And it was not only [fornication] that flourished, but all those [vices] that generally befall human nature – and especially the one that is the downfall of every good condition nowadays too, the hatred of truth and its champions and the love of falsehood and its contrivers...
- Gildas, The Ruin of Britain, British, 6th century
...who exchanged the truth of God for the lie...
- Romans 1.25
At the same time God was instigating awakening and revival in Ireland, under the ministry of Patrick, the Church in 5th-century Britain was beginning to lapse into a period of corruption and lassitude.
By early in the 6th century, the British clergy had become compromised doctrinally and morally; and even though most of the population were Christians, theirs was a faith in name only.
The simple truth, as Gildas pointed out, was that the “Christian” people of Britain did not love the Word of God. Indeed, Gildas tells us, they hated the truth and preferred those who lied to them and allowed them to live comfortable, non-demanding “Christian” lives – as Patrick, indeed, had lived for sixteen years, before being stolen and sold into slavery.
Under the leadership of false shepherds, the Christians in Britain had exchanged the truth of God for the lie of a materialistic age, and Gildas scorched them for their faithless ways.
Patrick came see the error of his ways, and repented long, passionately, and with tears of his own hatred of the truth. But it took him being wrenched out of his comfort zone and exiled into slavery for six years before he finally denounced the lie he’d lived for so long and began to seek more of the truth that set him free.
As a result, God used Patrick mightily to further the truth in the least likely of places, while, just across the Irish Sea, the Church of Britain continued to sink into torpor and sin – and the lie.
Do we love the truth of God? Is it evident by the amount of time and attention we devote to the truth? The way we talk about it with others? The impact of God’s truth on our daily lives? Jonathan Edwards wrote that love for God’s truth and hunger to know more of it were sure signs of the work of God’s Spirit. Where that love and hunger are absent, the Spirit is being quenched.
Do we love the truth, or have we, while professing our devotion to it, in fact exchanged the truth of God for the lie of unbelief in many areas of our lives?
For if we do not love the truth, then we are on the wrong side of a serious divide. We may not hate the truth just yet, but travel that slippery slope for very long, and soon enough you’ll find yourself agreeing more with the spirit of the age than the Spirit and Word of God.
Love for God’s truth doesn’t just happen. And it’s easy to drift away from it (Heb. 2.1). Every believer must nurture love for the truth of God by daily spending time reading God’s Word, meditating, praying, and talking about the Word with others, and walking in obedience.
The truth will set us free from everything that robs us of full and abundant life, but not if we are constantly exchanging it for the lie, just to suit our comfort or convenience.
The truth can set us free, as Patrick learned the hard way, but only if we love it as we should. The lie, as Gildas argued, can cause us to lose our savor and our passion for the Lord.
Seek the truth, and dwell in it. You’ll know more of the Lord’s freedom and fruitfulness as you do.
1. How can you tell when the lie rather than the truth is guiding your daily life?
2. How would you counsel a new believer to get well-grounded in God’s Word?
Psalm 33.1-5 (Truro: Shout, for the Blessed Jesus Reigns!)
Sing with rejoicing in the Lord, for praise becomes His righteous ones!
With harps and songs raise grateful words, and let new songs of praise be sung!
Joyfully shout! His Word is true; He does His work in faithfulness.
His love pervades the whole world through; the Lord loves truth and righteousness.
Teach me, Lord, to love Your Truth more than my own life, so that every day I…
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T. M. Moore
All Psalms for singing from The Ailbe Psalter. Scripture taken from the New King James Version. © Copyright 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved.
 Gildas, p. 24.