Christian workers are exhorted to be submissive to their own employers. The Scriptures teach obedience in various areas of life – wives to husbands, children to parents, and subjects to rulers. Similarly, the principle applies to the sen/ant/master relationship. This problem often rears its ugly head in today’s world when we have disputes in the workplace that often result in strikes, etc. So all that the apostle says here is right up-to-date.
Like so much in life, there are two sides to every coin. The husband is to love as the wife is to obey, the parent is not to provoke unnecessarily as the child obeys, the magistrate is to be a terror to evil as the subject obeys. So, likewise, the employer must be fair and impartial if a good relationship with the employee is to be maintained.
The reason for this is given in these words, “that they may adorn the doctrine of God our Saviour in all things.” Here again we have the idea of someone setting an example. In this relationship, the Christian is to set a good standard which might be followed by others. The employee should seek to please his employer. They ought not to be argumentative nor should they purloin or pilfer from their employer’s possessions. An outstanding example of this was seen in the early 1920s when many employees in Belfast shipyard were gloriously saved under W P Nicholson’s ministry. The transforming power of the gospel was demonstrated in that a special warehouse had to be built to hold all the stolen goods that had been pilfered by the employees before their conversion.