1 Timothy 3:14-16
“I hope to come to you soon, but I am writing these things to you so that, if I delay, 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. Great indeed, we confess, is the mystery of godliness:”
“He was manifested in the flesh,
vindicated by the Spirit,
seen by angels,
proclaimed among the nations,
believed on in the world,
taken up in glory.”
The church is the most amazing institution in all of the world. First, the church contains the family of God, for it is the household of God. It is the place where God’s children reside. Second, the church is the dwelling place of God, for it is where the living God has chosen to make himself known. Lastly, the church is pillar and ground of the truth. This does not mean that the church is the institution that sits over all information and decides what is and is not true. No, the church has the truth contained in the Scriptures and merely is the place which stands upon it and lifts it up to the surrounding world. What an amazing institution the church is.
Not only is the church amazing, but equally so is the mystery of godliness. God not only has his children in a place called the church, makes himself known through the church, and stores the truth in the church; he makes himself known and seen by coming himself here to dwell.
God was manifest in the flesh, in the person of Jesus Christ. He was justified by the Spirit raising him from the dead. He was seen by angels though out his earthly ministry and since the dawn of time in heaven. He was proclaimed by his church among the nations; not only to the people of Israel, but throughout the nations of gentiles as well. Not only was he proclaimed, but he was believed upon among all people groups in the world. Lastly he was taken up on glory. He ascended from this earth and sits now in the throne room of heaven where he intercedes for his children in heaven. Oh, how great is this mystery of God dwelling with man!
All of this information in intended to produce a change in our behavior. Paul wrote these things to the church so that we would know how we ought to behave. I know that behavior follows what is in the heart. We change by aiming at the heart and behavior follows, but even so, behavior is very important to God. He is known in this world by how his children act. Godly children are a mystery because of inborn depravity. The gospel is the key which unlocks this great and deep mysterious righteous behavior in the church of the living God.