The calling to glorify God applies to everyone

Last updated on February 3, 2023

Bondservants are to be submissive to their own masters in everything; they are to be well-pleasing, not argumentative, not pilfering, but showing all good faith, so that in everything they may adorn the doctrine of God our Savior.” (Titus 2:9-10)

Today we read about another sensitive social issue – slavery. This word makes us feel uncomfortable! And rightly so. The Bible offers plenty of starting points for the view that slavery is wrong and should be abolished. Human traffickers, for example, are addressed harshly in Exodus 21:16 and 1 Timothy 1:10. Every human being is of equal worth and no one has the right to consider another human being his property.

So why are slaves urged by Paul to be submissive and not contradict their master? Why must they faithfully do their work in such an unjust social system?
It is important to distinguish here between the system of slavery (which was very common at the time, but is wrong) and the attitude of a slave or bondservant within that system. The change needed must come from the slave owners (see, for example, Ephesians 6:9 and Philemon 1:16).

However, as long as a person is trapped in this system and cannot change his position, he must do good within this system and live as a saint. The calling to be an example and glorify God through your behavior applies to everyone, regardless of your social status. Never think that you have no influence or that your life does not matter! Even in difficult or unjust circumstances, you are called to “adorn” the Gospel!

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