Our society increasingly belittles the importance of truth in spiritual and moral Issues. Some say there is no absolute truth or truth for you is whatever you believe it to be. How essential is truth regarding the existence of God and the truth of His word. Do we need the truth regarding salvation, morals, the church, worship, and doctrine? Is truth essential in government, business, the family, education, and science?
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John 8:32 – Jesus said, “You shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.”
In a conversation about transgenderism, a woman expressed the view that people should be free to believe whatever they want as long as they do not hurt others. Many people seriously think we should not object to beliefs and practices as long as people do not harm others.
Some teach that all truth is relative: there is no such thing as absolute truth.
Some think truth is whatever you believe it to be: what you believe to be true is true for you even if it differs from other people’s “truth.” “Live and let live,” “Consenting adults,” etc.
Some think little or nothing about telling falsehoods in business, government, or the home.
Truth is that which agrees with fact or reality; it is accurate or correct or right in contrast to what is false or inaccurate.
We will examine many aspects of life to see how important truth is.
The fundamental issue in religion is the existence of God and the concept of one true God as compared to no God or many gods.
Throughout history, some have claimed God does not exist or we cannot know God exists. Others claim there are many gods and people can take their choice. The god you choose to worship is your god; if others worship another god, then that is their god.
So people think we cannot know the truth about God. There may be no God or many gods. If you want to worship the God of the Bible or some Hindu god or the sun or stars or no god at all, it is up to you. There is no real truth about God.
So one of the most basic questions of human existence is a question of truth. Is it true that God exists and is the one true God?
The God of the Bible claims to be the one true God.
John 17:3 – This is eternal life, that they may know You, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom You have sent.
1 John 5:20 – …we know Him who is true; and we are in Him who is true, in His Son Jesus Christ. This is the true God and eternal life.
Romans 1:25 – People who turned from worshiping God exchanged the truth of God for the lie, and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed forever.
The issue of the one true God is fundamentally a problem of truth vs. error. If people worship an idol or something in nature, they are worshiping something created rather than the Creator. If they worship no god at all, they have exchanged the truth of God for a lie.
(Jeremiah 10:10; 1 Thessalonians 1:9; John 1:9; 5:32,33; 7:28; 8:14-17,26)
Truth is a fundamental characteristic of the one true God. There is no error or falsehood in God. He always speaks truth and demands truth of those who serve Him.
John 14:6 – Jesus said, “I am the way, the truth, and the life.”
Romans 3:4 – …let God be true but every man a liar. Men may lie and often do. But God always speaks truth and never chooses to speak a lie.
Revelation 15:3 – In heaven they sing: “Lord God Almighty! Just and true are Your ways…”
So not only is God the one true God, but truth is fundamental to His character. He always speaks truth. And He demands that His people speak truth and follow truth. Truth matters!
(John 1:14; Exodus 34:6; Deuteronomy 32:4; Psalms 25:10; 31:5; 57:10; 86:15; 89:14; 108:4; 138:2; 146:6; Isaiah 65:16; Daniel 4:37; Zechariah 8:8; John 3:33; Ephesians 4:21; 1 John 5:6; 2 John 1:3; Revelation 3:7,14; 6:10; Revelation 19:11)
If God exists and is a God of truth, has He revealed truth to us?
John 18:37,38 – Jesus said He came into the world to bear witness to the truth. Everyone who is of the truth hears His voice. Pilate asked Him, “What is truth?”
Some say there is no such thing as absolute truth. Others say truth is unknowable: we can never be sure about right or wrong.
Some say God has not revealed His will. The standard you choose is truth for you; if others follow another standard, that is truth for them. So there is no such thing as one true guide.
So the most fundamental questions of life are questions of truth. Is it true that God exists and the Scriptures are the true revelation of His will?
Genesis 3:4 – The serpent told the first recorded lie. God told Adam and Eve if they ate the forbidden fruit, they would die. The serpent said, “You will not surely die.”
John 8:44 – The devil was a murderer from the beginning, and does not stand in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he speaks a lie, he speaks from his own resources, for he is a liar and the father of it.
Lies are the opposite of truth. Truth is from God. Lies are from Satan.
John 17:17 – Sanctify them by Your truth. Your word is truth.
Psalms 119:160 – The entirety of Your word is truth.
Revelation 19:9 – The angel who spoke to John said: “These are the true sayings of God.”
When someone defends a false belief, a good reply is: “That’s right. It really wouldn’t matter if people are (homosexual, transgender, etc.) … IF there is no God who created us. But what if God exists and created us for a purpose? And what if God has told us what He wants and will determine our eternal destiny according to whether we obey His will? What then?”
Ultimately, God is the source of all spiritual truth. The issue of truth is fundamentally a question of whether one true God exists and whether the Bible is His word. All other spiritual issues are based on the truth of God and His word.
If there is no such thing as a true revelation of the will of God, why would it matter what people think in other areas? Lack of respect for truth is based on a lack of respect for the true God and His word. Truth matters because God is true and He says truth matters!
(John 1:17; 21:24; 2 Samuel 7:28; Nehemiah 9:13; Psalms 19:7-9; 25:5; 33:4; 100:5; 111:7,8; 119:128; 119:142. 151; Isaiah 25:1; Daniel 8:26; 10:1,21; Matthew 16:28; Luke 9:27; John 3:5; 8:40,45,46; 14:6,17; 15:26; 16:13; 17:19; 19:35; 20:30; Acts 3:22; 26:25; Romans 1:18; 9:1; 15:8; Galatians 2:5; 2:14; Ephesians 1:13; Colossians 1:5; 1 Thessalonians 2:13; 1 John 4:6; 21:5; Revelation 22:6)
For years denominations have taught that it does not matter what you believe as long as you are sincere. They may say there is one true God and the Bible is His word, but you can be saved regardless of your baptism, your obedience, or how you live.
John 8:32 – You shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free. Free from what? Verse 34 says whoever commits sin is a slave of sin. Jesus is discussing freedom from sin. No one can be made free from sin except by following the truth.
1 Peter 1:22 – You have purified your souls in obeying the truth. Salvation from sin comes only through obedience to the truth of God’s word. (James 1:18)
People who belittle the value of truth usually are seeking to be free to do what they want. But real freedom comes only through the truth of the gospel. Only the truth can make us free from our sins and give us hope of eternal life.
Romans 2:8 – Those who are self-seeking and do not obey the truth but obey unrighteousness, will receive indignation and wrath, tribulation and anguish.
2 Thessalonians 2:10-13 – Some will perish because they did not receive the love of the truth that they might be saved. They all may be condemned who did not believe the truth but had pleasure in unrighteousness. The Thessalonians were chosen for salvation through sanctification by the Spirit and belief in the truth.
Truth is essential for salvation from sin. Those who belittle the value of obedience are belittling the value of truth. They need to reckon with the fact that failure to obey the truth leads to condemnation and God’s wrath.
(1 Timothy 2:4; Psalms 15:2; 51:6; 57:3; 61:7; 69:13; 85:10; 119:30; John 3:21; Galatians 3:1; 5:7; Ephesians 1:13; 6:14; Hebrews 10:26,27)
Many denominations teach that Christians can have eternal life without living according to the truth. Why should they be surprised when others claim we need not follow moral truth?
1 John 2:4 – He who says, “I know Him,” and does not keep His commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in him. To claim fellowship without obedience means we do not have truth.
2 Timothy 2:24-26 – The Lord’s servants must humbly correct those who are in opposition so they may know the truth, repent, and escape the snare of the devil.
2 Timothy 4:2-4 – Because some turn their ears away from the truth and turn to fables, we must preach the word, reproving and rebuking with all longsuffering and teaching.
A reporter asked college students about transgender people. Most said, if that’s what they believe, why should other people disagree with them? The reporter was obviously a white male about 5’10” tall. He asked what they would say if he claimed he was a 6½ foot tall Chinese woman. Some said he had a right to believe what he wanted and no one should object!
“One of the most cowardly things ordinary people do is to shut their eyes to facts” – C. S. Lewis. When people belittle the importance of truth, almost invariably they are trying to justify themselves or other people in disobeying the truth.
Whether they be denominationalists or advocates of moral anarchy, people need to learn that failure to obey the truth of God’s word puts them under the snare of the devil.
This is why God’s servants must warn such people. It is not just a matter of whether or not they are hurting other people. They themselves are doomed, and if we care about their souls we must speak up and urge them to repent. Truth matters!
(James 5:19,20; 3:14; 1 Samuel 12:24; 1 Kings 3:6; 2 Kings 20:3; Psalms 26:3; 86:11; 1 Corinthians 13:6; Ephesians 5:9; Philippians 4:8; 1 Timothy 4:3; 2 Timothy 2:18; 3:7,8; Titus 1:1,14; 1 John 1:6; 2 John 2,4; 3 John 3,4; 1 John 3:19)
Many people say, “Join the church of your choice. It does not matter how you worship as long as you’re sincere.” The consequence is that truth does not matter regarding what church you attend or how you worship or what doctrine is taught.
1 Timothy 3:15 – Paul wrote so we would know how to conduct ourselves in the house of God, which is the church of the living God, the pillar and ground of the truth. So it matters how we conduct ourselves in church activities. And the church is the pillar and ground of the truth, so how can it be that truth does not matter regarding the church?
John 4:23,24 – The Father seeks people to worship Him in spirit and truth. God is Spirit, and those who worship Him must worship in spirit and truth. God has always had a standard for how people worship Him. Worship must harmonize with the truth He has revealed.
The idea that it does not matter what church we attend or how we worship flatly denies the importance of truth. It allows the church to be defiled and contradicts God’s plan for worship.
(1 Corinthians 5:8; Joshua 24:14; Psalms 43:3; Hebrews 8:2)
For people to know the truth about the church, worship, moral issues, and faithful living, they must be taught the truth. Spiritual truth comes only from the word of God. This means God expects His people to diligently teach truth but oppose error.
Ephesians 4:13-15 – God wants His people to come to unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, that we should no longer be children, tossed to and fro and carried about with every wind of doctrine; but, speaking the truth in love, may grow up in all things into Him who is the head: Christ.
2 Timothy 2:15 – Be diligent to present yourself approved to God, a worker who does not need to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.
It is no more acceptable to deny the value of truth regarding the church and worship than it is regarding morals. Spiritual truth is not a matter of human preference. Truth matters!
(Ecclesiastes 12:10; 1 Kings 22:16; Psalms 40:10; Proverbs 8:7; Proverbs 22:21; Isaiah 38:19; 2 Corinthians 4:2; 6:7; 7:14; Galatians 4:16; Ephesians 6:14; 1 Timothy 6:5; 3 John 1:8)
Most people used to believe lying was bad, yet increasingly people seem to think truth is not essential in their relations with other people.
Jeremiah 9:5 – Everyone will deceive his neighbor, and will not speak the truth; They have taught their tongue to speak lies; They weary themselves to commit iniquity. This could easily be talking about our society. Everywhere we witness people who think nothing of lying.
Proverbs 12:22 – Lying lips are an abomination to the Lord, but those who deal truthfully are His delight.
Ephesians 4:25 – Putting away lying, let each one of you speak truth with his neighbor.
Some people claim truth is whatever you believe it to be, and each person has a right to his own brand of truth. But watch how upset they become when people lie to them or spread falsehoods about them! Suddenly truth is very important.
God’s servants must be devoted to speaking truth in all our relationships with other people.
(Proverbs 12:17; 12:19; Jeremiah 4:2; 5:1; 7:28; 9:3; Hosea 4:1; Zechariah 8:16)
Isaiah 59:4 – 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.
Doesn’t that sound like our government? Many politicians promise anything to get elected. Then in office they frequently lie to cover up their corruption.
Our so-called news media pride themselves on “fact-checking” politicians, but mostly they fact-check the ones they do not like. If they agree with a politician, his lies are ignored. And repeatedly the media itself is caught spreading misinformation.
Proverbs 20:28 – Mercy and truth preserve the king.
God ordained government to punish evildoers and reward those who do good (Romans 13:1-7). They should protect good people from those who would mistreat them. This requires respect for truth and justice. No government pleases God unless it seeks and defends the truth. Truth matters!
(Exodus 18:21; Deuteronomy 13:14; 17:4; Proverbs 29:14,24; Isaiah 59:14; Isaiah 59:15)
Genesis 27 – To achieve their purposes, Rebekah and Jacob deceived and lied to Isaac. This established a pattern of deceit in Jacob’s family that continued for years causing continual strife, bitterness, and conflict in the family.
Families that seek to please God and love one another must insist on honesty and truth.
Leviticus 19:36 – You shall have honest scales, honest weights…
Proverbs 11:1 – Dishonest scales are an abomination to the Lord, but a just weight is His delight.
People used to believe “A man’s word is his bond.” But in a corrupt society, people think nothing of cheating other people. But they become very upset when other people cheat them!
1 Timothy 6:20 – Avoid profane and vain babblings, and oppositions of science falsely so called. (KJV)
Questions of truth versus error often come to focus in education. We would expect teachers to teach truth. But many teach “Political Correctness”: truth is relative, not absolute, and each person may believe whatever they choose and other people should “tolerate” them.
But meanwhile, we are repeatedly warned to accept evolution, climate change, and even moral standards because they have been “proven” by science. Which way is it? If truth is not relevant and we are free to believe whatever we choose, how can science prove anything to be true and why would we be wrong to reject it? On the other hand, if science really proves things, then apparently truth does matter.
It appears that “science” matters when people think it supports their beliefs; but when evidence contradicts their beliefs, then “there is no such thing as absolute truth”!
Reason and Revelation, May 2023, documents at length that scientific research is frequently biased. Many scientists are rewarded financially for publishing experimental results. So, many scientists publish claims that cannot be verified.
Science is good when it emphasizes truth. But scientists are humans and are often biased.
Revelation 16:7 – Even so, Lord God Almighty, true and righteous are Your judgments. Each of us will be judged for our lives, truth will be known, and we will be rewarded eternally.
Proverbs 23:23 – Buy the truth, and do not sell it, also wisdom and instruction and understanding. Truth matters!
(c) Copyright David E. Pratte, 2023; gospelway.com
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Scripture quotations are generally from the New King James Version (NKJV), copyright 1982, 1988 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. used by permission. All rights reserved.