Exhort bondservants to be obedient to their own masters, to be well pleasing in all things, not answering back, not pilfering, but showing all good fidelity, that they may adorn the doctrine of God our Savior in all things. (Titus 2:9-10)
Titus was to teach bondservants about their specific duties as Christians. Because slaves were welcome to be full members of the church, Christians shocked the larger culture in the ancient world by mixing slaves and masters in the social setting of the church service. This meant that a slave might go to church and be an elder over his own master.
Nevertheless, Christian slaves were to be obedient to their own masters. Paul didn’t say that bondservants should be obedient to every free man, only to their own masters. This means that Paul recognized that bondservants had obligations, but only to their own masters.
At the same time, as in every arena of human submission, our obedience and submission are limited by our higher responsibility to obey God. As Peter said in Acts 5:29, We ought to obey God rather than men when there is a conflict between the two.
Another way Christian servants were to honor God was by not pilfering. This type of offence was so common in the ancient world that sometimes the words servant and thief were used interchangeably. It was assumed that servants would steal from their masters in these small ways.
Simply, Titus must direct servants to be good workers in all ways, to be well pleasing in all things. By their hard work and humble submission, they will adorn the doctrine of God our Savior.
That’s a wonderful thought: that believers, by their godly living, can adorn God’s truth; in some way decorate it make it beautiful. According to one commentator, to adorn “literally means to take precious jewels and arrange them so as to show their true beauty.”
In one sense the gospel doesn’t need adornment. At the same time, we can show the beauty of the gospel by the way we live. We often think we need better words to adorn the gospel. Better words are fine, but what we really need are better lives.
You don’t need a high position to adorn God’s truth. Even the bondservants among the early Christians could display and reveal the beauty of the doctrine of God our Savior.
This week, ask God for the wisdom and strength to adorn His truth.