THE LETTER OF PAUL TO TITUS
SOMETHING FOR EVERYONE
Big Idea: Just like a wedding dress compliments a bride’s beauty, so our good works make the Gospel attractive to a watching world.
Paul lays out the reason why we should display good works in our lives:
- In verse 5, it so “that the word of God may not be reviled.”
- In verse 8, it is “so that an opponent may be put to shame, having nothing evil to say about us.”
- In verse 10, it is “so that in everything [we] may adorn the doctrine of God our Savior.”
How can each of us “adorn” the doctrine of God with our good works so that the world around us is attracted to the beauty, magnificence, and splendor of the Gospel?
- How older men can adorn the Gospel (v. 2)
- How older women can adorn the Gospel (v. 3)
- How young women can adorn the Gospel (v. 4-5)
- How young men can adorn the Gospel (v. 6)
- How Titus (and church leaders) can adorn the Gospel (v. 7-8)
- How slaves can adorn the Gospel (v. 9-10)
Excursus on what the New Testament teaches about slavery:
John MacArthur in Slave: The Hidden Truth about Your Identity in Christ writes,
“…slavery was a pervasive social structure in the first-century Roman Empire. In fact, it was so commonplace that its existence as an institution was never seriously questioned by anyone. Slaves of all ages, genders, and ethnicities constituted an important socio-economic class in ancient Rome. Roughly one-fifth of the Empire’s population were slaves—totaling as many as twelve million at the outset of the first century A.D. Not surprisingly, the entire Roman economy was highly dependent on this sizeable pool of both skilled and unskilled labor” (25).
Bible scholar Murray J. Harris in his book Slave of Christ: A New Testament Metaphor for Devotion to Christ, offers several conclusions about the NT attitude towards slavery:
- First, Harris writes “let us not overlook the obvious fact that Christianity did not create enslavement but inherited a deeply entrenched system of slavery” (61). This is to say, that slavery as an institution is the product of the Fall of Man into sin. It is not part of God’s original, good design and purpose for this world, but is the direct result of humanity’s rebellion against God.
- Second, while the Bible writers do not explicitly condemn slavery, they also never condone it.
- Third, the Christian perspective on slaves was vastly different than the ancient non-Christian perspective. Harris says, “so far from approving of slavery as it was currently regarded and practiced, Peter and Paul elevated the status of slaves by addressing them as persons and as moral agents who were responsible, and ought to be responsive to their earthly masters as well as to their heavenly Lord” (64). See Gal. 3:28; Eph. 6:8-9; Philemon; 1 Cor. 7:21.
- Fourth and finally, while the NT writers’ never advocated a full-orbed attack on slavery, they did lay the groundwork that would eventually lead to its demise as the Gospel transformed people’s lives.
James Hamilton concludes:
“The authors of the New Testament are not out to revolutionize the existing social order but to make disciples of Jesus. They are not trying to overthrow governments or renovate social relations but make the gospel attractive. This is…seen in Titus 2:9–10, where slaves are to be obedient and trustworthy “so that they may adorn the teaching of God our Savior in everything.” The gospel is the issue, not social justice. A day will come when social justice will be achieved, when Jesus will establish his kingdom, but the authors of the New Testament expect tribulation and affliction, the messianic woes, until that day comes.”
Conclusion: Just like a wedding dress compliments a bride’s beauty, so our good works make the Gospel attractive to a watching world.
Topics: Something For Everyone