In John 8:32, Jesus said, “You will know the truth and the truth will make you free” (WEB). Truth from God is a powerful thing. And it’s something God wants to share with everyone, because He “desires all people to be saved and come to full knowledge of the truth” (1 Tim. 2:4, WEB). Knowing God’s truth is connected with the salvation offered in Jesus Christ and is a key component of the Christian faith.
according to the faith of God’s elect, and the acknowledging of the truth which is after godliness; in hope of eternal life, which God, that cannot lie, promised before the world began (Tit. 1:1-2, KJV)
But head knowledge isn’t enough. It’s absolutely essential that you study and know about the One you believe in, but knowledge doesn’t get you into the kingdom. Paul says you could even “understand all mysteries, and all knowledge” but without love it would mean nothing (1 Cor. 13:2, KJV). We’re meant to go beyond knowing about God’s truth to doing something with that knowledge. If you don’t care about the truth enough to put it into action, then it’s not making the difference in your life that God intends.
We Lose What We Don’t Love
Paul writes in second Thessalonians about a wicked one “whose coming is after the working of Satan” (2:9, KJV). He warns this one will come
with all deceivableness of unrighteousness in them that perish; because they received not the love of the truth, that they might be saved. And for this cause God shall send them strong delusion, that they should believe a lie: that they all might be damned who believed not the truth, but had pleasure in unrighteousness. (2 Thes. 2:10-12, KJV)
Paul doesn’t say these people didn’t know the truth. They weren’t ignorant about God’s message. But they did not believe the truth and they did not love it. Matthew Henry writes, “They could not bear sound doctrine and therefore easily imbibed false doctrines … Had they loved the truth, they would have persevered in it and been preserved by it; but no wonder if they easily parted with what they never had any love to (commentary on 2 Thes. 2:4-12, point #5).
That’s why it’s so important for churches to stick to God’s truth in the scriptures when teaching. People need to hear the truth and we need to see our fellow Christians in love with the truth. Too often, churches try to water down the truth to make it more “lovable” to the world. But God doesn’t want us preaching our “truth.” He wants people to know the Truth that He reveals in His word. Even in our individual studies, familiarizing ourselves with His truth should be a main goal.
Accepting God’s View On Truth
This might be a controversial statement, but I’d go so far as to say if we don’t believe in and love God’s truth we’re not saved. God’s truth tells us we need a Savior and that to receive salvation we must believe in Him and repent of our sins (an action that’s connected with truth in 2 Tim. 2:25). Salvation is a free gift that’s given when we follow God’s instructions for claiming it, and part of those instructions involve continuing in His truth after our conversion. Grace is meant to change how we live.
One who says, “I know him,” and doesn’t keep his commandments, is a liar, and the truth isn’t in him. But whoever keeps his word, God’s love has most certainly been perfected in him. This is how we know that we are in him: he who says he remains in him ought himself also to walk just like he walked. (1 John 2:4-6, WEB)
God wants us to love His truth, not just know about it. Loving the truth in His word is part of loving Him, for His scripture is a revelation of who He is, what He wants, and how He’s working. We have to love all of God, not just the parts we’re comfortable with. And that includes loving His truth.
I’ll admit, there are parts of the Bible I wrestle with. I’m not sure what some passages mean or why God gave some of the commands He did. But I love Him and I trust Him and when something doesn’t make sense to me I assume it’s because I don’t understand it yet, not that God’s wrong. It’s when we start thinking that we know better than God and presumptuously deciding we like our own “truths” better than His that we get into trouble.
For if we sin willfully after we have received the knowledge of the truth, there remains no more a sacrifice for sins, but a certain fearful expectation of judgment, and a fierceness of fire which will devour the adversaries. (Heb. 10:26-27, WEB)
When we really know God’s truth and then decide to hate or reject it, we’re making ourselves adversaries to God. Hebrews goes on to say someone who does this has “trodden under foot the Son of God, and has counted the blood of the covenant with which he was sanctified an unholy thing, and has insulted the Spirit of grace” (Heb. 10:29, WEB). God does not hold a threat to take away your salvation over you to keep you in line. His grace is free and He longs to forgive and renew us and keep us moving toward the kingdom. But we can choose to reject His truth, and because He gives us free will He lets us walk away from Him if that’s what we decide.
Choosing Relationship With God
While writing this post, I received an email from Bible Gateway titled “Only 47% of Born Again Christians Believe Absolute Moral Truth Is Found In The Bible” (I suspect this could be linked to another statistic found in the linked article: that only 43% actually read their Bibles.) We’re now living in a world where people who identify as Christian don’t always believe truth exists, much less know and love God’s truth. They are like those that have “a form of godliness” but deny its power and are “ever learning and never able to come to the knowledge of the truth” (2 Tim. 3:5, 7, KJV).
God doesn’t hold people accountable for things they don’t know. But you also don’t develop a relationship with someone if you don’t get to know what matters to Them. If we’re serious about having a relationship with God and becoming part of His family, we need to pursue knowledge of His truth and learn to love every aspect of God, including His revealed truth. We need to care about what He cares about so much that it changes out lives.