If You Adore It, Adorn It! – Titus 2:10a

by Pastor Ricky Kurth

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One morning as a boss finished parking his brand new Ferrari in the company parking lot, one of his employees pulled up and began staring at his new wheels in obvious envy.  Seeing this, the boss said, “You know, if you work overtime every week, skip coffee breaks, and even work weekends and holidays, by this time next year—I just might have another one of these babies!”

As you know, working hard for your boss doesn’t always pay off the way it should.  That’s why many Christian employees cringe when they hear their pastor do what Paul told Titus to do:

“Exhort servants to be obedient unto their own masters, and to please them well in all things” (Titus 2:9).

Now to please a master well means to just delight him.  We know this because God predicted His Son would be a man “in whom My soul delighteth” (Isa. 42:1), but in quoting that verse Matthew translated “delighteth” as “well pleased” (Mt. 12:18).  So in saying that servants should please their masters well, Paul was saying they should go above and beyond the call of duty of just obeying them.  He was saying a servant should make himself an absolute delight to his master.

And while it’s true that Paul was telling slaves to obey their masters here, his words reflect the attitude that employees should have for their employers as well.  Of course, it’s hard to follow a Pauline admonition like this when you’re not getting paid what you’re worth!  Amen?

But slaves were paid nothing!  Knowing this, Paul went on to explain that the reason servants should obey masters was to “adorn the doctrine of God” (Titus 2:10).  To “adorn” means to beautify, as when we read of how the temple “was adorned with goodly stones” (Luke 21:5).  So when a servant obeyed his master and pleased him well, it made the doctrine of God look beautiful.

But God has many doctrines.  Which one did Paul have in mind?  Well, when he specified that servants could adorn “the doctrine of God our Saviour,” that suggests he was thinking of the doctrine of salvation, for that phrase is associated with that doctrine (ITim.2:3,4; Titus 3:3-5).  When Christian employees obey their bosses, it makes the doctrine of salvation look beautiful. 

If you’re not sure how, consider that if saved servants didn’t obey their masters back then, it made the doctrine of salvation look bad.  Throughout the Bible, God ordained respect for authority in all areas of life, knowing that without it the very fabric of society will begin to break down.  So when a saved servant disobeyed his master in those days, people would have naturally thought, “If that’s what getting saved does to a servant, then the God who saved him must be in favor of the breakdown of society.”  When servants obeyed instead, it adorned the doctrine of salvation.

And that’s why Paul told servants to obey their masters—not because they deserved it, for oftentimes they didn’t—but because it beautified God’s doctrine of salvation.  Seeing servants reverence their masters, people could say, “If Christianity can make even a slave want to be a sheer delight to his master, it must be the most powerful religion in the world, the true religion of God.”

Finally, Paul tells us why servants should make salvation look good when he added,

“For the grace of God that bringeth salvation hath appeared to all men” (Titus 2:11).

Paul says servants should adorn the doctrine of salvation “for” the grace that bringeth salvation has appeared to all men.  In the context, “all men” included “aged men” and “aged women,” “young women” and “young men” (v. 2-6)—the kind of men you work with!  God wants His grace to appear to all such men.  And since it cost Him the death of His Son to bring this grace to men, the last thing He needs is for employees who are saved by grace making salvation look bad.

You know what that means, don’t you?  It means no matter who you are or what you do for a living, you have the most important job in the world—that of making the doctrine of God our Savior look beautiful. If you adore your salvation, why not adorn it by being a delightful employee?

To the Reader:

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