit. It is the desire to get along with one another, being satisfied with less than one’s due, a sweet reasonableness of attitude.

Paul then goes on to give instructions that

Wives, [be subject] (not in the Greek but implied by the context) to your own (one’s own private, peculiar, unique possession) husbands, as (hōs = adverb of comparison = even as, in the same manner as, like as) to the Lord (to Christ; not to the husband as lord and master = the obedience she has to render to her husband is as an obedience rendered to Christ). (Ep 5:22-note).

The Greek is literally

The wives to their own husbands as to the Lord.

Then Paul adds "as the church is subject (hupotasso) to Christ, so also the wives [ought to] (not in the Greek but added by translators) be to their husbands in everything.  (Ep 5:24-note) (For more in depth discussion of this topic click Wayne Barber's messages on "Spirit-Filled Families")

Wayne Barber notes that in the context of marriage hupotássō

does not mean that (the wife) is commanded to obey her husband as a child would obey his parents or a slave would obey his master. A lot of men treat their wife as if they were a door mat. They "walk all over them" acting as if the wife had no ability or were their inferior. That is not what hupotasso means."

Dr. Barber goes on to explain that

hupotasso, the word used for wives to husbands, is the word that talks about two people who are equal in God’s eyes, totally equal. There is no inferiority of one to the other. Instead the wife makes a choice to place herself as an equal in God's estimate under another equal, her husband, so that there might be order and function in the family. The whole purpose (of a wife submitting to her husband) is to accommodate the design which God has ordered...

Husbands, does this mean that your wife is your slave who is called to obey your every command? Does it mean that you treat her like a child? No! If there is a man who thinks that he is superior to his wife in God’s eyes, he is gravely mistaken as God’s Word teaches (Ga 3:28). However, for His design as the husband to be functional...God says, "Wives, you make it and you choose to put yourself underneath the headship of your husband" in order that the design can be what God says it ought to be. The meaning of it has nothing to do with an inferior submitting to superior. It takes nothing from the dignity of a woman for her to submit, but rather it enhances it. It takes great integrity for a person to do what God says should be done. (excerpt from "Spirit-Filled Families")

In Ephesians 5 (Ep 5:21, 22, 24), submission represents an act of faith. The submitting party in effect is placing their trust in God, for there is an inherent danger in submitting to others. What is it? That the other party might take advantage of our submission to them. But if we genuinely trust God and specifically that He is sovereign in this relationship with our mate, we will be willing to submit. A person who is truly yielded to (subjected to) God, and who wants to serve his fellow Christian, would not even think of taking advantage of someone else, saved or unsaved. The husband who demands his wife’s submission but does not recognize his own obligation to submit to her (Ep 5:21-see note) and thus distorts God’s standard for the marital relationship and cannot function optimally as a Christ-like, godly husband (see Christ's ultimate example of submitting to His Father [although the verb hupotasso is absent, the principle is present] - Php 2:5, 6, 7-note, Php 2:8 - note). Similarly, parents who demand obedience from their children not recognizing their own obligation to submit in loving sacrifice to meet their children’s needs are themselves disobedient to their heavenly Father and cannot function optimally as godly parents. To reiterate, biblical submission is only possible in those who are filled with and controlled by the Holy Spirit (Ep 5:18).

Ray Stedman comments that "submit"

has become the focus of the feminist movement and is probably one of the most hated words among women today. The meaning has been grossly distorted. Many wrongs things have been done in the name of submission. Perhaps the first thing that needs to be said about submission is that it does not cancel out equality. Although it is addressed here to wives, it is not a female word in the Bible but is addressed to men as well. Thus it is not a sexist word. Everyone must submit to other people. In Ephesians 5:21 (note), Paul says Christians are to submit "one to another." The outstanding manifestation of true submission, of course, is seen in our Lord's submitting of Himself to the Father (and as noted above as a young boy to His parents!). No one would ever conceive of the idea that Jesus found it a reproach to submit to the Father. He delighted in it. It was voluntary on his part. In no way did he regard it as a threat to the equality which he knew existed between himself and the Father. Therefore, to submit to someone does not mean you are not equal. This is the confusing meaning which the world has poured into this word. Submission does not mean inequality. Literally, it means "put yourself under, arrange yourself under someone, for a good and proper purpose." It is a totally voluntary action." (See complete sermon "Living Christianly")

In the context of the truth that God is opposed to the proud, James gives us a great conditional promise which demonstrates the value of submission...

Submit (hupotasso - aorist imperative = In context this comes like a military command = Line up under God! Do it now! The aorist imperative can even convey a sense of urgency) therefore to God. Resist (aorist imperative = stand against! Do it now! It's urgent!) the devil and he will flee from you. (Jas 4:7)

Comment: From the context we note that the person who obeys these commands is one who has an attitude of humility (Jas 4:6, cp the same dynamic in 1Pe 5:5-note). In other words, James states that since God sets himself in array against the proud, chose to array yourselves under God, that you might withstand your intractable adversary, the devil.  It is worth noting as an aside that one does not need a huge book on "How to Conduct Spiritual Warfare" or a week long course on "How to Confront Demons". Simple, humble (Jas 4:6) obedience to God's commands in James 4:7 "activates" God's promise and the enemy must pull back, at least for that moment. However we are not ignorant of his schemes (2Co 2:11) but are aware that he [actually his demonic henchmen as few saints will ever have a direct encounter with Satan for he is not omnipresent]  will continually to prowl to and fro looking for an opportune time to attack us again (That was his tact with our Lord - Lk 4:13, cp Mk 14:15). Maintain a humble mindset. Submit to God. Resist the devil. This is the path to victory in "spiritual warfare 101". It has to do with your willingness to obey and submit.

Hupotasso is used 15x in the Septuagint (LXX) (Greek of OT Hebrew) - 1Ki 10:15; 1Chr. 22:18; 29:24; 2Chr 9:14; Esther 3:13; 8:12; Ps 8:6; 18:47; 37:7; 47:3; 60:8; 62:1, 5; 108:9; 144:2; Da 6:13; 7:27; 11:37, 39; Hag. 2:18), for example David records that

Thou dost make him to rule over the works of Thy hands; Thou hast put (LXX - hupotasso = subjected) all things under his feet. (Ps 8:6) (See Spurgeon's comment)

Illustration - The eleventh–century German monarch Henry III became tired of his responsibilities and the worldliness of court life and decided to become a monk. When he went to the monastery and explained his intent, the prior warned him that the course he had chosen would be a difficult one. "Your Majesty,” Prior Richard explained, “do you understand that the pledge here is one of obedience? That will be hard because you have been a king.” King Henry was undaunted and replied, “I understand. The rest of my life I will be obedient to you, as Christ leads you.” “Then I will tell you what to do,” Prior Richard said. “Go back to your throne and serve faithfully in the place where God has placed you.” Henry did as he was told. After he died, he was given this epitaph: “The King learned to rule by being obedient.” The same might also be said of us. Submission is an important component of the life of obedience to Christ. Not only are we told to submit to Christ, but we also have an obligation to submit to the human authorities that God has placed over us.

Some years ago, pop singer Bob Dylan penned a song that declared, “You gotta serve somebody.” Have you ever calculated how many people are in authority over you? Try naming as many as you can. Whether it is to a parent, an employer, or the officer who directs traffic on the corner, everyone has somebody to whom they are expected to submit. To whom do you find it most difficult to submit and why? Remember that, like King Henry, Christians also “learn to rule by being obedient.” (Today in the Word)

TO RULERS [AND] TO AUTHORITIES: archais exousiais hupotassesthai peitharchein:

In modern vernacular, these two terms would refer to everything from the president down to the city government and local police.

Rulers (746) (arche)  refers to the commencement of something as an action, process, or state of being. Here arché  refers to first in relation to time (priority in time, the beginning of anything, the origin and by far the most common use in the NT)

Arché is used 55 times in the NT (note which NT writer has most uses - Matt. 19:4, 8; 24:8, 21; Mk. 1:1; 10:6; 13:8, 19; Lk. 1:2; 12:11; 20:20; Jn. 1:1, 2; 2:11; 6:64; 8:25, 44; 15:27; 16:4; Acts 10:11; 11:5, 15; 26:4; Ro 8:38; 1 Co. 15:24; Eph. 1:21; 3:10; 6:12; Phil. 4:15; Col. 1:16, 18; 2:10, 15; Titus 3:1; Heb. 1:10; 2:3; 3:14; 5:12; 6:1; 7:3; 2 Pet. 3:4; 1 Jn. 1:1; 2:7, 13, 14, 24; 3:8, 11; 2 Jn. 1:5, 6; Jude 1:6; Rev. 3:14; 21:6; 22:13) and is translated: beginning, 38; corners, 2; domain, 1; elementary, 1; first, 1; first preaching, 1; principalities, 1; rule, 4; rulers, 6.

The Septuagint (LXX) uses arche 162 times - Gen. 1:1, 16; 2:10; 10:10; 13:4; 40:13, 20f; 41:13, 21; 43:18, 20; 49:3; Exod. 6:25; 12:2; 34:22; 39:16; Num. 1:2; 4:22; 24:20; 26:2; Deut. 11:12; 17:18, 20; 21:17; 33:15, 27; Jos. 24:2; Jdg. 7:11, 16f, 19f; 9:34, 37, 43f; 20:18; Ruth 1:22; 1 Sam. 11:11; 13:17f; 2 Sam. 7:10; 14:26; 17:9; 21:9f; 1 Ki. 7:35; 21:9, 12; 2 Ki. 17:25; 1 Chr. 12:32; 16:7; 17:9; 26:10; 29:12; 2 Chr. 13:12; 23:8; Ezr. 4:6; 8:18; 9:2; Neh. 9:17; 12:46; Est. 4:17; 8:12; Job 37:3; 40:19; Ps. 74:2; 77:11; 78:2; 102:25; 110:3; 111:10; 119:152, 160; 137:6; 139:17; Prov. 1:7; 8:22f; 9:10; 15:33; 16:7, 12; 17:14; Eccl. 3:11; 7:8; 10:13; Song 4:8; Isa. 1:26; 2:6; 9:6f, 15; 10:10; 19:11, 15; 22:11; 23:7; 40:21; 41:4, 26f; 42:9f; 43:9, 13; 44:8; 45:21; 48:8, 16; 51:9; 63:16, 19; Jer. 2:3; 13:21; 22:6; 25:20; 26:1; 34:1; 49:2, 35; 51:58; Lam. 2:19; 4:1; Ezek. 10:11; 16:25, 31, 55; 21:19, 21; 29:14f; 31:3, 10, 14; 36:11; 42:10, 12; 43:14; 48:1; Dan. 2:37; 6:26; 7:12, 14, 26f; 8:1; 9:21, 23; 11:41; Hos. 1:2, 11; Amos 6:1, 7; Obad. 1:20; Mic. 3:1; 4:8; 5:2; Nah. 1:6; 3:8, 10; Hab. 1:12; Zech. 12:7.

Arché  refers to what is first or has primacy (the state of being first). Arché refers to one with whom a process begins, beginning (Col 1:18-note). Arché refers the first cause, the beginning (Rev 3:14-note) Arché can refer to the first in a series of things or persons. When applied to an individual, arché  refers to one who is first in order of importance or power.

Arche speaks of those first in order of rulership in a community, “the first ones” in the town. He is an an authority figure who initiates activity or process. Here in Titus 3:1 arché speaks of the persons first in order of rulership in a community, “the first ones” in the town.

Vincent says arché  refers to beginning and so is that which begins, in this case the leader or the principality. (KJV translates arché as principalities in Titus 3:1, principality being  a powerful ruler, or the rule of someone in authority)

Arché speaks of  the sphere of one’s official activity, authority or rule.

 In Jude 1:6 we read of

angels who did not keep their own domain (arché), but abandoned their proper abode, He has kept in eternal bonds under darkness for the judgment of the great day."

In this use arché  speaks of the exalted position of angels in heaven, in contradistinction to the lower place occupied by the earth dwellers. This high position and condition, these angels left, which means that they descended to a lower position and condition. In doing that they sinned.

Wuest comments that means arché

first of all" and that "The angels left their first or original status as angels, their original position, to violate the laws of God which kept them separate from the human race, members of which latter race occupy a different category among the created intelligences than that of angels."  (Ibid)

Arché speaks of  the elementary and preliminary aspects defining the nature of something. For example in Hebrews we read

For though by this time you ought to be teachers, you have need again for someone to teach you the elementary (arché) principles of the oracles of God, and you have come to need milk and not solid food." (He 5:12-note)

Arché  is used of a corner of a sheet (from the idea that  the corners are the beginnings of the sheet) so in Acts 11:5 Luke records "a certain object coming down like great sheet lowered by four corners from the sky..."

Examples of Uses
of Arché

Jesus declared that

all these things are merely the beginning (arché) of birth pangs." (Mt 24:8) 

John writes that

In the beginning (arché) was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God" (John 1:1).

John records Jesus' words declaring that He is

The Amen, the faithful and true Witness, the Beginning (arché) of the creation of God" (Re 3:14-note)

In addressing a group of "pseudo-believing" Jews, Jesus declared to them that

You are of your father the devil, and you want to do the desires of your father. He was a murderer from the beginning (arché), and does not stand in the truth, because there is no truth in him. Whenever he speaks a lie, he speaks from his own nature; for he is a liar, and the father of lies." (Jn 8:44)

In his first epistle John writes that

the one who (habitually) practices sin is of the devil; for the devil has sinned from the beginning (arché) . The Son of God appeared for this purpose, that He might destroy the works of the devil." (1Jn 3:8)

In the last use in the NT Jesus declares

I am the Alpha and the Omega, the first and the last, the beginning (arché) and the end." (Re 22:13-note)

Jesus promised His disciples that

 when they bring you before the synagogues and the rulers (arché) and the authorities (exousía), do not become anxious about how or what you should speak in your defense, or what you should say for the Holy Spirit will teach you in that very hour what you ought to say." (Lk 12:11, 12)

In a reference to the hierarchy of evil supernatural beings Paul writes

For I am convinced that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities (arché), nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers,  nor height, nor depth, nor any other created thing, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord." (Ro 8:38, 39-note)

In a similar use Paul reminds the saints at Ephesus that Christ is now seated

far above all rule (arché) and authority (exousia) and power and dominion, and every name that is named, not only in this age, but also in the one to come." (Ep 1:21- note)

Paul reminds all believers that we need the full armor of God

"for our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers (arché) against the powers (exousia), against the world forces of this darkness, against the spiritual forces of wickedness in the heavenly places." (Ep 6:12-note)

Paul reminds the Colossian saints that in Christ

"you have been made complete (perfect tense = permanence) and He is the head over all rule (arché) and authority." (Col 2:10-note)

Arché is used 158 times in the Septuagint (LXX = Greek of Hebrew OT), the first use referring to time, Moses recording

"In the beginning (LXX = arché) God made the heaven and the earth." (Ge 1:1)

In another reference to time we read that

"Naomi returned and with her Ruth the Moabitess, her daughter-in-law, who returned from the land of Moab. And they came to Bethlehem at the beginning (LXX = arché) of barley harvest." (Ru 1:22-note)

In a reference acknowledging the preeminence and rule of Jehovah we read

"Now behold, God is with us at our Head (LXX = arché) and His priests with the signal trumpets to sound the alarm against you. O sons of Israel, do not fight against the LORD God of your fathers, for you will not succeed." (2Chr 13:12)

John MacArthur comments that

"It is important to note that Paul specifies no particular kind or level of government or any particular kind or level of government official. He allows for no exceptions or qualifications." (Ibid)

Authorities (1849) (exousia) is derived from éxesti = it is permitted, it is lawful meaning liberty of action. Exousía  means the power to do something and was a technical term used in the law courts, of a legal right. "Authority or right is the dominant meaning (of exousia) in the New Testament." (Vincent)

Exousía in short refers to delegated authority and combines the idea of the "right and the might", these attributes having been granted to someone.

Vine explains that exousía evolved

from the meaning of "leave or permission" or "liberty of doing as one pleases" and passed to that of "the ability or strength with which one is endued," then to that of the "power of authority," the right to exercise power or "the power of rule or government," the power of one whose will and commands must be obeyed by others. (Vine, W E: Vine's Complete Expository Dictionary of Old and New Testament Words. 1996. Nelson)

Wuest writes that exousía means literally

“to be out,” and was used of that authority which a person has which is delegated to him from someone else. The person delegating the authority is in a sense out of himself and acting in the person to whom he has delegated the authority. Thus, the word means “delegated authority.” The word means also “the power of authority and of right.” It was used in legal practice of delegated authority. Here it is used of our Lord as having that authority in Himself, not derived from others. The rabbis quoted from other rabbis and felt themselves to be expounders of tradition. The Messiah struck a new note here, and the people were quick to recognize it. They saw that here was a Teacher who spoke on His own authority." (Ibid)

Here in Titus exousía speaks of delegated authority and qualifies the civil rulers as those having duly constituted authority.

Exousía -102x - Mt. 7:29; 8:9; 9:6, 8; 10:1; 21:23f, 27; 28:18; Mk. 1:22, 27; 2:10; 3:15; 6:7; 11:28, 29, 33; 13:34; Lk. 4:6, 32, 36; 5:24; 7:8; 9:1; 10:19; 12:5, 11; 19:17; 20:2, 8, 20; 22:53; 23:7; Jn. 1:12; 5:27; 10:18; 17:2; 19:10, 11; Acts 1:7; 5:4; 8:19; 9:14; 26:10, 12, 18; Ro 9:21; 13:1, 2, 3; 1Co. 7:37; 8:9; 9:4, 5, 6, 12, 18; 11:10; 15:24; 2 Co. 10:8; 13:10; Eph. 1:21; 2:2; 3:10; 6:12; Col. 1:13, 16; 2:10, 15; 2Th 3:9; Titus 3:1; Heb. 13:10; 1 Pet. 3:22; Jude 1:25; Rev. 2:26; 6:8; 9:3, 10, 19; 11:6; 12:10; 13:2, 4, 5, 7, 12; 14:18; 16:9; 17:12, 13; 18:1; 20:6; 22:14) NAS -authorities, 7; authority, 65; charge, 1; control, 1; domain, 2; dominion, 1; jurisdiction, 1; liberty, 1; power, 11; powers, 1; right, 11.

When a person delegates someone to do something for him and in his name, he is in a sense in that person, doing that very thing which he asked the other one to do. For example, the Son of Man on earth had the delegated authority, as the Son of God, from God the Father, to forgive sins, Mark recording that

But in order that you may know that the Son of Man has authority (exousía) on earth to forgive sins”—He said to the paralytic— “I say to you, rise, take up your pallet and go home. (Mk 2:10, 11).

To further illustrate the meaning we read that Jesus

summoned the twelve and began to send them out in pairs; and He was giving them authority over the unclean spirits." (Mk 6:7)

Comment: This power over the demons would authenticate their preaching

The first use of exousía in the NT is by Matthew (and Mark) who records

that when Jesus had finished these words, the multitudes were amazed at His teaching for He was teaching them as one having authority (exousía), and not as their scribes. (Mt 7:28, 29-notes)

A T Robertson commenting on the meaning of exousía in Mt 7:29 adds that Jesus

"struck a note not found by the rabbi.  They quoted other rabbis and felt their function to be expounders of the traditions which they made a millstone around the necks of the people. By so doing they set aside the word and will of God by their traditions and petty legalism (Mk 7:9,13). They were casuists and made false interpretations to prove their punctilious points of external etiquette to the utter neglect of the spiritual reality. The people noticed at once that here was a personality who got his power (authority) direct from God, not from the current scribes." (Titus 3 Word Studies)

Paul explained to the Ephesians that prior to their new birth, they had

"walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power  (exousía) (here synonymous with evil spirits or demons whose realm was the atmosphere) of the air, of the spirit that is now working in the sons of disobedience." (Ep 2:2-note)

Exousía is used as a reference to demon powers also in Ep 1:21 (note) and Ep 6:12 (note).

Paul uses exousía in his let to the Colossians reminding them that God has "delivered us from the domain (exousia) of darkness and transferred us to the kingdom of His beloved Son in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins." (Col 1:13, 14-notes)

Wuest comments that the in Titus 3:1

exousia properly signifies liberty of action, and thus, like the corresponding English word license, involves secondary ideas, of which either may be so prominent as to eclipse the other; (1) authority, delegated power  or (2) tyranny, lawlessness, unrestrained or arbitrary power... this latter idea of a capricious unruly rule is prominent here (Col 1:13, 14-notes). The expression ‘the power of darkness’ occurs also in Lk 22:53 (Jesus declared “While I was with you daily in the temple, you did not lay hands on Me; but this hour and the power (exousía) of darkness are yours.”), where again the idea of disorder is involved. The transference from darkness to light is here represented as a transference from an arbitrary tyranny, an exousia, to a well-ordered sovereignty, a kingdom.” The phrase refers to the tyrannical rule of Satan and his demons over the unsaved. (Ibid)

God Himself "removes kings and establishes kings" (Da 2:21) Jesus speaking to Pilate reminded even this corrupt ruler that

"You would have no authority (exousia) over Me, unless it had been given you from above." (Jn 19:11).

God is the sovereign authority and He is in control.

Exousía  is used 24 times in the non-apocryphal Septuagint (LXX) - 2Ki 20:13; Esther 3:13; 4:17; 8:12; Ps 114:2; 136:8 9; Pr 17:14; Eccl 8:8; Da 3:2, 3, 30; 4:1, 3, 17, 26, 27, 31, 34; 5:4, 7, 16, 29; 6:3; 7:6, 12, 14, 26, 27; 11:5;

The psalmist writes that we should give thanks to God who made

The sun to rule (LXX  = exousia) by day, for His lovingkindness is everlasting, the moon and stars to rule (LXX = exousia) by night, for His lovingkindness is everlasting."  (Ps 136:8, 9)

The heavenly bodies received their "authority to rule" from Jehovah God. In an passage prophesying the reign of Messiah Daniel records that

to Him was given the dominion (LXX  = exousia), and the honour, and the kingdom; and all nations, tribes, and languages, shall serve him: his dominion (LXX = exousia) is an everlasting dominion (LXX = exousia), which shall not pass away, and his kingdom shall not be destroyed." (Da 7:14-note)

In this same section, Daniel predicts the judgment on the "rather small horn" (the Antichrist of Re 13:2-note where

And the dragon gave him his power and his throne and great authority." Antichrist's power delegated by Satan) when "the court will sit for judgment and his dominion (LXX = exousia) will be taken away, annihilated and destroyed forever." (Da 7:26-note)

Daniel then records that "we the people" receive this exousia, writing that

Then the sovereignty, the dominion (LXX  = exousia), and the greatness of all the kingdoms under the whole heaven will be given to the people of the saints of the Highest One; His kingdom will be an everlasting kingdom, and all the dominions (LXX  = exousia) will serve and obey Him." (Da 7:27-note)

TO BE OBEDIENT: peitharchein (PAN):

To be obedient (3980) (peitharcheo from peitho = persuade, obey + arche = ruler) which literally means to be persuaded by a ruler and then to obey and submit to the authority of rulers or magistrates.

This rare verb form is almost a reiteration of the preceding section.

Cretans were naturally intractable, and so Paul tells Titus to continually remind the Christians to obey (present tense = continual action called for) the civil authorities, some of whom were undoubtedly "liars, evil beasts, lazy gluttons." (Titus 1:12-note) In such a difficult environment, the old flesh nature can be easily provoked to less than godly words and actions. Therefore the only way believers can successfully heed these instructions is by continual dependence on the "grace of God" (Titus 2:11-note) instructing us to deny ungodliness.

The mention of obedience

states the result and visible demonstration of their attitude of submission. (Ibid)

Polybius wrote that the Cretans were notorious for a rebellious spirit and were constantly involved in

insurrections, murders and internecine wars.

TO BE READY FOR EVERY GOOD DEED: pros pan ergon agathon hetoimous einai, (PAN)(Titus 3:8,14; 2:14; 1Cor 15:58; Gal 6:9,10; Ep 2:10; Php 1:11; Col 1:10; 1Ti 5:10; 2Ti 2:21; Heb 13:21)

Ready (2092) (hetoimos from an old noun heteos = fitness)  means ready, prepared, in a state of readiness.

TDNT says that

The clear meaning of this word group is preparation both in the active sense of “making ready” and in the passive of “readiness,” “ability” or “resolution.” (Kittel, G., Friedrich, G., & Bromiley, G. W.  Theological Dictionary of the New Testament. Eerdmans)

Hetoimos is used 17x in the NASB (Matt. 22:4, 8; 24:44; 25:10; Mk. 14:15; Lk. 12:40; 14:17; 22:33; Jn. 7:6; Acts 23:15, 21; 2 Co. 9:5; 10:6, 16; Titus 3:1; 1 Pet. 1:5; 3:15) and is translated: accomplished, 1; opportune, 1; ready, 15.

We get a good sense of the meaning of hétoimos in Jesus instruction to His disciples that

For this reason (in light of alertness necessary to catch a thief at night) you be (continually, habitually, as your lifestyle) ready (hétoimos) too for the Son of Man is coming at an hour when you do not think He will." (Mt 24:44)

Jesus is saying that His people should be on the tiptoes of expectancy. (Mt 25:20 = similar warning)

In another NT use Peter exhorts suffering saints that instead of fearing intimidation and being agitated, saints are to "sanctify Christ as Lord in your hearts, always (all times, all places, no exceptions) [being] ready (hétoimos) to make a defense (an apologetic) to everyone who asks you to give an account for the hope that is in you, yet with gentleness and reverence" (1Pe 3:15-note)

Peter is insisting that the believer must understand what he believes and why one is a Christian, and then BE READY and BE ABLE to articulate one’s beliefs humbly, thoughtfully, reasonably, and biblically. Are you "ready"?

Hetoimos - 35x in the non-apocryphal Septuagint - Ex 15:17; 19:11, 15; 34:2; Lev. 16:21; Nu 16:16; Deut. 32:35; Jos. 4:3; 8:4; 1 Sam. 13:21; 26:4; 2Sa 23:5; 1Ki. 2:45; 8:39, 43, 49; 2Chr. 6:2, 30, 33, 39; Esther 1:1; 3:14; 8:13; Ps. 17:12; 33:14; 38:17; 57:7; 93:2; 108:1; 112:7; Ezek. 21:10, 11; Hos. 6:3; Mic 4:1; 6:8).

In a verse that Jonathan Edwards took as his text for famous sermon, "Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God", Moses records God's declaration that

Vengeance is Mine, and retribution. In due time their foot will slip; for the day of their calamity is near and the impending things are hastening upon (LXX = hetoimos = in a state of readiness) them." (Dt 32:35)

In the Psalms (Ps 57:7), hetoimos is used to describe the psalmist's heart as in a state of preparedness or readiness. In a well known verse Micah declares

He has told you, O man, what is good; and what does the LORD require of you but to do justice, to love kindness, and to walk humbly (LXX = hetoimos = to be ready to walk) with your God? (Micah 6:8)

Here in Titus 3, Paul says that Titus is to continually remind the Cretan Christians to continually be ("be" is in the present tense = this is to be their habitual practice, their very lifestyle) in a state of readiness, fitness and preparedness (hetoimos) as good Christian citizens to carry out good deeds.

As good citizens, believers must also "be ready to do whatever is good"--prepared and willing to participate in activities that promote the welfare of the community. They must not stand coldly aloof from praiseworthy enterprises of government but show good public spirit, thus proving that Christianity is a constructive force in society. (Ibid)

Why are believers to be "ready", "ripe", "primed " or "prepared", able to respond without delay or hesitation? In short this attitude equips us for every good deed.

Good deed or "good work" (ergon = work + agathon = good) is a frequent Pauline phrase used 6x in the short letter to Titus (Titus 1:16, 2:7, 14, 3:1, 8, 14-see notes Ti 1:16; 2:7; 14; 3:1; 8; 14). 

Related Resources:

Torrey's Topic - Good Works
Spurgeon's sermon -  Good Works

Another discussion on good works
Incredible example of good deeds
See "created for good works" - Ephesians 2:10

Here are all the NT uses of the phrase good work(s) or good deed(s) (Note some of these uses use kalos for good rather than agathos)...

Matthew 5:16-note Let your light shine before men in such a way that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father who is in heaven.

Comment: The difficult portion of this verse is "in such a way" (e.g., see 1Co 4:5 - even our "motives" will be assayed by our Righteous Refiner! Woe!)

Mt 26:10 But Jesus, aware of this, said to them, "Why do you bother the woman? For she has done a good deed to Me.

Mark 14:6 But Jesus said, "Let her alone; why do you bother her? She has done a good deed to Me.

John 10:32-33 Jesus answered them, "I showed you many good works from the Father; for which of them are you stoning Me?" 33 The Jews answered Him, "For a good work we do not stone You, but for blasphemy; and because You, being a man, make Yourself out to be God."

2Cor 5:10-note For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, that each one may be recompensed for his deeds in the body, according to what he has done, whether good or bad

Comment: bad is not kakos or evil as the Textus Receptus has it but phaulos = worthlessness. Phaulos signifies the impossibility of any true gain ever coming forth from the action being judged.

2Cor 9:8 And God is able to make all grace abound to you, that always having all sufficiency in everything, you may have an abundance for every good deed;

Comment: This verse emphasizes that good deeds are grace deeds and as such are in no may natural deeds but supernatural deeds.

Ephesians 2:10-note For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.

Philippians 1:6-
note - For I am confident of this very thing, that He who began a good work in you will perfect it until the day of Christ Jesus.

Colossians 1:10-
note - so that you will walk in a manner worthy of the Lord, to please Him in all respects, bearing fruit in every good work and increasing in the knowledge of God;

Comment: Here we see good works can be discerned by bearing spiritual fruit and we observe from this prayer beginning in Col 1:9-note that the person who does good deeds is filled with a knowledge of God's will in all spiritual wisdom and understanding. In other words they are not filled up with themselves and their desire for men's adulation.

2Th 2:17 - comfort and strengthen your hearts in every good work and word.

Comment: Paul explains the role of prayer in good deeds.

1Ti 2:10 but rather by means of good works, as befits women making a claim to godliness.

1Ti 5:10 - having a reputation for good works; and if she has brought up children, if she has shown hospitality to strangers, if she has washed the saints' feet, if she has assisted those in distress, and if she has devoted herself to every good work.

1Ti 5:25 Likewise also, deeds that are good are quite evident, and those which are otherwise cannot be concealed.

1Ti 6:18 Instruct them to do good, to be rich in good works, to be generous and ready to share, 19 storing up for themselves the treasure of a good foundation for the future, so that they may take hold of that which is life indeed.

Comment: Note the eternal aspect of good deeds done in this present age!

2Timothy 2:21-note - Therefore, if anyone cleanses himself from these things, he will be a vessel for honor, sanctified, useful to the Master, prepared for every good work.

Comment: Note our part in making ourselves holy vessels which God would use to carry out His holy deeds.

2Timothy 3:17-note - so that the man of God may be adequate, equipped for every good work.

Comment: Observe the vital role of the "all Scripture" in equipping the man or woman of God for good deeds! What is the implication if a person is continually practicing "good deeds" but is virtually never taking in the pure milk of the Word?

Titus 1:16-note They profess to know God, but by their deeds they deny Him, being detestable and disobedient, and worthless for any good deed.

Comment: Possessors of Christ's Spirit, not professors of such, are the only ones who can perform good God glorifying deeds.

Titus 2:7-note in all things show yourself to be an example of good deeds, with purity in doctrine, dignified,

Titus 2:14-note who gave Himself for us, that He might redeem us from every lawless deed and purify for Himself a people for His own possession, zealous for good deeds.

Comment: Realization of the truth that we are His precious possession, motivates to be "boiling" or "on fire" for good deeds.

Titus 3:1-note Remind them to be subject to rulers, to authorities, to be obedient, to be ready for every good deed,

Comment: Being ready or prepared for "God deeds" necessitates that we walk in communion with Christ so that we might see with eyes of faith those deeds which were prepared beforehand.

Titus 3:8-note This is a trustworthy statement; and concerning these things I want you to speak confidently, so that those who have believed God may be careful to engage in good deeds. These things are good and profitable for men.

Titus 3:14-note And let our people also learn to engage in good deeds to meet pressing needs, that they may not be unfruitful.

Hebrews 10:24-note and let us consider how to stimulate one another to love and good deeds,

Comment: We need to provoke one another to carry out good deeds.

1Peter 2:12-note Keep your behavior excellent among the Gentiles, so that in the thing in which they slander you as evildoers, they may on account of your good deeds, as they observe them, glorify God in the day of visitation.

Comment: The purpose of good deeds is similar to that explained by Jesus in Mt 5:16-note

Good deeds are God deeds, deeds prepared by, initiated by and empowered by God's Spirit, the Spirit of Christ, Who lives in us and as such are deeds which are designed to glorify our Father (Mt 5:16-note). Good deeds are not natural deeds but supernatural deeds, as is clearly shown by the foundation of such deeds which Paul explained to the saints in Ephesus writing that...

we (saints by grace through faith) are His workmanship (poiema = His work of art, His masterpieces!), created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them. (Eph 2:10-note)

When is beforehand? I believe these works were prepared even before we were born again and in fact even before the foundation of the world. I would submit when He ordained that we would be His children, choosing us to be in Christ before the foundation of the world. (Eph 1:14-note)

John Morley helps us understand the "good" in "good deeds" writing that...

It is not enough to do good. One must do it in the right way.

Chester A. Pennington also adds the qualifier that...

No amount of good deeds can make us good persons. We must be good before we can do good.

Oswald Chambers (1874-1917)

The expression of Christian character is not good doing, but God-likeness.

See related resource by A W Pink - The Scriptures and Good Works

Paul emphasized the principle that good deeds flow from "ready" vessels, writing that

if a man cleanses himself from these things (Amplified - "from what is ignoble and unclean, who separates himself from contact with contaminating and corrupting influences"), he will be a vessel (instrument) for honor, sanctified, useful (beneficial for honorable and noble purposes) to the Master, prepared (ready, ripe, primed) for every good work (ergon agathon)." (2Ti 2:21-note)

In other words, you get up, go to work, and immediately God gives you an opportunity to perform a good work. Are you ready?

Every morning is a new day of opportunity and we need to arise and "present (our) bodies a living and holy sacrifice, acceptable to God" (Ro 12:1-note), redeem (buy up) "the time (opportunities), because the days are evil" (Eph 5:16-note), disciplining ourselves for godliness which is "profitable for all things, since it holds promise for the present life and also for the life to come." (1Ti 4:7, 8-see notes 4:7; 4:8)

R. L. Dabney adds that...

The gospel teaches us that while believers are not rewarded on account of their works, they are rewarded according to their works...While our works are naught as a ground of merit for justification, they are all-important as evidences that we are justified.

Spurgeon put it this way...

I would not give much for your religion unless it can be seen. Lamps do not talk, but they do shine.

Don't let the opportunities slip by. Be "confessed up", "repented up" and "filled up" with the Holy Spirit and you will be ready to recognize the opportunities God graciously gives. And remember that although we are to be seen doing good works, we must not do good works in order to be seen!

Peter explained the vital importance of good deeds in a godless society exhorting us to

Keep (our) behavior excellent among the Gentiles, so that in the thing in which they slander (us) as evildoers, they may because of (our) good deeds, as they observe (behold with their own eyes like a spectator or overseer) them, glorify God in the day of visitation." (1Pe 2:12-note)

In light of the importance of good deeds, the writer of Hebrews encourages saints to

consider how to stimulate one another to love and good deeds. (He 10:24-note)

Your good works will validate your good words (works are fruit but words are leaves) which is in stark contrast to the false teachers who

profess to know God, but by their deeds they (continually) deny Him, being detestable (root word = "to stink"!) and disobedient and worthless for any good deed” (Titus 1:16-note).

Good deeds are not the root of salvation, but they are the fruit of genuine salvation (cf Mt 3:8; Ep 2:10 [note]). 

The lives of believers should continually demonstrate the reality of the spiritual regeneration and supernatural transformation they have received by grace through faith in Jesus Christ. 

Believers who have been redeemed...from every lawless deed and now are the rightful possessions of Christ, are to be zealous (afire, ardent, fervent, eager, enthusiastic) for good deeds. (Titus 2:14-note)

Thomas Adams phrased it this way...

Good deeds are such things that no man is saved for them nor without them.

John Calvin rightly reminds us (for a man is tested by the praise accorded him - Pr 27:21)...

In our good works nothing is our own.

Oswald Chambers alluded to the supernatural aspect of good deeds when he exhorted us to...

Do good until it is an unconscious habit of life and you do not know you are doing it.

Martin Luther in his preface to his comments on Romans wrote...

Oh, it is a living, busy, active, mighty thing, this faith; and so it is impossible for it not to do good works incessantly. It does not ask whether there are good works to do, but before the question rises; it has already done them, and is always at the doing of them. He who does not these works is a faithless man. He gropes and looks about after faith and good works, and knows neither what faith is nor what good works are, though he talks and talks, with many words, about faith and good works.

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HIS WORKS/MY WORKS - If God did not bless, not one hair, not a solitary wisp of straw, would grow; but there would be an end of everything. At the same time God wants me to take this stance: I would have nothing whatever if I did not plow and sow. God does not want to have success come without work, and yet I am not to achieve it by my work. He does not want me to sit at home, to loaf, to commit matters to God, and to wait till a fried chicken flies into my mouth. That would be tempting God. (Related Resources: Two Ropes; Divine Sovereignty vs. Human Responsibility);

Spurgeon wrote the following regarding works and our Salvation.

William Wickham being appointed by King Edward to build a stately church, wrote in the windows, "This work made William Wickham." When charged by the king for assuming the honour of that work to himself as the author, whereas he was only the overseer, he answered that he meant not that he made the work, but that the work made him, having before been very poor, and then in great credit. Lord, when we read in thy Word that we must work out our own salvation, thy meaning is not that our salvation (Php 2:12-note) should be the effect of our work, but our faith — Feathers for Arrows (See Ep 2:10- notes for a faith that works)

As alluded to in some of the preceding quotes, we must be careful to notice that the phrase is good deeds which differs from your deeds. Let me explain. Paul is calling for good (agathos = good in its character or constitution, beneficial in its effect) deeds, and the only "good" deeds are those borne by believers (like "branches") who are abiding in Christ ("the Vine"). Good deeds reflect Christ's life flowing through us, initiated and energized by His Spirit and bringing glory to His Father (Mt 5:16-note). Paul reminds us in (Php 2:13-note)

it is God Who is at work in you, both to will and to work for His good pleasure.

Jesus stated the basic principle of good deeds when He declared

"I am the vine, you are the branches; he who abides in Me, and I in him, he bears much fruit; for apart from Me you can do nothing (absolutely, totally nothing!)...By this is My Father glorified, that you bear much fruit (good deeds = good fruit) and so prove to be My disciples...You did not choose Me, but I chose you, and appointed you, that you should go and bear fruit, and that your fruit should remain...." (John 15:5,8,16)

Paul reminded the Corinthian church of this same foundational principle regarding good deeds, explaining that

God is able to make all grace abound to you, so that always having all sufficiency in everything, you may have an abundance for every good deed (2Cor 9:8).

Paul acknowledged that the key to his good works was the grace of God writing that His

grace toward me did not prove vain; but I labored even more than all of them, yet not I, but the grace of God with me. (1Cor 15:10-note).  

In his first letter to the Corinthians Paul emphasized that

no man can lay a foundation other than the one which is laid, which is Jesus Christ ("the Vine"). Now if any man builds upon the foundation with gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, straw, each man's work will become evident; for the day will show it, because it is to be revealed with fire; and the fire itself will test the quality of each man's work. If any man's work which he has built upon it remains, he shall receive a reward. If any man's work is burned up, he shall suffer loss; but he himself shall be saved, yet so as through fire. (1Cor 3:11, 12, 13, 14, 15)

One day in the future the Lord Jesus will even

disclose the motives of men's hearts; and then each man's praise will come to him from God. (1Cor 4:5)

Note: Each man will receive praise! Amazing grace! Praise the Lord!

In sum, Paul is referring to a genuine, sincere, loving, Spirit empowered, God glorifying eagerness to serve others. No matter how hostile the society around us may be, we are to be good to the people in it whose lives intersect with ours. Paul reminded the Galatian believers that “While we have opportunity, [we are to] do good (agathos) to all men, and especially to those who are of the household of the faith” (Gal. 6:10). Believers are to be known for what might be described as consistent aggressive goodness, done however not simply out of a sense of obligation or duty but out of an unselfish love for our Lord and for other people,

for (we) have been called for this purpose, since Christ also suffered for (us), leaving (us) an example...to follow in His steps...entrusting Himself to Him Who judges righteously. (1Pe 2:21, 22, 23-notes)

We do not witness only with our lips; we must back up our "talk" with our "walk." There should be nothing in our conduct that will give the unsaved world ammunition to attack Christ and the Gospel. Our good works must back up our good words. Jesus said this in Matthew 5:16-note ("Let your light shine before men in such a way that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father who is in heaven."), and the entire Bible echoes this truth. The powerful impact Christians can make on the lost when they combine a godly life with a loving witness is well known to most believers. We all know of instances of some wonderful conversions simply because dedicated Christians let their lights shine. On the other hand, we can recall with grief some lost persons who rejected the Word because of the inconsistent lives of "professed" believers.

In the summer of 1805, a number of Indian chiefs and warriors met in council at Buffalo Creek, New York to hear a presentation of the Christian message by a Mr. Cram from the Boston Missionary Society. After the sermon, a response was given by Red Jacket, one of the leading chiefs. Among other things, the chief said: "Brother, you say that there is but one way to worship and serve the Great Spirit. If there is but one religion, why do you white people differ so much about it? Why not all agree, as you can all read the Book?

"Brother, we are told that you have been preaching to the white people in this place. These people are our neighbors. We are acquainted with them. We will wait a little while and see what effect your preaching has upon them. If we find it does them good, makes them honest and less disposed to cheat Indians, we will then consider again of what you have said."

We are the Bibles the world is reading.
We are the truths the world is needing.
We may be the sermons the world is heeding.

Barnes adds that

A Christian should be always ready to do good as far as he is able. He should not need to be urged, or coaxed, or persuaded, but should be so ready always to do good that he will count it a privilege to have the opportunity to do it.

Matthew Henry reminds us that

Spiritual privileges do not make void or weaken, but confirm civil duties. Mere good words and good meanings are not enough without good works.

Thomas Adams

Good deeds are such things that no man is saved for them nor without them.

Paul now begins to elaborate on what is meant by “every good deed” in the verses that follow.

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I have gotten more hurt by my GOOD works than my bad ones. My bad works always drove me to the Savior for mercy; my good works often kept me from him, and I began to trust in myself. - Ralph Erskine

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Win Or Lose, Do Good - When the results of today's presidential election are known, US citizens will either be glad or sad, depending on their political persuasion. Those who voted for the winner are likely to accept the authority of the government he establishes. Most others will submit, though grudgingly.

Christians are to go beyond mere submission to governing authorities and follow the guidelines given in the Bible. In writing to Titus, Paul said we should also be peaceable and considerate, and we should do good without slandering anyone (Titus 3:1, 2).

Titus was working among believers in Crete, a place notorious for its unruly inhabitants. There were good reasons to say bad things about the people living and ruling there, but Paul warned Christians not to do it.

In fact, seven times in his short letter to Titus, Paul mentioned the importance of doing good: loving what is good (Titus 1:8), teaching what is good (Titus 2:3), doing what is good (Titus 2:7,14; 3:1, 2,8,14).

Paul's letter is a timely reminder that as Christians we are to do what is good for people, regardless of whether we approve of their values and agree with their policies. It may not be easy, but it's the right thing to do.— Julie Ackerman Link
(Our Daily Bread, Copyright RBC Ministries, Grand Rapids, MI. Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved)

From the example of Jesus,
Who went about doing good,
We are to honor our Savior
By helping wherever He would. —Hess

Christians can be constructive if they refuse to be destructive.

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Spurgeon in his writing entitled Unprofitable Servants notes that...

Our good works are evidences of grace within us. Our faithfulness will be the evidence of our having a loving spirit towards our Master- evidence that our heart is changed, and that we have been made to love him for whom once we had no affection.

Our works are the proof of our love, and hence they stand as evidence of the grace of God.

God first gives us grace, and then rewards us for it. He works in us, and then counts the fruit as our work. We work out our own salvation (Php 2:12-
note), because "he works in us to will and to do of his own good pleasure (Php 2:13-note)."

If he shall ever say, "Well done" (cp Mt 25:21, 23 - Ed note: These two servants received the same reward, indicating that faithfulness in the use of the different abilities given to each of us is what is required. When the Mater returns will He find you faithful laboring in His power for His glory?) to you and to me it will be because of His own rich grace, and not because of our merits (cp 1Co 15:10, Zech 4:6, Col 1:29-note).

Therefore, my beloved brethren, be (present imperative-"Keep on keeping on"!) steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that your toil is not in vain in the Lord. 1Cor 15:58-note

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William S. Plumer (1853) writes in his chapter entitled Why Good Works Are Necessary...

So that unless men intend to abandon themselves to wickedness, despise God's authority, and fly in the face of the testimony of all true Christians, they must lead lives of holiness and obedience. Indeed the uniform teaching of Scripture is that while no man shall be saved for the merit of his works, yet men shall be judged and treated according to their works. The wicked deserve all that shall come upon them by lack of good works and their performance of evil works. The righteous do not indeed deserve any good thing, yet of his mercy and grace, God will at last reward them, as though they deserved much. Thus we read:

"The work of a man will God render unto him, and cause every man to find according to his ways." Job 34:11.

"You render to every man according to his work." Ps 62:12-note.

"Tell the righteous it will be well with them, for they will enjoy the fruit of their deeds. Woe to the wicked! Disaster is upon them! They will be paid back for what their hands have done." Isa 3:10, 11.

"I the Lord search the heart and examine the mind, to reward a man according to his conduct, according to what his deeds deserve." Jer. 17:10.

"The Son of man shall come in the glory of his Father, with his angels; and then he shall reward every man according to his works." Matt. 16:27.

God "will render to every man according to his deeds." Ro 2:6-note.

See also 2Co 5:10; Ga 6:7; Ep 6:8-note; 1Pe 1:17-note; Re 2:23-note, and Re 20:12-note, and Re 22:12-note.

So the doctrine is clear. He who sows sparingly shall reap also sparingly, while he who sows bountifully shall reap also bountifully (2Co 9:6). He, who cared comparatively little for the cause of Christ, and did but little for it, shall have a comparatively small reward, while he who gave up all and lived and died for Christ shall be very glorious.

"One star differs from another star in glory. So also is the resurrection from the dead." (Ed: I'm not sure this can be substantiated from Scripture, but it is possible. See 1Co 3:10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15)

To render mistake on this doctrine impossible, let it never be forgotten that the works of believers will not be the cause, but only the occasion of their many rich blessings; the measure, but not the merit of their reward. Nor is there anything in this contrary to the doctrine of gratuitous salvation; for these very works themselves are the fruit of God's mercy and love (cp Jn 15:5). He works in us both to will and to do of his good pleasure, and then kindly takes occasion from our obedience to measure out to us, of his own love and bounty, richer and vaster blessings still.

That our works themselves are from God the Bible everywhere teaches.

"From me is your fruit found." Hos. 14:8.

"Lord, you will ordain peace for us: for you also have wrought all our works in us." Isaiah 26:12.

"God is able to make all grace abound toward you; that you, always having all sufficiency in all things, may abound to every good work." 2Cor. 9:8.

In fact Jesus Christ "gave himself for us that he might redeem us from all iniquity, and purify unto himself a peculiar people, zealous of good works." Titus 2:14-note.

"Faith if it has not works is dead, being alone." Jas 2:17-note.

And here precisely is what the apostle James meant whet he said we are justified by works. His meaning is that we are justified in making our profession of faith, we establish our sincerity and consistency, we prove to all the world and to God himself that we are what we profess to be and ought to be, when our lives show forth the glory of God. (Ed: If you are confused by Paul and James on their use of the word "justified" [which each uses with a different sense!] see Jas 2:21-note and Jas 2:24-note)

Christian brethren, let us not be weary in well-doing, for in due time we shall reap if we faint not. Let us abound unto every good word and work. How dishonorable to religion it would be—if it were otherwise. Is not all religion an entire failure, if it does not bring us into conformity to God? "Grace is an immortal seed, cast into an immortal soil, which brings forth immortal fruit." (Why Good Works Are Necessary)

J C Philpot...

Among the innumerable displays of the infinite wisdom of God which the gospel of his grace has revealed and brought to light, must be named the special provision which he has made—that good works should hold therein a fitting and appropriate place. One of the strongest objections which cavilers and opponents have in all ages brought against the doctrine of salvation wholly and solely by grace is, that it supersedes the necessity of good works, and thus by virtually, if not nullifying, yet reducing them to insignificance, opens a door directly or indirectly for licentiousness. Could this charge be substantiated, it would be almost fatal to the claims of free grace as a divine revelation, for a holy God could not sanction, much less devise and reveal, a scheme of salvation which, by encouraging sin, should break down the very barriers of moral rectitude. Even our natural conscience—even our dim and misty notions of right and wrong, virtue and vice, good and evil—would be shocked at, and revolt from any conclusion which would impair the holiness of God, or represent him as sanctioning or licensing sin.

In order, therefore, to secure the gospel from so fatal a charge, God has made a special provision that good works shall occupy in it a high and honorable place. That good works should save is one thing, that they should be wholly set aside is another. Not only, then, shall they, according to God's appointment, not be set aside, but they shall be raised in worth and value. They shall be made a means of glorifying God—which sets on them a higher and nobler stamp than if they merely effected or concurred in the salvation of man. They shall be done from higher, better, and purer motives—they shall be wrought by the blessed Spirit—they shall be accepted by and approved of God as fruits of righteousness, which grow upon and manifest the living branches of the only true Vine (Jn 15:5).

But let us, taking up the thread of our exposition, observe more particularly the place in which they are set by the Apostle in the chapter before us—"For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God has before ordained that we should walk in them." (Ep 2:10-
note) Several points, thus placed before us, demand our attentive observation. (Click Part V for the remainder of Philpot's discussion  of Ep 2:10 from his book MEDITATIONS ON EPHESIANS)

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Last Updated July, 2013

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