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Bible verses about Truth
(From Forerunner Commentary)

Christmas is a vivid illustration of the world's power of attraction. It plays upon all of a person's senses with pleasant music, lights, colors, foods, clothes, gifts, and parties. Though it is a very attractive trap, it nonetheless ensnares the person into destruction. By itself, it does not destroy the person — it is the snare, the trap!

Anyone who has ever hunted a wild animal like a deer knows one cannot bag his prey by blundering through the woods making noise and leaving his scent everywhere. Instead, a hunter makes himself as invisible as possible so that the deer wanders under his stand where he can shoot it. The same holds true with trapping smaller animals. A successful trapper makes a trap that will entice the animal in without letting it know that it will be caught.

Christmas is a well-laid trap. In celebrating it, the people of the land honor, worship, and glorify a god, but not the God of the Bible. It is appealing and attractive with all the ornamentation and catchy music. There is also an appealing baby, born to be the King of kings, and his lovely mother radiant in her motherhood. In addition, what could be better than giving gifts? Certainly giving is Christian. And what about decorating evergreen trees, hanging mistletoe and holly boughs, caroling, stuffing stockings, and burning Yule logs? Everything just seems to go so well together. Nevertheless, it is a trap because it is not true.

John W. Ritenbaugh
Christmas, Syncretism, and Presumption


 

In all sincerity, men and women have gone to great lengths to try to please God. Without seeking His permission, they presume to add things to the worship of God because they are attractive and have a vague attachment to the One whom they look upon as their Savior. They think their sincerity in worship is more important than the truth.

But God thinks differently: "Whatever I command you, be careful to observe it; you shall not add to it nor take away from it" (Deuteronomy 12:32). Christmas is a festival that has been added. It is syncretism, blending a practice from paganism into the stream of Christianity. Only the revelation of God shows how He will be worshipped, and He will not be served in imitation of other gods. God's way cannot be "improved" by human sincerity.

Deuteronomy 13:1-18 defines the law regarding apostasy. Those who led others to worship other gods or adopt the practices of the nations around them were to be stoned! Cities that fell under the sway of corrupt individuals were to be attacked, burned to the ground, and left as rubble! God considers tampering with His truth to be evil that must be eradicated!

Apostasy begins with the perverse drive in man to push beyond the bounds of what has been revealed by God as the basis for His way of life. When God gives instruction, He frequently does so in broad generalities. Within the perimeters of those broad generalities, He expects us to explore and to apply them in their spirit and intent. Unfortunately, history reveals that that has not been mankind's approach. Man has consistently tried to "improve" upon God's revelation using his limited reason and logic.

John W. Ritenbaugh
Christmas, Syncretism, and Presumption


 

God nowhere speaks of making Christmas a part of Christianity, nor does He say to celebrate His Son's birth. He does tell us, though, not to add to His worship anything that is a tradition of the heathen. Such additions hinder rather than enhance our journey to God's Kingdom.

What are the fruits of keeping Christmas? Has Christmas helped to glorify God? Has it clarified and aided man's spiritual life? We have a record of the fruits of the Jews' additions. Their intent may have been better than those who accepted Christmas into Christianity, since they at least attempted to obey the law of God. Still, when Jesus walked among them, they did not recognize their own Messiah! Adding to and subtracting from God's Word changes God's intended focus.

Christmas is no better. When the so-called Christians added Christmas to Christianity, it had nothing to do with true Christianity at all. It was a ploy to win converts from paganism. It was a deliberate grab for power. From the beginning, Christmas, rather than promoting the true God and His way of life, has only led people away from the truth.

Peter writes that we are redeemed from these very traditions (I Peter 1:18). These traditions, inherited from our fathers, are a part of our culture. Jesus used His ministry to repudiate every addition, subtraction, and distortion that had attained any kind of specious, "divine" authority, and He did this by clarifying and magnifying the truth. Christmas seems to have "divine" authority because "Christians" are doing it, but it is part of a world that is anti-God, anti-Christ. It is not a part of what God has shown is true.

John W. Ritenbaugh
Christmas, Syncretism, and Presumption


 

What did God lead us to that sparked this saving faith in us (Ephesians 2:8)? He led us to His Word. We can glean a measure of faith from observing God's creation, but this faith cannot save because it does not reveal His purpose. It gives us no direction or outlet for the soaring thoughts and creative energies of the God-given gift of a mind trained in His image. But we do find God's purpose and His revelation of Himself in His Word. "So then faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God" (Romans 10:17).

Of course, this does not mean that all who hear the message will understand and accept it. Without the message, however, there would be nothing to believe in, nothing that one could trust to lead him to salvation. In practical application, this means that one should always most carefully evaluate the message being preached rather than the man or the corporate body he represents. It is essential that we put our trust in the right teachings. Most of the people who claim to be "Christian" are living by false gospels.

The Bible shows this principle from beginning to end. Adam and Eve put their trust in Satan's message rather than God's (Genesis 3:1-6). The children of Israel listened to Korah, Dathan, and the two-hundred fifty leaders (Numbers 16:1-3), and later they succumbed to the Moabites' appeal to sexual license (Numbers 25:1-3). In each case, many died as a witness to us. After Solomon's reign, Israel followed Jeroboam's false message. Christ prophesied that many would proclaim that He (Jesus) is the Christ yet deceive many.

John W. Ritenbaugh
Wandering the Wilderness in Faith


 

The church at Colossae was under intense pressure from the society around it. Heresy was making inroads into the church. Forms of gnosticism, asceticism, and sophistry were popular in the city.

  • Gnosticism combined ideas from Greek philosophy, oriental mysticism, and Christianity - a classic example of syncretism, combining elements of different religions. Some of the "new" doctrines in the church have followed this philosophy.
  • Asceticism taught a person to lead a life of contemplation and rigorous self-denial and abstinence. As the church taught a proper enjoyment of life, the Christians at Colossae stood out as being different. Some members still desired to be accepted by the world around them. Elements of an attitude of wanting outside acceptance have been evident recently in the church.
  • Sophistry concluded that there is no such thing as objective truth and the highest act of man was "civic excellence." Both of these ideas, moral relativity and civic duty, have been present in certain churches of God today, as well as in Paul's time.

So what is Paul's advice?

For this reason we also, since the day we heard it, do not cease to pray for you, and to ask that you might be filled with the knowledge of His will in all wisdom and spiritual understanding. (Colossians 1:9)

He tells them to "continue in the faith, grounded and steadfast" (verse 23). To them has been revealed a mystery hidden from the ages - and from the philosophers (verses 26-28). This is precious truth, and Paul worries for the Colossians (and interestingly, the Laodiceans; Colossians 2:1; 4:16) that their minds might turn away to worthless ideas. In God the Father and Jesus Christ are contained "all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge," and Paul warns them not to be taken in by any man speaking enticing words (verses 2-4). In effect, he is saying, "When others are saying, 'Wow!' beware! We have a way to check it out. If we compare it to what Christ teaches us, we can judge its worth."

In verse 18, he speaks of men "vainly puffed up by [their] fleshly mind," or as the Lamsa translation reads, "intellectual powers." Lying among the members was a problem in the church at that time (Colossians 3:9). It seems that bending the truth or telling outright falsehoods to convince others to accept one's philosophy was normal in Colossae. Such a one gained a reputation for "wisdom" and became proud.

Mike Ford
Beware of Philosophy


 

God links mercy and truth on several occasions:

  • "Mercy and truth have met together" (Psalm 85:10).
  • "Let not mercy and truth forsake you; bind them around your neck, write them on the tablet of your heart, and so find favor and high esteem in the sight of God and man" (Proverbs 3:3-4).
  • "In mercy and truth atonement is provided for iniquity" (Proverbs 16:6).
  • "Mercy and truth preserve the king" (Proverbs 20:28).
  • "In mercy the throne will be established; and One will sit on it in truth, in the tabernacle of David" (Isaiah 16:5).

Staff
The Weightier Matters (Part 3): Mercy


 

Exodus 20:16  (Go to this verse :: Verse pop-up)

The ninth commandment, "You shall not bear false witness against your neighbor" (Exodus 20:16; Deuteronomy 5:20), protects our relationship with God because by seeking and bearing true witness to the truth, we can have a relationship with God. God is truth (John 14:6), and he who speaks truth from the heart abides with God (Psalm 15:1-2). Speaking the truth also shows love toward our fellow man (Ephesians 4:15). Lies of any kind—bald-faced, white, or anywhere in between—cause separation and distrust, while truth, though sometimes hard to bear at first, produces unity and trust in the end.

Martin G. Collins
The Ninth Commandment


 

Exodus 20:16  (Go to this verse :: Verse pop-up)

"You shall not bear false witness against your neighbor" has very far-reaching spiritual applications. Bear means "to spread, carry, render, or give." At first glance, the commandment appears to involve only lying in a court of law, and this might be true if the words in the commandment were to be taken only at face value. Jesus clearly shows that there is a "spirit," an intent, to God's laws in addition to the letter that carries their application far beyond mere face-value judgments.

Many scriptures show that the commandment covers lying under any circumstance, including hypocrisy and self-deception. That is, it covers any wrongful word or example that would tend to injure. The ninth commandment is in a similar position in man's relationship to other men as the third commandment is in man's relationship to God. This commandment directly involves faithfulness and loyalty in our speech and in our witness for God before men.

Proverbs 22:1 says, "A good name is to be chosen rather than great riches, loving favor rather than silver and gold." The Soncino Commentary remarks that a person's good reputation, his name, is his most valuable asset. Indeed, the Bible shows that God guards and protects His name very jealously. This is because His name represents what He is.

So it is with us. But why do so many lie, sowing the seeds for the destruction of their reputation? It is the desire for the approval of others that leads them to twist a story or to deliberately exaggerate or diminish their parts in it in the retelling.

When we hear a name, images of that person and what he or she is immediately spring to mind. What we are and how others perceive us has everything to do with what we believe and practice. So, is what we believe and practice true? If we want to have a good name (reputation) in the eyes of both God and man, we, too, have to recognize truth—wherever and whenever it arises in daily life—understand it, and submit to it. This process produces faithfulness.

This is where truth in a person's witness begins. If truth does not form the foundation of a person's life, he is already behind the eight-ball to some extent. The urge to lie must be met and overcome. At the base of this problem is a deceitful heart (Jeremiah 17:9) that continually lays traps to make lying an appealing course to follow. Besides lying before men, some of us keep lying to ourselves, and thus our name before God is not good. Faithlessness is the result. In order to have a good name, we, as God's children, must face up to our vanities and quit deceiving ourselves that God will just have to take us as we are.

We need to stop blaming our failures, problems, and shortcomings on others, which tendency provides us with justifications for what we are and what we do. Within the family, Mom and Dad are frequent targets of this. They are usually guilty to some extent, but God puts the pressure on us to change. Change will not occur in this way of life until we face up to the truth that we are responsible for what we are. We also bear much of the responsibility of becoming what we hope to be. Nobody can do this for us.

This is the day-to-day "stuff" on which trustworthiness and righteous reputations are formed. They are built on the witness of what we do before others. God wants our reputation before men to be built, first, on His truth and then on truth in general. Are we honestly doing this as well as we could be?

John W. Ritenbaugh
The Ninth Commandment


 

Deuteronomy 32:5-6  (Go to this verse :: Verse pop-up)

His people have rejected following His example in order to practice and live by lies that bring only destruction and death.

Notice the contrast to us as shown by Jesus in the New Testament. Revelation 19:11 testifies of Him, "Then I saw heaven opened, and behold, a white horse. And He who sat on him was called Faithful and True, and in righteousness He judges and makes war." Jesus says of Himself in John 14:6, "I am the way, the truth, and the life." This statement confirms the faithfulness of His nature: He is reliable, trustworthy, and of unwavering integrity.

What does being trustworthy mean in practical application? Who does God show are the most important persons to the overall welfare of the community, state, or nation? It is not the doctors, lawyers, politicians, or businessmen but the preacher and the king because they should teach, administer, exemplify, and provide the values upon which the community will function. God expects those values to be His.

What does God consistently show in His Word? Notice the context in which these verses appear. In both Deuteronomy and Revelation, a new culture, a new nation, is either being established or about to be established. God is indicating that the preacher has a slight edge in importance.

When God established Israel as a nation, He first appointed and sent the preacher—the prophet Moses. In the New Testament, Christ came first as a rabbi, a preacher to teach the way of God. Upon His resurrection, He became our High Priest, a post that has both religious and administrative functions, and He will return as King to administer God's Kingdom. This is why God's Word places so much importance on these two community positions. The preacher should exemplify God's values and deliver instruction containing them, and the king should live them and administer them to the nation.

Without true values, civilization will soon descend into revolution and anarchy. God's doctrine is true and faithful. It will produce gently and without corruption, or as Moses puts it in Deuteronomy 32:2, it will "drop as the rain" and "distill as the dew," whereas a hard-driving rain destroys. Any society or family built on God's doctrines will prosper and become great.

John W. Ritenbaugh
The Ninth Commandment


 

Psalm 11:4-5  (Go to this verse :: Verse pop-up)

The church was scattered when the doctrines were changed, producing confusion and badly disturbing the doctrinal foundation. But David is reminding us that, in reality, God is still on His throne! He knows what is occurring, and we are not to lose hope. He is testing us to see our reaction is to the destruction of what we thought was so solid. But truth cannot be destroyed! We must still have faith in it. If we do, we will use it despite what is happening around us.

John W. Ritenbaugh
Unity (Part 3): Ephesians 4 (A)


 

Psalm 11:4  (Go to this verse :: Verse pop-up)

The church becomes scattered when the foundations—the doctrines of our faith—are altered, and confusion is produced because the doctrinal foundation is so badly disturbed. But David is reminding us that the reality is nothing has changed because God is still in charge—and we can have faith in that. He has not changed. Men may attempt to change the doctrines, but God has not changed, nor has His truth or His purpose. We can continue on as before—we are not to turn aside.

John W. Ritenbaugh
Unity (Part 5): Ephesians 4 (B)


 

Psalm 15:1-3  (Go to this verse :: Verse pop-up)

David describes a person in whom is no false way at all, no pretenses, deceit, gossip, guile, or hypocrisy. He neither makes hollow friendships nor speaks vain compliments. His heart, hand, and tongue are unified in believing and practicing truth. He is faithful, responsible, and trustworthy, a person of integrity because his heart is pure. Therefore, his speech and example witness of truth.

John W. Ritenbaugh
The Ninth Commandment (1997)


 

Psalm 67:1  (Go to this verse :: Verse pop-up)

A thing that shines gives light. A shining object reveals itself. This is the psalmist's point. He is asking God to reveal Himself, and he requests it through the symbolism of light or shining. Light cannot be hidden in darkness. When a light shines out, a person immediately sees it, and his eyes are attracted to it. "God, make Your face to shine on us, revealing Yourself, so that I can see You and have direction." Here, light and truth signify the same idea.

John W. Ritenbaugh
Truth (Part 3)


 

Psalm 119:105  (Go to this verse :: Verse pop-up)

God's Word is a lamp, a light that illuminates the darkness. If a person walks through the woods at night, he is well served to have a flashlight with him to shine it on the ground in front of him so that his feet do not trip over a snag in the path, or his shins do not encounter a boulder or fallen log. That is what light does: It illuminates or reveals.

God's Word illuminates the path of our lives. If we keep God's Word shining along the way, then we will be far less likely to trip. We will not be easily deceived. Because we are following the light, we will see what the light reveals in the path ahead of us. It is only when we turn the light off (before we have actually arrived at our destination) that something could spring up in the dark and trip us. Therefore, if we keep the light of God's truth shining brightly ahead of us, then we have a greater chance of avoiding deception.

Richard T. Ritenbaugh
Preventing Deception


 

Psalm 119:105  (Go to this verse :: Verse pop-up)

God's Word lights the way to go, so that he does not trip or wander, so that he stays in the way.

John W. Ritenbaugh
The Covenants, Grace, and Law (Part 2)


 

Psalm 119:105  (Go to this verse :: Verse pop-up)

The symbolism of light or a lamp is used to show direction or instruction received as a result of understanding of God's Word. In other words, the person can walk, live his life, because light, truth, is given to him.

John W. Ritenbaugh
Truth (Part 3)


 

Proverbs 13:15  (Go to this verse :: Verse pop-up)

When a person consistently has a perception of what is true and lives it, he gains a force of beauty of character. In other words, faithfulness creates favorable impressions that open doors for him.

For example, to whom would we rather loan money, to a person with a record of steady work and payment of debts or to one who cannot keep a job and consistently defaults on his obligations? Which one is more likely to get the loan? A person of good character recognizes his responsibility to truth, understands it, and submits to it. This produces the witness that glorifies God.

If a person will not follow this process, he will not have the good character and the good name to go with it. If he recognizes and understands his problem but does not submit to the truth, he is deceiving himself.

This principle holds true in every area in which a name is built, including marriage, childrearing, and health issues. Many run from the truth about themselves. Hardly anything will destroy a reputation quicker than for others to know an individual is lying to himself about what or how much he eats, his failure to discipline his children properly, or his careless inattention to his spouse. Such faithlessness provides a strong foundation for hypocrisy.

The ninth commandment not only covers bearing false witness verbally, but also bearing false witness about one's relationship with God by displaying a spotty example of conduct, all the while claiming to be Christian. To make a bad witness in ignorance or weakness is one thing, but to know better and deliberately mislead is another matter altogether.

Why do we lie? Often, it is to cover up our irresponsibility. We fear that something about ourselves we wish to keep hidden will be exposed, so we lie to protect the image we want others to see. We also lie to rise above our feelings of inadequacy or inferiority. We also do it to lower a third party in the eyes of others, which, of course, has the effect of elevating ourselves in our own eyes and, we hope, in the eyes of others.

John W. Ritenbaugh
The Ninth Commandment


 

Proverbs 14:5  (Go to this verse :: Verse pop-up)

"Bearing false witness" is lying. Conversely, a faithful witness gives accurate testimony. He declares events, statements, and information as they happened, not as he perceives them or as they give him an advantage. Such a person will consistently tell the complete truth.

Martin G. Collins
The Ninth Commandment


 

Proverbs 16:6  (Go to this verse :: Verse pop-up)

We overcome lying because God mercifully but forcefully brings it to our attention by revealing His truth. When we submit to His truth rather than our self-deceptions, we are beginning to overcome.

Commentators suggest an alternative translation of this verse: "By loyalty and faithfulness one escapes evil." The sense is that loyalty and faithfulness to God's truth are essential elements to escaping the second death. Obeying truth does not forgive sin, but it plays a part in cleaning our minds of the garbage of bad habits lodged in our character so that we are less likely to involve ourselves in sin. God's truth says we must not bear false witness, and that must be obeyed!

John W. Ritenbaugh
The Ninth Commandment (1997)


 

Proverbs 26:22  (Go to this verse :: Verse pop-up)

Human nature greedily swallows gossip. God warns here that gossip is never superficial but that we thoroughly assimilate it to become part of us. Lies about others die hard because, in our vanity, we are so eager to elevate ourselves while mentally putting down another.

Here is a good maxim to live by: Never believe anything bad about a person unless you know it to be absolutely true; never tell it unless it is absolutely necessary; and remember, fear God, for He is listening while you tell it.

John W. Ritenbaugh
The Ninth Commandment (1997)


 

Proverbs 26:28  (Go to this verse :: Verse pop-up)

Clearly, lying is an act of hatred. It is so bad that it can bring ruin to those it is used against, and like a boomerang, it will return to destroy those who employ it.

Here is a good maxim to live by: Never believe anything bad about a person unless you know it to be absolutely true; never even tell that absolute truth to another unless it is absolutely necessary; and remember when you do tell it, God is listening.

Galatians 6:7-8 contains an important principle: "Do not be deceived, God is not mocked; for whatever a man sows, that he will also reap. For he who sows to his flesh will of the flesh reap corruption, but he who sows to the Spirit will of the Spirit reap everlasting life." All who believe God must deal with this reality. God cannot be fooled. Neither can God's law be fooled, just as the law of gravity cannot be fooled. A person cannot treat God or His law with contempt and get away with it. We are accountable to it whether we wish to be or not.

This principle teaches that what a man does to life, life does back to him. It is inescapable. "Do men gather grapes of thornbushes or figs of thistles?" Jesus asks (Matthew 7:16). The hypocrite cannot fool God's laws, only other people—and himself—for a while. This principle is instructing us not to delude ourselves into thinking that we will somehow escape its power. We must always strive to live the truth, which is a difficult job considering the heart within.

The prophet writes in Jeremiah 17:9, "The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked; who can know it?" The Hebrew word translated deceitful can mean in this context "faithless, insincere, hypocritical, underhanded, false, dishonest, treacherous, sneaky, double-dealing, tricky, cunning, and crafty." They all apply.

The phrase desperately wicked, which can also be rendered as "perverse" or "incurable," implies that the heart knows better but does it anyhow. It is addicted to deceit or faithlessness! Who can fathom its treachery or corruptness? We know where this came from! "The prince of the power of the air" is largely responsible for this evil proclivity because his spirit dominates life in this world (Ephesians 2:2; II Corinthians 4:4; Revelation 12:9). He was a liar from the beginning (John 8:44), deceiving himself into believing that he could overcome his Creator (Isaiah 14:12-14)!

Solomon says in Proverbs 11:9, "The hypocrite with his mouth destroys his neighbor, but through knowledge the righteous will be delivered." This proverb comforts Christians by reminding us that we have a hedge about us. It also reminds us that, eventually, truth will out. The flipside of this is that the lies, too, will be exposed and with them the condemnation of the liar. Why is this certain? Because there is a God in heaven overseeing His children's well-being.

John W. Ritenbaugh
The Ninth Commandment


 

Jeremiah 5:2-4  (Go to this verse :: Verse pop-up)

The first thing that Jeremiah did was go out on the street, as it were, into the factories, the grade schools, the shopping bazaars, the restaurants, the gas stations, and the sports fields. He went where the common man worked, played, and interacted. Perhaps he asked a lot of questions and kept his ears open for what was happening. He soon came to the conclusion that nobody there was seeking truth.

Then he began to think, "Well, maybe we can excuse these people because they are not well educated and poor. They don't have their fingers on the buttons of power. They're not wealthy enough to have any influence. I will visit academia and the think tanks and the big homes on the hill. Perhaps people in those places are seeking truth."

John W. Ritenbaugh
Truth (Part 1)


 

Jeremiah 5:5  (Go to this verse :: Verse pop-up)

How discouraging this must have been for Jeremiah! God gave this nation an awesome promise: "I won't allow you to be invaded. Your culture and civilization will continue. Your young men will not be killed in warfare. I will rescue you and give you peace. I will give you all of this—if you can just find one person who is seeking truth." Judah, at this time, is a nation of corrupt leadership and apathetic people. It is an appalling, horrible picture.

John W. Ritenbaugh
Truth (Part 1)


 

Jeremiah 5:30-31  (Go to this verse :: Verse pop-up)

Every piece of information that we need regarding what was occurring in Judah is not supplied in Jeremiah 5, but the basic lie was religious. It was Baalism, to use a general term. It began when the priesthood deceived itself into allowing a bit of falseness to creep into their preaching, and they convinced themselves that a little bit would not hurt at all. It would be all right. What they did over time was to gradually severe their mooring to God's law and the restraints contained in it.

The implication in verses 30-31 is that even those who say that they are looking for truth really are not. When a society gets this corrupt, they have no idea what truth is anymore, and God says they had come to the point that people loved to be lied to.

A few years ago the whole nation watched the Senate hearings concerning Oliver North and Iran Contra. It was interesting, in terms of this sermon, because Oliver North admitted that, in the national interest, he lied to a Congressional committee. That was his justification: It was in the national interest to lie. Oliver North came out of those hearings a hero. The people loved it because of his persona. He "looks" so nice, so clean. He was so dynamic and sharp. Yet, he was a liar! And the people loved it.

This is actually not unusual because we have reached the state in American culture where lying is taken for granted in the political arena, in the relationships that we have with other nations. It is part of the game. Everybody knows that everyone else is lying in their national interest. Nobody trusts anyone else.

President Eisenhower lied to the whole nation when Gary Powers was shot down in a spy plane over Russia (the U2 incident). So, in a report to America, he lied. Did President Nixon lie to us? Of course he did. And who knows how many other lies are said for the sake of politicians' careers!

John W. Ritenbaugh
Truth (Part 1)


 

Amos 2:4-5  (Go to this verse :: Verse pop-up)

Unlike the judgments of the Gentiles (Amos 1:3 - 2:3), Amos indicts Judah for breaking His commandments, specifically lying.

Judah's despising of God's law and Israel's commanding the prophets to stop preaching His Word (Amos 2:12) reflect exactly the same moral condition: Both refused the voice of God as spoken through His prophets. What God intended to be their privilege through revelation of Himself and His law had turned out to be their central peril. It is another way of saying, "To whom much is given, from him much will be required" (Luke 12:48).

Despising truth is an inward attitude that outwardly reveals itself in immorality, and this is the condition God found in ancient Israel. The people had become complacent about His revelation to them. They zealously sought after knowledge - even religious knowledge - but they did not really love the truth (Romans 10:2-3). This was reflected in their immorality; if they had loved God's truth, they would have been living it, and God would have had no cause for judgment.

In this information age, we accumulate mounds of data - regarding ethics, solutions to social ills, and the like - yet our morals decline. Intelligent, educated individuals have written many Bible commentaries, but they still refuse to keep the Sabbath or holy days. They write that Christmas and Easter have pagan origins and are not commanded in the Bible, but they still observe them. They do not love God's truth enough to change. This was Israel's problem, and it could be ours if we are not careful.

Because God has revealed His truth to us, each individual Christian has a responsibility to conform to it and grow. A greater diversity of distractions compete for our time and attention than at any other time in the history of mankind. If we are not extremely careful, and if we lose our sense of urgency, we will gradually lose our understanding of what is true and what is not. Our ability to distinguish between right and wrong will become blurred. We must make sure that God, His Word, and His way are always first in our lives.

Christ said that if we keep the truth, the truth in turn will keep us free (John 8:31-36). If we live it, the revealed truth of God will protect us from sinking back into slavery to sin. But first we must love the truth we have been given. Humanly, we pursue what we love. God wants a father-child or teacher-student relationship with us. If we do not love truth, and if we do not pursue it and God Himself, we will seriously undermine our relationship with Him, and He could interpret our attitude as despising His truth.

Love of the truth comes from God through His Holy Spirit and must be nourished through our response to it. We must not only learn it but also apply it in our lives. This will make the difference between being saved and perishing (II Thessalonians 2:9-12).

John W. Ritenbaugh
Prepare to Meet Your God! (The Book of Amos) (Part One)


 

Amos 5:10  (Go to this verse :: Verse pop-up)

If a person does right, people will begin to persecute him. It may, very sadly, even happen right inside the church.

Amos confirms that the first thing that occurs if we really are undergoing transformation—if we have had an encounter with God—is that we will turn to God's truth. Our attitude will change toward God's truth. The author of Psalm 119:97 says, "O, how I love Your law!" He was in love with it. To him, it was so good to be able to look into God's Word. If a person loves something, what does he want to do with it? Talk about it! Share it with other people. Is that not what happens to the newly converted person? Indeed, it is. One can almost guage a person's conversion by how he loves the Word of God, for "out of the abundance of the heart, the mouth speaks."

Amos states these truths so succinctly. All we need to do to understand it positively is turn what he says around backward. If we really do seek God, we are going to love His Word. We will hang on everything that comes out of His mouth—because we will see it for what it is. The most valuable thing a person can possess is the Word of God.

These people in Amos showed every evidence of a refusal to be governed by truth in their lives.

John W. Ritenbaugh
Prayer and Seeking God


 

Matthew 4:3-4  (Go to this verse :: Verse pop-up)

Even when Satan says truth, even when he quotes Scripture, he puts a perverse twist to it. How did our Lord fight Satan? With truth! That is how one defeats Satan: being confident that Jesus Christ has already secured the victory and that God has put a hedge around us so that we will not fall into a situation confronting Satan that is beyond us, and being absolutely reliant upon the truth of God! Even though we may not be able to see how it is worked out, even though we may feel that following the truth of God is going to require a considerable sacrifice on our part, we have the example of Jesus Himself fighting Satan by relying upon the truth of God. He trusted what God said.

One might wonder why Satan used "if." He did not use "if" to get Jesus to doubt His Sonship. Jesus knew who He was. Rather, he was trying to get Him to reflect on the meaning of "if." Satan seems to be saying, "Surely, if You are the Son of God, You have the right to expect Your needs at the moment to be satisfied."

Jesus did not fall for it. As hungry as He was, He knew it was a trap. He knew He did not have to be concerned about supplying His material needs because God would do it for Him. Did He not later say, "If God so feeds the birds of the field"?

This was a temptation for Christ to use His Sonship in a way other than its God-ordained purpose. What is the God-ordained purpose of our calling? "Seek first the Kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things will be added to you" (Matthew 6:33). That is the truth of God. God will supply what we need. So Jesus' answer was, "Thank you, but I'll just wait for God to supply My need."

John W. Ritenbaugh
Satan (Part 5)


 

Matthew 11:25-27  (Go to this verse :: Verse pop-up)

Moses asked to see the visible glory of God, and He proclaimed His name verbally. Jesus is saying, "If you want to see the mind and nature of God, if you want to see His attitudes, look at Me." God reveals Himself and declares His glory to us through the life, works, and words of Jesus of Nazareth as He opens our minds by His Holy Spirit.

Jesus is "the way" because of all mankind, only He, unmarred by sin, has intimate knowledge of God. Knowing God depends on our knowledge of the truth about Jesus. He shows the way we must walk, the direction and manner of living and relating to others. This is precisely the knowledge Jesus gives. Many times when we ask directions in a strange city, the response confuses us because we are unfamiliar with the town. But when we ask directions of Jesus, He says, "Come, follow Me, and I will take you there."

Some people may teach truth, but He embodies truth; He is "the truth." A man may teach geometry, and his character may not affect his teaching. But if one teaches moral truth, character is paramount. Keeping the third commandment properly revolves around knowing the truth about God and His way.

Colossians 1:15; 2:9 are among the strongest statements in the Bible about the divine nature of Jesus: "He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation. . . . For in Him dwells all the fullness of the Godhead bodily." He not only is equal to and reflects God, but He also reveals God to us because He is God. He is completely holy and has authority to judge the world.

We can have no clearer view of God than by looking at Christ. He is the full revelation of God to man. He is the complete expression of God in a human body. He is unique: God became a man, imposing upon Himself the same time-space limitations as other men.

He had every opportunity to waste time, get sick, eat gluttonously and become overweight, drink and experience a hangover, "fly off the handle" in anger, or attack others when someone pricked His vanity. He could have become bitter from rejection or depressed when things did not go His way. He could have worked or played with intense competitiveness to "win at all costs." He had to face death, His own as well as of loved ones. He could have felt "the deck was stacked" against Him.

The gospels show God coping with life on the same terms as men. Now we can really see what kind of character God possesses. Jesus' life gives us firsthand knowledge of what the true way of life is, allowing us to cooperate with Him in His purpose. Among many other things, we see God teaching, healing, sacrificing His life, correcting in love, guarding His flock, and patiently counseling.

John W. Ritenbaugh
The Third Commandment (1997)


 

Matthew 13:10-11  (Go to this verse :: Verse pop-up)

"It has been given to you" is a major concept. The truth is not something that they discovered. It was something that God took the initiative and gave them, even as He has given us the same thing. He did not have to; He was not forced to. But out of His mercy and His desire to see us share life with Him in the Kingdom of God, He gave it, the ability to comprehend the mystery.

John W. Ritenbaugh
We Are Unique!


 

Matthew 16:6-12  (Go to this verse :: Verse pop-up)

In addition to representing sin, leaven represent false doctrine as well. Jesus points out the error of the Pharisees' doctrines, and Paul advises the Corinthians to partake of the bread of sincerity and truth. False doctrine causes us to think more highly of ourselves than we ought. True doctrine promotes sincerity, humility, and obedience to the Sovereign of the Universe, the overall lesson of the Days of Unleavened Bread.

Staff
Holy Days: Unleavened Bread


 

Mark 7:6-9  (Go to this verse :: Verse pop-up)

Most of this world's holidays are based on fables, myths, and lies, while the Christian is commanded to worship God "in spirit and in truth." A true Christian does not lie and does not associate with lies, but seeks after truth in all aspects of life. If we live with a little lie now, then it is much easier to live with a worse lie later. God is emphatic on this point: A liar will not enter the Kingdom of God (Revelation 21:7-8).

Martin G. Collins
Pagan Holidays


 

Luke 14:28-30  (Go to this verse :: Verse pop-up)

This parable contains three principles: 1) The truth is a costly thing; 2) before we enter into God's way of life, we should estimate the cost; and, 3) whatever it costs, it is worth it. Although it pleases Jesus when a person is called and responds with zeal (II Corinthians 7:11), He is far too humble and wise to pride Himself on the numbers of converted. Instead, He cares for quality rather than quantity, and He promotes truth and loathes counterfeits.

A builder who does not count the cost before laying the foundation is humiliated as a disgraceful failure, yet an unfinished life is far more tragic than a rock foundation without a building. Jesus warns, "No one, having put his hand to the plow, and looking back, is fit for the kingdom of God" (Luke 9:62). Thus, failure to count the cost of following Christ results in an incomplete life. "Holding fast to the word of life" is part of the solution for finishing one's life successfully (Philippians 2:16).

Martin G. Collins
Parables of Counting the Cost


 

John 1:1-4  (Go to this verse :: Verse pop-up)

What poured out of Jesus Christ while He was here? Words—God's words, which are spirit and life (John 6:63). What are God's words, in total? The truth! The truth makes us free (John 8:32). Where does the truth lead? To eternal life! Put all of those concepts together, and we come to what John says so succinctly: "In Him was life, and the life was the light of men." How do we get to the Kingdom of God? By following God's words—the Light (see Psalm 119:105).

Richard T. Ritenbaugh
Preventing Deception


 

John 1:5  (Go to this verse :: Verse pop-up)

The darkness has nothing to do with the light or vice versa. They do not mix. What happens when a room is totally dark and you add light? The darkness disappears. What happens when there is a light in the room and you add darkness? The darkness again disappears! Darkness cannot stand before light. Deception cannot stand before the truth! If we have God's words, and we shine them on falsehood, the errors become glaring.

Richard T. Ritenbaugh
Preventing Deception


 

John 4:19-24  (Go to this verse :: Verse pop-up)

Jesus says, "You worship what you do not know." Since the Samaritans used the Pentateuch, they had a measure of truth. They had the basis of the best system of morality ever devised! But even though one may discover bits and pieces of truth, he will still end up worshipping Satan. Unless God calls him (John 6:44), he approaches God with too many preconceived ideas absorbed from the world's system. This is why God demands repentance.

John W. Ritenbaugh
The First Commandment (1997)


 

John 8:31  (Go to this verse :: Verse pop-up)

He says a similar thing in John 18:37: "If you abide in My word, you are My disciples indeed." Those who hear the voice of Christ, those who hear His truth, will then submit to it. That is what will separate them from the world.

John W. Ritenbaugh
Truth (Part 1)


 

John 8:32  (Go to this verse :: Verse pop-up)

What kind of message does it send to God if His children, those called by His name, either do not seek truth or carelessly ignore what they have? Perhaps it would be good for us to think of it like this: He is Truth personified. Therefore, to ignore truth is to ignore Him and, by extension, to ignore salvation. Remember, salvation is the active, continuous process by which God delivers us from what causes disease in the mental and physical areas of life and eternal death in the spiritual. Is it really worthwhile to ignore truth?

Truth does not come to us all at once. It gradually accumulates in those who ask, seek, and knock for it, then use it in their own lives to glorify God. We do not always easily find it. Sometimes truth emerges only after a long and confusing search that is constantly impeded by conflicting information. Nevertheless, we must persevere!

John W. Ritenbaugh
Eating: How Good It Is! (Part Six)


 

John 8:32  (Go to this verse :: Verse pop-up)

Freedom is what Passover and the Days of Unleavened Bread are ultimately about. God's freeing Israel from bondage in Egypt is the object lesson that we are to apply spiritually. Truth and freedom go hand and hand. This is why the Christian world is in the condition it is in. The vast majority of Christians do not really mark the death of Jesus Christ in the way that God commands us to observe it. They may be very much aware of it, and it is a large part of their teaching: They understand that Christ died for our sins. But they miss its full importance—its full impact—because they do not observe the Passover. Thus the lesson is missed.

Truth and freedom go hand in hand, but truth will produce freedom only as it is used. That ought to be self-evident. We can know something is true, but if we fail to use it, what good is it? Its value is worthless unless it is used.

Freedom and truth come to those who press on. Freedom, the kind of freedom that God is involved in bringing us into, comes progressively, not all at once. These are lessons from the Days of Unleavened Bread. It took the Israelites seven days to get to and across the Red Sea. It took them another forty years to get into their own land, into their inheritance, the Promised Land.

Their freedom was progressive. There was a time when it began, but if they had never continued on the way, they would never have had their own land, never have had their inheritance, never have been free. This is a large part of the object lesson: We have to continue. If we continue, then we will truly be a disciple. We will understand the truth, and we will become free. The truth of God shows us the real values of life because it shows us what we are to give our life to.

John W. Ritenbaugh
The Awesome Cost of Salvation


 

John 8:42-47  (Go to this verse :: Verse pop-up)

This is a interesting section of scripture, one that could be expounded for hours. It contains the main point of how we prevent deception. Christ mentions it three times: 1) He says, "You shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free" (John 8:32); 2) "You are not able to listen to My word"; and 3) "He who is of God hears God's words." What, then, is the point? The truth, as revealed in God's Word, is the key element to preventing deception. The more and the better we know God's truth the more obvious deception becomes.

It could also be said that the more and the better we know God's truth the more we can avoid what is evil. Evil will not "live" where we live because we are living the truth. If we do the truth, then we will not have time for evil. They are opposite; they repel one another. Like oil and water, they do not mix. It is really that simple. If we know the truth, then we should be free from deception.

Richard T. Ritenbaugh
Preventing Deception


 

John 10:3  (Go to this verse :: Verse pop-up)

Unlike other animals, sheep rarely find their own way safely. Since sheep go astray, their guidance and safety lies in the Shepherd's leadership (Psalm 23:1-2). A thief, a robber, or a stranger may call the sheep by name and try to imitate their Shepherd's voice, but through long usage and intimacy, the sheep can discern a strange voice and become alarmed. We know the Shepherd's voice because the Holy Spirit gives us discernment; the result is that we turn and flee from any unfamiliar, misleading voice.

Often the unfamiliar voice is a religious-sounding one. Just as the Pharisees' voices confused and misled Jews, so do many religious leaders' voices today. Since the truth is not in them (I John 1:8; 2:4), they lead foolish sheep away from the truth. It is vital for us to seek to live according to the Good Shepherd's will, known from His voice. His positive guidance leads us "in the paths of righteousness for His name's sake" (Psalm 23:3).

Martin G. Collins
Parable of the Good Shepherd (Part Two)


 

John 14:6  (Go to this verse :: Verse pop-up)

Not only does Jesus characterize Himself as truth in John 14:6, but He also adds in John 17:17 that "[God's] word is truth." In I Corinthians 15:45, 47, Paul refers to Jesus as "the last Adam" or "the second Man," the beginning of a new order, of an entire race or family of beings just like Him, just as all of mankind is in the image of our first forefather, the first Adam.

Many can say, "I have told you the truth." However, Jesus did not just tell the truth, He embodied it. He put truth into a visible, concrete form so all who so desire can see it. What credibility that gives! A teacher can present a mathematical, grammatical, scientific, or historical truth, and what kind of a person he is does not matter much. However, if a person teaches or administers moral truth, his example—what he is in his character—is all-important. Do people want to be lectured on purity by an adulterer or on honesty by a liar and thief (Romans 2:21-24)?

"Truth" in John 17:17 is the Greek word aletheia, which means "reality, the manifested, unconcealed essence of a matter." Truth is the reality lying at the foundation of a righteous example. It is pure unadulterated reality.

Contrast this with what Jesus says of Satan to the Jews in John 8:44:

You are of your father the devil, and the desires of your father you want to do. He was a murderer from the beginning, and does not stand in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he speaks a lie, he speaks from his own resources, for he is a liar and the father of it.

Satan is Christ's diametrical opposite, one hundred percent unmodified deceit. God's entire plan is based on the premise that the converted know that God is true. If He is not true to His Word or to His own way of life, how can He be trusted? We must live by faith in this true Being and in what He says! Truth forms the basis, the foundation, the reality, for a person's conversion.

Consider this: There is a personal, living, almighty God whose ways and laws are intrinsically right—they are true. Therefore, a person who has God's Spirit and is honest, who is willing to speak the truth and acknowledge it when it is shown to him, and who will use it in everyday, practical situations must eventually become like the One he models himself after.

God is making us kings and priests, that is, leaders and teachers of a way of life based on revealed truth. He will not have anyone in His Family who does not embody truth as Jesus did. In other words, we, too, will be truth personified. However, for this to occur we must live it to the best of our abilities now.

John W. Ritenbaugh
The Ninth Commandment


 

John 17:17  (Go to this verse :: Verse pop-up)

The Greek word translated "truth" is aletheia, which most closely resembles our English word "reality." It means "the manifested, unconcealed essence of a matter." A living, saving faith depends upon the premise by man that God is true in His being and character. The truth forms the basis for a person's conversion.

Consider this: There is a Personal, Living, Almighty God whose ways and laws are reality in spite of the way things may appear to our senses (II Corinthians 5:7). They are intrinsically right and true. Therefore a person who is honest, who is willing to speak the truth, who will acknowledge and submit to it when he sees it, will eventually be converted to be like God.

We are God's workmanship (Ephesians 2:10). God, as Creator, is making us kings and priests to administer and teach a way of life based upon revealed truth. Because He desires to share and perpetuate what He is with an entire Family of children bearing His characteristics, He cannot have anybody in His Family who does not embody truth as Jesus did.

"You shall not bear false witness" thus has far-reaching spiritual applications. It is not a commandment that we can carelessly ignore as being insignificant compared to other "more important" ones. The word "bear" indicates "spread", "carry", "render," and "give." At first, it seems to involve only perjury or gossip, but other Scriptures show it covers giving a false witness, example, or impression under any circumstance, including hypocrisy and self-deception. It includes the giving of testimony (verbally or by example) in any case that tends to produce injury. The ninth commandment regulates man's relationship to other men much as the third commandment does in man's relationship to God. This commandment directly involves faithfulness and loyalty in our mouth and example for God before men.

John W. Ritenbaugh
The Ninth Commandment (1997)


 

Acts 2:37-38  (Go to this verse :: Verse pop-up)

When the Jews killed Jesus, they did not believe they were sinning. They thought they were doing God a service. In his ignorance, the apostle Paul was guilty of hailing of men and women into prison, and very likely, people were persecuted and maybe even some were put to death. In regard to the death of Stephen, the indication is that Paul was a ringleader in it. He thought he was doing God service, a favor, but when he was stopped by the light of God on the road to Damascus, and the truth was suddenly revealed to him, he realized he was nothing but a hunk of junk lying blind on the road.

The Holy Spirit did that. It smote these people in the heart so that they could clearly see that they were individually responsible for the death of Jesus Christ, even if they had not been there when it actually took place.

Without the Spirit of God, the truth of God is like looking into the gloom. We see the shape and form of things, but without the Spirit of God, the truths—the doctrines, the teachings—that make up the mechanism of God's purpose do not make sense. They cannot be put in their right order so that they really add up or give a clear picture of what God is doing.

John W. Ritenbaugh
Truth (Part 3)


 

Romans 1:18-20  (Go to this verse :: Verse pop-up)

In Romans 1:18-20, Paul asserts that things involving God's existence, power, and nature are clearly seen, but mankind suppresses the truth. What God wants man to know, man willingly ignores and suppresses through the addition of beliefs, customs, and traditions that cloak the truth. The truth is still there, hidden behind a screen of falsehoods that most never attempt to remove.

Theologians call this process syncretism. According to Merriam Webster's Collegiate Dictionary, it is "the combination of different forms of belief or practice." Syncretism could possibly describe other fields, like philosophy, but scholars use it almost exclusively in religious contexts. Syncretize, the verb form of the word, is very revealing. It means "to attempt to unite and harmonize especially without critical examination or logical unity." In other words, those who syncretize will frequently attach one belief or practice to their religion without trying to ascertain whether it is proper to do so.

John W. Ritenbaugh
Christmas, Syncretism, and Presumption


 

Romans 1:24-25  (Go to this verse :: Verse pop-up)

In examining the central issue in each of the first several commandments, we find that the first concerns what we worship. Worship is the devoted service one gives to what he regards most highly. As these verses show, we can give devoted service to created things as well as the Creator. Additionally, the tenth commandment says covetousness is idolatry too (Colossians 3:5), clearly amplifying that we can give our devotion to things other than the true God.

How good can it be to exchange the truth for the lie? In this context "the lie" is that one can profitably worship someone or something other than the true God. Worshipping things other than the Creator turns the thrust and direction of our lives off the true path of God's purpose. Though those objects may be otherwise harmless in themselves, it is sin to give them the devotion that rightly belongs to the Creator.

John 4:24 proclaims that those who worship God must worship Him in spirit and truth. The worship of God involves the totality of our life, and therefore it cannot be confined to a particular location or a mere hour or two on a given day. Our worship must be guided, motivated, and empowered by His Spirit. Further, it cannot merely be sincere, but it must also be true. Attitude is extremely important, but it alone does not replace truth.

John W. Ritenbaugh
The Fourth Commandment (Part One) (1997)


 

Romans 2:13-15  (Go to this verse :: Verse pop-up)

Unconverted people can, completely apart from contact with the true God, discover much that harmonizes with God's purpose or godliness in general. The problem is that because they lack God's Holy Spirit, the truth they find is not as meaningful as it could be.

John W. Ritenbaugh


 

Romans 10:14-17  (Go to this verse :: Verse pop-up)

Faith comes by hearing—hearing the Word of God. Those words contain the evidence by which one can reason, judge, and choose what one will do with his life. God's Word is truth (John 17:17). He cannot lie. He has never gone back on a promise. If He did, He would cease to be God. God expects us to reason with His truth as our foundation. Understand that God's Word is not everything in terms of life, but His Word is the foundation against which we evaluate all the other words that we have heard and been taught all through the years.

John W. Ritenbaugh
Faith (Part 1)


 

Romans 10:14-17  (Go to this verse :: Verse pop-up)

The word of Christ is what brought us out of the world and that to which we were converted. When we drift away from it, we become confused, and we begin dividing, bickering and fighting among ourselves. The solution is given elsewhere in the Bible: Get back to what brought us together in the first place—the combination of the word of Christ and devotion to Him, to the love that we had at the beginning (Revelation 2:4-5).

Genuine ignorance may be a defense before God, but neglect never is. We need to remember Hebrews 2:3, "How shall we escape if we neglect so great a salvation?" God can forgive ignorance because we cannot believe what we did not know, and even though we may be punished in our ignorance, it is far different from being punished when we know better. Yet, "to whom much is given, from him much will be required" (Luke 12:48). We are not in ignorance. If we are slipping away, it is because of neglect.

One way we can be unworthy at Passover time (I Corinthians 11:27) is by neglecting or forgetting what we are now. We need to evaluate faith in light of the Passover and the state of our minds and our hearts as we approach it. Moffatt translates Romans 10:17 as, "Faith must come from what is heard, and what is heard comes from the word of Christ." We are saved by grace through faith, and faith comes from knowledge of God and His Word, so the importance of studying His Word, meditating on it, seeking practical applications for our life, cannot be overstated.

Along with obedience, practical application of God's Word is a must if we want to have saving faith. We must check ourselves before Passover to see whether we have passed up or neglected opportunities to make practical use of our faith. This means so much to our attitude, the way we approach life on a daily basis.

John W. Ritenbaugh
A Pre-Passover Look


 

1 Corinthians 5:8  (Go to this verse :: Verse pop-up)

We are generally familiar with the word "truth," the same word that appears in John 17:17, "Your word is truth." This word is used in a number of ways in the New Testament. It can mean "genuine" or "real or reality" as opposed to mere appearance. In John 17:17, it is used in the sense of something derived from a pure and holy God that declares the will of God, as compared to that which is from the world, which is sullied by the experiences of men.

Here in I Corinthians 5, it is used in the sense of truth in conduct. In other words, the truth has been taken in by means of words, believed, then been put into practice. "Truth" in the Greek is very similar to sincerity, which precedes it, and is contrasted with malice and wickedness, which are works of the flesh. The word translated sincerity means "pure or clear." The English word "sincere" is an accurate translation of the Greek word. Sincere comes from the Latin and means "without wax," implying that nothing at all contaminates it. It describes behavior that is not contaminated. The word of God in I Corinthians 5:7 has been imbibed by the person, and it has resulted in a pure, sincere, realistic, and genuine behavior or conduct.

The connections there are obvious. As surely as strength and vitality falls on the heels of eating the right kind of food, so does the vitality of the mind—that is, by the Word of God the life of God in us is strengthened so we can grow into an adult. Eating unleavened bread is symbolic of eating the pure and unadulterated Word of God, which is spirit. That spirit, in turn, becomes the basis for thinking within new parameters—parameters that always take God into account.

John W. Ritenbaugh
Freedom and Unleavened Bread


 

2 Corinthians 1:17-19  (Go to this verse :: Verse pop-up)

Does God speak and not act? Even Balaam understood that when God's Word goes forth, it accomplishes what He sent it to do. There is no ambiguity on this matter; God's promises are sure. He never deceives, and there is never inconsistency or fickleness in Him. He is always true. Jesus called Himself "the truth" (John 14:6), and in Revelation 3:14 His title is "the faithful and true witness."

Similarly, Paul states that his, Silvanus' and Timothy's declarations, their preaching about God, were also faithful, unvarnished, unexaggerated, and uncolored. They did not change the truth or shade it in any way. Jesus says He came into this world to bear witness to the truth (John 18:37). Paul felt he was under sacred obligation to do the same and maintain a character of the strictest veracity in every respect. Perhaps our greatest obligation on earth is for us to imitate our Redeemer's faithfulness. It does not become an individual who professes to trust in the faithful God to be shifty and unreliable in word and deed.

This is a very high pinnacle for us to strive for, but we must try, though we know we will not be saved as a result. Perhaps because we know our salvation does not depend on our works, there is a subtle persuasion not to be as careful as we should.

John W. Ritenbaugh
The Fruit of the Spirit: Faithfulness


 

2 Corinthians 4:1-2  (Go to this verse :: Verse pop-up)

In these verses, the apostle clearly states our responsibility to God regarding the ninth commandment. We should manifest truth in every part of our life, making honest and diligent use of God's gracious gifts without craftiness.

Is our way Christ's? Can we say we have nothing to do with hidden and shameful methods and speech? He is not talking about acting with unscrupulous cleverness, but how we handle God's Word. Do we adulterate the Word that God gave us to live by and teach? Our lives should demonstrate that we present ourselves to human conscience in the sight of God. We should live our lives in the fear of God, knowing He is watching and judging our conduct.

We should be childlike and open to leave as little room as possible for people to misinterpret our motives, misunderstand our actions, or twist our words from their real meaning. Does it make any difference what people think of us? Some take the approach, "I will do what I want to do, and what others think doesn't matter." This at times has the appearance of wisdom, but it matters to God. If He did not care, He would not show so much concern in His Word about being a good witness for Him and protecting our reputations or His. Much of our effectiveness as a witness depends on being trustworthy through honesty.

Keeping the ninth commandment begins with not letting our deceitful heart trick us into doing or saying anything less than what is honest and true in God's sight. We must demonstrate a true witness regardless of what men may discern from what we say or do, or what painful harm the truth may do to our vanity.

John W. Ritenbaugh
The Ninth Commandment (1997)


 

Ephesians 5:8  (Go to this verse :: Verse pop-up)

Ephesians 5:8 says that the converted persons are "light in the Lord" and should "walk as children of light." This light is revealed in all goodness, righteousness, and truth. This is what others should witness in us and be guided by as an example. Each of these three terms covers a different aspect of our witness.

Righteousness conveys legality. Psalm 119:172 defines righteousness as keeping the commandments of God, thus righteousness implies conformity to law. It is a narrower term than either truth or goodness. It indicates uprightness and a manifestation of justice. It can literally mean being right. God uses the illustration of a plumb line in Amos to portray what He means by righteousness. The person who is righteous has been measured against the standard of God's law and found to be in alignment. Therefore righteousness should be a characteristic of a Christian. He is fair and just in his dealings with others, plays life by the rules and respects others' rights and possessions.

Earlier, in Ephesians 5:6, Paul speaks of deceit, things done in secret, and the hidden things of darkness. "All truth" is their opposite. The character of the life of the Christian is without deceit. Nothing is hidden, underhanded, or dishonest; nothing smacks of hypocrisy or pretense. The life of those walking in the light will be open, aboveboard, and transparent; it has nothing to conceal and never pretends to be something it is not.

New Testament goodness, agathosune, is a versatile and strong word that can be used either of the act or the intention motivating the act. It can be gentle or sharp, but the intention of the good person is always the well-being of the recipients of his goodness. An English word that covers some aspects of the Greek word is "benevolence." This "inclination to do good" seems to be Paul's intent in Ephesians 5:9.

Martyn Lloyd-Jones, in his Darkness and Light, a commentary on Ephesians 4 and 5, writes that this goodness is "indicative of a perfect balance in the various parts of the personality. A good man is a balanced man, a man in whom everything that is noble and excellent works harmoniously together" (p. 402). Thus he can be gentle or sharp, but what he does always has the right balance and is good.

Such a person tries to promote the happiness of all around him. He is not selfish or self-centered, but because he has this balance himself, he desires that others have it too. This is how God is. God looks upon us in our misery, the result of sin, and in His goodness leads us to repentance. Sometimes the path to repentance for us is sharp and painful, but it is always good.

On the more gentle side, God "makes His sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust" (Matthew 5:45). Although men are evil, He does this kindness out of His goodness.

In the converted person we see a pale reflection of this goodness. The good man is one who thinks about love, beauty, and truth—not just in the realm of majestic mountains, surging seas, gorgeous flowers, and sunsets, but more specifically in his fellow man. He wants to alleviate suffering and to mitigate wrongs. He consciously looks for ways to benefit others. Because he is not out to gratify himself, His works are the opposite of the self-centered works of darkness. The good person is the benefactor of the weak, helpless, and those in trouble—and sometimes even of the evil.

In the presence of Cornelius and his family, Peter says of Jesus, "God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Spirit and with power, who went about doing good and healing all who were oppressed by the devil, for God was with Him" (Acts 10:38). The Scriptures speak frequently of Jesus healing all who came to Him without qualification who they were. He sharply rebuked those who had the power to do good but did not. Though He at times ate with the "respectable" of the cities and villages, He was known to keep company with publicans and sinners. He flatly states that He did not come for those who were well, but for those who needed a physician (Matthew 9:12-13). As a man Jesus continued to follow the same pattern He established as God above, and in so doing He gave us a perfect example to follow within our contacts and power.

John W. Ritenbaugh
The Fruit of the Spirit: Goodness


 

Colossians 1:3-5  (Go to this verse :: Verse pop-up)

By verse 5, he is already talking about the truth. He gives its source to be sure that nobody misunderstands. There is truth about many things—it could about an automobile or any other kind of product, and there can be truth about any kind of a human circumstance or event. Paul, however, is writing about a specific truth, which deals with what is contained within the gospel. The gospel is a certain message of good news. Thus, Paul begins to establish the source of this specific truth: It came from whomever brought the good news to them, the one whom God used to establish their congregation.

John W. Ritenbaugh
The Covenants, Grace and Law (Part 20)


 

Colossians 1:6  (Go to this verse :: Verse pop-up)

With the phrase "the grace of God in truth," he is beginning to say, "What I have taught you is the truth. What you are being tempted by is not truth." He is not saying it directly yet, but he will. God, writing to the Colossians and us through the apostle Paul, is a master of psychology.

John W. Ritenbaugh
The Covenants, Grace and Law (Part 20)


 

2 Thessalonians 2:3  (Go to this verse :: Verse pop-up)

Some think that, when someone accepts heresy, he will "leave the church." That may occur on some occasions, but this confuses hairesis with apostasia. In this verse, apostasia is translated "falling away" in both the KJV and NKJV, giving the impression that it refers to leaving an organization. But apostasia means "to depart from truth"! One can remain in an organization and be departing from truth all along.

This is vitally important to us living at the end time! Notice what Paul writes in II Thessalonians 2:9-12 about this:

The coming of the lawless one is according to the working of Satan, with all power, signs, and lying wonders, and with all unrighteous deception among those who perish, because they did not receive the love of the truth, that they might be saved. And for this reason God will send them strong delusion, that they should believe the lie, that they all may be condemned who did not believe the truth but had pleasure in unrighteousness.

John W. Ritenbaugh
Damnable Heresies


 

2 Thessalonians 2:9-12  (Go to this verse :: Verse pop-up)

Every day information concerning politics, economics, social issues, psychology, religion, conspiracy theories, foreign affairs, entertainment and education issues inundates us. How much of it is actually true? How much do we truly need to pay attention to?

The man of sin opposes Christ. He will even claim to be God, and Satan will enable him to work miracles. Just before Christ's return, he will lead evil's greatest challenge ever against all that is good. The focus of the attack will be the destruction of truth. Only those who "receive the love of the truth" will be spared. If one does not have it, he will be deceived, believe the lie, and be condemned. In this context, the lie is probably that this man is God or His main representative on earth, and that they should worship the beast and receive his mark at his word (Revelation 13:11-18).

Before the man of sin appears, Satan must lay some groundwork to prepare for his acceptance. What better way than to throw the world into quarreling and divisive and wearying confusion? People then yearn for some strong and seemingly wise hands to set things straight, so the nations can "catch their breath" and have a span of peaceful calm. In its wake, confusion creates directionless people, with little desire to change the status quo, whose minds are turned in upon themselves in an attempt to keep what they have.

Right now, humanity is being bombarded by religious disinformation ranging from bizarre, do-gooding New Age cults to the militant homosexual, lesbian and feminist attacks aimed at changing old-line Protestant and Catholic groups. Mainly within Protestant circles, the New World Order and other conspiracy theories abound, sometimes tenuously mixed with true prophecies of the Bible. Everywhere there are cries for tolerance of beliefs of every stripe, and in some sectors there are attempts to merge all religions into one.

Within God's church, we have seen a multitude of doctrinal changes alter one large group to the point that it is barely recognizable except by name. Other, smaller groups are badgered by peripheral issues like the calendar, sacred names and conspiracy theories. What we are witnessing are people subtly persuaded into an excessive concern for themselves. This distracts them from the focus God clearly states in Jesus' end-time message: Get ready for the return of Jesus Christ and the establishment of the Kingdom of God.

Every message to every church group in Revelation 2 and 3 concludes with "To him who overcomes." Christ's intent is clear. Our judgment is based upon growth in overcoming flaws involving character defects, evil self-centered attitudes and relationship problems with fellow man.

John W. Ritenbaugh
The Flood Is Upon Us!


 

2 Thessalonians 2:9-12  (Go to this verse :: Verse pop-up)

Loving the truth so intensely that it motivates us to pursue it carefully and diligently - so much that we make it an operative part of our everyday life - will prove to be the difference between being saved and perishing. Each of us will have to be concerned enough about the spiritual teaching we receive to search the Scriptures prayerfully and diligently to verify it (Acts 17:11). Proving all things (I Thessalonians 5:21, KJV) is so much better than lazily accepting the word of someone who appears to be trustworthy.

John W. Ritenbaugh
Damnable Heresies


 

2 Thessalonians 2:9-12  (Go to this verse :: Verse pop-up)

A major area that separates those who are being saved from those who are perishing is the love of the truth. Truth sanctifies; it sets those who love and use it apart for the rewards of applying it to gain eternal life or better health.

Salvation is a process. Consider this: When God brought Israel out of Egypt, He redeemed them, but the process was not finished. It had only begun and did not end until they entered the Promised Land, a type of God's Kingdom. God intended the journey through the wilderness to prepare them for living in the land. However, a whole generation died in that process because they did not love the truth God gave them throughout the journey. The journey symbolizes the process of being saved.

Salvation is not religious rite, nor is it just a catchy theological term given to make people feel at peace. It is the experience of being saved from what would otherwise destroy us, which takes place between the time of our redemption and actually being spirit beings in the Kingdom of God. God is using His creative powers to get us to respond to truth. It does not matter what area of life or where the truth comes from. Truth is truth, but some truths are more important than others.

Verses 11-12 add more: "And for this reason God will send them strong delusion, that they should believe the lie, that they all may be condemned who did not believe the truth but had pleasure in unrighteousness." To those who will not yield to a love of truth, Paul warns, God will send a "deluding energy." As they reject the truth and continue in sin, a deceptive force will build and pull them deeper into it like a drug addiction. This parallels Romans 1:28, where Paul says, "God gave them over to a debased [reprobate, KJV] mind." This is what happens to people who leave the church: They continue to move further and further from the truth.

John W. Ritenbaugh
Eating: How Good It Is! (Part Five)


 

2 Thessalonians 2:10-12  (Go to this verse :: Verse pop-up)

These people will perish because of a self-imposed delusion, a blindness that strikes those who refuse to love the truth. They may not refuse to accept truth, but they do not love it—they are not dedicated to it.

A dedicated person gives himself to the object of his love just as two people in love dedicate themselves to each other until they are one. The people described in these verses are perishing because, though they have been given truth, they do not love it enough to give themselves to it. For whatever their personal reasons, they prefer to tolerate lies, following their leaders to destruction.

Without sufficient dedication to truth to obey except haphazardly or lethargically, understanding begins to wane. "The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom; a good understanding have all those who do His commandments" (Psalm 111:10).

John W. Ritenbaugh
'I'll Never Follow Another Man!'


 

2 Thessalonians 2:11  (Go to this verse :: Verse pop-up)

God is permitting a sifting to take place. Paul uses the word "delusion" here, indicating a "wandering out of the way." Does that not happen to people who are confused and have lost direction and motivation? They wander. They drift. They get tossed about in the winds and currents. But the love of the truth will keep a person clear-minded, focused on the right areas of life, and motivated to overcome. And this will lead God to save them.

John W. Ritenbaugh
The Flood Is Upon Us!


 

2 Thessalonians 2:11  (Go to this verse :: Verse pop-up)

This verse states that God "shall send them strong delusion," but this is not the end of the story. God is the ultimate source of this "strong delusion," but God rarely does anything to people that they themselves do not have some part in. In the case of this delusion surrounding the man of sin, the people who "believe the lie" will be predisposed to do so because they do not have "the love of the truth" (verse 10). The "strong delusion" works because the people have set themselves up to fall for it!

Notice also that in verses 9-10, Satan and the "lawless one" also have a part in these deceptions and "lying wonders," so God alone does not cause the delusion. It is a combination of God's will, Satan's and the man of sin's agency, and human, predisposed hostility to God and the truth (Romans 8:7), which can be summarized as "self-delusion." Our part—whether or not we are hostile toward God and His truth—is the only thing we have any control over. If we are trying to overcome our human predisposition against God and actively cultivating a love of the truth, then our chances of avoiding this deception increase dramatically.

Staff


 

2 Thessalonians 2:13  (Go to this verse :: Verse pop-up)

Demons believe (James 2:19) but will not obey unless forced. They do not love truth enough to give themselves to it. Sanctification will take place only in those who love truth enough to follow or obey it.

John W. Ritenbaugh
'I'll Never Follow Another Man!'


 

2 Thessalonians 2:13-14  (Go to this verse :: Verse pop-up)

Sanctification is just the opposite of apostasy. Apostasy means "to depart" from truth, from God. Sanctification, on the other hand, is becoming more attached to God until Christ's image is formed in us. There is a contrast, then, between those condemned and those who are going to receive salvation, who will be rescued because they love the truth.

John W. Ritenbaugh
A Place of Safety? (Part 4)


 

James 1:25-27  (Go to this verse :: Verse pop-up)

In essence, James describes a person who sees the truth from God's Word and responds by using it. He sees himself as an instrument of God to be used, even spent, in service to Him and His people. He holds the feelings and well being of others to be as important as his own. Unlike the myopic person, he sees beyond his comfort zone, following the example of Jesus Christ.

Staff
Christian Myopia


 

James 5:12  (Go to this verse :: Verse pop-up)

How James addresses this to his audience tells us he considers it an extremely serious matter. His use of "above all" suggests that we should be especially careful on this point. It is as if he is saying, "Make sure you catch this point because it may be the most important one." Swearing oaths is not a trivial matter!

In the Old Testament, taking oaths by God's name was more prevalent—even commanded (see Deuteronomy 6:13)—but God holds those He has called out of this present, evil world to a higher standard. The ancient Israelites were carnal human beings whose behaviors had to be constrained by statute. Knowing they would swear oaths, God directed them to take them honestly and only in His name, thus regulating and elevating the practice.

Christians, though, are to follow God's law, not just in the letter, but also in the spirit, a more in-depth and encompassing charge. The standard that has been set for us is that our word should always be true. Paul writes, "Therefore, putting away lying, 'Let each one of you speak truth with his neighbor,' for we are members of one another" (Ephesians 4:25; see Zechariah 8:16).

Our Savior puts it even more strongly in the form of an admonition: "But I say to you that for every idle word men may speak, they will give account of it in the day of judgment. For by your words you will be justified, and by your words you will be condemned" (Matthew 12:36). Because God is with us, every word that we speak is spoken in God's presence and thus should be true, making oaths unnecessary.

As God's people, we are to represent Him in honesty and obedience and reflect Him in our conduct in every way. Because of this, we do not need God's name in an oath to back up our word. Therefore, a Christian should simply say "yes" or "no" according to what he honestly believes to be true, even in legal matters. As Jesus says, anything we try to add to the unvarnished truth is Satan's handiwork (see John 8:44). In short, a Christian's word should be his bond.

John O. Reid
Swear Not!


 

1 Peter 4:1-2  (Go to this verse :: Verse pop-up)

We are commanded to arm ourselves with the same mindset and attitude of Christ. He had the entire host of heaven at His disposal yet never lifted a finger in His own defense! He threw the moneychangers out of the Temple, not because they were threatening Him, but because they were desecrating His Father's house. When it came to His own security, He always chose to remove Himself from the situation—until His earthly ministry was over, when He humbly submitted to the most unfair treatment that has ever been imposed on a human being.

Paul tells us in Ephesians 6:10 to "be strong in the Lord and in the power of His might." In the next several verses, He shows that we are involved in a war, one in which no sword, gun, or any other human weapon can help us. Our battles are spiritual battles, and even when those battles involve human instruments, our articles of defense are still spiritual: truth, righteousness, the gospel of peace, faith, salvation, and of course, the "sword" of the Spirit—the Word of God (verses 14-17). This is the sword that we should carry with us constantly and look to for defense.

David C. Grabbe
Living By the Sword


 

1 John 1:7  (Go to this verse :: Verse pop-up)

"The light" is the truth. God's Word is truth (John 17:17). We have to walk in the light "as He is in the light." He lives in us, and we in Him. We are in union with Him.

John is telling us how we become clean: We become clean as we apply God's Word. It gets in us and begins to clarify and purify our thinking. But it does not become a real cleansing until it begins to be used. Then, it begins to clean up our bad habits and thinking processes. The thinking processes change according to our action, our behavior. If we keep doing the same things all the time, nothing changes. We are resisting. "Walking" denotes living. If we live as He lived, then we become cleansed. This is what holiness is. If we do that, then we will produce fruit—it is impossible not to!

John W. Ritenbaugh
The Covenants, Grace, and Law (Part 8)


 

1 John 2:15-17  (Go to this verse :: Verse pop-up)

I John 2:15-17 warns us that there is a profound gulf between the Father and the world, and that a Christian is faced with making a choice between them. Spirituality, morally, and ethically, Christianity does not allow for neutrality. God is bringing us into a position where we recognize truth, admit it is true, and make it a part of our lives.

We are learning a new way of life, so He does not want us to be ensnared by the attractiveness of many things that are in the world. We cannot presume that because something appears to be harmless, it would be fine to do "just this one time." Therefore, we have to learn to resist the urge to think and conduct our lives as the world does.

"World" in I John 2 is the Greek cosmos, and its basic meaning is "an ordered system." Because of the disparity between God and this world, it cannot possibly be the world for which God gave His only begotten Son. The world He created He called "very good." Nor is He referring to mankind, also part of His creation. He loves people and desires to save them.

Nevertheless, He does not like man's way of life. This ordered, human-centered system is anti-God and anti-Christ, and Satan sits at its head. This system occupies His creation and consists of people that God loves so much that He sent His Son to die for them, but He does not love the system! It produces people that need to be rescued, and it tends to make them worse and worse.

When God speaks of "the world," He is identifying all of man's purposes, pursuits, pleasures, practices, and places where God is not wanted. Much of this world is religious, cultured, refined, and intellectual, but it is still anti-God and anti-Christ.

Through His calling, God puts us into a position where He forces us to choose between disparate ways of life, and both of them are realities. We must choose either the eternal and worthwhile or the temporal and vain. God is not saying that this world is unpleasant, unattractive, or unappealing, but we have to choose between that reality and His. The sum of this passage is that this ordered system—anti-God yet appealing and attractive—has the power to seduce the believer, to ensnare him and turn him from God. We have to be vigilantly on guard against it.

John W. Ritenbaugh
Christmas, Syncretism, and Presumption


 

1 John 5:16-17  (Go to this verse :: Verse pop-up)

"A sin which does not lead to death" is one that is genuinely repented of and for which forgiveness is available because the attitude of the sinner is meek and truly sorrowful. A person may have this attitude, yet still sin on occasion out of weakness, ignorance, bad judgment, or even inadvertently. Both greater and lesser sins can fall under this category. Earlier in the book, the same apostle writes:

If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. (I John 1:8-9)

Our genuine confession admits to God that we are guilty of breaking His law and seek to be cleared of it by Christ's sacrifice. This true repentance leads to a fierce desire not to sin and to building righteous character. God thus lifts the penalty of the second death, and once again, we, by His grace, are back on the road to salvation.

The sin that John calls a "sin leading to death" is what others know as "the unpardonable sin." Again, both greater and lesser sins can lead to the attitude that causes someone to commit an unforgivable sin. Such a sin is deeply reinforced by the attitude of the sinner—an attitude that denies Jesus Christ as Savior, that flagrantly hates his brother, and refuses to obey God's laws and statutes. Rebellion and defiance set this sin apart from others!

Martin G. Collins
Are Some Sins Worse Than Others?


 

Jude 1:3  (Go to this verse :: Verse pop-up)

Following his opening, he begins his letter by saying, "I really wanted to write something theological to you, something about our salvation, but this matter came up, and I feel that it is more necessary to write to you about this more pressing problem."

In the strongest possible terms, he tells them to fight, to strive, to struggle for the truth as it had been given to them by the apostles, who in turn had been taught by Christ Himself. The word translated "contend earnestly," epagonizomai, is very interesting and picturesque. We have a word in English that derives from its root: "agony." Epagonizomai means literally "to agonize about," thus "to contest" or "to contend." It describes the efforts of an athlete to win his particular competition in the midst of the games, whether it was running, javelin throwing, discus, or whatever the particular sport. An athlete who is truly devoted and focused on winning gives his every ounce of strength to come out on top. Jude uses epagonizomai to demonstrate how we should be exerting ourselves in keeping the truth pure and practicing it. It suggests a person straining for all he is worth to ensure the faith's purity in both its principles and practices. This struggle is hard and painful at times—sometimes even deadly—but the truth is that important to God and to our brethren, the church.

Jude also affirms in this verse that the truth we need for salvation has already been given once for all. This is a very important distinction because it lays the foundation for what he writes later. The truth was given—and that is that! There is no continuing revelation, no evolution of truth. It was closed by the passing of the apostles, specifically the Twelve.

We could paraphrase this with, "Beware of those who say they have 'new' truth." Refinements of or gleaning deeper meanings from an "old truth" are fine, but claims of new truth should raise red flags. They should sound sirens and flash lights in our mind. The truth, the faith, has been delivered once for all. We should cling for all we are worth to the Scriptures and should not listen to those who claim to have special revelation. The Bible should always be the basis of our belief in anything spiritual. If a teaching does not square with the Bible, we should reject it; anything contrary to the faith once delivered should be thrown out as soon as possible.

Richard T. Ritenbaugh
Jude


 

Find more Bible verses about Truth:
Truth {Nave's}
Truth {Torrey's}
 




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