Biblical Truth (2): Truth we Owe (about God)

In my last post I noted that Paul’s first letter to Timothy had a major emphasis on truth. The biblical view of truth, as Paul reveals throughout this letter, is that truth is Authoritative, Exclusive, Objective, Knowable, and Revealed.

Biblical Truth (2): Truth we Owe (about God)

In this post I want to focus on:

The CONTENT of the Truth we Owe to the World

What is our responsibility to the world in this area of truth? The “whole world lies under the sway of the wicked one” (1 John 5:19) and the devil’s supreme weapon is deception. He is “a liar and the father of it” (John 8:44).

Deception is rampant in our world today and it will only increase exponentially in the final days before the Lord’s re-entry into our world. The Lord Jesus warned his disciples, “Take heed that no one deceives you. For many will come in My name, saying, ‘I am the Christ,’ and will deceive many . . . many false prophets will rise up and deceive many” (Matthew 24:4-5,11). Paul repeats this command, “Let no one deceive you by any means,” and predicts the arrival of the antichrist as accompanied by “power, signs, and lying wonders, and with all unrighteous deception among those who perish, because they did not receive the love of the truth” (2 Thessalonians 2:3,9,10). Many will be deceived, and their deception will lead to their condemnation. 

All deceit and confusion has its source in the devil; he has written the book on this topic. All other deceivers are merely his imitators. No form of media is under-utilised to spread error and falsehood. The internet is fully exploited as multiplied millions of its users are among those “whose minds the god of this age [i.e. the devil] has blinded” (2 Corinthians 4:4). He will stop at nothing to keep men in the dark.

What should we do about it? We can’t chase down and expose every deception but we can proclaim the truth. Truth, by the Spirit’s power, can cut through all deception and shine light into the darkest heart. But where do we start? All truth is important, but what truth is particularly so? The answer is in 1 Timothy 2. Paul exhorts Christians to prioritise prayer for all people, including all in authority. This prayer for all people is for their salvation. Prayer for people in authority recognises that their salvation could provide the necessary cultural milieu for the Gospel to prosper. We can pray confidently for everyone because God desires the salvation of everyone and has provided salvation for everyone by the death of His Son (vv.1-7).

However, Paul doesn’t only emphasise prayer in this passage. Having said that God desires that everyone “come to the knowledge of the truth” (v.4) he reveals that there is a message to be “testified in due time” (v.6). He was “appointed a preacher and an apostle . . . a teacher of the Gentiles in faith and truth” (v.7). Accompanying prayershould be the proclamation of Truth. Now, what should be proclaimed? The answer is Gospel Truth. This is Paul’s summary:

“God our Saviour . . . desires all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth. For there is one God and one Mediator between God and men, the Man Christ Jesus, who gave Himself a ransom for all, to be testified in due time” (vv.3-6). 

Four subjects form the core of the truth we owe to the world. I’ll name them below and consider the first of them in this article.

  1. The truth about God
  2. The truth about Man
  3. The truth about Christ
  4. The truth about the Cross 

The Truth about God

The first truth we’ll mention is that God Exists. “There is . . . God” (v.5). Atheism is the supreme deception. Deniers of God’s existence have become increasingly vocal in recent decades in the UK and USA. Those who identify as atheists are only a small percentage of western society, but their numbers have increased and they have been emboldened by a number of prominent celebrity-atheists promoting their dogma. 

Atheism is the supreme deception because it is the denial of ultimate reality and requires people to discard clear evidence for God’s existence. Paul refers to those who “suppress the truth in unrighteousness . . . For since the creation of the world [God’s] invisible attributes are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even His eternal power and Godhead, so that they are without excuse” (Romans 1:18,20). In creation God has deliberately “shown . . . to them” (v.19) abundant evidence for His existence.

We are to testify to God’s existence. We can point to Creation as one evidence of God being there. Whether we are believed or not is no reflection on our testimony because people deliberately suppress the truth. They hold it down, attempting to ensure that it never surfaces to challenge their ideas or to convict their conscience. As Francis Crick, the eminent biologist and discoverer of the double helix structure of DNA, taught, “Biologists must constantly keep in mind that what they see was not designed, but rather evolved.” In other words, biologists are not permitted to keep an open mind and see the fingerprints of design. They “must” close their mind to the possibility of design and a Designer. This is truth-suppression. However, we are obligated, as believers in Christ, to testify to the truth: God exists and atheism is a lie. 

Another truth is that God is One. “There is one God” (v.5). Contrary to the belief of many in the ancient world that there were many local deities linked with certain geographical locations or people groups, there is only one God with authority over, and interest in, all of humanity. Polytheism is another deception of the devil.

 Satan’s goal is to ensure that the true God does not receive the glory that is His due. To that end he not only encourages the denial of God’s existence but seeks to distract from the true God by presenting any amount of poor substitutes. Man, who finds it necessary to worship, has bowed before every conceivable aspect of God’s creation. He has worshipped the sun, moon, and stars; he has venerated birds, animals, and insects. Wood, stone and metal has been shaped by human hands into forms before which man has prostrated himself. Isaiah reveals man's folly:

 “They lavish gold out of the bag, and weigh silver on the scales; they hire a goldsmith, and he makes it a god; they prostrate themselves, yes, they worship. They bear it on the shoulder, they carry it and set it in its place, and it stands; from its place it shall not move. Though one cries out to it, yet it cannot answer nor save him out of his trouble” (Isaiah 46:6-7).

 We must testify to the truth: there is one God and polytheism is a lie. The true God has no rivals. All other “deities” are false gods, deceptions created by the father of lies. 

Another truth is that God is Involved. The one God who exists is “God our Saviour” (v.3). He is not a distant deity, unmoved by our circumstances and uninvolved in our lives. Deism, the belief in a supreme being who does not intervene in the universe, is far removed from the truth. 

One passage of scripture which reveals God’s intimate involvement in earth’s affairs is Exodus 3. Moses stood barefoot before a burning bush and heard the voice of God:

“He said ‘I am the God of your father - the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob.’ And Moses hid his face, for he was afraid to look upon God. And the LORD said: ‘I have surely seen the oppression of My people who are in Egypt, and have heard their cry because of their taskmasters, for I know their sorrows. So I have come down to deliver them . . .’” (Exodus 3:6-8).

God revealed to Moses that He saw, heard, and knew everything. Not only so but He was, at that very time, in process of intervening to deliver His people from captivity.

God is not merely the Creator who, having wound up the clock of the universe, has no other involvement. God is intimately involved in His creation and deeply interested in His creatures. He is a Saviour God having a plan of salvation, and His power can be experienced in the lives of individuals upon earth. Every Christian can speak of God as “our Saviour”. We must testify to the truth that God is Involved in this world and deism is a lie

Another truth, closely related to what we have mentioned is that God is Personal/Relational. Some eastern religions think of ultimate reality as a pervasive force in the universe connecting everything (Hinduism) or a transcendent truth which governs the universe and life (Buddhism). Others consider ‘God’ to be utterly free from association with other beings (Islam). Hinduism/Buddhism/Islamism all deny the essential personal/relational nature of God.

 God is shown to be Personal in his expression of His own desires and Relational because His desires include the salvation of all people and their reconciliation to Himself. He “will have all men to be saved” and has provided a Mediator to bring human beings back to Himself.

 God is essentially Personal/Relational because He is eternally three Persons in Relationship. This is why John writes that “God is love” (1 John 4:8,16). Eternally, the three Persons of the Trinity, have expressed, experienced, and enjoyed perfectly reciprocated mutual love. God is not merely a force - having no capacity for relationship; nor is He aloof - having no interest in relationship. He is Personal/Relational; and we have been created to enjoy a personal relationship with this Triune God. 

So, what is the Truth about God we owe to the world? The God revealed in the Bible exists as the only true God. He is deeply interested in, and intimately involved in, this world, and our individual lives. As a personal/relational God, He can have, and wants to have, a close personal connection with each one of us. Atheism, polytheism, deism, Hinduism, Buddhism, and Islamism, are among many falsehoods which have their source in the devil’s lies. They deviate from the authoritative, exclusive, objective truth God has revealed of Himself to the world. 

In our next post we will consider the Truth about Man that we owe to the world.