This pastoral passage was first written for LRBC on August 2 2015.
Too often, the Christian faith is known for what non-Christians will regard as ugly. Divine judgement on sin, the obligations of humans to their Maker and other supposedly outdated ideas can be the most prominent aspects of what we believe. While it is of course a step too far to agree that things like these are in fact ‘ugly’, they are not typically what draw people to Christ.
The words of Paul in Titus 2:10 point us to a remedy. Having spoken about how various people should conduct themselves (Titus 2:1-9), he concludes that they should do this “so that they may adorn the doctrine of God our Saviour.” What he is saying here is that the way we live should in some way illustrate the power, goodness and beauty of the gospel so that the message of Christ will be displayed to those around us.
The risk in this is that we may merely look like ‘good people’ who happen to be Christians. This doesn’t really point others to Christ. Kindness and charity are not uniquely Christian virtues. The challenge we face to overcome this is two-fold. First, we must live above and beyond what may be considered ‘good’ but otherwise normal. The Spirit makes radical changes in the human heart, and the gospel makes radical demands on its beneficiaries. Do our lives demonstrate this? Secondly, we must have words to define our actions. It is popular to say “actions speak louder than words”, but actions without words won’t likely be defined the way we would want them to. Actions speak clearest with words.
So – how does your life adorn the doctrine of God your Saviour?