Truth - God's Revelation
When Jesus Christ stood on trial for his life before Pontius Pilate, he affirmed, "Thou sayest I am a King. To this end have I been born, and to this end am I come into the world, that I should bear witness unto the truth. Every one that is of the truth heareth my voice." Pilate said unto him, "What is truth?" (John 18:37-38).
Pilate, whether sincere or not, propounded the question of the ages - WHAT IS TRUTH? Jesus had affirmed that he came to bear witness of the truth. To bear witness is to testify, give or be evidence of. Jesus Christ gave attestation of TRUTH! In this passage under consideration we have the affirmation of truth by the Son of God and the sneer of a man, "What is truth?"
Men have devised many subjective standards of truth. Possibly as many subjective standards as there are men. Men are proned to conceive truth as being relative and changeable. With them truth is what is workable and practicable. Value judgments are devised for the right courses of human conduct, but values change! The source of such systems is but the uninspired minds of men and is of no higher value. Such standards make it possible for men to do that which is right in their own eyes. The end results are chaos and confusion.
The Christian has only one ultimate standard of truth and authority, - the Word of God. Truth is the sum total of God's revelation. The Bible is God's revelation, hence, it is the only standard of authority in religion. What is truth? The revelation of the mind of almighty God - THE BIBLE! God's revelation is final, complete, authoritative, consistent, perfect and pure.
Jehovah is the God of truth. David said, "Into thy hands I commend my spirit: Thou hast redeemed me, Oh Jehovah, thou God of truth" (Psa. 31:5). Isaiah affirms Jehovah to be the God of truth (Isa. 65:16). Jesus prayed, "And this is life eternal, that they should know thee the only true God and him whom thou didst send, even Jesus Christ" (John 17:3). Paul declared, "God forbid: yea, let God be found true, but every man a liar" (Rom. 3:4).
Jehovah, the God of truth, revealed the system of truth. This system is called "the one faith" (Eph. 4:5). Before the system of faith came, the Jews were under the law of Moses. When the system of faith came, they were no longer under the schoolmaster, i.e., the law of Moses. Through faith in Christ one is baptized into Christ, becomes a Son of God and puts On Christ (Gal. 3:23-27). Christians are exhorted to contend earnestly for the faith (Jude 3).
The Word of God is truth. Jesus prayed, "Santify them in the truth: thy word is truth" (John 17:17). Truth affords liberty. Jesus taught, "And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free" (John 8:32). Men are enslaved in sin, ignorance and superstition. The only antidote for the enslavement of the human spirit is knowledge of and obedience to the truth.
Truth is embodied and personalized in Jesus Christ. Jesus declared himself to be, "The way, the truth, and the life: no one cometh to the Father but by me" (John 14:6). "And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us (and we beheld his glory, glory as of the only begotten of the Father), full of grace and truth" (John 14:6). Paul taught the Ephesians to put away their former manner of life, "If so be that ye heard him, and were taught in him, even as the truth is in Jesus" (Eph. 4:21).
The Gospel of Christ was fully revealed through the apostles by the Spirit of truth. Jesus taught that when the Spirit of truth is come he would guide the apostles into all the truth (John 16:13). The Spirit was poured out on the apostles on Pentecost (Acts 2) and they went forth preaching the truth. The Thessalonians is a case in point as to how the message of truth was received, "And for this cause we also thank God without ceasing, that when ye received from us the word of the message, even the word of God, ye accepted it not as the word of men, but as it is in truth, the word of God, which worketh in you that believe" (I Thess. 2:13).
The revelation of the Spirit of truth to the apostles is perfect and complete. James calls it the perfect law of liberty (James 1:25). Paul declared, "Every scripture inspired of God is also profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for instruction which is in righteousness: that the man of God may be complete, furnished cornpletely unto every good work" (2 Tim. 3:16-17).
This system of truth, revealed by the God of truth through Jesus Christ and the Spirit of truth, is also called sound doctrine. This means incorrupt, healthy teaching (Titus 2:7-8; 1 Tim. 4:16; 1 Pet. 4:11 ).
Truth cannot be perverted or altered without incurring the wrath of almighty God! Paul declared there to be only one gospel. There is not another. There is only one true and the rest is perverted! Those who pervert the gospel of Christ bring upon themselves the curse of God (Gal. 1:6-9). We are taught not to add or to diminish from truth (Deut. 4:2; Rev. 22:18-19). We must not go beyond that which is written (I Cor. 4:6). Tradition will make void the commandments of God. Following the doctrines and commandments of men is but to worship God in vain (Matt. 15:6-13 ). There has never been a denoininational body who taught and practiced all of the truth! The reason they exist as a denomination is because some truth has been ignored and doctrines and commandments of men have been substituted. Their end is to be rooted up (Matt. 15:13; Psa. 127 :1; Matt. 7:21-23 ).
Christians are warned not to fellowship perverters of the truth! Those who cause divisions and occasions of stumbling contrary to the doctrine which ye learned are to be marked and turned away from (Rom. 16:17). Be it noted here that opposition to false doctrine and unscriptural practices is not the source of division but the introduction of teaching contrary to the doctrine of Christ causes the division. -Men who love the truth can conscientiously do nothing else but oppose error every time it raises its ugly head. Those who teach contrary to the truth, leave the doctrine of Christ and leave God also! They have not God. They left him when they left the truth (2 John 9). A false teacher speaks the doctrines of demons (I Tim. 4:1).
The honest truth-seeker will do the will of God when he learns it. He who does the truth, "Cometh to the light . . . that his works may be made manifest that they have been wrought in God" (John 3:21 ). Knowledge of the truth frees one from ignorance and obedience to truth frees one from sin (John 8:32). It is the truth which begats (James 1:18). One is then born of truth. "Seeing ye have purified your souls in obeying the truth unto unfeigned love of the brethren, love one another from the heart fervently: having been begotten again, not of corruptible seed, but of incorruptible, through the word of God, which liveth and abideth . . . And this is the Word of good tidings which was preached unto YOU" (I Pet. 1:22-23, 25). Jesus taught the new birth to be of water and the Spirit (John 3:3-5). This new birth is necessary to enter the kingdom of God. To become a Christian one must believe the truth, repent of his sins, confess his faith in Jesus as Lord and be baptised in water to be saved (John 8:32; Mark 16:16; Acts 17 :30-31; Rom. 10:9-10; Acts 10:47-48). This puts a man into Christ (2 Cor. 5:17; Gal. 3:27 and makes him a child of truth. He is made a child of truth by being born of truth! If one is not born of truth, but of tradition, false teaching or denominational error, he is not a child of God. He is born of error and is, therefore, a sectarian and not a Christian!
The Word of God is truth (John 17:17). Jesus taught that true worshipers of God must worship him in Spirit and in truth (John 4:23-24). To worship in truth is to worship as the word of God directs. This is the only acceptable worship. If some item or phase of worship in which you engage is not authorized in the New Testament, then it is sinful, i.e., out of harmony with revealed truth. Only that which is authorized is acceptable to God. He has expressly told us what he wants. To do otherwise is to be guilty of presumptions sin. Peter expressed three principles to guide us in our service to God: One, God has spoken, we have his oracles; two, all that God has spoken must be taught and practiced; and three, nothing which God has not spoken can scripturally be spoken or practiced. Read the passage (I Pet. 4:11).
The New Testament does not direct one to use mechanical instruments of music in worship. To add it in worship is to step outside the bounds of truth (2 John 9). The same principle applies to the organization and work of the church. The scripture furnishes completely unto every good work (2 Tim. 3:17). If not authorized, then it is not a good work. Remember we walk by faith and not by sight (2 Cor. 5:7). Faith comes by hearing and hearing by the word of God (Rom. 10:17).
"For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men who hinder the truth in unrighteousness" (Rom 1:18). Those who hinder truth by their ungodly living and unrighteous conduct shall be the recipients of the wrath of God. God will allow those who love not the truth to believe a lie and be lost. Not because God is unmerciful but because they love not the truth and had pleasure in unrighteousness (2 Thess. 2:10-12).
It is possible for those who have obeyed the truth to err from it (James 5:19-20). One in this erring condition must be converted back to truth in order to save his soul from death, i.e., separation from God. Those ensnared by Satan often oppose themselves. Their only hope is to acknowledge the truth and repent (2 Tim. 2:25-26). Faithful brethren must seek their restoration (Gal. 6:1). Brethren are warned not to have bitter jealously and faction in their hearts, glory not and lie not against the truth (James 3:14). Erring brethren are admonished to confess their sins to God (I John 1:6-10).
All men must live according to truth for the truth will be the standard of judgment at the last day. The judgment of God is according to truth (Rom. 2:2). One becomes a child of truth by obeying truth (I Pet. 1:22-23). He is cleaned by truth (Psa. 119:9-11; John 15:3). Children of God then walk in truth (3 John 4). Falsehood is put away and every man speaks the truth with his neighbor (Eph. 4:25). Christians love not in word, neither in tongues, but in deed and in truth (I Jn. 3:18 ). You must live now according to truth to be approved of God at the day of judgment.
Jesus said, "He that rejecteth me, and receiveth not my savings, hath one that judgeth him: the word that I spake, the some shall Judge him in the last day" (John 12:48). Whatever the truth records about salvation, the church, worship, Christian living and etc., that will be the standard of judgment at the last day. How does your life measure up?
What is truth ? God's revelation! Have you obeyed the one gospel ? Are you worshipping God and working for him according to truth? If you are holding the truth in unrighteousness, then renounce your error and return to God. Acknowledge the truth and stand in it. Walk according to truth that you may be judged faithful at the last day.
Truth Magazine IV:7, pp. 5-7