Paul now returns to a favourite word-picture. Together, all Christians are like a body (Romans 12:4-5; 1 Corinthians 12:12-27) and Christ is like their head (5:23-30). However, Christ is perfect and they are not perfect. Therefore, they need to grow and to develop into the people that God wants them to be. God wants them to match Christ perfectly; the Bible even describes them as the bride of Christ (Revelation 19:6-9).
We ask how Christians can ever live by Christís standards. Paulís answer is simple and practical. Wicked people speak lies in order to take advantage of other people (4:14). Christians must do the opposite. They must Ďspeak the truth in loveí. That is how Christ behaved. He always spoke the truth, and he acted in perfect love.
Sometimes Christians speak the truth, but they show no love. The result is that their words cannot achieve anything worthwhile (1 Corinthians 13:1). They become strict in their religion, and severe or even cruel towards other Christians. On the other hand, some Christians try to show love, but they do not care about the truth. They would even change Godís message in order to please people. Such wrong attitudes do not please God. Both truth and love are essential to Godís nature (1 John 4:6-8; 2 John 1-3). When we show Godís love and truth, we show Godís character to the world. So, we are learning to live as Christ lived; we are developing to become more like Christ. That is what it means to grow as a Christian.
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© 2018, Keith Simons.