Titus 2:11–14 gives us the reason for why we should live as godly men and women, old or young, and in our places of service (cf. Titus 2:1–10)—the saving grace of God has appeared in the person of Jesus Christ to teach us how to live godly lives. Part of this godly life is to expect our Lord Jesus Christ to appear again. Titus 2:13 describes us as “waiting for our blessed hope, the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ.” In the last phrase of this clause, we find one of Scripture’s strongest declarations of the deity of the Lord Jesus Christ. Jesus is not just our Savior and the Christ, but He is also “our great God.”
Some prefer to understand “our great God” to refer to the Father. If this is the case, Jesus is identified as both the glory of the Father and as our Savior Jesus Christ. However, five reasons suggest “our great God” also refers to Jesus Christ.1
First, one article before both “God and Savior” ties these two titles together as one and the same. The text literally reads “the glory of the great God and Savior of us Jesus Christ.” The glory that appears, then, is Him who is God and Savior, Jesus Christ.
Second, several passages similarly identify Jesus as God. John 1:1 and 1:18 identify Jesus as the Word who is God at the Father’s side. Thomas identified “him” as “My Lord and my God!” in John 20:28. Acts 20:28 mentions “the church of God, which he obtained with his own blood.” Romans 9:5 identifies Christ as “God over all.” 2 Peter 1:1 speaks of a righteousness that belongs to “our God and Savior Jesus Christ.”
Third, using references from just the Pastoral Epistles, while it is true that the Father is identified as our Savior (1 Timothy 2:3; Titus 1:3; 3:4), Jesus is identified as Savior as well (2 Timothy 1:10; Titus 1:4; 3:6).
Fourth, if it was the Father’s grace in Christ to appear in Titus 2:11 and not the Father Himself, so also would we expect the “appearing” in Titus 2:13 to refer to Christ as well. Just as Mathew 25:31 refers to the final descent of Christ as when He “comes in His glory,” so also Titus 2:13 refers to Christ’s coming appearance as glory itself.
Fifth, Paul likely used a well-known phrase and applied it to Jesus Christ. “God and Savior” could refer to leaders or even the emperor, and Paul’s use of the phrase identified Christ as the only One who should properly receive such a title.
Whether using Titus 2:13 or one of the passages above, one truth is certain—the man Christ Jesus is also God. May the Father’s grace through Him continue to change us to be more like His Son, especially as we wait for Him to come again.
- See especially William D. Mounce, Pastoral Epistles (Word Biblical Commentary 46; Dallas, TX: Word, 2000), 426–31, and John F. MacArthur, Jr., Titus (MacArthur New Testament Commentary; Chicago: Moody Press, 1996), 120–21. [↩]