“The church has lost her testimony! She has no longer anything to say to the world. Her once robust declaration of TRUTH has faded away to an apologetic whisper.” — A. W. Tozer (1897-1963)
In my earlier essay Why The World’s Dark Business Is Booming, I described how the world’s ancient business of moral chaos has grown into a mega-monopoly of soul-crushing power. With its unabated glorification of sin and self, the industry of this world has succeeded in supplying products of discord to the masses in order to ensnare them with a false sense of freedom and protection. Self-agency and temporal security may be the world’s sly promise, but tyranny over humanity is the tragic end result.
Sadly, this evil world conglomerate has come to dominate today’s global market because of one simple fact: It has capitalized on the current devaluation of biblical stock and a depreciation of the Gospel proclamation. The world’s only legitimate competition, the Truth-bearers of Jesus Christ, have too often shuttered their factories of bold witness and settled for a curiosity shop that plies its religious trinkets among the world’s seducing lies, with little awareness of their dangerous compromise.
Looking over this barren landscape of Christian appeasement, one can easily see a massive segment of our population living in spiritual confusion because they believe the world can provide the solution to their struggles. Without truth to guide them, however, they will continue to toil under such satanic delusion. So who is there to help them out of the chaos? Where are the fearless disciples of old who, under penalty of death, reached out to the lost and dared to proclaim truth against the lies of this world? And why are some professing Christians today outsourcing truth to the world’s business, where it will always be retooled into a cheap knock-off for mass consumption?
Perhaps we have forgotten that God’s plain truth, without our vain embellishments, is the only spiritual balm that can truly soothe the soul of a brokenhearted, sin-sick person in this chaotic world. It alone brings an abiding, comforting peace during the trials of life because it speaks directly to the eternal hope found only in Jesus Christ and the salvation He secured. In Philippians 4:7, in fact, we have this wonderful promise: “The peace of God, which passes all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.”
In light of humanity’s desperate need for God’s peace, can you imagine if truth were completely erased from our midst? It is too dreadful to contemplate! Yet think of the catastrophic condition of humanity if the world existed without the revelation of God’s truth. Like wayward Israel, the people would be “destroyed for lack of knowledge” (Hosea 4:6), and would soon cry out in anguish like Isaiah, “Woe is me, for I am lost!” (Isaiah 6:5).
Imagining A World Void Of Truth
According to the Scriptures, a world void of truth would be a desolate place. Fallen mankind would have no avenue of promise to find redemption and reconciliation with God. Without truth, there would be no regeneration; for it is by “the word of truth” that we are begotten and born again (James 1:18; I Peter 1:23). Without truth, there would be no justification; for we are justified by faith, which faith consists in crediting God’s truth, and so gives peace with God (Romans 5:1). Without the truth, there would be no sanctification; for the Lord himself says, “Sanctify them through thy truth: thy word is truth” (John 17:17). Without the truth, there would be no salvation; for “God hath chosen us to salvation through sanctification of the Spirit and belief of the truth” (II Thessalonians 2:13).
In such an unsound world, where would you find the threefold graces of the Spirit: Faith, Hope, and Love? Without truth, there would be no faith; for the work of faith is to believe the truth (II Thessalonians 2:13). As the Bible teaches us, “Faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the Word of Christ,” which is truth in all its power (Romans 10:17). The difference between true faith and the world’s delusion is striking: Faith believes God’s truth, and delusion credits Satan’s lies (II Thessalonians 2:11-12).
Without truth, there would be no hope; for the province of hope is to anchor in the truth of God’s word (Hebrews 6:18-19). This led David to say in Psalm 119:74, “I have hoped in Your word.” Indeed, it is “through perseverance and the encouragement of the Scriptures that we have hope” (Romans 15:4). And where do we most clearly hear of this hope? It is heard in the word of truth, the Gospel (Colossians 1:5), which fixes our hope on the living God, even Jesus Christ, who is the Savior of all men, especially of believers (1 Timothy 4:10).
And finally, without truth, there would be no love; for it is “the love of the truth” which separates the saved from the unsaved (II Thessalonians 2:11-12). Indeed this love of truth transforms believers into Christ-bearers who are then compelled to speak the truth in love to those who are perishing, for they now know that “grace and truth came by Jesus Christ” (John 1:17).
Thus we see the tragic consequences of abandoning truth. Without truth, all the people on the earth would be lost in a stormy tempest of lies without a lighthouse to guide them to safe harbor. They would have no faith to chart their course, no hope in which to anchor their souls to God, and no love to fill their sails. Is this not the dire situation we are beginning to witness in the world today? How many poor souls are now living in fear instead of faith, anguish instead of hope, and anger instead of love?
The Bible teaches us that truth brings faith, hope, and love to full flower, but emphasizes that above all, love is the greatest of the three (I Corinthians 13:13). In I Corinthians 13:6, we learn: “Love does not rejoice in unrighteousness, but rejoices with the truth.” In other words, love is delighted when truth is spoken, and therefore love is eternally married to truth. Love adores and promotes truth, just as those who bear God’s love in their hearts adore and promote truth. Truth, then, is firmly fixed upon the only love that has the power to destroy the depraved business of this world.
Boldly Speaking The Truth In Love
As devoted disciples of Christ, therefore, we are duty-bound to join with a loving God in His desire to save people from all walks of life by bringing them a precious knowledge of the truth (1 Timothy 2:4). We will speak the truth in love, growing in every way more and more like Christ (Ephesians 4:15), with gentleness correcting those who are in opposition, if perhaps God may grant them repentance leading to the knowledge of the truth (2 Timothy 2:25).
This is not a complicated procedure, as some professors who cling to worldly devices would have us believe. Quite simply, we should raise up truth in all its simplicity and purity so the world can clearly behold it, and then witness how God uses it for His glory. One can surely plant the seed of truth, another might even water it, but God produces the growth and spread of His truth by His own glorious might. We, in turn, receive the joy of watching God at work in the process of redemption and praise Him when we see His truth bear spiritual fruit.
To do otherwise negates the divine power of God in truth. We need to remember that it isn’t our job to make the truth more palatable or attractive to the masses. Gospel truth is not grounded in a vacillating, sentimental emotion that gratifies the carnal passions of self-centered sinners. Rather, our Gospel message must be grounded in a love of biblical proportion that does not demur from the hard edges of God’s truth: a truth which will always scrape against the world’s silky sensibilities and self-righteous flesh. The apostle John, in fact, challenges us to base our love, not in empty or flattering words, but in deed and in truth (1 John 3:18). Why? Because if we say that we have no sin, we are deceiving ourselves and the truth is no longer in us (1 John 1:8).
Ultimately the truth is impressed upon people by the power of the Holy Spirit, and not our carnal efforts. When the Spirit opens the people’s eyes, it is to see the truth (Ephesians 1:18, 19). When He opens their ears, it is to hear the truth (Isaiah 55:3; Luke 9:44). When He opens their hands, it is to lay hold of and embrace the truth (Proverbs 4:13; Hebrews 6:18). When He guides their feet, it is so they may walk in the truth (3 John 4:1-4; Psalm 119:45; Luke 1:6). When He opens their mouths, it is so they may feed upon the truth, the living truth, yea, upon Jesus Christ who is truth itself (John 6:35, 14:6).
Truth, therefore, is the instrumental cause of all the blessings on the earth, the divinely-appointed means whereby God’s blessings become manifested mercies. Only truth, by active proclamation, can enter into and be received by all the graces of the Spirit as they come forth into living exercise to bring salvation to lost souls caught up in this dark chaotic world.
Truth, after all, is Jesus Christ Himself. And if we find ourselves without truth, then we will find ourselves without Jesus. Hence, at the thought of such a woeful and wretched condition, we join with the apostle Paul to exclaim: “God forbid!”
(Some “Without Truth” passages taken and expanded upon from J. C. Philpot’s “Through Baca’s Vale”)