In the last installment quite long ago, I have covered the first purpose of speaking the truth in love wihin the community of believers; which is to be firm in the faith. I would like to finish up the rest of the purposes of speaking the truth in love within the community of believes here.
... so that we may no longer be children, tossed to and fro by the waves and carried about by every wind of doctrine, by human cunning, by craftiness in deceitful schemes. Rather, speaking the truth in love, we are to grow up in every way into him who is the head, into Christ, from whom the whole body, joined and held together by every joint with which it is equipped, when each part is working properly, makes the body grow so that it builds itself up in love. (Eph. 4:14-16)
Closely related to being firm in the faith is the idea of being built up and growing in the faith. How can a person be firm in the faith when he doesn't even know what is the faith to begin with? Thus, another purpose of speaking the truth in love is that the person is to be built up in the faith.
This brings us to the next purpose of speaking the truth in love which is to enable the believer to be growing in the comunity of believers. Growth is to be anchored in Christ, and this is to be done through the Church of Christ which is the body of Christ (Col. 1:24). Today in this individualistic, anarchistic age, some Christians may be convinced that they can grow just by themselves (the me with the Bible in the woods syndrome) without being in the fellowship of believers. This could spawn an entire topic, but I disgress, noting that the Bible clearly tell us that we are to grow in maturity in Christ within the community of believers. Suffice it is to say for the moment that this is what the Bible have in mind for us Christians, and that one of the purposes of speaking the truth in love is to help us grow in such a community.
The next two purposes of speaking the truth in love concentrates on the service side or the practical outworking of this in our works before God. The idea of equipping for service contains the idea that speaking the truth in love would cause us to have 'new' tools to be used for the works which God has prepared beforehand for us to do (Eph. 2:10), while the idea of serving our Lord properly emphasize for those of us who are dense that this equipping must be translated into works which we must do (action thus required). As these are purposes of speaking the truth in love, which we shall see later involve speaking the truth which involve doctrines, this show forth the principle that correct doctrine is the necesary instigator of correct action and good works before God (orthopraxis).
Finally, above all these purposes put on love (Col. 3:14). The final purpose of speaking the truth in love is, not suprisingly, to grow in love for our Lord and for the communion of believers. For most of us modern day Christians who may be fed with ridiculously skewed media versions of what love is, to love God and to love fellow believers is NOT to do everything possible to please them, but rather to do what is good for them, whether they like it or not. Of course, to please God is to obey His commands, and the Word of God specifies what is pleasing to God and what is best for us and for our fellow believers alike. Therefore, growing in love for God and for fellow believers necessitate that we likewise grow in knowledge of His Word, and then acting it out in love for God and for our brethren in Christ.
Now after covering these purposes of speaking the truth in love, I would like to discuss the principles and then the method(s) of speaking the truth in love, the practical area in which most people would have trouble applying this biblical injunction.
[Continue in next installment]