Paul begins his letter to Titus by introducing himself as a "slave" of God. Some versions translate this word as "servant," but slave has the fuller meaning. Paul had taught that we have been "bought with a price." We are the property of and owned by God. We do not belong to the world or even ourselves. Slaves are 24/7 at their Master’s beck and call. Discipleship means more than just "following" Jesus. It means abandoning your will to the will of your owner. Paul had written this in Romans, "Don’t you know that when you offer yourselves to someone to obey him as slaves, you are slaves to the one whom you obey–whether you are slaves to sin, which leads to death, or to obedience, which leads to righteousness?"
Because of our country’s negative history with slavery, we don’t like the word "slave." Years ago the movie Roots showed the horrors of those bound by that unjust institution. Yet, ironically, Paul talks about our slavery in God as a position of true freedom. There are none so liberated as the children of God. As Jesus taught, those in true captivity are "slaves to sin." Children of God avoid sin, live in peace, and are not controlled by circumstances, events, and people.
One area where many are bound is in non-forgiveness, bitterness, resentment, and anger. After teaching about the necessity to forgive even many times, the apostles respond with "increase our faith." Jesus taught that even some faith in God has the power to uproot, not mulberries, but mulling over past wrongs and hurts. Resentment, bitterness, and codependency lead to slavery and misery.
Because we are slaves of God, we are not bound by sin or any way of behaving which our culture tries to infuse in people. We are a people owned by God. We are God’s property. Because we have faith in the one who has "bought us," we can live liberated, emancipated lives. The evil roots of slavery are planted in the sea. We can live in serenity even when offended.
Fr. Cedric Pisegna, C.P. is a missionary preacher, author of 16 books and creator of television and radio programs airing in many cities. You can learn more about his ministry at: http://www.frcedric.org/