I. THE HOUSE OF THE LIVING GOD
Verse 15 continues, “But if I delay, that you may know how one ought to conduct himself in the house of God, which is the church of the living God, the pillar and base of the truth.” The words “know how one ought to conduct himself” indicate that in this book Paul gives instructions concerning how to take care of a local church.
According to Paul’s word in verse 15, the church is the house of God. The Greek word rendered house may also be translated household. The same word is used in 3:4, 5, and 12. The household, the family, of God is the house of God. The house and the household are one thing—the assembly of the believers (Eph. 2:19; Heb. 3:6). The reality of this house as the dwelling place of the living God is in our spirit (Eph. 2:22). We must live and act in our spirit so that God can be manifested in this house as the living God.
As God’s dwelling place, the church is both God’s house and His household, His family. In the Old Testament, the temple and God’s people, His family, were two separate things. But in the fulfillment in the New Testament, the dwelling place and the family are one. The family is God’s dwelling place, and God’s dwelling place is His family. As we have indicated, the Greek word for house may be translated either as house or household. According to God’s New Testament economy, God’s family is His house. These are not two separate things; they are actually one. We are God’s family and also His temple, His dwelling place.
In speaking of the church as the house of God, Paul specifically refers to God as the living God. The living God who lives in the church must be subjective to the church rather than merely objective. An idol in a heathen temple is lifeless. The God who not only lives but also acts, moves, and works in His living temple, the church, is living. Because He is living, the church is also living in Him, by Him, and with Him. A living God and a living church live, move, and work together. The living church is the house and the household of the living God. Hence, it becomes the manifestation of God in the flesh.
II. THE PILLAR AND BASE OF THE TRUTH
Speaking metaphorically, Paul goes on to say that the church is “the pillar and base of the truth.” The pillar supports the building, and the base holds the pillar. The church is such a supporting pillar and holding base of the truth.
The truth here refers to the real things which are revealed in the New Testament concerning Christ and the church according to God’s New Testament economy. The church is the supporting pillar and holding base of all these realities. A local church should be such a building that holds, bears, and testifies the truth, the reality, of Christ and the church.
The church as the house of the living God is both the pillar which bears the truth and the base which upholds the pillar. As we have pointed out, the truth is the reality and the contents of God’s New Testament economy. This economy is composed of two mysteries: Christ as the mystery of God (Col. 2:2) and the church as the mystery of Christ (Eph. 3:4). Christ and the church, the Head and the Body, are the contents of the reality of God’s New Testament economy.
(Life-Study of 1 & 2 Timothy, Titus and Philemon, Chapter 6, by Witness Lee)