The Doctrine Adorned

Titus 2:10

A good plan for helping the kingdom forward is found in this sentence which Paul wrote: “But showing all good fidelity; that they may adorn the doctrine of God our Savior in all things” (Titus 2:10 KJV). There is nothing which commends an apple tree so much as the sight of ripened fruit hanging from the branches. So nothing sets people longing for holiness like the living exhibition of it.

To “adorn” is to set off to advantage, to add to the attractiveness, to beautify, to decorate as with ornaments. Now that is exactly what the apostle meant, and the application is that you and I must set off to advantage, add to the attractiveness of the gospel which we believe.

Jesus Christ meant that when He said, “Let your light shine before men, that they may see your good deeds and praise your Father in heaven” (Matthew 5:16). This also was the idea in Paul’s mind in that verse to the Philippians, “Shine as lights in the world” (Philippians 2:15 KJV).

There are people who know very little of what you call “the body of doctrine,” who yet in all simplicity hold the truth of God and live up to it. Tens of thousands have “crossed the river” who could never give you a definition of any doctrine; but they accepted the simple truths in their hearts, were ornaments to their profession, and are now in Glory.

Our trumpet has no uncertain sound. We not only talk about the pardoning mercy of God but about the all-cleansing Blood of Jesus Christ. We not only point out how the rebel can be transformed into a child, but we show how a man’s heart can be made pure and his natured renewed by the indwelling Spirit. Delivered from the love of sin and from its pollution in his heart, he can be kept from sin and sinning and be enabled to rejoice evermore, to pray without ceasing, and in everything to give thanks. Think what a commendation of the doctrine it would be if you all adorned the truth and showed in your daily lives the power to live in holiness.

Talking about holiness has small effect unless it is to be seen in your disposition, in your ordinary life, in your loving consideration for other people, or in your patient endurance of injury. If you want to adorn this doctrine, there must be the beauties of a happy, consistent character and life, otherwise it goes for nothing.

T. Henry Howard, Standards of Life and Service

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