According to Daniel B. Wallace, two-thirds of the world’s population were slaves in the days of the Roman Empire. Estimates are as high as two to three million slaves living in Italy in the first century. It is not surprising, then, to read words from the inspired text directed toward those who were slaves. One such text is found in Titus 2:9-10, where Paul writes his fellow worker, saying, “Urge bondslaves to be subject to their own masters in everything, to be well-pleasing, not argumentative, not pilfering, but showing all good faith so that they will adorn the doctrine of God our Savior in every respect.”
In a recent article, we mentioned that adorn is from COSMEO, the word from which we get cosmetics. The doctrine of God is adorned (beautified) by Christians who show “all good faith” in following the teaching of God “in every respect.” Adorn is a secondary meaning of COSMEO which is consistently used by translators to convey the meaning of the word in Titus 2:10.
However, the primary and underlying meaning of COSMEO is to put in order or to arrange. This relates more to cosmos, a word drawing our attention to the Beginning. The Scripture tells us that “The earth was formless and void, and darkness was over the surface of the deep…” (Gen. 1:2-3). The cosmos was not, as yet, adorned. Essential to creating the beauty of the cosmos, as seen in the six days of creation, was putting all things together in an orderly manner. In reading about the Creation in the opening chapters of Genesis, one is struck by both the beauty and order of God’s creative design. Throughout the process is repeated the phrase: “it was good” (Gen. 1:10, 12, 18, 21, 25).
Cosmos, as applied to the Creation, may indirectly shed some light on a Christian’s adornment of the doctrine of God. Perhaps, the reason why faithful Christian living adorns the doctrine of God is that such good faith puts things in order and arranges our lives after His will. A well-ordered life is a beautiful life. Even among those who profess faith in Christ, many are living chaotic lives that show little or no resemblance to the put in order life of one who is following after the doctrine of God.
It is one thing to invent something on paper; but it is quite another thing to have a working model. In His letter to the Romans, the apostle Paul says, “do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of our mind, that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect” (vs. 2). There is nothing beautiful about being conformed to the world. The world is spiritually ugly and chaotic. But, there is something very special about someone who is adorning the doctrine of God. The well-arranged beauty of such a life shines brightly in this world of darkness, showing the way to Christ and the everlasting joy that accompanies genuine faith in Him (Ph. 2:14-16).