The Bible assures us that God is the giver of every blessing (James 1:17). There are countless blessings from God that could be listed.
However, in this article I want to focus on one particular blessing of paramount importance to every single person, especially those who are in possession of that blessing. But those who are without it, or who are deficient in it, suffer as a result.
Even though the blessing I am focusing on here is rare in certain respects, and becoming even more scarce, it’s a blessing that God wants everyone to have. And in due time, the world will be confronted with this blessing on a universal scale.
What is the blessing? It’s truth.
What Is Truth?
When Jesus was on trial for his life, being examined before the Roman Prefect or Governor of Judea, Pontius Pilate, Jesus said to him, “For this cause I was born, and for this cause I have come into the world, that I should bear witness to the truth. Everyone who is of the truth hears My voice.” Pilate said to Him, “What is truth?” (John 18:37-38). In this question Pilate more or less admitted that he, an official of the Roman government, having the power of life or death over a nation of people, did not know the truth, or even what truth is.
Perhaps there was an element of derision in Pilate’s question, “What is truth?” Gill’s commentary suggests the question “might be put in a scornful, jeering way.”
Can you imagine yourself in a conversation with someone about a particular subject, say a controversial subject, like “was Jesus an evildoer?” as his persecutors contended (John 18:30). Or was he “God in the flesh?” Or was he well meaning but delusional? And you say to whomever you’re contending with, “I know the truth.” What kind of reaction would you expect? Might the reaction be, depending on whom you’re having the conversation with, “What makes you think you know the truth?”
Truth, for many people, especially in today’s world, is relative. You hear people say things like, “She’s got a right to speak her truth.” The idea is that her opinion is truth, simply because it’s her opinion. Truth is malleable. Truth is subjective, it’s whatever you want it to be, is a popular idea.
But according to Scripture truth is not malleable. In many dictionaries truth is defined as that which conforms to fact or what is actual. In the 1913 Webster’s Dictionary a definition of truth is “Conformity to fact or reality; exact accordance with that which is, or has been; or shall be.”
Truth endures. It doesn’t change with the fashions or currents of popular fads or opinions. “For the Lord is good; His mercy is everlasting, And His truth endures to all generations” (Psalms 100:5).
“The entirety of Your word is truth, And every one of Your righteous judgments endures forever” (Psalms 119:160).
Human beings come and go. Whole nations rise up, flourish and then decay and perish, but the truth endures. “All flesh is as grass, And all the glory of man as the flower of the grass. The grass withers, And its flower falls away, But the word of the Lord endures forever” (I Peter 1:24-25).
From God’s standpoint, what is truth for one man or woman is truth for all. God is no respecter of persons. From the standpoint of how the Bible defines truth, either Jesus did bear witness to the truth, as he said, or he didn’t. And if he didn’t, he was lying.
A lie is not true. A lie is contrary to fact, or reality. But a lie is often, if not always, intended to give the impression of being true. Individuals can lie deliberately, knowing that what they are saying is false, or may lie without realizing they are lying, because they are deceived.
Because of pervasive lying, which seems to become ever more prevalent, on the part of governments, media, educational institutions, and just about everyone else, including religious institutions, the world is in a state of confusion.
Isaiah’s words apply to our time: “No one calls for justice, Nor does any plead for truth. They trust in empty words and speak lies; They conceive evil and bring forth iniquity” (Isaiah 59:4).
“Hear the word of the Lord, You children of Israel, For the Lord brings a charge against the inhabitants of the land: There is no truth or mercy Or knowledge of God in the land. By swearing and lying, Killing and stealing and committing adultery, They break all restraint, With bloodshed upon bloodshed” (Hosea 4:1-2).
The World is Deceived
The world is deceived. But this should not be surprising to anyone who believes the Bible, because that’s how the Bible describes this world. As Revelation 12:9 says, Satan “deceives the whole world.” Paul wrote, “evil men and impostors will grow worse and worse, deceiving and being deceived” (II Timothy 3:13).
So if you know the truth, especially the truth about the most important issues that affect your life and future, namely your relationship with God, you are blessed in a way that exceeds that of most everyone else in the world.
The truth about God and his nature is fundamental to your ultimate destiny. Yet, the understanding and belief of such truth is extremely rare in today’s world, as it has been throughout history, only perhaps more so in some than in other eras. Many either don’t believe that God exists, or are agnostic, that is, they confess that they don’t know if God exists or not.
The Cultural Research Center at Arizona Christian University recently released the results of a survey to study the prevailing worldview of various age groups in the United States. The study concluded that Americans younger than fifty-five years old are significantly less likely to embrace traditional biblical teachings about the nature of God, salvation, creation, life after death, and biblical morality.
The survey classified only one out of six Millennials, or 16%, as what they called “born again” Christians. “Millennials” is defined as people born in the 1985 to 2002 period. They are far more likely, according to the survey, to be among “people who either do not believe that He exists, or do not care if He exists.”
The majority of Millennials surveyed (54%) believe humans developed over time from less advanced forms. They are much less likely to believe that the Universe was designed, created, and is maintained by God. (“AWVI 2021 Results – Release #3: The Seismic Generational Shift in Worldview: Millennials Seek a Nation Without God, Bible and Churches,” Cultural Research Center, Arizona Christian University, survey conducted February, 2021).
The survey conducted by Dr. George Barna, also concluded that only six percent of American adults possess what they term a “biblical worldview.” Barna concluded that “nine out of ten American adults (88%) embrace an impure, unrecognizable worldview that blend ideas from multiple perspectives – a world view that Barna calls ‘syncretism’” (“AWVI 2021 Results – Release #01: America’s Dominant Worldview: Post-Truth America Stitches Together Patchwork Worldview of Conflicting Beliefs and Values; ‘Syncretism’ Top Worldview Among U.S. Adults,” Cultural Research Center, Arizona Christian University, survey conducted February, 2021).
What this means in plain terms is that most Americans are confused. Their worldview consists of a patchwork of lies, such as the theory of evolution, mixed with false religious beliefs and beliefs from a variety of conflicting philosophies.
It’s little wonder that many live for the moment, without vision of a worthwhile purpose or meaning to life, pursuing their lusts and momentary pleasures with little or no understanding of the ultimate consequences of their decisions.
Historically, and today, the majority of those who do accept the idea of God’s existence are enmeshed in false religion, the worship of idols and false gods. Most of those who profess belief in the God of the Bible, who profess Christianity, are in a state of confusion, following a religion that embraces many falsehoods and contradictions.
God’s Word Rejected
Jesus said, “If you abide in My word, you are My disciples indeed. And you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.” (John 8:31-32). But much of what is popularly called “Christianity” is not faithful to God’s word, or the teachings of Jesus Christ. As a result, few even among professing Christians know the truth about why humans were created – about the destiny God has in mind for mankind.
Most Churches have taught that humans have an “immortal soul,” and that humans don’t really die but rather go to heaven or hell when they “die.” What one does in heaven is seldom if ever discussed. In hell, the common idea is that those sent there suffer eternal torture. The common belief is that one’s fate is sealed upon death. All of these ideas I’ve just mentioned, though commonly accepted among those who profess to be Christians, are false. Those who believe these concepts are deceived.
Many believe that one day Christ will return and there will be a resurrection. And the Bible confirms that. “For the Lord Himself will descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of an archangel, and with the trumpet of God. And the dead in Christ will rise first” (I Thessalonians 4:16). But why is there a need for a resurrection if the “saved” who had died are already with God in heaven? If people have already received their reward in heaven, what sense does a “resurrection” make?
Many Churches have taught a doctrine of lawlessness. They have taught that a Christian is not obligated to keep the commandments of God, including the ten commandments.
The popular Jamieson, Fausset, and Brown (JFB) commentary states the following on Colossians 2:14: “The law (including especially the moral law, wherein lay the chief difficulty in obeying) is abrogated to the believer….”
Or they may teach that some of the ten commandments, for example, apply to Christians, but other of the commandments do not.
A confusing and contradictory article appears on website called compellingtruth.org with the title, “Are Christians expected to obey the Old Testament law?” The article states, “Jesus fulfilled the law and culminated the requirement of following it (Romans 10:4). In its place, we have the law of Christ (Galatians 6:2), which is expressed in Matthew 22:37-39: ‘love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the great and first commandment. And a second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’”
They failed to note that Jesus was quoting from the “Old Testament law” when he made this statement. The context is shown in the following: “Then one of them, a lawyer, asked Him a question, testing Him, and saying, ‘Teacher, which is the great commandment in the law?’ Jesus said to him, ‘”You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind.” This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like it: “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” On these two commandments hang all the Law and the Prophets.’” (Matthew 22:35-40).
The first of these commandments is quoted from Deuteronomy 6:5, and the second from Leviticus 19:18. Keeping these commandments doesn’t mean you abandon other commandments. Nothing Jesus said suggests such a thing. These commandments are kept as one obeys the ten commandments, and ancillary commandments.
The article in question goes on: “Do Christians need to obey the Old Testament Law? No. However, the Old Testament Law does provide guidelines for living the Christian life. The ‘moral’ laws given to the Israelites describe practical ways to love God and others.”
So are these “laws,” or mere “guidelines” for Christians. In other words, is there any real penalty for disobedience to these precepts? What does Scripture say?
“He who overcomes shall inherit all things, and I will be his God and he shall be My son. But the cowardly, unbelieving, abominable, murderers, sexually immoral, sorcerers, idolaters, and all liars shall have their part in the lake which burns with fire and brimstone, which is the second death” (Revelation 21:7-8).
“Therefore put to death your members which are on the earth: fornication, uncleanness, passion, evil desire, and covetousness, which is idolatry. Because of these things the wrath of God is coming upon the sons of disobedience” (Colossians 3:5-6).
“Now the works of the flesh are evident, which are: adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lewdness, idolatry, sorcery, hatred, contentions, jealousies, outbursts of wrath, selfish ambitions, dissensions, heresies, envy, murders, drunkenness, revelries, and the like; of which I tell you beforehand, just as I also told you in time past, that those who practice such things will not inherit the kingdom of God” (Galatians 5:19-21). All of these statements were written to Christians, though they could apply to others, as well.
In another article with the title, “Are the Ten Commandments repeated in the New Testament?” compellingtruth.org affirms that the ten commandments are repeated in the New Testament. It says, “We see [in the New Testament] nine of the Ten Commandments given as instructions for Christians in how they are to live the new lives they have been given in Jesus.” But it says, “…the Saturday Sabbath command is not specifically given for New Testament believers” (compellingtruth.org, retrieved August 13, 2021).
The Apostle James wrote: “For whoever shall keep the whole law, and yet stumble in one point, he is guilty of all. For He who said, ‘Do not commit adultery,’ also said, ‘Do not murder.’ Now if you do not commit adultery, but you do murder, you have become a transgressor of the law. So speak and so do as those who will be judged by the law of liberty” (James 2:10-12). In commenting on verse 10, Gill’s commentary says: “it may be inferred from hence, that a man is not at liberty to obey and neglect what commandments of the law he pleases, but should have respect to them all; which seems greatly the design of the apostle, as appears by what follows.”
What is implied is that any transgression of God’s commandments merits the death penalty. Also, it should be noted, the breaking of any one commandment almost always involves breaking others. The Apostle Paul warned, “For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord” (Romans 6:23). Anyone, especially professing Christians, who willfully violates the laws or commandments of God is subject to God’s wrath, unless he repents.
We have published several articles relating to various questions about the Sabbath, and whether Christians are obliged to keep it. Included are “Did Jesus Break the Sabbath?” “The Weekly Sabbath and its Meaning,” and “Why Christians Should Keep the Sabbath.” These may be found on our website, cogmessenger.org. If you want a printed copy of any of these articles and have no means of printing them from our website, contact us to request a copy.
Some who keep the Sabbath teach that the law forbidding graven images does not apply to Christians.
The Apostle John wrote: “He who says, ‘I know Him,’ and does not keep His commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in him” (I John 2:4). If one rejects any or all of the ten commandments and ancillary commandments, he is rejecting the truth. “You are near, O Lord, And all Your commandments are truth. (Psalms 119:151).
God’s Commandments Are Truth
The commandments are truth. And if we strive to keep the commandments of God we can grow in understanding, and increase our security in the truth. “The statutes of the Lord are right, rejoicing the heart; The commandment of the Lord is pure, enlightening the eyes” (Psalms 19:8). “For the commandment is a lamp, And the law a light; Reproofs of instruction are the way of life” (Proverbs 6:23).
The Word of God, the commandments of God, the truth, are all inseparably linked. “Your righteousness is an everlasting righteousness, And Your law is truth” (Psalms 119:142).
“My son, do not forget my law, But let your heart keep my commands; For length of days and long life And peace they will add to you. Let not mercy and truth forsake you; Bind them around your neck, Write them on the tablet of your heart, And so find favor and high esteem In the sight of God and man. Trust in the Lord with all your heart, And lean not on your own understanding” (Proverbs 3:1-5).
“The works of His hands are verity and justice; All His precepts are sure. They stand fast forever and ever, And are done in truth and uprightness” (Psalms 111:7-8).
“For the word of the Lord is right, And all His work is done in truth” (Psalms 33:4).
According to Scripture Christ’s followers are sanctified by the truth, the word of God. In a prayer to the Father he said, “Sanctify them by Your truth. Your word is truth” (John 17:17). God gives his Spirit to us if we keep his commandments. “If you love Me, keep My commandments. And I will pray the Father, and He will give you another Helper, that He may abide with you forever– the Spirit of truth, whom [which] the world cannot receive, because it neither sees Him nor knows Him; but you know Him, for He dwells with you and will be in you” (John 14:15-17).
We read in Acts 5:32 of “… the Holy Spirit which God hath given [gives] to those who obey him” (Acts 5:32, Noyes Translation).
Essential to having and maintaining the blessing of knowing and understanding the truth is yielding to and striving sincerely to obey the ten commandments and those commandments that show how the more general commandments are to be applied to various circumstances. Also we must follow the teachings of the apostles if we are to retain our grip on the truth. The Church is “built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ Himself being the chief corner stone” (Ephesians 2:20).
To have truth working in us to effect righteousness means we must be sincerely seeking to be truthful in our words and conduct. David committed the grievous sin of adultery. In an effort to conceal that sin he also committed what amounted to murder. But David came to understand the weakness of his carnal nature when he faced up to what he had done. He understood that facing the truth, acknowledging the truth, is a key to further understanding and wisdom. “Behold, I was brought forth in iniquity, And in sin my mother conceived me. Behold, You desire truth in the inward parts, And in the hidden part You will make me to know wisdom” (Psalms 51:5-6).
One of the great sins of the religious leaders who opposed Jesus was hypocrisy. Hypocrisy is a form or lying and deceit. He said to his disciples, “Beware of the leaven of the Pharisees, which is hypocrisy. For there is nothing covered that will not be revealed, nor hidden that will not be known” (Luke 12:1-2). In the final analysis, none of us can hide from God. He knows our innermost thoughts, and he can see what is in our hearts, regardless of any efforts to hide these things from him or others.
Israel of old was rejected because of hypocrisy, among other sins, deceitfully using God’s name. “Hear this, O house of Jacob, Who are called by the name of Israel, And have come forth from the wellsprings of Judah; Who swear by the name of the Lord, And make mention of the God of Israel, But not in truth or in righteousness” (Isaiah 48:1).
We are to cast out the leaven of hypocrisy, malice and wickedness, and replace it with the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth (I Corinthians 5:8).
Worship God in Truth
God demands that those who worship him worship in truth. “But the hour is coming, and now is, when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth; for the Father is seeking such to worship Him. God is Spirit, and those who worship Him must worship in spirit and truth” (John 4:23-24). Worship that is characterized by falsehood, by deceit, by substituting man’s rules for God’s commandments, is vain worship. In quoting Isaiah, Jesus condemned worship rooted in hypocrisy. “These people draw near to Me with their mouth, And honor Me with their lips, But their heart is far from Me. And in vain they worship Me, Teaching as doctrines the commandments of men” (Matthew 15:8-9).
We need to seek the truth continually, and cry out for God to reveal it to us more perfectly. “Show me Your ways, O Lord; Teach me Your paths. Lead me in Your truth and teach me, For You are the God of my salvation; On You I wait all the day” (Psalms 25:4-5).
We should study God’s word diligently, so we may grow in our comprehension of the truth. “Be diligent to present yourself approved to God, a worker who does not need to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth” (II Timothy 2:15).
One of the benefits of knowing and believing the truth is that it gives you something stable to shelter you in times of turmoil such as the world faces now. “He shall cover you with His feathers, And under His wings you shall take refuge; His truth shall be your shield and buckler” (Psalms 91:4).
Those who have knowledge of the truth have an obligation to share it when given the opportunity. We of the Church together are making a collective effort to do that. “I have proclaimed the good news of righteousness In the great assembly; Indeed, I do not restrain my lips, O Lord, You Yourself know. I have not hidden Your righteousness within my heart; I have declared Your faithfulness and Your salvation; I have not concealed Your lovingkindness and Your truth From the great assembly” (Psalms 40:9-10).
We should be careful that what we communicate to others is the truth, even if they don’t believe it. “But we have renounced the hidden things of shame, not walking in craftiness nor handling the word of God deceitfully, but by manifestation of the truth commending ourselves to every man’s conscience in the sight of God. But even if our gospel is veiled, it is veiled to those who are perishing, whose minds the god of this age has blinded, who do not believe, lest the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine on them” (II Corinthians 4:2-4).
We should speak the truth to one another, and put away lying. “Therefore, putting away lying, Let each one of you speak truth with his neighbor, for we are members of one another” (Ephesians 4:25).
We’re told in Scripture that God “… desires all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth” (I Timothy 2:4).
When Jesus Christ returns to the earth he is going to remove the veil of deception from the eyes of mankind. “And He will destroy on this mountain The surface of the covering cast over all people, And the veil that is spread over all nations” (Isaiah 25:7).
The peoples descended from Israel, and the other nations of the earth, will have the truth revealed and taught to them. They will learn to walk in truth. “Open the gates, That the righteous nation which keeps the truth may enter in” (Isaiah 26:2).
“For I, the Lord, love justice; I hate robbery for burnt offering; I will direct their work in truth, And will make with them an everlasting covenant” (Isaiah 61:8).
Truth abiding in one’s heart is necessary for him to enter God’s Kingdom. “Lord, who may abide in Your tabernacle? Who may dwell in Your holy hill? He who walks uprightly, And works righteousness, And speaks the truth in his heart” (Psalms 15:1-2).
We need to appreciate the blessing of the knowledge of truth that we have, that most people in the world do not yet have. We should think about it often, and thank God for it often. “Not unto us, O Lord, not unto us, But to Your name give glory, Because of Your mercy, Because of Your truth” (Psalms 115:1).
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Copyright © 2021 by Rod Reynolds
Unless otherwise noted Scripture taken from the New King James VersionTM
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