A preacher back in 1958 had the following to say about the truth of God’s word that changeth not over the years in much the same manner as God Who declares: “Every good thing bestowed and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation, or shifting shadow. [This in order that] In the exercise of His will He brought us [that is those who have obeyed his word] forth by the word of truth, so that we might be, as it were, the first fruits among His creatures” (James 1:17-18).
Let us sit back and hear what Melvin Vaughan had to say all those years ago.
Of all those things which are important and essential to man’s spiritual welfare, there is no single item that can affect him more significantly than his attitude toward the truth.
The truth, in a special sense, was made known by the coming of the Lord: “For the law was given by Moses, but grace and truth came by Jesus Christ (John 1:17). It is not surprising that the Lord had so much to say about the truth and what it can do for men. The Lord pointed out that the truth leads men to the freedom most needed: “Then said Jesus to those Jews which believed on him, 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” (John 8: 31,32). The truth revealed and applied is the means by which God “sanctified” or sets man aside in His service as the Lord indicated in His prayer: “Sanctify them through thy truth, thy word is truth”3 (John 17:17). So important is the truth to men that the major function of the Comforter or Holy Spirit was to remind the disciples of the truth Jesus had taught them during his ministry (John 14: 26), and to guide the apostles “. . . into all truth” (John 16:13).
The Truth Shall Make You Free
( Melvin L. Vaughan – 1958)
Those to whom the Holy Spirit was sent emphasised the importance of truth. James writes of the “word of truth” as the means by which his readers had been “begotten of God” (James 1:18). Paul reminded the Ephesians that the salvation they enjoyed was the end result of their response to the truth delivered to them (Eph.1:13). Peter points to the truth as the means by which man becomes justified before God: “Seeing ye have purified your souls in obeying the truth through the Spirit unto the unfeigned love of the brethren see that ye love one another with a pure heart fervently: being born again not of corruptible seed, but of incorruptible, by the word of God, which liveth and abideth forever” (1 Pet. 22, 23).
Even though the importance of the truth has been emphasized and its source clearly identified with the will of God; it has been denied, ignored, ridiculed, and misrepresented by men. Those who have sought to uphold the truth have been persecuted, oppressed and even put to death because of their devotion to the truth which they held to be unalterable.
The word of God renders to man an invaluable service by pointing out to him the truth with regard to his state, the limitations of his ability, his great need, and the solution to that need. Paul in examining the spiritual state of the people apart from Christ concluded that “all have sinned and come short of the glory of God” (Rom. 3:23). Sin is identified in the Bible as including both the “transgression” of God’s law (1 John 3:4), and the failure or refusal to fulfil a known duty to God: “To him that knoweth to do good and doeth it not, to him it is sin” (James 4:17).
To recognise the fact of sin and its existence, even in one’s self, is of little significance until it is known that sin is the barrier that separates man from God. “Behold,” the prophet has written, “The Lord’s hand is not shortened that it cannot save, neither his ear heavy that he cannot hear; but your iniquities have separated between you and your God and your sins have hid his face from you that he will not hear” (Isa. 59:1,2).
Here is the truth about man’s state and need. He becomes guilty of sin because he has violated Divine law. Because he is guilty of sin he is alienated from God and should he die in this condition he is forever and eternally excluded from the joys of heaven. A disagreeable picture, to be sure. and unfortunate indeed is the person whose knowledge of the truth goes no further than this!
Man does not have within himself the means or knowledge by which he can free himself from these sins and become reconciled to God. Jeremiah had long since reminded Israel of this: “The way of man is not in himself, it is not in man that walketh to direct his own steps” (Jer.10: 29). To provide the means, God sent His Son to be the propitiation for the sins of the world; to provide the guidance, the Son brought the truth. In the Son is revealed the truth by which alone it is possible to have access to God: “I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father but by me” (John 14:6).
Jesus had said: “. . . if ye continue in my word . . . ye shall know the truth and the truth shall make you free” (John 8:32). The truth does provide freedom from ignorance by making both knowledge and understanding available: “The entrance of thy word giveth light, it giveth understanding to the simple” (Psalm 119:130). The truth provides freedom from uncertainty by making the pathway visible: “Thy word is a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my pathway.” (Psalm 119:105.) The truth makes known the possibility of attaining freedom from sin by showing how the barrier between man and God can be removed: “. . . if ye continue in my word . . . ye shall know the truth and the truth shall make you free” (John 8:31,32). The truth provides this freedom from sin in reality as man obeys the truth: “Seeing ye have purified your souls in obedience to the truth . . .” (1 Pet. 1:22, 23).
The good news of freedom from sin through the sacrifice of Christ and obedience to the truth is called “the gospel” (1 Cor.15:1-4).
For the truth to become to you what it can, and what the Lord desires it to become, it must be sought in the words of the Lord and His apostles (John 8: 31,32). This truth must be approached reverently, respectfully, and open-mindedly that it might produce faith. (Rom. 10: 17; 2 Thess.2:10-12). The response of which a believer involves the turning from sin and error to truth and righteousness inspired by gratitude for His mercy and the desire to please him (Rom.2: 4). The removal of the guilt resulting from sin is to be found where the Lord placed it in His death where His blood was shed. According to the truth the penitent believer is “baptized into his death” (Rom.6:3,4), “for the remission of sins” (Acts 2:38). It is here that he is made “free from sin” (Rom.6:18), has his sins “washed away” (Acts 22:16), enters Christ (Gal.3:27), and becomes a “new creature” (2 Cor.5:17).
The church, which is composed of the saved (Acts 2:47), is to be the “pillar and ground of the truth” (1 Tim.3:15). The ‘disciple indeed” is to “let his light so shine before men that others may see his good works and glorify his Father which is in heaven” (Matt. 5:13-16). The teacher must uphold the truth at all times in its purity and fullness as revealed by the Lord (2 Tim.2: 2; Jude 3).
Love and devotion to the truth leads the new creature to walk in the steps of him who “. . . left us an example. . . .” That he might “draw near with full assurance of faith having his heart sprinkled from an evil conscience and his body washed with pure water” (Heb.10:22).
“Then said Jesus to those Jews which believed in Him: 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” (John 8: 31,32).
- Will you recognise according to God’s standard that you are caught up in sin and need to rectify it?
- Will you follow the steps provided by the unchangeable word that leads to freedom from sin?
- Will you enter the church that is Christ’s body where the truth that sets you free is a “pillar and ground”?
- If you are willing to follow, let it be known to Christ’s church that gathers in your neighborhood or reply to this post and let “us reason together” (Isaiah 1:18).