Put them in mind to be subject to principalities and
&c.] Not angels, good or bad, which are sometimes so called, but men in high places; the higher powers ordained of God, as the apostle elsewhere calls them; and which the Apostle Peter distinguishes into the king as supreme, and into governors under him: the Roman emperor and senate, the consuls, and proconsuls, deputies and governors of provinces and islands, are here meant; particularly such who were appointed over the island of Crete. Now the reasons why the apostle exhorts Titus to put in remembrance those that were under his care, to yield a cheerful subjection to their superiors, were, because the Jews, from whom the Christians were not distinguished by the Romans, were reckoned a turbulent and seditious people; which character they obtained, partly through the principles of the Scribes and Pharisees, which they at least privately entertained, as not to give tribute to Caesar, or be under any Heathen yoke; and partly through the insurrections that had been made by Judas of Galilee, and Theudas, and others; and besides, there were many Jews in the island of Crete, and the Cretians themselves were prone to mutiny and rebellion: to which may be added, that the false teachers, and judaizing preachers, that had got among them, despised dominion, and were not afraid to speak evil of dignities, according to the characters which both Peter and Jude give of them, and taught the saints to abuse their Christian liberty, and use it for a cloak of maliciousness, to the great scandal of the Christian religion.
To obey magistrates;
inferior ones; in all things that are according to the laws of God, and right reason, that do not contradict what God has commanded, or break in upon the rights and dictates of conscience; in all things of a civil nature, and which are for the good of society, and do not affect religion, and the worship of God: hence it follows,
to be ready to every good work;
which may be taken in a limited and restrained sense, and design every good work enjoined by the civil magistrate; and all right and lawful obedience that belongs to him, as giving to Caesar the things that are Caesar's, tribute, custom, fear, and honour to whom they are due; and which should be done readily and cheerfully: or it may be understood more comprehensively of good works in general, which wicked men are reprobate to, and unfit for; and which they that are sanctified are meet for, and ready to; though this may not only intend their capacity, fitness, and qualifications, for the performance of good works, but their alacrity, promptitude, and forwardness unto them.