Know Your Bible

VOL. 10                                                                                                                                                                             October 9, 2011                                                                                                                                                                     NO. 37


 Absolute Truth

"If ye continue in My Word, then are ye My disciples indeed; and ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free." These words of Jesus are recorded in Jno. 8:31,32. Many express belief in these words, but then disagree as to what truth is. Many even suggest that there is no such thing as absolute truth. All truth, they will say, is relative.

The steps leading to salvation are taught differently in different churches. One church calls for faith only. Another church calls for sprinkling water on an infant. Some teach that once we are saved, we are always saved, while others teach that salvation is through confessed belief in Jesus and baptism for the forgiveness of sins and that one my fall from grace after being saved.

The work of the church is taught differently by different churches also. One church calls for benevolence for all people. Another church calls for brethren only.  Another sees the work of the church is anything that serves what is called the greater good.

Many believe even things such as modesty or honesty are determined by the circumstances around us, suggesting that a swimsuit is not too revealing at the beach but is not appropriate at the grocery store. A cheerleader's uniform might be considered modest at the ballgame but immodest at the funeral home. Honesty may be compromised by telling a lie if it leads to what is considered a better result. People call these situation ethics and other such terms indicating that truth is relative to circumstances or maybe to one's faith.

Yet into all of these varying opinions we still have the Words of Jesus: "If ye continue in My Word, then are ye My disciples indeed, and ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free." Jno. 8:31,32. Can we abide in His Word and believe all sorts of contradictory things? Does that make sense? Someone calls our attention to the fact that seemingly sincere people come to different conclusions and that all quote Scripture to support their different beliefs. We may be asked if we think we are right and all others are wrong.

Let us think about that for a minute. Is there one right way? A group of young students studying arithmetic for the first time may look at a simple equation such as 2+2 and conclude that the sum is 3,4,5 or even 7. Surely the teacher will try to help those students understand that there cannot be four different answers to the same question. The sincerity of the different efforts does not mean that different answers are acceptable. The fact that they might be able to offer reasons for their different answers does not mean that disagreement is okay. No, the answer is that 2+2 = 4, and pointing that out is not a bad thing. Indeed the one is right while all the others are wrong.

There is absolute truth in arithmetic, and there is absolute truth in Scripture. Our work is to seek it. First we must believe in God and in His Word -- the Bible.  Heb. 11:6 tell us:  "...he that cometh to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of them that diligently seek Him." Paul wrote to Roman Christians saying: "...let God be true, but every man a liar" (3:4). And Jesus affirmed both the existence of God and the truth of His Word in Jno. 17:17 when He prayed to His Father saying: "Sanctify them in the truth, Thy Word is truth." 

It has never been God's desire that we all come to Him in different ways and by different means. God even warned us through Paul's letter to Timothy, saying: "For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears; and they shall turn away their ears from the truth, and shall be turned aside unto fables" (2 Tim. 4:3,4).

This is what has happened today. People are going where they hear what they want to hear, with far too little regard for the idea that the Bible teaches us that there is "one body, and one Spirit, even as ye are called in one hope of your calling, one Lord, one faith, one baptism, one God and Father of all..." (Eph. 4:4,5). God does not want us to study His Word and come to different conclusions. Paul said in 1 Cor. 1:10; "Now I beseech you, brethren, by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that ye all speak the same thing and that there be no divisions among you".

“Why then”, one might ask, “do all the different churches cite Scripture to support their various beliefs?” Remember, the devil cited Scripture to Jesus when he tempted Him. This is recorded in Matt. 4:6. Satan said to Jesus: "If Thou be the Son of God, cast thyself down: for it is written, 'He shall give His angels charge concerning Thee: and, in their hands they shall bear thee up, lets at any time Thou dash Thy foot against a stone.’" Citing Scripture did not make the devil right in what He was saying: Jesus said to him: "It is written again, thou shalt not tempt the Lord thy God" (Matt. 4:7).

  The Scripture can be sincerely or insincerely misunderstood. Care must given to make sure it is correctly handled and applied to our lives. Paul encourages us to: "Study to show thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the Word of Truth." (2 Tim. 2:15). Peter gave us a warning regarding some things Paul had written, saying in 2 Pet. 3:15,16 that Paul had written some things that were hard to understand, "which they that are unlearned and unstable wrest, as they do also the other Scriptures, unto their own destruction."

If two people come to different conclusions and understandings of what certain Scriptures teach, one, or even both, of them are wrong. If both of the people are quoting Scripture for their conclusions and are coming to different answers, one or even both of them are wresting the Scriptures, twisting them, to their own destruction. There are not differing faiths, there is only one faith, produced by studying and applying the Word of God to our lives. Neither are there various truths, when it comes to the Scriptures.  Truth is not relative it is absolute.  Jesus says: "If ye continue in My Word, then ye are My disciples indeed; and ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free" (Jno. 8: 31,32).

Scripture can be used to prove truth, and it is all we need to guide us through this life, in a way that God will accept: "All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness; that the man of God may be perfect, thoroughly furnished unto every good work." (2 Tim. 3:16,17).

Jesus warned that there will be those who believe they have done God's Will who would say, "Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in Thy name? and in Thy name cast out demons? and in Thy name done many wonderful works? And I will profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from Me, ye that work iniquity, I never knew you."  (Matt. 7:22,23).

It is an interesting fact that the Bible never speaks of truth in a plural sense. There is only one truth, and we must seek it and stand humbly and faithfully in it if we hope to escape the wrath of God that  has been revealed against all unrighteousness (Rom. 1:18).

Adapted from article written by 

Tony Hudson

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