Wednesday, Jan 9, 2019. We have quite some discussion today about truth in our political world. What is the truth about reality? What is the truth about conflicts and wars? What is the truth about particular opinions? It is heavily debated - up to a suppression of the truth in states without free press. But even in states where you have free expression of opinion, today the debate about what is has become quite difficult.
Paul writing to Timothy …
The situation is not new. It has been like this since the beginning of mankind. When we look into the situation of the New Testament, we also find the discussion about the truth present in letters and gospels. And indeed, it is truth which is in the core of Christian believe, the whole discussion is quite important! Paul writes in his letter to Timothy:
14 I hope to come to you soon, but I am writing these things to you so that, 15 if I delay, you may know how one ought to behave in the household of God, which is the church of the living God, a pillar and buttress of the truth. 16 Great indeed, we confess, is the mystery of godliness: He was manifested in the flesh, vindicated by the Spirit, seen by angels, proclaimed among the nations, believed in the world, taken up in glory. (1 Tim 3, 14ff)
There are several points which excite me when I read it, which talk to me right away. First, Paul writes about how one ought to behave in the household of God. Who is the household of God? It is you and me, who believe in Jesus. It is the groups of people, who believe. The church in its main core is not an institution, but it is the living body of those who believe in Jesus. Of course, the church is also an institution - we need structure. The New Testament gives us structure for the church, very flexible stucture and principles indeed! But the main point is that we, as believers, are the household of God and this should be reflected in our lifestyle.
Mystery of Godliness …
Second, the church is called the pillar of the truth. You are called the pillar of the truth. You are, in the sense that with your belief and with the whole spirit living in you, you are part of the body of Christ on earth. You are expected to be like a pillar of truth - with all what you are, with your life, your thoughts, your emotions, your words, your deeds. This is quite far reaching, of course. We all are and remain sinners, grown up and influenced by a world gone astray. But we are also renewed by the spirit, by faith in Christ. This provides new life, new directions, day by day. We are not bound to stay on a wrong track, and we can correct things. We can keep correcting, even if we fail again and again! Yes.
Third, the mystery of godliness. What is it? Paul does not talk about ethics in the first place. But he talks about Christ. Yes, godliness is about him, about Jesus becoming a human child, about his way to the cross. Paul talks about a mystery. And it is a mystery: how can God become human? How can the son be the word, and be with God, and be God, and become flesh, and live among us, and die, and rise, and be in the spirit? Yet, his glory comes in and through all this. He is there, today, as he was at pentecost, when the spirit was sent to the disciples. Since then, the spirit of Jesus, the risen Jesus, has come to believers, everywhere.
There is deep truth in the path of Christ. There is deep truth brought by the spirit into our life. It is not our truth, but it is his truth, it is him, being there. It is not us. But still, we become part of him, of his humility, of his dedication, of his mercy. What a mystery, and how wonderful this is, the deep and lasting glory of Christ Jesus! (Roland Potthast) ... further texts