9 Teach slaves to be subject to their masters in everything, to try to please them, not to talk back to them, 10 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.
11 For the grace of God has appeared that offers salvation to all people.12 It teaches us to say “No” to ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright and godly lives in this present age, 13 while we wait for the blessed hope—the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior, Jesus Christ, 14 who gave himself for us to redeem us from all wickedness and to purify for himself a people that are his very own, eager to do what is good.
15 These, then, are the things you should teach. Encourage and rebuke with all authority. Do not let anyone despise you.
(Titus 2:9-15 NIV)
In our previous two passages, we looked at the character traits of adult men and women, both young and old, that demonstrate God’s life in and through them.
Today, we look at character traits of slaves (employees) toward their masters (bosses), then our calling as a follower of Christ to live out our salvation in Him.
Verses 9 – 10 summarize our attitude and actions as employees working for our bosses. Paul again uses the phrase “be subject to” (one word in the Greek language). This is is a military term, meaning that one puts themselves voluntarily under another’s authority as a soldier puts himself under the commander’s authority.
Paul says that the employee’s role is to please their boss. There is no opt-out clause for bad bosses or that the work is easy or that the employee finds ultimate fulfillment in what they are doing. In fact, Paul says that not only do employees need to do the work they are given, they are to do so with a good attitude, not talking back to their bosses.
Paul also says that employees are not to steal from their employers. The word used for steal indicates petty theft, not grand larceny. A good example of this in our day and age would be employees taking office supplies from work for use at home.
The best compliment that an employee can receive, Paul says, is that their employer trusts them. By living their lives with integrity and honesty, employees make Christ attractive to unbelieving bosses, making it easy to share Christ with them.
In verses 11-14, Paul summarizes God’s exhortation and calling to all ages, genders, and occupations. God’s grace is made available to all people, and salvation is offered to all. We are all undeserving, and yet God still offers His love and mercy freely to all who will accept the death of His Son Jesus as payment for their sins and Jesus’ resurrection as the assurance of eternal life spent in heaven with God.
So are salvation and eternal life the end of the story? Paul says that those who accept God’s gracious gift are transformed both inwardly and outwardly. God’s purpose is to redeem us for His use, and for His glory. Our hope is found only and completely in Him, whom we look for, long for, and wait expectantly.
Finally, Paul’s instruction to Titus is to teach, encourage, and rebuke with the full authority of the Gospel. Even as a young pastor on a very difficult assignment, Paul tells Titus to not let anyone ignore him or dismiss his teaching. Instead, Paul tells Titus to stand his ground for the sake of the Gospel, so that people hear and learn the truth of God’s love and offer of salvation and eternal life. Either a person’s teaching is moving them toward Christ, or away from Christ. As Paul had stated in chapter 1, the Gospel is clearly about Christ, not some mere human’s twisted idea based on tradition or desire to control others or to profit from them.
May we live out our salvation, first from our inner lives, and second from our outer lives that are a reflection of our inner lives, Christ living in and through us.
May we share Christ in love with all who will listen, encourage other followers of Christ, and lovingly correct all who preach anything or anyone other than Christ.