Saturday, April 7th, 2018
By Scott Ashby
In the age of “fake news” it’s fascinating to see the conflicts between those who value truth and those who want to redefine truth. Some want to create their own truth or make truth subjective. Truth for me, they say, is not necessarily the same as truth for you. My identity or opinion molds my truth to conform to my opinions and yet I can recognize your viewpoint as an equal but opposing set of truth claims. “Alternative facts,” if you will. Yet, when we enter a court room, truth becomes much more objective. Where you were on the night of October 24th is no longer subject to feelings or opinions, but is subject to the evidence.
For the Christian, pursuing truth is vital. And abandoning truth is fatal (Rom. 1:25). Our spiritual life and health is dependent upon truth. Feelings come and go. Situations change. People let us down. But truth is stable. That is why truth is one of our primary values at Graceway. We must not build our identity upon our experience or excitement.
The good news is that truth is one of God’s attributes. “He is the Rock, his work is perfect: For all his ways are judgment: A God of truth and without iniquity, Just and right is he.” (Deut. 32:4). Christ reminded us in John 14:6, “I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.”
Although Christ is the ultimate expression of truth, truth is not an attribute that is unique to God and therefore unattainable to you and me. In fact, truth is prescribed for us throughout the scriptures:
Proverbs 23:23 Buy the truth, and sell it not; Also wisdom, and instruction, and understanding.
Psalm 86:11 Teach me thy way, O Lord; I will walk in thy truth: Unite my heart to fear thy name.
I Corinthians 13:6 [Love] . . . rejoiceth not in iniquity, but rejoiceth in the truth.
Why is truth so important for the Christian life?
1. Truth indicates sincerity.
Samuel charged God’s people in I Samuel 12:24 to “fear the LORD, and serve Him in truth with all your heart.” Solomon noted that his father, David, had “walked before [God] in truth, and in righteousness, and in uprightness of heart” (I Kings 3:6). Of course, we know that David was far from perfect and committed some serious sins. But Solomon noted his sincerity and his whole-hearted desire to serve God.
The opposite of sincerity is hypocrisy. That is, speaking truth but not aligning your actions with the truth. James calls this “double-mindedness” (James 1:8; 4:8)
2. Truth fights sin.
The compassion of Christ is best seen in those moments when He proves that understands our weakness. He has faced temptation and has experienced the struggle and suffering of humanity. In His high-priestly prayer, He not only prays for us (his followers) in our sanctification. He also points us to the solution. “Sanctify them through thy truth: thy word is truth” (John 17:17).
He has not left us alone in our battle against sin. This God of truth has revealed to us “all things that pertain unto life and godliness” (II Peter 1:3) in the Word of God. He reminds us to “stand therefore, having your loins girt about with truth” (Eph. 6:14). Without truth, we cannot stand in a world which redefines reality according to the whims of culture.
3. Truth frees us.
“Then said Jesus to those Jews which believed on him, If ye continue in my word, then are ye my disciples indeed; And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free” (John 8:31-32). When we are bound by false beliefs, we cannot live according to truth. We find ourselves pursuing actions and attitudes that are destructive to our souls (and frequently, our bodies and our relationships). Like opening up heavy curtains on a sunny day, truth streams into our life, reveals sin, encourages repentance and sets us free from our bondage.
4. Truth feeds growth.
Ephesians 4 is a familiar passage for us at Graceway, but once again, it clearly demonstrates the link between truth and another biblical value, that of growth. Growth, whether we are talking about numerical growth of the gospel as we spread the good news and see souls converted or the growth of godliness in our individual lives, is only possible as we speak “the truth in love” (Eph. 4:15). Truth is like the water which a plant needs to grow. No truth? No growth.
So what do we do about this? Let me draw some application.
As a church, we value truth as we walk in obedience to Ephesians 4:15. We “speak the truth in love” as frequently as we can. This is why we promote and practice expository preaching (exposing the meaning of the Word of God and encouraging application). It’s also why we have frequent Bible studies (Sunday mornings, evenings, Thursday evenings). It’s why we believe in biblical counselling, which is simply the practice of lovingly applying God’s eternal truth to our hearts and allowing it transform our thinking.
As an individual, you value truth as you expose yourself to God’s truth, allow the Holy Spirit to give you understanding (John 14:17; 15:26) and humbly submit to it. It is vital for a believer to read God’s truth daily, put himself under the teaching and preaching of the Word as frequently as possible and then to respond in obedience. The truth of God’s Word ought to be our primary topic of conversation as we interact with one another in fellowship and encourage one another.
Is there evidence in your life that you value God’s truth?
Lead me in thy truth, and teach me: For thou art the God of my salvation; On thee do I wait all the day. (Psalm 25:5)