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Titus 2:14  (King James Version)
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<< Titus 2:13   Titus 2:15 >>


Titus 2:14

In both Titus 2:14 and I Peter 2:9, the word "special" replaces "peculiar," as used in the King James Version. Peculiar was not used in the sense of "odd" or "weird," but as being "distinctive" in a singular, good way. It is likely due to a desire to avoid the suggestion of "odd" that modern translators have changed it to "special," which carries a more positive implication.

A person may be distinctive because he is nine feet tall and sports purple hair—and therefore odd. On the other hand, a person might be exceptionally handsome or have an engaging accent. Perhaps an individual's distinctiveness lies in an artistic, athletic, or mathematical ability. Maybe he or she has a photographic memory or has overcome a debilitating affliction.

However, none of these distinctions matter in terms of why Christians are peculiar. In Titus 2:14, Paul uses the adjective form of the Greek word translated "special," while in I Peter 2:9, Peter uses the noun form of the same word. Paul also uses the noun form in Ephesians 1:14, writing, ". . . who is the guarantee of our inheritance until the redemption of the purchased possession, to the praise of His glory." Here, it is translated as "purchased possession," which actually comes closest to its literal meaning: "an acquisition, an obtaining, a possession."

In Titus 2:14, the Greek term literally means "one's own" or "one's own possession," which is why His people are special. They are God's own, and so are therefore distinctive because nobody else owns the called-out ones. In I Peter 2:9, some modern translators have replaced the King James word "peculiar" with an expanded version, something similar to "His own special possession," implying the same specialness and distinctiveness due to ownership.

Special means "surpassing what is common or usual; exceptional; distinct among others of a kind." We have been made unique, separate from others, peculiar, distinctive, and special from God's point of view because He has obtained, acquired, or purchased us with the blood of Jesus Christ. It is who purchased us, our purchase price, and His reason for purchasing us that motivated the translators to use the word "special." It conveys the sense of uniqueness.

The New Testament Commentary remarks that "His own possession" or "a people, His very own" appears so often in Scripture in somewhat different forms that it ought to be considered as part of its technical phraseology. It is a point God clearly wants to impress on us through sheer repetition.

Why has God gone to this trouble and expense, an expense that cost Him the most precious of all prices? The last phrase in Ephesians 1:14 succinctly states why: "to [for the purpose of] the praise of His glory." I Peter 2:9 and Titus 2:14 say essentially the same thing. However, Philippians 1:9-11 states more specifically and expansively how His special people offer praise:

And this I pray, that your love may abound still more and more in knowledge and all discernment, that you may approve the things that are excellent, that you may be sincere and without offense till the day of Christ, being filled with the fruits of righteousness which are by Jesus Christ, to the glory and praise of God.

We, the called-out ones, are unique because of who owns us, because of the price He paid to redeem us from our former owner, and in that we, the purchased possession, are to glorify Him.

John W. Ritenbaugh
Our Uniqueness and Time



Titus 2:14

"redeem us from all iniquity" Iniquity is sinfulness, lawlessness. Redeem us from lawlessness means "to buy us back from being without law."

John W. Ritenbaugh
The Covenants, Grace, and Law (Part 2)



Titus 2:11-14

Titus 2:11-14 describes this obligation thrust upon us as a result of receiving God's grace. These verses are jam-packed with instruction about our Christian responsibilities. Having grown up in this Protestant-dominated society, we have heard much about God's "free grace." Though God's grace is freely given, by no stretch of Scripture can we properly label it as free! No gift has ever been so costly! It cost Christ His life! And because grace obligates us to give our life as a living sacrifice completely set apart to God (Romans 12:1), it has also cost us ours.

John W. Ritenbaugh
Five Teachings of Grace



Titus 2:11-14

For the grace of God has appeared to save all men, and it schools us to renounce irreligion and worldly passions and to live a life of self-mastery, of integrity, and of godliness in this present world, awaiting the blessed hope of the appearance of the Glory of the great God and of our Savior Christ Jesus, who gave Himself up for us to redeem us from all iniquity and secure Himself a clean people, with a zest for good deeds. (Moffatt Translation)

One reason God has given us grace is for us to express self-control. It is hard to imagine a Christian, preparing for the Kingdom of God, who does not strive for continual and resolute self-government, that is, one who allows his passions, tastes, and desires unbridled freedom to express themselves. That is what the world does! When we witness such a demonstration, it gives strong evidence that the person is unconverted. Blind passion is not meant to be our guide. If men live guided by their animal passions, they will land in the ditch because "God is not mocked; for whatever a man sows, that he will also reap" (Galatians 6:7).

John W. Ritenbaugh
The Fruit of the Spirit: Self-Control



Titus 2:11-14

Remember that Paul uses "grace" as a collective term to encompass many aspects of God's freely given kindnesses. To the astute, grace is a gift that teaches its recipients. These verses show what it teaches:

1. It teaches how and in what attitude we must conduct our lives—that is, righteously and godly.

2. It teaches us to live in anticipation of Christ's return.

3. It teaches us about iniquity and redemption.

4. It teaches that we must zealously do good works.

Ephesians 2:8-10 states that salvation is by grace through faith, and that these two lead to good works. Grace and faith are the very foundations of salvation, and with the privilege of having access to God, we also have a responsibility: to perform the good works God ordained beforehand for us to do. Can we honestly avoid the fact that God requires works?

John W. Ritenbaugh
The Christian Fight (Part Five)



Titus 2:11-15

This passage on grace will take us in a somewhat different direction, but one important to our understanding. Paul sometimes uses "grace" as a broad catchall term to declare the way God acts toward His converted but still occasionally sinful children. In every case, whether referring to a singular gift or a continuing package of gifts that result in salvation, grace must always be perceived as unearned. Here, "grace" is used as a kind of shorthand for the entire ministry of Jesus Christ through which we are given salvation.

Notice that Paul exclaims, "Grace has appeared," just as the manna, cloud, and fire appeared to illustrate God's faithful presence to the Israelites through the entirety of their pilgrimage. Thus God is shown freely providing them with guidance, daily sustenance, and security. Recall that in John 14:18 that Jesus says in relation to giving the Spirit of truth, "I will not leave you orphans; I will come to you." Paul is implying in Titus 2 that Jesus is following the pattern that He established with Israel for the church's benefit.

Paul also describes Jesus Christ as the personification of grace, salvation, redemption, teaching, hope, and the instruction and inspiration to live godly lives of overcoming and good works. All of these are shown as aspects of one huge gift that is continuously flowing in our lives.

Even as Paul describes Jesus as the personification of grace, he also uses Him as a synonym for grace and all of its powers and benefits, as though Christ exemplified all aspects of grace rolled up in one package. In this way, we can more easily identify and understand it and its meaning to us. Notice further what Jesus—grace—is doing: It is teaching us. Teaching represents the empowerment of knowledge, wisdom, understanding, inspiration, and discernment regarding our responsibilities. It also helps us to identify the subtleties of Satan's devious, anti-God systems.

We should not make the mistake of thinking of grace as an entity; it is not a "thing" God dispenses. "Grace" is a term that represents the freeness of God's personal, patient, and concerned generosity—His blessings and saving acts that are continuously flowing on our behalf to assist us along the way.

God's saving work in us is not merely an extending of life to everlasting life. It is a creative labor on His part, forming us into the image of Jesus Christ, that requires our freely given cooperation for it to succeed. One of our major problems in fulfilling this responsibility by faith is to think about Him consistently, seeking for and acknowledging His benefits, and then returning thanks and praise to Him for His forgiving, patient generosity.

John W. Ritenbaugh
Living By Faith and God's Grace (Part Two)



Titus 2:11-15

Grace penetrates a person's life in the same way that light penetrates darkness. It does not just appear to offset darkness, but rather it penetrates it and disperses it. That is what grace does for a human being. It enters into a person's life, penetrates it, and begins dynamically to produce things.

This is what John 1 is about. God came to the earth in the flesh, and He penetrated humanity. The grace of God appeared to man in the person of Jesus Christ. It can be translated that God's grace made its appearance bringing salvation.

Grace can rescue man from the greatest possible evil. What could that possibly be? The greatest possible evil that anybody can face is God's curse. Men can curse us, but if God curses us, we have had it. That curse is the penalty of sin. But God counterbalances that, and more, by giving us grace.

Here, grace is shown as the power that teaches, trains, disciplines, guides, and leads us. It does not force us. In other places, it is shown as counseling, comforting, encouraging, admonishing, guiding, convicting, rewarding, even restraining. It teaches us that we must deny immorality, exhorting us to give ourselves over to self-mastery, that is, to controlling ourselves. We must devote ourselves to integrity and loyalty to God right here and now, while expectantly and patiently looking forward to the return of Jesus Christ and the resurrection from the dead to glory.

John W. Ritenbaugh
Grace Upon Grace




Other Forerunner Commentary entries containing Titus 2:14:

Exodus 20:17
Hosea 11:1
Romans 5:6-10
Galatians 3:10
Galatians 3:19
Ephesians :
Philippians 2:12-13
Titus 2:14
Titus 2:14
Titus 2:14

 

<< Titus 2:13   Titus 2:15 >>
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