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The Rock of Truth

It's truth or it's lies.

The Truth that Makes Us Free (1)

“Sanctify them by Your truth. Your word is truth.”
John 17.17

“And you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.” John 8.32

Let God be true!
In our day, it is increasingly unfashionable and oh so outré to believe in anything so worn-out and discredited as truth.

Claim to have the truth about anything, and you’re likely to be mocked, scorned, denounced, vilified, or condemned. The only truth most people accept is whatever is true for them. We should all just follow our feelings, and make lots of room for others to follow their feelings, too. Yeah.

Truth for most people is something that originates from within them, something which, if not absolute, then at least is absolutely personal, and not the sort of thing that others ought to be passing judgment on, least of all, God. Truth is something you feel, something you’re really sincere about, and therefore something you know deep inside. Who can dispute that?

Truth and tribe go together. We know that we can’t stand alone, waving our banner of sincerity and expect to be credible. So we gravitate to groups, communities, and tribes who think like we do, affirm our commitment to sincerity and the particular ways we express it, and thus reinforce our view of truth as merely personal.

We Christians like to think we are people of the truth; but even we reserve the right to pick and choose which truth we will embrace. Truths that we find uncomfortable or inconvenient we downplay or avoid. Among these would be such long-standing – but apparently now outmoded – Christian truths as repentance and sin, the Law and fear and wrath of God, holiness, tithing, the sanctitiy of the Lord’s Day, leading a disciplined life, and the like. We may acknowledge these in some way or to a certain extent, but we insist on scrubbing them down to fit our comfort level, and thus, we divest them of all vital truth so that we can put them on according to our own interests, needs, or tastes.

And there’s always some Christian tribe or other out there who will agree with my feelings on such matters and welcome me into their truth cadre where we can all enjoy truth as we like it.

God’s Word, however, is unfazed and unchanged by all such tinkering. Those who claim to believe in Christ and those who believe otherwise may feel perfectly justified in redefining truth to fit the temper of the times and the longings of sinful human hearts, but this does not at all affect the revelation of God and the truth about Him, us, and the world.

As the apostle Paul abruptly put it, “Indeed, let God be true but every man a liar.” (Rom. 3.4)

God’s Word is Truth
Unless we want to challenge or correct Jesus, we must contend with His uncomplicated declaration concerning the Word of God: The Word of God is truth. What the Scriptures, the Word of God, say about things is, simply put, the way things are, and the way we must learn to deal with them if we would enjoy truly free and abundant lives. Truth is not generated from within us, nor realized in some social consensus expressing some aspect of the temper of the times. Truth is neither a feeling nor a desire, be it ever so strong or sincere. Truth exists in God, is declared by God, sustained by God, acted on and enforced by God, and recorded in Scripture for our benefit by God.

This is true, in the first instance, concerning God Himself. In the Scriptures God reveals Himself. He tells us what He’s like, what kind of Being He is, and that there is no other being like Him anywhere. He makes His will known to us, especially as that relates to everything we need to know about life, salvation, and being accountable to Him. Jesus said that the truth of God in Scripture has power to sanctify those who believe in Him, to set them apart unto righteousness, peace, and joy in the Holy Spirit, which is the Kingdom of God (Rom. 14.17, 18).

That is, the truth of God, about God, and from God, which is revealed in the Word of God, can exert a formative influence over our lives, shaping us, from the inside out, so that we increasingly take on the character, convictions, and concerns of the very Son of God, Jesus Christ (2 Cor. 3.12-18). We can become people in whom the truth of God takes shape and comes to expression in time, and because of whom the truth brings freedom and life to the people in our lives.

But this doesn’t just happen. If we want to be sanctified by the truth of Scripture, so that we express the truth of God, we must submit to God’s Word, not merely read or agree with it. We must come under the Scriptures, not rummage through them as if we were selecting clothing from some rich man’s wardrobe, taking what we like and passing up the rest. All Scripture is profitable to transform us into the good-works image of Jesus Christ. Unless we bring our mind, heart, conscience, words, and deeds under Scripture – rather than presuming to be masters over the Word – we will not gain the benefit God intends for us.

Instead, presuming to judge God and even to correct Him where we consider His Word to be, shall we say, inconvenient, we will ultimately be shown to be liars, pounding and roaring and being shattered like hapless waves against the immovable Rock of the truth of God.

All who resist the truth of God, who refuse to acknowledge and embrace it, and to bring their lives into line with it, will be shattered, scattered, and broken by the very truth which God intends as a means to free us from our foolish notions of “truth”, so that we might have power to become more like Jesus Christ.

Truth exists, and God has shown it to us. We must decide, in every situation in life, whether to live by the truth that sets us free unto full and abundant life, or a lie that leads to disappointment, degradation, and death. God will always be true. Will we?

For reflection
1.  How do people you see each day understand the concept of truth?

2.  Why are strong feelings and sincerity not reliable barometers for discerning the truth of any matter?

3.  Jesus said that those who know Him would know the truth that sets them free (Jn. 8.32). Free from what? For what?

Next steps – Preparation: Is there any sense in which your approach to truth is one of mere convenience? Spend some time in silent prayer before the Lord, allowing Him to search your attitudes toward His truth.

T. M. Moore

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Except as indicated, Scripture taken from the New King James Version. © Copyright 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

T.M. Moore

T. M. Moore is principal of The Fellowship of Ailbe, a spiritual fellowship in the Celtic Christian tradition. He and his wife, Susie, make their home in the Champlain Valley of Vermont.
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