Saturday, April 23, 2005well???
"Pilate therefore said unto him, Art thou a king then? Jesus answered, Thou sayest that I am a king. To this end was I born, and for this cause came I into the world, that I should bear witness unto the truth. Every one that is of the truth heareth my voice. Pilate saith unto him, What is truth?" (John 18:37-38a)
You know, it never ceases to amaze me, that most born-again saints in the world, actually believe that God is "trying" to save everyone. If you are such a Christian, read the verse above again. Jesus came to "bear witness unto the truth", and "everyone that is OF THE TRUTH, heareth his voice". Really now, could it be any clearer?
Truth was/is what separates us from the unbelieving, Truth is what separates us from heretics. Truth really is the determining factor. I know unbelievers who are more hospitable, caring, morally excellent than me, but their lack of Truth is what makes them the devil's children. Think about it: how could king David be called "a man of God's own heart"? Was he not an adulterer and a murderer? You bet he was, but he received God's Truth and put all his faith in it.
So what is the answer to Pilate's question? What IS Truth?
Most would answer that these are the fundamentals, the necessary parts of Truth, whereby a sinner becomes a child of the Living God:
1- Belief that the Bible (all 66 books) is inspired by God and are completely without error in their original writing.
2- Belief in the doctrine of the Trinity
3- Belief in the Lord Jesus Christ, God's only begotten Son, His virgin birth, sinless life, sacrificial death for our sins, and His bodily resurrection.
4- Belief that salvation is by grace alone, through faith, not of works.
5- Belief in the future personal, bodily return of the Lord Jesus Christ.
I have no objections to any of these doctrines being called "fundamental" truth, but I have to admit I have a problem with making distinctions where the Scriptures do not. My point: nowhere in Scripture do we read that the doctrines above are the critical aspects of Truth, while everything else is details. Consider this biblical example:
"But shun profane and vain babblings: for they will increase unto more ungodliness. And their word will eat as doth a canker: of whom is Hymenaeus and Philetus; Who concerning the truth have erred, saying that the resurrection is past already; and overthrow the faith of some." (2 Timothy 2:16-18)
Hymenaueus and Philetus' terrible heresy came not by denying the inspired nature of Scripture, the virgin birth, the Trinity, the resurrection of Christ or even, His return. Their heresy was in their teachings that the resurrection of saints had already happened. If we define Truth as the five fundamentals listed above, these two men would not have been singled out by the apostle Paul.
So...what is Truth? As far as I'm concerned, there is only one safe, solid answer: the WHOLE COUNSEL OF GOD. Paul was "pure from the blood of all men" because he taught "the important parts of Scripture"? No, no. He preached "the whole counsel of God". Truth, brothers and sisters, is the Bible, God's word:
"Let thy mercies come also unto me, O LORD, even thy salvation, according to thy WORD. So shall I have wherewith to answer him that reproacheth me: for I trust in thy WORD. And take not the WORD OF TRUTH utterly out of my mouth; for I have hoped in thy judgments." (Psalm 119:41-43)
"Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the WORD OF TRUTH." (2 Timothy 2:15)
So what am I saying? That if you don't have all the doctrines of the Bible right, you don't have a chance? No. If it were the case, Heaven would most likely be without any human beings. I believe God's grace covers his elects doctrinal errors (which we all carry, ignorantly or willingly). That being said, I do believe that any degree of error in our understanding of who God is, and what He does, is quite serious. Any lie we carry in our theology cripples the Truth, and then the following question must be asked: "are we of the Truth?"
Doctrine, brothers and sisters, matters. Knowing the Truth (all of it) is our assurance of salvation, it is what separates us from the ungodly and heretics (the more you know, the more it will separate). It distresses me when I hear Christians (true or false) say things like: "I'm not big on doctrine", or "well, some people believe this, others that, I just don't think it matters".
Friends, let us pray with the psalmist:
"Let my cry come near before thee, O LORD: give me understanding according to thy word. Let my supplication come before thee: deliver me according to thy word. My lips shall utter praise, when thou hast taught me thy statutes. My tongue shall speak of thy word: for all thy commandments are righteousness. Let thine hand help me; for I have chosen thy precepts. I have longed for thy salvation, O LORD; and thy law is my delight. Let my soul live, and it shall praise thee; and let thy judgments help me. I have gone astray like a lost sheep; seek thy servant; for I do not forget thy commandments." (Psalm 119:169-176)
And may the Lord make this a reality in my life, and all those who faithfully read "A Form of Sound Words":
"Sanctify them through thy truth: thy word is truth." (John 17:17)