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Volume 20, Number 2, March / April 2002 Editor: Robert Johnson

The Truth Shall Make You Free!

Did Jesus Always Tell The Truth?
The Deceptive Nature Of Sin:
God’s Constant Warning : Be Not Deceived!
Truth Can Make You Free!
Do You Love The Truth?

Did Jesus Always Tell The Truth?
Jesus once told His disciples: “Ye shall know the truth and the truth shall make you free” (John 8:32). On a later occasion he revealed that He was, “...the way, the truth, and the life” and that no man could come to the Father except through Him (John 14:6). As Jesus neared the end of His work on the Earth, He offered a prayer to God for His disciples. In His prayer, He noted how the world (those who rejected God’s Word) would hate His followers and He ask God to “keep them from evil.” Then He said to God, “sanctify them through thy truth: thy word is truth” (John 17:17). The word “sanctify” means to make holy or set apart and prepared for a special purpose. In plain language, Jesus made the case that what God says about a matter is truth. He also makes it clear that He (The Word which became flesh) was the ultimate revelation of God’s truth and will for mankind. His prayer for His followers is that through the knowledge of truth, they would not only be made free from sin and have access to the Father, but they would be set apart and made different from the world around them. Through knowledge of the truth they would have insight and understanding about sin, true righteousness, the judgment to come and eternal things (John 16:7,8).
Did Jesus speak the truth concerning the only way to the Father? Many people and religions of the world, at least in word, consider Jesus to be a good and respectable man. Quite a few even acknowledge that He was a prophet of God. But, most refuse to obey His Word and are convinced that there are many “truths” and many “ways” to serve and please God. For some reason these people are lacking in common logic. If Jesus was speaking for God and what He said was truth, then only those who follow Him have any hope of making it to God. If Jesus is speaking the truth, then He and He alone is the way, the truth and the life and NO MAN will make it to the Father without Him. To suggest that a person may somehow make it to God apart from the “way” God has revealed is blatant rejection of the truth. If Jews, Muslims, Hindus, Buddhists and other “good people” can make it to God without following Jesus, then Jesus was a liar. There are no two ways about it! Jesus either spoke the truth or He did not.
Anyone who believes there are many “ways” or many paths to God in truth must also believe that Jesus was a liar. Jesus told His disciples to preach the Gospel (His death, burial and resurrection, 1 Cor 15:1-4) to the whole world, promising that those who believe and are baptized shall be saved while those who refuse will be damned (Mark 16:15,16). Any who reject Jesus’ Words as a requirement for salvation have in truth marked Jesus as a liar. That is the interesting thing about truth, it exposes everything that opposes it as a lie. The implications are hard to accept, but the reality is that Jesus always told the truth.

The Deceptive Nature Of Sin:
According to the Bible, sin is a transgression of God’s law (1 John 3:4). The Bible also states that the wages of sin is death and that all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God (Rom 6:23; 3:23). It is obvious that those who want to avoid sin must learn God’s standard of right and wrong and refuse to do that which is wrong. But, it is also important that we understand the nature and inner workings of sin. Why do those who have some knowledge of God’s standards still sin? What role does truth have in making us free?
It is essential that we understand that at the root of sin we will find deception and a distorted view of the truth. From the beginning, deception can be found at the heart of most sin. When Eve first sinned in the garden, the Bible says that she was deceived (1 Tim 2:14).

Gen 3:4-6: "And the serpent said unto the woman, Ye shall not surely die: 5 For God doth know that in the day ye eat thereof, then your eyes shall be opened, and ye shall be as gods, knowing good and evil. 6 And when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was pleasant to the eyes, and a tree to be desired to make one wise, she took of the fruit thereof, and did eat, and gave also unto her husband with her; and he did eat."

Basically, she was deceived in two ways. First of all, she was deceived into thinking that God did not really mean what He said. Any time Satan adds a “not” to the Word of God you know it is a lie. For example, “He that believeth and is ‘NOT’ baptized shall be saved” (Mark 16:16). Secondly, Eve was deceived into thinking that disobedience to God would bring some personal benefits (wisdom) instead of the promised consequences. When these two deceptions were added to Eve’s physical desire to taste the fruit, we have a hard to resist recipe for sin and death. Eve did not sin because she was bitter against God, she sinned because she did not love and take a stand for the truth.
The Bible records for us many examples of people living their lives in sin and disobedience to God. What is interesting is that most of them were religious people who believed themselves to be in an acceptable relationship with God. How could people who believed in God and had access to His Word have such a problem with sin? Two of the most significant factors are that, like Eve, they allowed themselves to be deceived into believing that God did not mean what He said. They also reasoned that disobedience was more beneficial to them than faithfulness (two lies). It did not matter that God had promised them prosperity only if they continued to hear and obey His Word. They, as many do today, deceived themselves into thinking that their ways were as good as God’s ways. Being deceived did not hinder them from having some form of religious zeal toward God, but it did cause them to lose their taste for preachers who preached the truth.

Isa 30:9-10: "That this is a rebellious people, lying children, children that will not hear the law of the LORD: 10 Which say to the seers, See not; and to the prophets, Prophesy not unto us right things, speak unto us smooth things, prophesy deceits:"
2 Tim 4:3-4: "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; 4 And they shall turn away their ears from the truth, and shall be turned unto fables."

Through out the history of man the story is the same. Religious people live and die in sin and rebellion to the Word of God because they have been deceived into thinking that God does not mean what He says and that disobedience is justified if it provides some desired benefit. Sin wins its ultimate deceit and victory when religious people believe that it really does not matter what they believe as long as they are sincere! Sincerity and error can give us a good conscience, but only sincerity and truth can make us the true servants of God (Josh 24:14; 1 Cor 5:8).
Sin thrives because of ignorance of the truth. But, religion also thrives where there is ignorance of the truth. This is because Satan (the adversary) is always conducting his relentless campaign to blind and deceive. Satan is the Father of Lies (John 8:44). Like a roaring lion, he seeks to devour us with his deceits (1 Pet. 5:8). Our defense is a “sober mind” and constant watchfulness of his tricks. Satan is described as the one who “deceiveth the whole world” (Rev. 12:9). Satan does not mind religion as long as it is not too mindful of God’s truth. This is the deceptive nature of sin.

God’s Constant Warning : Be Not Deceived!
The messages preached to God’s people in the Bible reveal that deception truly is at the root of sin. Note what Paul had to say to the church at Corinth:

1 Cor 6:9-11: "Know ye not that the unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom of God? Be not deceived: neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor abusers of themselves with mankind (homosexuals), 10 Nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners, shall inherit the kingdom of God. 11 And such were some of you: but ye are washed, but ye are sanctified, but ye are justified in the name of the Lord Jesus, and by the Spirit of our God."

Why would Paul need to tell the church that those who continue to practice these sins cannot go to heaven? Because, like many religious people today, some had been deceived into thinking that one can be religious without accepting God’s truth. Many religions today refuse to speak against those who practice sex outside of God approved marriages, who bow down to idols (Eastern religions, Catholicism), who practice homosexuality and many other sins which require repentance and conversion. In other words they are deceived into thinking that God does not mean what He says. Many churches are even deceived into thinking they are more loving and pleasing to God when they receive those tho practice sin without ever teaching them the truth of God and their need to change.

Eph 5:6-8: "Let no man deceive you with vain words: for because of these things cometh the wrath of God upon the children of disobedience. 7 Be not ye therefore partakers with them. 8 For ye were sometimes darkness, but now are ye light in the Lord: walk as children of light:"

Truth Can Make You Free!
Sin loses most of its appeal when we come to understand that God really does mean what He says. And when we come to realize that the deceptive benefits of sin are only temporary and bring with them eternal consequences.

Gal 6:7-9: "Be not deceived; God is not mocked: for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap. 8 For he that soweth to his flesh shall of the flesh reap corruption; but he that soweth to the Spirit shall of the Spirit reap life everlasting. 9 And let us not be weary in well doing: for in due season we shall reap, if we faint not."

It is through knowledge and obedience to God’s truth as revealed in His Word that we purify our souls and are made new:

1 Pet 1:22-23: "Seeing ye have purified your souls in obeying the truth through the Spirit unto unfeigned love of the brethren, see that ye love one another with a pure heart fervently: 23 Being born again, not of corruptible seed, but of incorruptible, by the word of God, which liveth and abideth for ever."

It is through the clear understanding and devotion to God’s truth in the scriptures that we are made wise unto salvation:

2 Tim 3:14-16: "But continue thou in the things which thou hast learned and hast been assured of, knowing of whom thou hast learned them; 15 And that from a child thou hast known the holy scriptures, which are able to make thee wise unto salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus. 16 All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness:"

It is by submitting ourselves in obedience to the truth that we escape the darkness and begin having fellowship with God in the light:

1 John 1:5-6: "This then is the message which we have heard of him, and declare unto you, that God is light, and in him is no darkness at all. 6 If we say that we have fellowship with him, and walk in darkness, we lie, and do not the truth:"

It is by understanding and obeying the truth God has revealed that we can come out of ignorance and blindness of heart and become obedient children of God.

Eph 4:17-18: "This I say therefore, and testify in the Lord, that ye henceforth walk not as other Gentiles walk, in the vanity of their mind, 18 Having the understanding darkened, being alienated from the life of God through the ignorance that is in them, because of the blindness of their heart:"

1 Pet 1:13-14: "Wherefore gird up the loins of your mind, be sober, and hope to the end for the grace that is to be brought unto you at the revelation of Jesus Christ; 14 As obedient children, not fashioning yourselves according to the former lusts in your ignorance:"

Do You Love The Truth?
Atheists will not be the only inhabitants of eternal punishment. They will be accompanied by many religious souls who had some kind of belief in God. These will die in sin because they did not understand that a deceived conscience is not a safe guide to God. They will be lost because they thought calling Jesus Lord was just as good as doing the will of the Father (Matt 7:21,22). They will miss heaven because they were deceived into thinking that one religion is just as good as another. They will learn that God does not know them because they never made a real effort to know God.
What is your relationship and understanding of the truth of God’s Word?
Knowing the deceptive nature of sin, I hope you will see your need to study and obey the Word of God as revealed in the Bible. God’s truth is true whether you believe it or not (John 12:48).

Rom 3:4: "God forbid: yea, let God be true, but every man a liar; as it is written, That thou mightest be justified in thy sayings, and mightest overcome when thou art judged."

Do you love the truth enough to avoid being deceived?

2 Th 2:10-12: "And with all deceivableness of unrighteousness in them that perish; because they received not the love of the truth, that they might be saved. 11 And for this cause God shall send them strong delusion, that they should believe a lie: 12 That they all might be damned who believed not the truth, but had pleasure in unrighteousness."

Only the Truth will make you free! R. Johnson

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