Righteous Love: Loving Truth

We live in a society that is self-described as “post-truth.” Terms like “fake news” and “alternative facts” are trending, and many have succumbed to the post-modern belief that truth is subjective. Such is why now, more than ever, Christians need to love the truth. Truth is a valuable thing, as it is advised in Proverbs, we ought to “Buy truth sell it not” (23:23 KJV). Despite what current culture may suggest, truth is important and knowable. We need to find it and love it. Here’s why.

Jesus Is the Source of Truth

Where does truth come from? This question is perhaps one of the most important of our time. How we answer this question determines how we view the world around us, and ultimately, how we live our lives. For some, truth comes only from what can be identified as science. Thus, the catch-all concept of “science” is viewed as the fountain from which all truth flows. Similarly, some contend that truth can only come by what can be observed—anything that cannot be seen, touched, tasted, smelled, or heard cannot be true. While science and senses can provide a knowledge of some truths, these naturalistic means can only be the sole begetter of all truth if they can succeed to answer life’s most vital questions. Yet they fail to do just that. Especially in matters of origin. Where did life come from? Where did the universe come from? Where did morality come from? Why is there something rather than nothing? Etc.

Jesus is the personification of truth. While John is describing the Word that was with God and is God, he describes how “the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we have seen his glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth” (Jn 1:14). Likewise, Jesus famously declared to his disciples, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me” (Jn 14:6). As Paul put it, “the truth is in Jesus” (Eph 4:21). Jesus is the Son of God through whom the universe came into existence and the one through whom it is maintained (1 Cor 8:6; Col 1:16-17; Heb 1:2-3). Jesus is the ultimate reality: creating all and maintaining all. When we love Jesus, we love the truth. The two are inseparable.

The Truth Sets Us Free

Jesus proclaimed to his Jewish audience, “everyone who practices sin is a slave to sin” (Jn 8:34). Thankfully, Jesus also included the source of liberation to this slavery: the truth. “If you abide in my word, you are truly my disciples, and you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free” (Jn 8:31-32). When we live lives characterized by the words of Jesus, the truth of his word will liberate us from slavery to sin. Thank God!

Paul similarly reminded the church at Rome,

Do you not know that if you present yourselves to anyone as obedient slaves, you are slaves of the one whom you obey, either of sin, which leads to death, or of obedience, which leads to righteousness? But thanks be to God, that you who were once slaves of sin have become obedient from the heart to the standard of teaching to which you were committed, and, having been set free from sin, have become slaves of righteousness (Rom 6:16-18).

When we present ourselves obediently to various lusts and passions, we become the slave of sin. But thankfully, by submission to the word of truth (the standard of teaching), we can be freed from slavery to sin and become slaves of righteousness. We ought to love the truth because it is liberating.

The Truth Saves Us

God, through his own graceful initiative, “brought us forth by the word of truth, that we should be a kind of firstfruits of his creatures” (Jas 1:18). Truth is a crucial aspect of our conversion to Christianity. Without it, we would still be lost in our sins. Peter describes that our souls are purified when we obey the truth (1 Pet 1:22). This point becomes even clearer in the Biblical text when the consequences of those who reject the truth are described. Those who reject the truth of God are described in the New Testament as being able to expect “wrath and fury” (Rom 2:8) and are “corrupted in mind and disqualified regarding the faith” (2 Tim 3:8). In warning of the impending man of lawlessness, Paul describes that those who are perishing are perishing “because they refused to love the truth and so be saved” (2 Thes 2:10). It is impossible to be saved from our sins without the involvement of God’s truth.

Christians Should Be People of Truth

When Jesus was before the Roman governor Pontius Pilate, Pilate asked Jesus, “So you are a king?” and Jesus answered him, “You say that I am a king. For this purpose I was born and for this purpose I have come into the world—to bear witness to the truth. Everyone who is of the truth listens to my voice” (Jn 18:37). We are “of the truth” when we listen to Jesus. The Christian walk is one of truthfulness, to live the truth, speak the truth, and believe the truth. When Paul describes the armor of God that Christians are to put on in their defense against the evil spiritual forces (Eph 6:10-17), the very first piece of this armor is a belt of truth (Eph 6:14). In its original context, this belt was used for protection and to “gird the loins” to prepare one’s dress for action (see Eph 6:14 KJV). This belt is mentioned first because, without it, action against evil is impossible. Also, this belt protects the most vulnerable area of the body, the hips, and loins. Christians are to be people of the truth, wearing it wherever they go.

“Truth” and “love” are terms thrown around haphazardly these days. But for Christians, these terms are knowable, livable, soul-saving realities. Let us treasure the truth as the pearl of great price (Mt. 13:45-46), willing to go through extraordinary means to preserve it in our lives. When we love the truth, we can more easily manifest this description of the church by Paul: “Rather, speaking the truth in love, we are to grow up in every way into him who is the head, into Christ, from whom the whole body, joined and held together by every joint with which it is equipped, when each part is working properly, makes the body grow so that it builds itself up in love” (Eph 4:15-16). May God’s church continue to love the truth!

 

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Forest Antemesaris

Forest is currently serving as the college minister at the Finger church of Christ in Finger, TN while completing a B.A. in Bible at Freed-Hardeman University. He's also a graduate of the Florida School of Preaching. Forest, formerly an atheist, has a passion for apologetics and engaging our culture in conversation. Forest is an avid reader, writer, philosophizer, and coffee drinker (preferably dark roast).