Editorial: Love Rejoices With the Truth

“The truth is in Jesus” (Eph 4:21).[1] When we “heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation, and believed in him” (1:13), we were sealed with the Holy Spirit and made members of Christ’s body – hallmarks of this distinct dispensation, sometimes referred to as the Church Age. The truth of the Church as one body in Christ is glorious; it is called “the mystery of Christ” (3:4). At the climax of His creation week, God gave the first Adam a bride, and presented us with a picture of Christ and His Church (cf. Gen 2:18-25 and Eph 5:31-32). The Church remained a mystery, kept hidden for ages (Eph 3:1-11), but this eternal purpose of God was finally realized in the last Adam, the Lord Jesus Christ. The oneness of the Church, and her oneness with Christ (1Co 12:12), is a precious truth, and “love … rejoices with the truth” (13:6) – if we love Christ, we must love His Church.

In our earthly pilgrimage, however, we will never come into contact with most of Christ’s Church. So God has wisely and graciously designed something further for our spiritual blessing and development: a fellowship of His people that meet together in a given locality (e.g., 1Th 1:1). There is one Church (Eph 4:4), but many churches (Rom 16:16). Or, there is one Assembly, but many assemblies; you will notice both terms used throughout this issue. And this additional truth that Scripture reveals concerning local assemblies is also precious – and “love rejoices with the truth.”

Every part of God’s revelation is valuable and not to be overlooked. Truth matters, and since “love rejoices with the truth,” one measure of our love for the Lord is our desire to hold to His truth, even when it becomes less and less popular in a society steeped in secularism and relativism. As Jesus Christ is the foundation of every true church (1Co 3:10-11), our loyalty in a local church is borne out of loyalty to Christ and His Word. We should hold truth in a Christ-like manner: in humility, not in arrogance; with joy, not with animosity. Admittedly, local churches will differ from one another in some practices – partly due to differing cultures and traditions, and partly due to differing judgments on some aspects of truth. This is why we must respect local church autonomy, but it remains incumbent upon every local church to appeal to the authority of Scripture. Sometimes frustration with traditions or errors of judgment have led beloved saints to throw out the baby with the bath water, jettisoning truth in the process. Don’t throw out babies, and don’t jettison truth. “Love rejoices with the truth,” including all of God’s truth for the Church and the churches. Let us be committed to the authority of His Word and keep enjoying the blessing of the Lord in the midst of His gathered people.

[1] All Scripture quotations in this article are from the ESV.