It is right and appropriate that believers be grieved over the rank evil and wickedness in this world. However, as we saw last Lord’s Day from Titus 3:1-8, we should be most shocked that God has been merciful to rank sinners like us. Paul’s point in this passage is that as believers have received such rich, undeserved mercy, so we must have a merciful disposition toward those yet enslaved in the foolish deceitfulness of sin.
R. Kent Hughes, in his Commentary on 1 & 2 Timothy and Titus , observes: “When we recognize that we were rescued from a pit deeper than we could crawl from, that we were saved from a darkness greater than our light could penetrate, that we were delivered from sin greater than our resolve could control – only then are we prepared to lead others…Only when we truly believe that apart from Christ there is no more hope of heaven for us than there is for the worst sinner we meet, can we minister the gospel to that one and others” (p. 360).
And John Calvin notes: “Thus we see that we must be humbled before God, in order that we may be gentle towards brethren; for pride is always cruel and disdainful of others…he bids us remember those vices from which we have been delivered, that we may not pursue too keenly those which, still dwell in others” (Calvin’s Commentary, on Titus 3:3).
Beloved, as God in Christ has mercifully rescued helpless sinners such as us, may we humbly, compassionately, and boldly pray and labor for the salvation of those around us who are yet in their sins.
Grace upon grace,