"Love the Truth"
By W. Kent Graham
Zechariah gives the timeless exhortation to "love the truth" (Zech. 8:19). Every Christian ought to have an abiding love of the truth, because it is the truth that saves. A momentary contemplation of life without truth is enough to cause us to cleave to it with renewed vigor and fervency. Our gratitude for this great spiritual blessing causes us to say with the psalmist, "Lead me in thy truth, and teach me; for thou art the God of my salvation; on thee do I wait all the day" (Psa. 25:5).
Our love of the truth causes us to "ask for the old paths, where is the good way." It directs us to the "strait gate" and "narrow way" that leads to life eternal. Because we "love the truth," we jealously guard against allowing truth to slip through our fingers to be "trodden under foot of men." "Therefore we ought to give the more earnest heed to the things which we have heard, lest at any time we should let them slip" (Heb. 2:1). All this we do because we "love the truth!"
Yet, not all Christians "love the truth." Many of our brethren boldly say we cannot know the truth. They say that we cannot get a firm grasp on truth, because it is always changing. They disparagingly relegate truth to the realm of subjectivism. According to their reasoning, truth, like beauty, is in the eye of the beholder. What our erring brethren call "winds of change," the apostle Paul condemns for being "tossed to and fro, and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the sleight of men, and cunning craftiness, whereby they lie in wait to deceive" (Eph. 4:14).
It is more difficult to be surprised when we hear what some brethren have drummed up in the place of God's truth. Then we remember that the "weeping prophet" faced similar dissension as he cried out, "And they bend their tongues like their bow for lies: but they are not valiant for truth" Jer. 9:3).
By any stretch of the imagination, we cannot say that our liberal brethren are "valiant for truth," or that they "love the truth." We must pray that they will repent before it is too late!
One characteristic of "them that perish" is "that they received not the love of the truth, that they might be saved" (2 Thess. 2:10). This is a sobering thought to the Christian with an eye toward eternity. To witness someone whom we had perceived as a faithful brother in Christ make a complete change in his conviction for truth is both bewildering and frightening! Hesitantly we ask ourselves, "Could this happen to me?" We shudder to think that we would ever defiantly incur the wrath of God or that we might possess the audacity to "hold the truth in unrighteousness." So to ensure that we remain faithful we go directly to the source of faith, the Word of truth, and glean truth like gluttons. Our heart's desire is to receive "the love of the truth, that we might be saved."
Zechariah's call for God's people to "love the truth" has not diminished in importance. We must be lovers of truth if we want to be followers of Jesus Christ. Jesus said, "I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me" (John 14:6). To say that we cannot know the truth, is to say that we cannot know Christ! We can know the truth, and we must "love the truth" because truth makes us free.
It is a "love of the truth" that will keep us sound in the faith and hinder us from turning to the right hand or the left. We know to follow the example of the Bereans; we know to "try the spirits whether they are of God," and we know to "prove all things, hold fast that which is good," only if we have cultivated a healthy "love of the truth." If we truly "love the truth " we will respect divine authority and study the Bible to show ourselves "approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth." We will try to be like the blessed man who delights himself in "the law of the Lord; and in his law cloth he meditate day and night" (Psa. 1:2). To "love the truth" is the best way, and the only way, to remain in the truth!
Paul warned of perilous times when men and women would not endure "sound doctrine." He said, "And they shall turn away their ears from the truth, and shall be turned unto fables" (2 Tim. 4:2). As we witness the teachings that pervade the church of our day, who would refuse to sound the alarm that we are in perilous times? Jehovah's faithful remnant must purpose in their hearts to stay the course and to remain faithful against all odds and all adversity. At times it is lonely being one who "loves the truth," but we know that "if God be for us, who can be against us" (Rom. 8:31). We also know that a crown of righteousness awaits all those who "love the truth."