1. Paul, a servant of God, and an apostle of Jesus Christ, according to the faith of God's elect, and the acknowledging of the truth which is after godliness;
1 Paulus servus Dei apostolus autem Iesu Christi secundum fidem electorum Dei et agnitionem veritatis quae secundum pietatem est
2 In hope of eternal life, which God, that cannot lie, promised before the world began;
2 in spem vitae aeternae quam promisit qui non mentitur Deus ante tempora saecularia
3. But hath in due time manifested his word through preaching, which is committed unto me, according to the commandment of God our Savior;
3 manifestavit autem temporibus suis verbum suum in praedicatione quae credita est mihi secundum praeceptum salvatoris nostri Dei
4. To Titus, mine own son after the common faith: Grace mercy, and peace from God the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ our Savior.
4 Tito dilecto filio secundum communem fidem gratia et pax a Deo Patre et Christo Iesu salvatore nostro
"Behold my servant, I have chosen him." (Isaiah 42:1.)
Thus David, with a view to his royal dignity calls himself "a servant of God." Perhaps, also, it is on account of the Jews that he designates himself "a servant of God;" for they were wont to lower his authority by alleging the law against him. He therefore wishes to be accounted an Apostle of Christ in such a manner that he may likewise glory in being a servant of the eternal God. Thus he shows not only that those two titles are quite consistent with each other, but that they are joined by a bond which cannot be dissolved.
By "the elect" he means not only those who were at that time alive, but all that had been from the beginning of the world; for he declares that he teaches no doctrine which does not agree with the faith of Abraham and of all the fathers. So, then, if any person in the present day wishes to be accounted a successor of Paul, he must prove that he is the minister of the same doctrine. But these words contain also an implied contrast, that the gospel may suffer no damage from the unbelief and obstinacy of many; for at that time, as well as in the present day, weak minds were greatly disturbed by this scandal, that the greater part of those who boasted of the title of the Church rejected the pure doctrine of Christ. For this reason Paul shows that, though all indiscriminately boast of the name of God, there are many of that multitude who are reprobates; as he elsewhere (Romans 9:7) affirms, that not all who are descended from Abraham according to the flesh, are the lawful children of Abraham.
First, when "faith" is called "knowledge," it is distinguished not only from opinion, but from that shapeless faith which the Papists have contrived; for they have forged an implicit faith destitute of all light of the understanding. But when Paul describes it to be a quality which essentially belongs to faith -- to know the truth, he plainly shews that there is no faith without knowledge.
The word truth expresses still more clearly the certainty which is demanded by the nature of faith; for faith is not satisfied with probable arguments, but holds what is true. Besides, he does not speak of every kind of truth, but of the heavenly doctrine, which is contrasted with the vanity of the human understanding. As God has revealed himself to us by means of that truth, so it is alone worth, of the honor of being called "the truth" -- a name which is bestowed on it in many parts of Scripture.
"And the Spirit will lead you into all truth." (John 16:13.)
"Thy word is the truth." (John 17:17.)
"Who hath bewitched you that ye should not obey the truth?"
"Having heard the word of the truth, the gospel of the Son of God." (Colossians 1:5.)
"He wisheth all to come to the knowledge of the truth."
(1 Timothy 2:4.)
"The Church is the pillar and foundation of the truth."
(1 Timothy 3 15.)
In a word, that truth is the right and sincere knowledge of God, which frees us from all error and falsehood. So much the more ought it to be valued by us, since nothing is more wretched than to wander like cattle during our whole life.
For this reason, while I do not reject this exposition, yet when I take a close survey of the whole matter, I am constrained to adopt a different interpretation -- that eternal life was promised to men many ages ago, and not only to those who lived at that time, but also for our own age. It was not for the benefit of Abraham alone, but with a view to all who should live after him, that God said,
'In thy seed shall all nations be blessed." (Genesis 22:18.)
Nor is this inconsistent with what he says, in another sense, (2 Timothy 1:9) that salvation was given to men "before the times of ages." The meaning of the word is still the same in both passages; for, since the Greek word
If any person prefer to view "the times of ages" as a concise expression for the ages themselves, he is at liberty to do so. But because salvation was given by the eternal election of God before it was promised the act of giving salvation is put in that passage (2 Timothy 1:9) before all ages, and therefore we must supply the word
"What we have heard, what we have seen with our eyes, what our hands have handled of the Word of life; and the life was manifested." (1 John 1:1, 2.)
I therefore prefer what is a simple meaning, that God hath manifested the word concerning the life by the preaching of the gospel.
Besides, from this passage we learn for what purpose they were made apostles. It was for the sake of publishing the gospel, as he says elsewhere,
"Woe to me if I preach not the gospel, for a dispensation is committed unto me." (1 Corinthians 9:16, 17.)
Accordingly, they who enact dumb show, in the midst of idleness and luxury, are excessively impudent in boasting that they are the successors of the apostles.
1 "If faith be the fruit of election, the prescience of faith does not influence the electing act of God. It is called 'the faith of God's elect,' Paul an apostle of Jesus Christ, according to the faith of God's elect, (Titus 1:1,) that is, settled in this office to bring the elect of God to faith. If men be chosen by God upon the foresight of faith, or not chosen till they have faith, they are not so much God's elect as God is their elect: they choose God by faith, before God chooseth them by love. It had not been the faith of God's elect, that is, of those already chosen, but the faith of those that were to be chosen by God afterwards. Election is time cause of faith, and not faith the cause of election. Fire is the cause of heat, and not heat of fire; the sun is the cause of day, and not the day the cause of the rising of the sun. Men are not chosen because they believe, but they believe because they are chosen. The Apostle did ill else to appropriate that to the elect, which they had no more interest in by virtue of their election than the veriest reprobate in time world. If the foresight of what works might be done by his creatures was the motive of his choosing them why did he not choose the devils to redemption, who could have done him better service, by the strength of their nature, than the whole mass of Adam's posterity? Well, then, there is no possible way to lay the original foundation of this act of election and preterition in anything but the absolute sovereignty of God."-Charnock.
2 "Thus he shews that it will never be possible for men to dedicate themselves entirely to the service of God, if they do not think more about God than about all things else. In short, there is no living root, no faith no religion, till we have been led to heaven, that is, till we know that God has not created us to keep us here in an earthly life with brute beasts, but that he has adopted us to be his heritage, and reckons us to be his children. If, therefore, we do not look up to heaven, it is impossible that we shall have true devotion to surrender ourselves to God, or that there shall be any faith or Christianity in us. And that is the reason why -- among all who, in the present day, are accounted Christians, and give themselves out to be such-there are very few who have this true mark, which Paul has here given to all the children of God. It is because all are occupied with the present life, and are so firmly bound to it, that they cannot rise higher. Now perceiving this vice to be so common, so much the more ought we to guard against it, and break the force of that which we cannot altogether destroy, till we come into close fellowship with God, which will only be, when the hope of eternal life shall be actually and sincerely formed in our hearts."--Fr. Ser.
3 "Beaucoup de centeines d'ans." "Many centuries of years."
4 "What a strange sort of men are these, that will endure to be so exposed, so scorned, so trampled upon, as they that bear the Christian name commonly are? What is the reason of it? What account will a reasonable man give, why he will so expose himself? I will tell you the reason. 'Therefore we labor and suffer reproach, because we hope in God, in the living God, and we are pretty well persuaded we shall not finally be losers
We shall not have an ill bargain of it at last.' As the same Apostle, when he writes himself 'an Apostle and servant of Jesus Christ' seems to allow that he was to doom himself to all the sufferings and calamities that the enemies of the Christian cause could load him with and lay upon him, for his assuming to himself such names of 'an Apostle and servant of Jesus Christ.' But why should Paul,-that wise and prudent man, that learned man, that man of so considerable reputation among his own countrymen- why should he come to be written among the Apostles and servants of Jesus Christ? Why, saith he, it is in hope of eternal life, which God, that cannot lie, hath promised. (Titus 1:1, 2.) I avow myself an Apostle and servant of Jesus Christ upon this inducement, and for this reason; and so I mean to continue unto time end. It is the hope of eternal life which God, that cannot lie, hath promised to me. He whose nature doth not allow him to deceive to whom it is impossible to lie, I firmly and securely hope in him; and, therefore, I will readily dispose myself to encounter all the difficulties and hardships which the service of Jesus Christ can lay me open to."-Howe.