January 4, 2013
Urge bondslaves to be subject to their own master in everything, to be well-pleasing, not argumentative, not pilfering, but showing all good faith that they may adorn the doctrine of God our Savior in every respect.
- “Bondslave” – “doulos” – permanently a slave, his will is altogether consumed in the will of another
- “Master” – has unlimited authority over slaves, not always for good.
- The slave is to be absolutely obedient without arguing or being self-seeking (pilfering)
- Adorn the doctrine: reveal the beauty of it, enhance it, make it noticeable and pleasing to others
Obviously this passage is referring to literal slaves who legally belonged to their masters. Since that’s not really part of our culture, I often ignore or skim passages like this, or I loosely and not very seriously apply them to an employee/employer situation. Today, however, I was reminded that I am the bondslave of the Lord, just like Mary and Paul. I need to be absolutely obedient and not argue back! While the “master” referred to in this passage may well have evil intent, my Master does not — so how much more should I obey Him! What I struggle with is discerning His voice, so I need much help from the Holy Spirit. Even so, there have definitely been times I’ve been really pretty sure, but said no or protested before relenting. Often in the latter situation, where I finally just give in, I hold back or don’t completely obey. That’s a kind of pilfering, really. I’m holding back something for my own gain, usually the avoidance of embarrassment, awkwardness, or inconvenience. So this passage about bondslaves in the ancient world? Totally about me. If I learn absolute obedience, the total yielding of my will to God’s, then I will adorn the doctrine of God our Savior, a doctrine which is explained in the following verses:
For the grace of God has appeared, bringing salvation for all people, training us to renounce ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright, and godly lives in the present age, waiting for our blessed hope, the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ, who gave himself for us to redeem us from all lawlessness and to purify for himself a people for his own possession who are zealous for good works.
(Titus 2:11-14 ESV)
My job here, on this earth, is to give my life over to the beauty of God’s will. In a way, I’m like an ornament meant to accentuate the beauty of God and His redemptive plan. What an honor it is to adorn the doctrine!