Men occasionally stumble over the truth, but most of them pick themselves up and hurry off as if nothing ever happened. — Sir Winston Churchill
A belief in absolute truth distinguishes Christians from those outside of Christ. This truth forms the basis of an unshakable value system. It is our values that make us different. We live in a time of growing pluralism and relativism. Since truth is relative, it is reasoned, there are no absolutes…everyone simply does what they think best. This is a recipe for disaster well described by Isaiah:
Isaiah 47:10 You have trusted in your wickedness
and have said, ‘No one sees me.’
Your wisdom and knowledge mislead you
when you say to yourself,
‘I am, and there is none besides me.’
For Christians, there are absolutes. To quote Churchill again: “The truth is incontrovertible, malice may attack it, ignorance may deride it, but in the end; there it is.” It is this incontrovertible truth Jesus spoke of when he said, “…you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free. (John 8:32)” Jesus is the embodiment of truth (John 14:6). When we are indwelt by the Holy Spirit, we are filled with the Spirit of truth (Romans 8:9; John 15:26). The Psalmist was able to pray:
2 Test me, O LORD, and try me,
examine my heart and my mind;
3 for your love is ever before me,
and I walk continually in your truth.
God’s WORD is truth (John 17:17) and available to all men:
19 I have not spoken in secret,
from somewhere in a land of darkness;
I have not said to Jacob’s descendants,
‘Seek me in vain.’
I, the LORD, speak the truth;
I declare what is right.
But mere assent is not enough. We must consciously apply truth if we expect to influence our culture and call our fellow-humans back to trust in God.
Zechariah 8:16 These are the things you are to do: Speak the truth to each other, and render true and sound judgment in your courts;
As someone has said, “Unless your heart, your soul, and your whole being are behind every decision you make, the words from your mouth will be empty, and each action will be meaningless. Truth and confidence are the roots of happiness.”
It is significant that Jesus constantly prefaced his teachings with the phrase, “I tell you the truth…” To follow Jesus, then, means to proclaim and live the truth in ways which allow it to be observed in our works and applied in our values. It means to “Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist…(Ephesians 6:14)”
The Christian difference depends upon the answers to these questions: What are we doing with the truth of God? When questions of morality arise, will we take a stand? When we see injustice, will we remain silent? When lies are set forth as truth will we expose them?
We are surrounded by a swamp of pluralism and the muck of relativism. It is time for disciples of Christ to extricate ourselves from this chaotic cultural morass that sucks at our feet and stand boldly on the solid ground of truth.