Jesus said that the Father’s word is truth (John 17:17). The message of truth was revealed by the Holy Spirit and is recorded for us in the Bible. What should we do with that truth?
Every person needs to learn the truth. It is God’s will that every human know the truth (1 Timothy 2:4). For those who do know it, it can make them free – free from the guilt of sin (John 8:32). God tells His children, “Therefore do not be unwise, but understand what the will of the Lord is” (Ephesians 5:17). If we hunger and thirst after righteousness, we will be filled (Matthew 5:6). It takes a genuine interest and commitment to take the time to learn the truth well enough to follow it.
We also need to believe the truth. Believing the gospel message is a condition of salvation, as Jesus said, “He who believes and is baptized will be saved; but he who does not believe will be condemned” (Mark 16:16). The Bible affirms that those “who did not believe the truth but had pleasure in unrighteousness” will be condemned (2 Thessalonians 2:12). Even after one is in the Christ, he must continue to receive the word of God with meekness (James 1:21).
Beyond learning the truth and accepting its validity, we must love the truth. Whether we love the truth or not will be shown in how we respond to its message. Of those who are under the influence of Satan, the Bible says, “And with all unrighteous deception among those who perish, because they did not receive the love of the truth, that they might be saved” (2 Thessalonians 2:10). Love of the truth leads to salvation, but without such love, no one can be saved. The Psalmist’s attitude toward the truth is one which all of us ought to emulate: “Oh, how I love Your law! It is my meditation all the day” (Psalm 119:97). One cannot be in love with the Giver of the truth unless He likewise loves the truth that He gives.
Each of us needs to possess a heart that wants to obey the truth. This happens naturally in the life of one who really loves the truth. God promises “eternal life to those who by patient continuance in doing good seek for glory, honor, and immortality,” but indignation and wrath await those who “do not obey the truth, but obey unrighteousness” (Romans 2:7,8). Such declarations plainly indicate that without obeying the truth, one cannot please God. Souls are purified by obeying the truth, as it is written, “Since you have purified your souls in obeying the truth through the Spirit . . . having been born again, not of corruptible seed but incorruptible, through the word of God which lives and abides forever” (1 Peter 1:22,23). Those who fail to obey the truth/gospel will be punished with everlasting punishment (2 Thessalonians 1:7-9). The churches of Galatia started out well in their walk with the Lord, but at some point someone began to hinder them from obeying the truth (Galatians 5:7). Not one of us can please the Lord if we cease submitting to His truth.
In addition to submitting to the truth in our own lives, Christians need to teach the truth to others. Why would we not want to tell lost people about the greatest news ever?! The “word of truth” is the gospel of our salvation (Ephesians 1:13), and only the gospel is the power of God to salvation (Romans 1:16). Yes, when people submit to the gospel truth, their soul will be saved (Mark 16:15,16). But how can they hear the truth without a teacher/preacher?! (Romans 10:14). If the truth of God truly is wonderful (and it is!), then we ought to be teaching it right and left.
As we try to discuss spiritual matters with others, what else do we need to be ready to do with the truth? We need to defend it. The Lord wants us to be prepared to give a defense for all that we believe, teach, and practice in the spiritual realm (1 Peter 3:15). We understand that some people feel that the truth does not need to be defended. Their thinking is, either you believe it or you do not, and if God’s word truly is the truth, then it does not need any human help to show that it is right. In fact, the apostle Paul declared that he was set for the defense of the gospel (Philippians 1:7,17). Defending the gospel is the right thing to do! In Jude 3, we also read the exhortation for Christians “to contend earnestly for the faith.” The truth is not for sale, nor is it to be compromised (Proverbs 23:23).
Learn the truth, believe it, love it, obey it, teach it, and defend it. That sounds like a lifetime of activity.
— Roger D. Campbell