Terry R. Baughman
“Out of love, … Christ is preached; and in this I rejoice, yes, and will rejoice” (Philippians 1:17–18).
Love prevails. Having the right motives in all that we do preserves the purity of our reputation and strengthens the testimony of our character. While some good may be accomplished merely because of the truth of our message regardless of our personal motivation, yet when we demonstrate genuine love and care to those to whom we deliver the message there is an exponential increase of effectiveness in our witness.
In Paul’s letter to the Philippians he rhetorically embraced any effort to share the message of Christ regardless of motivation, “Some,” he said, “preach Christ even from envy and strife” (Philippians 1:15). As long as, “Christ is preached,” he was able to rejoice in the outcome. Without disputing the charity of Paul’s statement we can also rejoice in every effort to share the truth of the Gospel of Christ. Love for the message and love for Christ will enable us to more enthusiastically rejoice.
Because we have embraced the truth and rejoice in its proclamation we also refrain from rejoicing when sin is promoted. Paul said, “Love does not rejoice in iniquity!” (1 Corinthians 13:6). This verse in the NIV reads, “Love does not delight in evil.” Loving God and the righteousness of truth causes us to reject unrighteous behavior and rejoice in the pure and right path. David pronounced favor on those who seek righteousness, “Blessed is the man who walks not in the counsel of the ungodly, nor stands in the path of sinners, nor sits in the seat of the scornful; but his delight is in the law of the Lord, and in His law he meditates day and night” (Psalm 1:1–2). Delight in the right!
Loving truth will produce harmony in our lives. Not only will our hearts be at peace with God, but we will seek harmonious relationships in all our associations. Rejoicing in the right produces peaceful conditions. “Great peace have those who love Your law, And nothing causes them to stumble” (Psalm 119:165).
Truth was never intended to injure, nor designed to destroy. Jesus celebrated the fact that, “the truth will make you free!” (John 8:32). The power of the Gospel sets us free from the slavery of sin. This reality is indeed good news to those who do not know the truth nor the power of the name of Jesus! Sin brings its own condemnation and humanity feels the weight of its judgment. When truth is proclaimed let it be with celebration and the acknowledgment of the true power of redemption to bring freedom to every suffering soul.
Paul’s instruction was that we speak, “the truth in love,” so that believers may grow more effectively into the fulness of the body of Christ. Every member, “every joint supplies, according to the effective working by which every part does its share, causes growth of the body for the edifying of itself in love” (Ephesians 4:15–16). Growth and maturity is the direct result of those who contribute in unity to the benefit of the community of Christ. Speak the truth, love the truth, and rejoice in the truth. Rejoice for what is being accomplished in His great purpose. Love always rejoices!
“Love … rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails.…” (1 Corinthians 13:6–8 NIV).