OceanSide church of Christ
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MAN’S RELATIONSHIP TO TRUTH
Victor M. Eskew
Truth exists in the world as its own entity. It exists apart from any man and from any man-made organization. The truth is pure, unchangeable, powerful, life-giving, and enduring. According to Jesus, truth is contained in the Word of God. “Sanctify them through thy truth: thy word is truth” (John 17:17).
Every man, woman, and child has some form of relationship to the truth of God’s Word. The relationship one sustains to the truth determines the movement one should make relative to the truth. There are some individuals who have never embraced the truth of the gospel. The movement these individuals need to make is TOWARD the truth. First, these individuals need to have the truth imparted to them. This can be done through the printed page or through the oral proclamation of the Word (Rom. 10:13-17). Paul’s quest was to make known the truth to as many as possible. “To Festus, he said: “I am not made most noble Festus; but speak forth the words of truth and soberness” (Acts 26:25). Paul’s words to Timothy were: “Preach the word” (II Tim. 4:2). Truth must be presented in order for men to come to it. Once the truth is presented, man must receive it as the truth. The Thessalonians did this and Paul was grateful to God for their actions. “For this cause also thank we God without ceasing, because, when ye received the word of God which ye heard of us, ye received it not as the word of men, but as it is in truth, the word of God, which effectually worketh also in you that believe” (I Thess. 2:13). The reception of truth is not merely acknowledging the truth; it involves one’s obedience to the demands of truth. This is the only way for one to purify his soul from the filth of sin. “Seeing ye have purified your souls in obeying the truth through the Spirit unto unfeigned love of the brethren, see that ye love one another with a pure heart fervently: being born again, not of corruptible seed, but of incorruptible, by the word of God, which liveth and abideth forever” (I Pet. 1:22-23).
Once truth has been received and obeyed, one must remain in the truth. Here, the movement of man relative to the truth is often described as WALKING IN the truth. Gaius was a beloved brother of the apostle John. John’s third epistle was written to him. In the letter, John expresses his joy in hearing that Gaius was walking in the truth. “For I rejoiced greatly when the brethren came and testified of the truth that is in thee, even as thou walkest in the truth. I have no greater joy than to hear that my children walk in truth” (III John 3-4). Truth is the guide for this person’s life. All of his thoughts and actions are governed by God’s Word. This individual allows the truth to make him complete, thoroughly furnished unto every good work (II Tim. 3:16-17). He rejoices in the truth (I Cor. 13:6). He speaks the truth in love (Eph. 4:15). He girds himself with truth (Eph. 6:14). He diligently studies truth (II Tim. 2:15). He obeys the commands of truth (I John 2:4). Truth is the plumb line of his life. He will not deviate to the left hand nor to the right.
It is also possible for man to turn from the truth. The New Testament describes this action with many terms: 1) to walk not uprightly according to the truth of the gospel (Gal. 2:14); 2) to not obey the truth (Gal. 3:1; 5:7); 3) to err concerning the truth (II Tim. 2:18; James 5:19); 4) to turn away one’s ears from the truth (II Tim. 4:4); 5) to sin willfully after receiving the knowledge of the truth (Heb. 10:26); 6) to follow the pernicious ways of those who speak evil of the truth (II Pet. 2:2); and 7) to fail to keep the commandments of God (I John 2:4). The movement those who forsake the truth need to make is BACK TO the truth. Israel of old rejected the truth of God’s Word. Over and over again, the prophets were sent to call them back. In Jeremiah 5:3, we read: “O Lord, art not thine eyes upon the truth? Thou hast stricken them, but they have not grieved, thou hast consumed them, but they have refused to receive correction: they have made their faces harder than a rock; they have refused to return.” Those who refuse to come back after forsaking the truth will ultimately face the wrath of God. “For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who hold the truth in unrighteousness” (Rom. 1:18).
What relationship do you hold to truth? Let it be understood that you cannot be neutral toward the truth. If you haven’t embraced the truth, we encourage you to receive it. If you are presently living in the truth, we exhort you to keep walking therein. If you have forsaken the truth, please, please come back. We close with the words of the wise Solomon: “Buy the truth, and sell it not; also wisdom, and instruction, and understanding” (Prov. 23:23).