Possibilities Regarding Truth
Introduction: The truth of God is capable of being established, understood, and applied (Acts 17: 11; Jn. 8: 32; Gal. 2: 14). Not only can the truth be understood, it is to be understood alike (Eph. 3: 2-6, 5: 10, 11, I Cor. 1: 10). Truth and doctrine are tantamount, in the vernacular of the New Testament (2 Tim. 3: 16, 17, 4: 16). Moreover, the truth is essential to man's salvation, to acceptably worshipping God, and to knowing the person of Jesus (Jn. 8: 32; 4: 24; 14: 6). The truth, all the truth, was given to the apostles (Jn. 14: 26, 16: 13). The apostles articulated the truth to man in what we call the New Testament or gospel (Gal. 2: 14, Col. 1: 5). The truth or gospel is not fluid, "what you believe is truth is truth to you," but fixed (cp. Jn. 8: 37, 38). Therefore, all latter day claims of revelation, creeds, and dogmas of men are condemned (Jude 3, Mk. 7). Truth was such an essential trait of early Christianity that God's way was called "the way of truth" (2 Pet. 2: 2). Let us now consider some different possibilities that may be experienced by man regarding the truth.
I. Know and believe the truth
A. Jesus said, "If ye continue in my word, then are ye my disciples indeed; and ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free" (Jn. 8: 31, 32).
a. To know the truth is reflective of familiarity and intimacy with the truth. It is God's will that all men "come to the knowledge of the truth" (I Tim. 2: 4).
b. Paul wrote of those who "believe and know the truth" (I Tim. 4: 3).
c. Jesus said he came to bear witness unto the truth and "every one that is of the truth heareth my voice" (Jn. 18: 37). Hence, it is a possibility for man to know and believe the truth. Some, however, will not believe the truth but prefer a lie (Jn. 8: 45).
II. Obey the truth
A. The expression and concept of obeying the truth is mostly absent in the creeds of men. However, obeying the truth is a common expression in Holy Writ (I Pet. 1: 22, Gal. 5: 7, Rom. 2: 8).
a. To obey the truth is to walk or live in the truth (2 Jn. 4, 3 Jn. 3, 4). Jesus is the "author of eternal salvation unto all them that obey him" (Heb. 5: 9). To obey Jesus is to obey the gospel or the truth (Jn. 14: 6, Rom. 10: 16).
III. Handle aright the word of truth
A. Paul wrote thus to Timothy: "Give diligence to present thyself approved unto God handling aright the word of truth" (2 Tim. 2: 15, ASV).
B. One major reason for all the conflicting divergence of religious beliefs is the lack of study and handling aright the truth. Man is commanded to "speak as the oracles (divine utterances) of God and prove all things (I Pet. 4: 11, I Thes. 5: 21).
a. The Bereans were commended because, " they received the word with all readiness of mind, and searched the scriptures daily, whether those things were so" (Acts 17: 11).
IV. Err from the truth
A. A real, too often possibility regarding the truth is for man to err from the truth. One word translated err is astocheo. This Greek word means: "To miss the mark, fail " (W. E. Vine, Expository Dictionary of New Testament Words).
a. In writing of Hymenaeus and Philetus, Paul said, "Who concerning the truth have erred, saying that the resurrection is past already; and overthrown the faith of some" (2 Tim. 2: 18). It is possible, though, to "convert" some who err from the truth (Jas. 5: 19). Alas, those who err from the truth are lost (Jas. 5: 20).
V. Resist the truth
A. God does not force the truth on any man. Hence, it is possible for man to resist the truth (2 Tim. 3: 8, 4: 4, 3). We resist the truth when we resist the word of God (Acts 7: 54-59).
Conclusion: Truth is static and discernable (I Pet. 1: 22-25). The truth or God's word will judge us in the last day (Jn. 12: 48). We must not tamper with or distort in any way the truth (Gal. 1: 6-9, Rev. 22: 18, 19). However, what we individually do regarding the truth is your and my decision. We may elect to know and believe the truth, obey the truth, handle the truth aright, err from, or resist the truth. These are all real and too often actual possibilities regarding the truth revealed in the scriptures.