July 1, 2018 / by Glen Elliott
In his letter to Titus, Paul instructed his fellow-worker to urge his brothers and sisters in Christ who were slaves to show all good faith in both behavior and attitude so as to "adorn the doctrine of God... in every respect" (T it. 2:9-10). In this, there is a great lesson for today's Christian. We too, must adorn the doctrine of God.
Doctrine is not a word that appeals to many. Doctrinal sermons are not anticipated by many with eager delight. But, doctrine is a perfectly good word that is found throughout the Scriptures, especially in the King James Version of the Bible. Early Christians "continued in the apostles' doctrine" (Acts 2:42). Paul spoke to Timothy, saying, "take heed to yourself and to the doctrine" (l Tim. 4: 16). John provided the following warning: "He that transgresseth and abideth not in the doctrine of Christ,j1ath not God" (2 Jn. 9). And, again, we read these words from the apostle Paul: "All Scripture is given by inspiration of God and is profitable for doctrine.. (2 Tim. 3: 16). Doctrine is a good word, usually translated teaching in more recent translations. Doctrine is teaching.For the purpose of illustration, we might want to compare doctrine to the skeleton of the human body. If suddenly our skeleton were removed, we would just fall down like a big heap of flesh, never to take another step. That's what the doctrine is—the skeleton around which we build our lives. Without it, we would be nothing but just another glorified civic group. The doctrine is like a skeleton. But a skeleton needs something beautiful around it to make it attractive. Few would admire a skeleton as something particularly beautiful. Fewer still would want to meet a skeleton in a dark alley on a stormy night. And so, we take the doctrine and adorn it in every respect.
Adorn is from COSMEO, the word from which we get cosmetics. The word meant "to beautify." We are not the first to know about cosmetics. The
Egyptians used them 5,000 years ago. Egyptian women would paint their faces and put black above their eyes and green below their eyes. They also painted their fingernails, the palms of their hands and the soles of their feet. When the Bible tells of the death of Jezebel, it says that the last thing she did was paint her face—she put on her make-up.
In early America, the Puritans opposed the use of cosmetics. The early settlers of our country were too busy surviving to care much about cosmetics. It wasn't until after World War I that American women began to wear cosmetics. But this is the word used by Paul when he said that we are to adorn (COSMEO) the doctrine of God. What does this mean? We will discuss this further in next week's bulletin.