“They must hold the mystery of the faith with a clear conscience.”
1 Timothy 3:9
This statement is positioned in the description of deacons in the church, but it contains a truth to which all of us are called. Paul specifies his intent in his writing of this letter a bit later in verse 15: “so that…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.”
We are a pillar and buttress of the truth. The church of the living God. Our purpose is to display His glory, to live out and uphold His truth in the midst of a dark world. We hold fast to our salvation and are cleansed from all unrighteousness. This is then to be exemplified in our every action, our thought processes and decision making. It must be seen in our conversations and daily interactions.
We have been brought from death into life. From an existence centered on ourselves, marked by pride and selfishness, to one that is centered on Christ and marked by love and obedience to Him.
Moving forward in our life, fixing our eyes on Jesus Christ, the author and perfecter of our faith, we must live out that faith with a clear conscience. This is a refusal to submit again to a yoke of slavery and firmly take hold of the freedom for which Christ has set us free (Galatians 5:1). We declare to the world the truth that there is value, beauty, and life in the law and commands of our God. It is in living in those commands that we experience His freedom. Because we aren’t bound by the chains sin so easily wraps around us. We no longer have guilt or shame or fear, because we walk in His strength, His grace, His righteousness, and His love.
We trust Him. And so we follow Him. It is a display of our faith. We are saying that we believe Him when He shows us how to live. We believe in His wisdom and faithfulness. We believe, and so we forgive. We make love our aim. We pursue purity. We give generously. We walk in integrity. We seek to outdo one another in showing honor. The fruit of the spirit is evident in us, not on rare occasions, when we feel good about our circumstances, or when we wake up on the right side of the bed. It is seen consistently. It is characteristic of us. Because it is characteristic of Christ. And it is His nature that is being developed in us. A nature of Love. Joy. Peace. Patience. Kindness. Goodness. Faithfulness. Gentleness. Self-Control.
In Romans 13:8, Paul sums up the law in a simple statement: “Owe no one anything, except to love each other, for the one who loves another has fulfilled the law.” So we love. Love requires us to lay aside our pride and vanity. It requires that we put aside our interests and desires and instead focus on the other person. It requires dying to ourselves. Which is the call of the cross. We love our God foremost, with all of our heart, mind, soul, and strength. And we love our neighbor as we love ourselves. In doing so, in living this out and making this more than just words, we fulfill the law and are the pillar of truth that God intends us to be.