The word “truth” can be defined as “conformity to fact or actuality”. In other words, it is what is right or correct. In every realm of life, there should be a desire to know and a love for the truth. Sadly, we live in a time in which the truth does not seem to be important to many. Most seem to be more concerned with what they think or feel is right than in what is actually right. No where is this complacency toward a lack of truth seen more than in the realm of religion. We wish to consider the subject of “truth” and note what the truth about truth is.
First, let us understand that truth is objective, not subjective. Eighteenth century German theology brought about a rise in the view that truth is subjective. What is meant by this is that truth is not absolute, but is ever changing and that it will vary from one person to another, based upon beliefs and situations. A manifestation of this is seen in what has in the past and is possibly presently being taught in our schools, situation ethics. Right and wrong is based, not upon an absolute standard, but on the situation at hand. Seldom, if ever does this practice of viewing truth as subjective occur outside of the realm of religion. Yet in religion, many have the idea, “that may be truth to you, but it’s not truth for me”. Such cannot be the case. As per the definition of the word “truth”, it must be in conformity to that which is fact or actuality.
In the realm of religion, it is absolutely mandatory that one know what the truth is. The wise man, Solomon wrote, “Buy the truth, and sell it not” (Proverbs 23:23). Jesus said, “And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free” (John 8:32). The apostle Paul wrote, “And with all deceivableness of unrighteousness in them that perish; because they received not the love of the truth, that they might be saved” (II Thess. 2:10). It is easy to see that knowing the truth in the realm of religion is of utmost importance.
Having already stated that truth is objective, not subjective, the burden is upon us to reveal the source of this objective truth in the realm of religion. Let us let the Son of God answer this question for us. As Jesus prayed to the Father on behalf on His apostles, He said, “Sanctify them through thy truth: thy word is truth” (John 17:17). Had we nothing further to go on, we have already ascertained the source of truth; it is God’s word. For the Christian age, this word of truth comes through Jesus the Christ. Just prior to His ascension, Jesus stated, “All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth” (Matt. 28:18). The Hebrew writer stated, “God, who at sundry times and in divers manners spake in time past unto the fathers by the prophets, Hath in these last days spoken unto us by his Son…” (Heb. 1:1-2). John wrote, “And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth” (John 1:14). In fact, Jesus is the very personification of the truth of God. He said, “I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me” (John 14:6). The gospel of Christ is the truth that must be learned and embraced if one is to be a child of God in this age.
Being that truth is the word of God, the gospel of Christ for the Christian age, all other sources for divining truth are eliminated. That being the case, truth is not determined by a majority. It matters not if every human on the face of the entire earth believes something to be true, if it is not in harmony with what the gospel teaches, they are every one wrong. As Paul once wrote, “yea, let God be true, but every man a liar” (Rom. 3:4). The nation of Israel was told long ago, “Thou shalt not follow a multitude to do evil” (Exo. 23:2). Truth is not based upon one’s feelings. In fact, Solomon said, “There is a way which seemeth right unto a man, but the end thereof are the ways of death” (Proverbs 14:12). Isaiah wrote, “For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, saith the Lord” (Isa. 55:8). Tradition does not determine truth. It matters not if one has believed something to be true all their life, their parents and grand-parents before them taught the same, if it is not in accordance with the gospel of Christ, it is not truth. If tradition determined truth, Saul of Tarsus would never have been in need of change, for he was practicing the same religion as did his fathers. Yet, Saul learned on the road to Damascus that what he thought was truth and what he had believed all his life was in fact wrong. He had to learn the truth of the gospel and be obedient to it.
There is just one more point that we wish to briefly consider. When one is following that which is being taught as truth, but is not, it matters not at all whether the one teaching the error is doing so mistakenly or deliberately. The end result is the same. This is why it is so important that one search the scriptures for themselves to ascertain the truth rather than depend upon anyone else. Don’t trust your soul to someone who could be mistaken or lying.
(Editor’s note: Send any questions or comments to: firstname.lastname@example.org)