…the house of God, which is the church of the living God, the pillar and ground of the truth – 1 Timothy 3:15
Paul makes three astonishing claims for the church, in rapid-fire succession, which we would do well to remember. First, the church is the house of God.Don’t let the wonder of that statement be robbed by your possible familiarity with it.
God lives in his church! Just as he set up residence in the tabernacle and temple in the Old Testament, God now resides in his church in a special and glorious way. Nowhere else on earth—mountaintops, golf courses, or beaches—can claim the same.
Second, this is the church of the living God. Each word is important here: “of” because it is his church, not yours or anyone else’s; “the” because there is only one true God; “living” because he is eternal and powerful and vital; “God” because that’s who he is.
Third, the church is the pillar and ground of the truth. Paul is not implying that the church’s traditions are on the same par with Scripture, as some teach. Rather, he is affirming Jesus’ own promise concerning the perpetuity (continuation) of the gospel-affirming, Christ-proclaiming body of Christ. The gates of hell itself cannot prevail against this God-inhabited, Christ-empowered organism.
How does Paul’s three-fold assertion affect you? Does it inspire you to know that God lives in his church, that he is just as unique and energetic as ever on our behalf, and that the truth of the gospel will be perpetuated until Christ returns?
If so, then let your labors in, and faithfulness toward, the kingdom of Christ reflect the greatness of these guarantees.