Obligations To The Truth
In a series of four articles we have discussed "What Is Truth?" We want our readers, in this article, to think with us on the question - -What are our obligations to the truth?" We believe that all men of integrity and sincerity will agree that all are under obligation to the truth. There would certainly be no reason for interest in truth if we have no obligation to recognize it, accept, honor and abide by it. If we are not obligated to walk in harmony with the truth, then we should not bother about it.
The first obligation that every sincere and honest man has concerning the truth is to know it. There can be no benefits derived from the truth unless he knows and recognizes truth. No other obligation can be fulfilled until one comes to acknowledge of what is the truth. One's own interest in self, honesty with one's self, should demand of every individual in his own heart that he know the truth.
The very purpose of divine revelation is that men might know the truth. This is the will of God and therefore the duty of every man. Jesus said to the Jews of His day, "Ye shall know the truth and the truth shall make you free." (John 8:32). Truth is essential to freedom but freedom cannot be enjoyed until we know what is truth. This is true politically, economically, socially, and religiously. Abraham Lincoln once said, "Let the people of this country know the truth and this country is safe." Whether or not this is absolutely true, at least it is fundamentally true. It is one of the tragedies of this generation that in our government and among officials in high places this fundamental truth is not recognized and too often such proceed on the theory that the "big lie" is the best policy. It is difficult, in political matters, to know the truth. One governmental official will say one thing and another official will deny it. Sometimes even the highest official in our government has been known to officially make a statement and later admit that it was not true, but seemed to be the best policy at the time. When, in any field of human endeavor, men think a lie is safer than the truth, it is because there is moral corruption somewhere, A knowledge of the truth in religion is more important than anywhere else in life. Here it concerns our spiritual good, our salvation depends upon it, and the hope of life with God in eternity. Since the soul is man's greatest and most valuable possession, truth is life's greatest need. We must determine to know the truth! Error will only further enslave our souls and hearts and bind us with fetters that truth only can unloose. The greatest pity in this world is that millions of people are mis-taught, deceived and enslaved by religious error and their hearts so prejudiced that they cannot recognize the truth, Of course, many men are so enslaved by their own stubborn will that they cannot embrace the truth, even when they know and recognize that it is truth. But the first thing necessary is to know the truth!
A knowledge and recognition of truth often is prevented by the wrong attitude. When our minds are bound with prejudice, truth is obscured and will not be recognized. Satan is interested in binding the hearts of men and keeping them that way. Paul stated, "But if our gospel be hid, it is hid to them that are lost: in whom the god of this world hath blinded the minds of them which believe not, lest the light of the glorious gospel of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine unto them." (II Cor. 4:3-4) We should remember then, when any prejudice wells up in our hearts against anything that God teaches us to do, that it comes from Satan and will destroy us and keep us enslaved. As an example of this, a woman once said to this writer, "I do not care what the Bible says, I will die and go to hell before I will be baptized." How many of us have stopped to recognize that any prejudice against baptism or any other command of the Lord is from the devil. Why would a man let his heart hold such an attitude toward anything which Heaven has originated, which is the will of Almighty God, and is commanded unto all men by the Lord Jesus Christ? It does not matter what it may be, if God wills it and Christ has commanded it, it is truth and to reject it will end in our destruction.
Some one has said that there is none so blind as the man who will not see. Many people do not want the truth because they do not properly evaluate either the truth, or their own spiritual freedom. They may even subconsciously know that to admit or recognize the truth for what it is may involve some obligations which they do not want or they may feel that truth is likely to require that they forfeit something in this world which they hold hear to their hearts. They are bartering away their spiritual birthright for a mere mess of pottage. They are looking at the things which can be seen rather than the things that are eternal. "Buy the truth and sell it not." (Proverbs 23:23) This must be our spiritual guide line, if our souls are to enjoy the liberty that is in Christ.
God holds men responsible for a knowledge of the truth. Jesus taught this fact when he said, "Because they seeing see not; and hearing they hear not, neither dc they understand. And in them is fulfilled the prophecy of Esaias, which saith, By hearing ye shall hear, and shall not understand; and seeing ye shall see, and shall not perceive: for this people's heart is waxed gross, and their ears are dull of hearing, and their eyes they have closed; lest at any time they should see with their eyes, and hear with their ears, and should understand with their heart, and should be converted and I should heal them!' (Matt. 13:13-15) This puts the responsibility upon the hearer. He alone is responsible for the attitude of heart that prevents the Word of God from planting faith in his heart and bringing him into submission to the will of the Master. Such a hearer has robbed himself of salvation and the blessings of divine truth.
Paul commanded the Ephesians, "Wherefore be ye not unwise, but understanding what the will of the Lord is." (Eph. 5:17) The same apostle said to Timothy, "Study to chew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth." (II Tim. 2:15) And again, "But yet I would have you wise unto that which is good, and simple concerning evil." (Rom. 16:19) When the same great apostle came to Berea and preached to unprejudiced Jews it is said of them, "These were more noble than those in Thessalonica, in that they received the word with all readiness of mind, and searched the scriptures daily, whether there things were so." (Acts 17:11) Thus nobility of heart and soul in the sight of God consists of these things: (1) readiness of mind-an open mind willing to hear and learn what the will of the Lord is; (2) testing what we hear and learn by the scriptures; (3) a searching of the scriptures incessantly for ourselves that we might know for ourselves that it is the truth which God has spoken; (4) and a willingness to believe or receive it when we find it to be true.
The truth of God's plan of human redemption is no longer a mystery, It is revealed. Men can learn it for themselves through a study of God's Word and believe it just because God said it. This is putting our faith in the spirit and power of God and not in the wisdom of man. Truth is not in the Catholic hierarchy, or some other system of priesthood. It is not in some form of ecclesiasticism, or lodged in some supposed later revelation. It is not in the inherited traditions handed down from our fathers. It is in the Word of God! The mystery is no longer a mystery but is now revealed! Romans 16:25-26. I Cor. 2:10-13. Ephesians 3:1-6. Every time the will of God is referred to in the New Testament as a mystery, it is affirmed in the same scripture that the mystery is manifested, revealed, made known. You can know the truth and be made free by it, if you will keep an unprejudiced mind, study the Word of God with the determination to learn the truth, and be ready to receive it into your heart and life when you have learned it.