Dearly beloved: The grace of God our Saviour hath appeared to all men, instructing us, that, denying ungodliness and worldly desires, we should live soberly and justly and godly in this world, looking for the blessed hope and coming of the glory of the great God and our Saviour Jesus Christ: Who gave Himself for us, that He might redeem us from all iniquity, and might cleanse to Himself a people acceptable, a pursuer of good works. These things speak and exhort: in Christ Jesus our Lord.
Verse 11. For the grace of God, our Saviour, hath appeared to all men. In the Greek: For the saving grace of God, &c. Wi.
Verse 12. We should live soberly, and justly, and piously. S. Jerom puts (as in other places for the same Greek word) chastely, justly, and piously. The words comprehend man’s duty to himself, to his neighbour, and towards God. Wi.
Verse 13. Waiting for the blessed hope; for the happiness of the blessed in heaven, promised and hoped for. — And coming of the glory of the great God, and our Saviour Jesus Christ. The title of great God, says Dr. Wells, is here referred to our Saviour Jesus Christ, by Clem. of Alex. in protreptico, c. vi. He might have added, and by the general consent of the Greek and Latin Fathers. S. Chrys. here cries out: “where are now they who say that the Son is less than the Father?” S. Jerom in like manner: “where is the serpent Arius? where is the snake Eunomius?” And that this title of great God is here given to Jesus Christ, may be shewn from the text itself, especially in the Greek; for the glorious coming, and appearance, in other places of S. Paul, is always used to signify Christ’s coming to judge the world. Secondly, inasmuch as one and the same Greek article falls upon the great God, and our Saviour Christ; so that even M. Simon, in a note on these words, says the construction is, and the coming of Jesus Christ, the great God, our Saviour, and blames Erasmus and Grotius for pretending that this place is not a confutation of the Arians. Wi.
Verse 14. A people, particularly acceptable. S. Jerom translates an egregious or eminent people. He says in the Sept. it corresponds to segula, which signifies a man’s proper possessions, which he has purchased or chosen for himself. Budeus says it signifies what is rare and uncommon; and it is well translated by the Protestants, a particular people. Wi.
804: The Observance of the Commandments, and the Necessity and Possibility thereof
But no one, however much justified, should consider himself exempt from the observance of the commandments [can. 20]; no one should make use of that rash statement forbidden under an anathema by the Fathers, that the commandments of God are impossible to observe for a man who is justified [can. 18 and 22: cf. n. 200]. “For God does not command impossibilities, but by commanding admonishes you both to do what you can do, and to pray for what you cannot do, and assists you that you may be able”; * “whose commandments are not heavy” [1 John 5:3], “whose yoke is sweet and whose burden is light” [Matt. 11:30]. For they who are the sons of God, love Christ: “but they who love him, (as He Himself testifies) keep his words” [John 14:23], which indeed with the divine help they can do. For although in this mortal life men however holy and just fall at times into at least light and daily sins, which are also called venial [can. 23], they do not for that reason cease to be just. For that word of the just, “Forgive us our trespasses” [Matt. 6:12; cf. n.107], is both humble and true. Thus it follows that the just ought to feel themselves more bound to walk in the way of justice, in that having been now “freed from sin and made servants of God” [Rom. 6:22], “living soberly and justly and piously” [Tit. 2:12], they can proceed onwards through Christ Jesus, through whom they “have access unto this grace” [Rom. 5:2]. For God “does not forsake those who have once been justified by His grace, unless He be first forsaken by them.” * And so no one should flatter himself because of faith alone [can. 9, 19, 20], thinking that by faith alone he is made an heir and will obtain the inheritance, even though he suffer not with Christ “that he may be also glorified” [Rom. 8:17]. For even Christ Himself (as the Apostle says), “whereas he was the Son of God, he learned obedience by the things which he suffered and being made perfect he was made to all who obey him the cause of eternal salvation” [Heb. 5:8 ff.] For this reason the Apostle himself admonishes those justified saying: “Know you not, that they who run in the race, all run indeed, but one receiveth the prize? So run, that you may obtain. I therefore so run, not as at an uncertainty, I so fight, not as one beating the air, but I chastise my body and bring it under subjection, lest perhaps when I have preached to others, I myself should become a castaway” [1 Cor. 9:24ff.]. So also the chief of the Apostles, Peter: “Labor the more, that by good works you may make sure your calling and election; for doing these things, you shall not sin at any time” [2 Pet. 1:10]. Thence it is clear that they are opposed to the teaching of orthodox religion who say that the just man sins at least venially in every good work [can. 25], or (what is more intolerable) that he merits eternal punishments; and that they also who declare that the just sin in all works, if in those works, in order to stimulate their own sloth and to encourage themselves to run in the race, with this (in view), that above all God may be glorified, they have in view also the eternal reward [can. 26, 31], since it is written: “I have inclined my heart to do thy justifications on account of the reward” [Ps. 118:112], and of Moses the Apostle says, that he “looked to the reward” [Heb. 11:26].