The Importance of Truth
Part of the sermon yesterday during our worship service was on the importance of truth for God’s people. I have said before that we can see the whole story of Scripture as being a battle between truth and falsehood. In the very beginning, the serpent in the garden of Eden questioned what God had said, and then directly contradicted God’s message to Adam and Eve (Genesis 3:1-5). Believing the serpent’s lie has had cosmic effects from that day to this very day. During Micah’s time there were prophets telling the people what they wanted to hear, and Micah’s message was dismissed because it went against what people wanted. Jesus said to Pilate that the whole reason he came into the world is “to testify to the truth,” the then added, “Everyone on the side of truth listens to me,” (John 18:37, NIV).
If we are going to be followers of Jesus, then, we must be on the side of truth. We must be committed to knowing the truth and speaking the truth whether it’s what people want to hear it or not. Listen to what Paul says in his letter to churches in Asia Minor:
That, however, is not the way of life you learned when you heard about Christ and were taught in him in accordance with the truth that is in Jesus. You were taught, with regard to your former way of life, to put off your old self, which is being corrupted by its deceitful desires; to be made new in the attitude of your minds; and to put on the new self, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness.
Therefore each of you must put off falsehood and speak truthfully to your neighbor, for we are all members of one body. (Ephesians 4:20-25, NIV)
So followers of Christ must be instructed in the truth, and they must speak truth. As always, I’ll remind you that Paul said just before this that the truth must be spoken in love (Ephesians 4:15).
Where does that leave us then today? I said yesterday that I’m tempted to become philosophical. I have said a few times in the right circles in the past several months that we are currently facing an epistemological problem. Epistemology is the philosophical study of how we come to know things. I’ve spent way too much time over the past 35 years reading and thinking about these kinds of question. When you say you know something, how do you know it?
I’ll say two things simply. First, if God is truly God then all true knowledge has its origin in him. Whether by his revelation to us in his Word (theologically this is called “special revelation”), or what we can see of him in creation (what is called “general revelation”—see, for example Romans 1:18-20). Secondly, I can believe that there is perfect truth without believing that I know it perfectly. As finite human beings, we must always hold our knowledge and our beliefs with a degree of humility. This is my concern for where we are today, I see a great many people holding their beliefs dogmatically without much humility.
This is a bit deep, but I think it’s an important topic for today. I pray, along with Paul, that the eyes of our hearts might be enlightened (Ephesians 1:15-23), and I pray that we might display God’s love in our words and in our actions.
Love you all. Let’s continue to pursue God’s truth together.
God bless, Brian