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Titus 1:15

Adam Clarke
Bible Commentary

Unto the pure all things are pure - This appears to have been spoken in reference to the Jewish distinctions of clean and unclean meats. To the genuine Christian every kind of meat proper for human nourishment is pure, is lawful, and may be used without scruple. This our Lord had long before decided. See on Luke 11:39-41; (note).

But unto them that are defiled - In their consciences, and unbelieving, απιστοις, unfaithful both to offered and received grace, nothing is pure - they have no part in Christ, and the wrath of God abides upon them. Their mind is contaminated with impure and unholy images and ideas, and their conscience is defiled with the guilt of sins already committed against God.

Albert Barnes
Notes on the Whole Bible

Unto the pure all things are pure - See the notes at Romans 14:14, Romans 14:20. There is probably an allusion here to the distinctions made in respect to meats and drinks among the Jews. Some articles of food were regarded as “clean,” or allowed to be eaten, and some as “unclean,” or forbidden. Paul says that those distinctions ceased under the Christian dispensation, and that to those who had a conscience not easily troubled by nice and delicate questions about ceremonial observances, all kinds of food might be regarded as lawful and proper; compare the notes at 1 Timothy 4:4-5. If a man habitually maintains a good conscience in the sight of God, it will be accepted of him whether he do or do not abstain from certain kinds of food; compare the notes at Colossians 2:16. This passage, therefore, should not be interpreted as proving that all things are right and lawful for a Christian, or that whatever he may choose to do will be regarded as pure, but as primarily referring to distinctions in food, and meaning that there was no sanctity in eating one kind of food, and no sin in another, but that the mind was equally pure whatever was eaten.

The phrase has a proverbial cast, though I know not that it was so fused. The principle of the declaration is, that a pure mind - a truly pious mind - will not regard the distinctions of food and drink; of festivals, rites, ceremonies, and days, as necessary to be observed in order to promote its purity. The conscience is not to be burdened and enslaved by these things, but is to be controlled only by the moral laws which God has ordained. But there may be a somewhat higher application of the words - that every ordinance of religion, every command of God, every event that occurs in divine Providence, tends to promote the holiness of one who is of pure heart. He can see a sanctifying tendency in everything, and can derive from all that is commanded, and all that occurs, the means of making the heart more holy. While a depraved mind will turn every such thing to a pernicious use, and make it the means of augmenting its malignity and corruption, to the pure mind it will be the means of increasing its confidence in God, and of making itself more holy. To such a mind everything may become a means of grace.

But unto them that are defiled and unbelieving is nothing pure - Everything is made the means of increasing their depravity. No matter what ordinances of religion they observe; what distinctions of meats, or drinks, or days they regard, and what events of Providence occur, all are the occasion of augmented depravity. Such distinctions in food they make the means of fostering their pride and producing self-righteousness; the mercies of God they abuse to pamper their own lusts, and the afflictive events of Divine Providence they make the occasion of murmuring and rebellion. Naturally corrupt at heart, no ordinances of religion, and no events of Providence, make them any better, but all tend to deepen their depravity. A sentiment similar to this is found in the classic writers. Thus Seneca, Epis. 98. Malus animus omnia in malum vertit, etiam quae specie optimi venerunt. So again (de Beneficiis v. 12), (Quemadmodum stomachus morbo vitiatus, et colliques bilem, quoscunque acceperit cibos mutat - ita animus caecus, quicquid fill commiseris, id onus suum et perniciem facited.

But even their mind and conscience is defiled - It is not a mere external defilement - a thing which they so much dread - but a much worse kind of pollution, that which extends to the soul and the conscience. Everything which they do tends to corrupt the inner man more and more, and to make them really more polluted and abominable in the sight of God. The wicked, while they remain impenitent, are constantly becoming worse and worse. They make everything the means of increasing their depravity, and even these things which seem to pertain only to outward observances are made the occasion of the deeper corruption of the heart.

Matthew Henry
Concise Bible Commentary
False teachers are described. Faithful ministers must oppose such in good time, that their folly being made manifest, they may go no further They had a base end in what they did; serving a worldly interest under pretence of religion: for the love of money is the root of all evil. Such should be resisted, and put to shame, by sound doctrine from the Scriptures. Shameful actions, the reproach of heathens, should be far from Christians; falsehood and lying, envious craft and cruelty, brutal and sensual practices, and idleness and sloth, are sins condemned even by the light of nature. But Christian meekness is as far from cowardly passing over sin and error, as from anger and impatience. And though there may be national differences of character, yet the heart of man in every age and place is deceitful and desperately wicked. But the sharpest reproofs must aim at the good of the reproved; and soundness in the faith is most desirable and necessary. To those who are defiled and unbelieving, nothing is pure; they abuse, and turn things lawful and good into sin. Many profess to know God, yet in their lives deny and reject him. See the miserable state of hypocrites, such as have a form of godliness, but are without the power; yet let us not be so ready to fix this charge on others, as careful that it does not apply to ourselves.
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