1 Hauing therefore these promises (dearely beloued) let vs cleanse our selues from all filthines of the flesh and spirit, perfecting holinesse in the feare of God.
2 Receiue vs, we haue wronged no man, wee haue corrupted no man, wee haue defrauded no man.
3 I speake not this to condemne you: for I haue said before, that you are in our hearts to die and liue with you.
4 Great is my boldnesse of speach toward you, great is my glorying of you, I am filled with comfort, I am exceeding ioyfull in all our tribulation.
5 For when wee were come into Macedonia, our flesh had no rest, but we were troubled on euery side; without were fightings, within were feares.
6 Neuerthelesse, God that comforteth those that are cast downe, comforted vs by the comming of Titus.
7 And not by his comming onely, but by the consolation wherewith hee was comforted in you, when he told vs your earnest desire, your mourning, your feruent minde toward me, so that I reioyced the more.
8 For though I made you sory with a letter, I doe not repent, though I did repent: For I perceiue that the same Epistle hath made you sory, thogh it were but for a season.
9 Now I reioyce, not that ye were made sorie, but that ye sorrowed to repentance: for ye were made sorie after a godly maner, that ye might receiue damage by vs in nothing.
10 For godly sorrow worketh repentance to saluation not to be repented of, but the sorrow of the world worketh death.
11 For behold this selfe same thing that yee sorrowed after a godly sort, what carefulnesse it wrought in you, yea, what clearing of your selues, yea, what indignation, yea what feare, yea what vehement desire, yea what zeale, yea what reuenge; In all things yee haue approued your selues to be cleare in this matter.
12 Wherefore though I wrote vnto you, I did it not for his cause that had done the wrong, nor for his cause that suffered wrong, but that our care for you in the sight of God might appeare vnto you.
13 Therefore we were comforted in your comfort, yea and exceedingly the more ioyed wee for the ioy of Titus, because his spirit was refreshed by you all.
14 For if I haue boasted any thing to him of you, I am not ashamed; but as we spake all things to you in trueth, euen so our boasting which I made before Titus, is found a trueth.
15 And his inward affection is more aboundant toward you, whilest he remembreth the obedience of you all, how with feare and trembling you receiued him.
16 I reioyce therefore that I haue confidence in you in all things.
An exhortation to holiness, and the whole church entreated to bear affection to the apostle. (1-4) He rejoiced in their sorrowing to repentance. (5-11) And in the comfort they and Titus had together. (12-16)1-4 The promises of God are strong reasons for us to follow after holiness; we must cleanse ourselves from all filthiness of flesh and spirit. If we hope in God as our Father, we must seek to be holy as he is holy, and perfect as our Father in heaven. His grace, by the influences of his Spirit, alone can purify, but holiness should be the object of our constant prayers. If the ministers of the gospel are thought contemptible, there is danger lest the gospel itself be despised also; and though ministers must flatter none, yet they must be gentle towards all. Ministers may look for esteem and favour, when they can safely appeal to the people, that they have corrupted no man by false doctrines or flattering speeches; that they have defrauded no man; nor sought to promote their own interests so as to hurt any. It was affection to them made the apostle speak so freely to them, and caused him to glory of them, in all places, and upon all occasions.
5-11 There were fightings without, or continual contentions with, and opposition from Jews and Gentiles; and there were fears within, and great concern for such as had embraced the Christian faith. But God comforts those who are cast down. We should look above and beyond all means and instruments, to God, as the author of all the consolation and good we enjoy. Sorrow according to the will of God, tending to the glory of God, and wrought by the Spirit of God, renders the heart humble, contrite, submissive, disposed to mortify every sin, and to walk in newness of life. And this repentance is connected with saving faith in Christ, and an interest in his atonement. There is a great difference between this sorrow of a godly sort, and the sorrow of the world. The happy fruits of true repentance are mentioned. Where the heart is changed, the life and actions will be changed. It wrought indignation at sin, at themselves, at the tempter and his instruments. It wrought a fear of watchfulness, and a cautious fear of sin. It wrought desire to be reconciled with God. It wrought zeal for duty, and against sin. It wrought revenge against sin and their own folly, by endeavours to make satisfaction for injuries done thereby. Deep humility before God, hatred of all sin, with faith in Christ, a new heart and a new life, make repentance unto salvation. May the Lord bestow it on every one of us.
12-16 The apostle was not disappointed concerning them, which he signified to Titus; and he could with joy declare the confidence he had in them for the time to come. Here see the duties of a pastor and of his flock; the latter must lighten the troubles of the pastoral office, by respect and obedience; the former make a due return by his care of them, and cherish the flock by testimonies of satisfaction, joy, and tenderness.
Commentary by Matthew Henry, 1710.