Monday, May 14, 2007

Adorn The Doctrine Of God

"...showing all good faith, so that in everything they may adorn the doctrine of God our Savior" (Titus 2:10, ESV).

Last week this verse was pointed out to me as I was reading. Then, this morning, I was reading from two different books and almost the identical phrase "adorn the doctrine" was in both places. So, needless to say, I believe (at least to some level), God wants me to savor this phrase. With that in mind, I will try to communicate this truth clearly for your encouragement.

Paul is writing to Titus - telling him to encourage the slaves to adorn the doctrine of God. Now, while we may not be "slaves", we are all workers in some way. And, in everything we do, we should adorn the doctrine of God. As Augustine put it, "Preach the gospel, and if you must, use words."

Think about the word "adorn". Every morning, you wake up and get ready. You make yourself look good. You do your hair. You put on clothes that you think make you look good. You brush your teeth. You do all these things to make yourself look more presentable.

Now, Paul's not saying that the gospel isn't already beautiful in and of itself. But, he is saying that we're weak vessels, and the gospel is viewed by others as beautiful when we live it out. When we are adorning the gospel, we are "embellishing with honor" (Enhanced Strongs Lexicon). We are telling people that we not only believe the gospel intellectually, but the gospel has grabbed a hold of us and has radically changed us. When people see that type of change, they see more of the beauty of the gospel.

To give a negative example, we all know people who give Christianity a bad name. They have a critical spirit or greed or a desire to exalt their name above others. These people make Christianity look bad to the outside world. Paul refutes that type of living by calling us to embellish with honor.

You might ask, "How can I do this?" The answer comes 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," (Titus 2:11-12) Do you see it? It's God's grace! His mercy and grace will teach you. It will train you to renounce the ungodliness in your life so that your life will not be a stumbling block. Instead, your spiritual walk will grow and become more of a shining testimony of God's mercy! When your life is radically changed by a gracious God, you cannot help but love to adorn the doctrine of God. Your heart will soar and you will delight in making sure that the gospel looks grand - as it is!

But, don't forget to verbalize who you live for - that's part of pointing others to Christ. As John Piper puts it, "...speaking the good news of Christ is part of why God put you in your job. He has woven you into the fabric of others' lives so that you will tell them the Gospel. Without this, all our adorning behavior may lack the one thing that could make it life-giving" (Don't Waste Your Life, p. 151).

So, focus on Christ. Seek to be satisfied in Him and seek to make others satisfied in Him! His grace will train you.

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