Titus 3. Philanthropy.
Key Notes: Philanthropy is love of people. God is the first philanthropist. List of the words for salvation. An example of early philanthropy.
In modern society philanthropy is viewed as the work of millionaires giving some of their wealth to charities or institutions of higher learning. Paul will give us another view of philanthropy in this chapter, from the example of God, and one obscure Christian leader.
3:1 "Remind them...." The later epistles suggest to us that many ideas were no longer fresh. Thirty years had passed since Christ died. The first generation of Christians was disappearing.
Israel forgot God after about 45 days in the wilderness. (Ex.16:1–3). "They did not remember...but rebelled...." (Psa.106:7).
Peter said "I intend always to remind you...to arouse you by way of remembrance." (IIPet.1:12–13)
"...I have aroused your sincere mind by way of reminder, that you should remember...." (IIPet.3:1–2)
* "...to be subject to rulers and authorities." That would not be easy. The Cretans were conquered by Rome, but remained restive. They were prone to "insurrections, murders, internecine wars". (The Letters to Timothy, Titus, and Philemon. W.Barclay; Westminster Press,’75; p.258). But Paul holds that, in general, authority is good and works for good. Rom.13:1–7
*remind them to be obedient,
ready for any honest work,
speak evil of no one ,
avoid quarrels (Gr. "not a fighter"),
be gentle and kind / showing perfect courtesy to everyone."
The context suggests that authorities are the focus.
Why should we?
3:3 "For we ourselves were once"... just like those Cretans. So we can't walk around pointing the finger. We were once...
led astray, slaves to various passions and pleasures,
passing our days in malice (planning to injure) and envy (wanting other people's positions),
hating and being hated.
How did we become good?
3:4–8" But when the goodness and loving-kindness (Gr. "philanthropia" is philos + anthopos, love of human beings) of God appeared, He saved us."
The source of salvation? "The goodness and loving kindness of God."
The basis of salvation? "Not because of deeds done by us in righteousness but by virtue of His own mercy."
The means of salvation? "The washing of regeneration and renewal of the Holy Spirit" .
The goal of salvation? "So that we might be justified by His grace and become heirs in hope of eternal life."
The application of salvation? "Those who have believed in God may be careful to apply themselves to good works."
What about those who disagree?
3:9 People who want to distract with arguments should be admonished once or twice and then ignored. IIThes.3:14–15 adds that we should not treat a dissenter as an enemy, but admonish as a brother.
The Words of Salvation. Tit.3:3–8 is perhaps the best concise statement on salvation that we have.
•Washing is not baptism, but spiritual cleansing, sanctification. We know that because it is "not by works of righteousness which we have done."
•Regeneration (Gr."palingenesis") is new birth. It is our new life in Christ. The word is used in only one other place, Matt.19:8, where it refers to the Christ's new Age to Come. For new believers, it is not just a new birth but a whole new world. Jesus used another word to indicate being born again in Jn.3:3,7
•Renewal is slightly different, and suggests a life-long process energized by the Holy Spirit. It is a second phase of our sanctification.
•Justified is a judicial word suggesting a law court with a defendant, a prosecutor and a judge. The final word of the judge is "acquitted". Rom.3:24
•Heirs. This concept is not often emphasized, but it is our share as adopted children in God’s family. We will have a part in everything God will pour out. Rom.8:17
•Eternal life is in two phases. We have eternal life (IJn.5:13), which is our present relationship with God on earth, and we shall have eternal life in His presence.
Other words of salvation not used here.
•Conversion (the outward reversal of direction); repentance (the inside turning from sin) Acts 2:38
•Forgiveness (personal); remission of sin (impersonal) Matt.26:28
•Atonement or reconciliation Rom.5:11
•Redemption (set free) (Tit.2;14); ransomed (the price paid) IPet.1:18
Of these words, only renewal and sanctification are on-going. The other events happen at the moment we cross the threshold into the Kingdom. Note that the Trinity is involved in our salvation. God did it "through Christ" and "in the Holy Spirit".
The intention of our salvation is for good works. Paul talks much about good deeds in the Pastoral Epistles.
•We are not saved by good works. IITim.1:9; Tit.3:5
•Christ's death was to purify a people enthusiastic for good works. Tit.2:14
•Unbelievers are unfit for any good deeds. Tit.1:16
•To be an elder is a good work. ITim.3:1
•Elders should model good works. Tit.2:7
•Enrolled widows should have a reputation for good works. ITim.5:10
•The rich should be rich in good deeds. ITim.6:18
•Good deeds help in cases of urgent need. Tit.3:14
•Good deeds are usually conspicuous. ITim.5:25
Did Christians do philanthropy in the First Century? A relatively unknown NT person was Erastus, City Manager of Corinth. (Rom.16:23). He also worked with Paul and Timothy in Macedonia on one of Paul's missionary journeys. (Acts 19:22). An inscription has been found by archaeologists in the ruins of Corinth that reads "Erastus laid the pavement at his own expense in return for his aedileship." The marble pavement is roughly 60x60 feet.
An aedile is the name for a Roman citizen elected for a one year term to serve the city by upkeep of streets, public buildings and especially market places. They served at their own expense, often winning the election by their promises to help the city. They served as judges of first resort. They assured food supplies in time of famine. They supervised the annual games.
Could this Erastus be the NT person? The name is uncommon. The marble comes from the time of Nero, around 60AD.
The consensus is that this Erastus, independently wealthy, was a leader in civic affairs of Corinth and also spiritually vigorous enough to do missionary work with Paul.
(Seek the Welfare of the City. Bruce Winter; Eerdmans,’94; p.180–197).
That is First Century philanthropy.
Evangelicals are now beginning to assert themselves in the public arena. They are members of the Senate and House, and governors of states. They endow Christian institutions such as colleges, hospitals and orphanages. They are employed in Hollywood.
The Communists were much more intentional and effective in joining organizations of labor unions, artists, educators, politicians and even retired people. We are poorly represented in our city. Let Erastus be a model for us. We have a long way to go.
The ultimate philanthropist is God Himself, loving human-kind and giving His life for us in the person of Christ.