Committing to the truth from love

But we are meant to hold firmly to the truth in love, and to grow up in every way into Christ, the head.

Paul says we should commit firmly to the truth in love. We must not be unstable in that commitment, v. 14. We must adhere to, or “remain” in, the truth (Spicq TLNT). So our actions and words must show constancy in relation to truth.

Paul does not mean merely that we should have a kind approach, a positive attitude when we speak truth to others. Both concepts are broader. Speaking is but a facet of that life-commitment to gospel truth — an essential facet, but still a part of the whole. (The original is a single verb, aletheuo.) If the commitment to hold to the truth is not present, the speaking of truth will soon slither away and give place to falsehood.

Also, we are not to speak and adhere to the truth with love, as if there could be an option of doing so in another manner, as if the love could be turned on and off at will.

Rather, “in love” refers to our position from which we speak and practice. We activate the truth in ourselves and toward others from love. Love kindles the commitment to truth, prompts the speaking of truth, and determines how both example and word will manifest themselves so as to best serve the cause of truth.

For this love is always relational. Love directs itself toward, and derives its life from, Christ who is the head. Desire for progress toward him is the driver of the truth-action. It may not be a coincidence that both the phrase “in love” and the word “Christ” come at the end of the two phrases in this verse. (Actually, the two parts of the verse end with prepositional phrases.) They are emphatic and connected to each other, the fuel of all commitment and maturity of the faithful.

So let our commitment to truth be one of the entire being, springing from our love to grow nearer to Christ and our desire to be a blessing to others by his message of salvation.

J. Randal Matheny

Be pithy.

What do you think?