Jesus said, “And you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free” (Jn. 8:32). The truth shall make you free… Truth is powerful. It changes things. Truth brings clarity, gives direction. But truth can be a two-edged sword. Truth can identify the innocent and convict the guilty. Truth can bring comfort and relief to some and grief and heartache to others.
In the verse noted above, Jesus was specifically speaking of the truth in the gospel message of salvation that He brought from Heaven to mankind. That truth can set man free from guilt and condemnation due to sin. That message is true, basically, because it is God’s word (Jn. 17:17). Because it is God’s word, we can have complete confidence in what it teaches.
Part of the church’s identity is to be guardian to the truth of God’s word. Paul portrays that identity in pretty descriptive terms: “but if I am delayed, I write so that you may know how you ought to conduct yourself in the house of God, which is the church of the living God, the pillar and ground of the truth” (1 Tim. 3:15).
The “truth,” as noted above, is God’s word. The image of the church as a “pillar” of that truth is one of the church serving as a supporting column. Such a column holds up whatever it is positioned under. The church is supposed to uphold the truth of God’s teachings. That would include defending that truth against error (Jude 1:3). God’s teachings cannot be changed to suit individual desire, nor can they be changed to supposedly bring them in harmony with the popular mindset of the day. The truth must be upheld as truth!
The church being “the pillar and ground of the truth” would also require that the church actively teach God’s word throughout the world. The church’s most fundamental ministry, or mission, is to teach God’s word. We are to teach it to the lost in an effort to lead them to salvation, and we are to teach it to the saved in order to strengthen them in their faith (Matt. 28:19-20).
The truth in the basic message of the Bible is powerful to change lives (Rom. 1:16). When learned, believed and properly applied, it can change the life of the most vile sinner from one of evil to godliness, from one of rebellion against God to devotion to God, from one of disbelief to faith, from one of emptiness to a life filled with real hope.
As lives change, based upon that truth, the influence of those lives can change other lives and ultimately the world around them. The power of the truth of God’s word is more awesome than most people contemplate: “For the word of God is living and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the division of soul and spirit, and of joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart” (Heb. 4:12)…
Gary L. Hutchens