Still on the Hook

Titus 2:9–10 “Teach slaves to be subject to their masters in everything, to try to please them, to not talk back to them and not to steal from them, but to show that they can be fully trusted so that in every way they will make the teaching about God our Savior attractive.”

Observation: Titus 2 is Paul’s summation of what various groups ought to be taught to effect the Gospel’s spread. He first addresses men (vs. 1–3), then older and younger women (vs. 3, 5), followed by younger men (v. 6).  Finally he addresses slaves, saying his purpose is that “in every way”, in their lifestyle and their relationships, Christ’s teachings would be seen to be attractive.

Application: In this last phrase is the key that lets none of us off the hook. It is interesting that nowhere in these verses does Paul emphasize winning doctrinal arguments, although sound doctrine is elsewhere held to be essential (see 2 Timothy 3:16 and Titus 2:1). Paul doesn’t focus on the merits of extensive theological training which might be the calling of only a few. He does not issue an insistent or universal call for believers to become great teachers. He nowhere calls us to be able to marshal tightly reasoned arguments to score debating points.

Instead, Paul simply points to the one desired trait that he knew would above all others result in the greatest impact on the culture: that the day-to-day life of even a slave would be lived so as to make Christ attractive. Paul appeals here to behavior, not just to the intellect. In so doing, he issues a universally applicable assignment. We are to simply live lives that present Christ in all His attractiveness to those who observe us.

Here, then, is a standard that ought to be heartening indeed, because it is one I can achieve. No circumstances need thwart its fulfillment…not poverty, not a wheelchair or crutches, not poor parenting or any other limitation I might prefer to use as an excuse.

Not all are equipped to be a great preacher or teacher. But the observable behaviors of my life count for much. The thing I can do is to seek to live my life in a way that presents Christ’s attractiveness. By going deep into Christ myself, I can become as a slave devoted to the Master, with the result that those watching from the sidelines might become jealous for their own hearts to produce fruitful devotion in others. Some may be won by my doctrine, but the Gospel presented in its manifold attractiveness will be powerfully compelling to all I meet.

Prayer: Lord Jesus, I stake my life on Your claims to me. I ask, Lord, that all who look upon me would see You as irresistibly attractive.

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