The Unchanging Standard of Truth

Bible Text

What is truth?” This is the question Pilate asked of Jesus when He was brought to him (John 18:38). Throughout the ages, people have searched for and inquired about the truth. Truth is that which is right, that which can be believed and accepted. The Bible helps define truth for us.

Jesus told His disciples, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life” (John 14:6). We see some irony in Pilate’s question. He asked what was truth while he had the one who was the embodiment of truth standing before him. Before this question, Jesus told Pilate, “For this I have come into the world, to testify to the truth. Everyone who is of the truth hears My voice” (John 18:37). Notice in each of these verses the singular nature of truth – “the truth.” There is only one truth, not different truths for different people, places, or times.

The word of God is truth. Jesus prayed to the Father, “Sanctify them in the truth; Your word is truth” (John 17:17). The psalmist wrote, “The sum of Your word is truth” (Psalm 119:160). God has given us “everything pertaining to life and godliness” (2 Peter 1:3). Regarding things that fall into this category, we can only go to Christ and His word to find the truth.

Anything that conflicts with truth is a lie (2 Thessalonians 2:10-11). Those who contradict God are liars (Romans 3:4). Anything contrary to the word of God is error (1 John 4:6). There is no gray area. When God’s word tells us something, that is the truth and must be believed.

The Unchanging Nature of Truth

Does truth change over time? Many believe that it does. One can look at the denominations of men to see this. Over the years, many of these churches have changed their stands on various issues, depending on public opinion. We have seen changes in teaching on divorce, homosexuality, drinking alcohol, and other issues. But we should not be interested in what many – even the majority – believe. We need to be interested in what the Bible teaches.

Remember how truth is defined in Scripture – Jesus and the word of God (John 14:6; 17:17). Jesus does not change. He is “the same yesterday and today and forever” (Hebrews 13:8). The word of God does not change; rather, it “endures forever” (1 Peter 1:25). We noticed the words of the psalmist: “The sum of Your word is truth.” The second part of that verse says, “And every one of Your righteous ordinances is everlasting” (Psalm 119:160). Truth does not change, whether it is on the subject of divorce, homosexuality, or anything else. We have no option but to accept the truth.

How Should We Value the Truth?

The wise man said, “Buy truth, and do not sell it, get wisdom and instruction and understanding” (Proverbs 23:23). We are advised to buy the truth because of the value of it. From truth we get wisdom and understanding, which are better than gold, silver, and jewels (Proverbs 3:13-15). If wisdom and understanding are of more value than these, then that which produces wisdom and understanding are more valuable as well.

As truth is defined in Scripture as Christ and the word of God, we should value truth just as we value these. Peter described Jesus and His blood as “precious” (1 Peter 2:6-7; 1:19). The psalmist said the word of God was “more desirable than gold, yes, than much fine gold; sweeter also than honey and the drippings of the honeycomb” (Psalm 19:10). We should value the truth more than anything we might find in the world.

How Should We Respond to the Truth?

Knowing the value we are to place on the truth, we must accept and believe it. Anything contrary to it is false and must be rejected. We need to accept the truth regardless of the consequences. We may have to admit being wrong or doing wrong in order to accept the truth. If we have done wrong, we must be willing to give up whatever sin is in our life, as some in Ephesus did when they burned their magic books (Acts 19:18-20). We may have to stand in opposition to those we love and respect (Matthew 10:34-37). Sometimes we will face persecution because we strive to follow the truth (2 Timothy 3:12). We must not sell the truth (Proverbs 23:23), but rather hold on to it and practice it no matter what the cost.

The Standard of Judgment

We have seen how we should respond to the truth. But why should we respond in this way? What is there to motivate us to actually respond appropriately? The fate of our eternal souls depend upon our response to the truth. Jesus said, “He who rejects Me and does not receive My sayings, has one who judges him; the word I spoke is what will judge him at the last day” (John 12:48).

There is no need to wonder what we need to do to be rewarded by God at the judgment. He has given us what we need to know. His truth will not change. We must accept it, believe it, conform our lives to it, and hold fast to it as long as we live on the earth. If we do this, we will be rewarded. If we do not, we will be punished. The choice is ours. We can either “receive the love of the truth so as to be saved,” or reject it and choose to “believe what is false” (2 Thessalonians 2:10-11).


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