Learning is often a matter of repetitions and reminders. Hearing something once is rarely enough to remember it forever; we need to rehearse our previous learning again and again.
The same is true in the Christian life, which is why Titus 3 begins with the words: “Remind the people” (v. 1). The forthcoming instructions are not new; they are needed reminders for the Christian life. First, Scripture reminds us of our duty of obedience toward those in authority. There may be a time when our allegiance to God calls for disobedience to the state (see Acts 5:29), but in general, Christians should be “ready to do whatever is good” (v. 1) in cooperation with government authorities. Second, Scripture reminds us of our duties “toward everyone” (v. 2), Christians and non-Christians alike. Our speech, actions, and attitudes should display gentleness, love, and genuine courtesy.
In case we are tempted to think that this makes us superior to other people, Scripture reminds us what our lives are like without Christ: “foolish, disobedient, deceived and enslaved by all kinds of passions and pleasures. We lived in malice and envy, being hated and hating one another” (v. 3). And lest we are tempted to think that an obedient life earns God’s grace, Scripture reminds us that it was God who saved us, “not because of righteous things we had done, but because of his mercy” (v. 5).
The remainder of our passage underscores the gift and purpose of God’s salvation. It came from the “kindness and love of God” (v. 4). Our regeneration and renewal was “poured out on us generously through Jesus Christ our Savior” (v. 6). And as “heirs having the hope of eternal life ” (v. 7), a life of good works is the only fitting response.