It was Abraham Lincoln who once said, “Let the people know the truth and this country is safe.” A greater authority than Mr. Lincoln put it even more emphatically. Jesus said, “If you abide in my word, then are you truly my disciples; and you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.” (Jn 8:31, 32). In every age and on every issue, there has always been an urgent need for men to speak, believe, and obey the truth. Solomon in his wisdom saw the need for one to “buy the truth and sell it not.” (Prov. 23:23). Our age is no different in this respect from any other. The basic trouble with the world today is the same as it was in the first century. Men have either “hindered the truth in unrighteousness” (Rom. 1:18), or else they have (exchanged the truth of God for a lie, and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed for ever.” (Rom. 1:25). The condition portrayed by Isaiah is also prevalent in our day. “And justice is turned away backward, and righteousness stands afar off; for truth is fallen in the street, and uprightness cannot enter. Yes, truth is lacking; and he that departs from evil makes himself a prey.” (Isa. 59:14, 15).
The importance of truth can be readily seen when we understand its potency in our lives. Jesus’ statement was a comprehensive coverage of the power of truth. “You shall know the truth and the truth shall make you free.” But the power of truth is derived from the process of incorporating it into our lives and this process is broken down and enumerated step by step in the teachings of Christ through His apostles.
1. Truth is the begotten power in the new birth. “Of his own will he brought us forth by the word of truth, that we should be a kind of first-fruits of his creatures.” (Jam 1:18). Without truth, the new birth cannot be initiated, and consequently, cannot be culminated. It therefore follows as night follows day, that one cannot enter the kingdom of God without receiving the truth of his word. “And for this cause God sends them a working of error, that they should believe a lie: that they all might be judged who believed not the truth, but had pleasure in unrighteousness.” (2 Thess. 2:11, 12).
2. Truth is the purifying power of the soul. “Seeing you have purified your souls in your obedience to the truth unto unfeigned love of the brethren. . . .” (1 Pet. 1:22). When a person sets his mind to seek truth and obeys it step by step as it is unfolded to him, he is led into a life of purity and dedication. Jesus underscored this thought when he identified truth as the means of being sanctified or set apart to the service of God. “Sanctify them in the truth: your word is truth.” (Jn 17:17). The Hebrew writer instructs us that without this sanctification, “no man shall see the Lord.” (Heb. 12:14). The man who will stand in God’s presence must be dressed in the white garments of truth. Without truth, we must stand before God naked and ashamed with our souls stained by the impurities of sin.
3. Truth is the stabilizing strength of the child of God. Peter wrote “Wherefore I shall be ready always to put you in remembrance of these things, though ye know them, and are established in the truth which is with you.” (2 Pet. 1:12) John said, “Greater joy have I none than this, to hear of my children walking in the truth” (Jn 4). Truth is a part of the protective armor of a Christian soldier (Eph. 6:14). It is the power which enables the Christian to stand against all the forces of the Satanic world. With truth we triumph; without it we tremble and fall.
4. Truth is a conditioning factor of acceptable worship of God. Jesus said: “God is a Spirit: and they that worship him must worship in spirit and truth.” (Jn 4:24). Worship is the means man has of communing with God. It is the avenue through which he prostrates himself before his Creator and by which he derives strength from Him. Yet, if his worship is not according to God’s truth it is worthless and powerless.
It is evident from the foregoing considerations that a knowledge of and obedience to truth is absolutely essential for any relationship with God and for any true triumph over Satan. If we were to surrender truth, we would have neither cause nor strength to stand. We would have neither weapons to fight nor armor to protect. If we allow truth to fall in the street, we make it impossible for uprightness to enter and make ourselves an easy prey for the prowling of perilous powers. It is no wonder then that when the truth of God’s word was challenged, Paul would say: “to whom we gave place in the way of subjection, no, not for an hour; that the truth of the gospel might continue with you.” (Gal. 2:5). The present condition of the world in general and of the church in particular make it imperative that those who truly love the Lord duplicate Paul’s action in this regard. We must feel with this courageous apostle that “we can do nothing against the truth, but for the truth.” (2 Cor. 13:8).