Key Article by Peter Whitcombe
A number of times in recent years, Israel’s Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, has referred to the issues and the conflict that surrounds Israel and the Jewish people as a battle for truth; not a battle for land or for peace or for justice or for Jewish rights – but a battle for truth. I’m convinced that is an insightful and accurate understanding of the historic and current conflict in the Middle-East.
Further than that though, I suggest that this battle for truth is the over-arching point of contention in our world today, including in the Church. This battle for truth has been seen from the beginning of human history in the Garden of Eden and it will continue through until the end of this present age, but it is a battle that is intensifying in these last days.In all ways, it is a battle for truth between the God of Truth who has revealed Himself to us in His Word, which is truth (Psalm 119:160) and the god of this world, Satan, who is the father of lies and in whom there is no truth (John 8:44).
For most people today, it seems that truth is fluid, depending on what side of the fence you are on and depending upon who you are listening to. Rather than being absolute, truth to most people is relative to individual perspectives and circumstances. It is more important to have an opinion than it is to hold to truth. Being tolerant of divergent opinions and viewpoints and being all-inclusive are postulated as desirable attitudes whereas holding to biblical truth is seen as narrow-minded and judgmental. As Isaiah 49:14 & 15(a) states: “justice is turned back, and righteousness stands far away; for truth has stumbled in the street, and uprightness cannot enter. Yes, truth is lacking.”
God has chosen the Church to be the bastion and the arena of truth. Paul says in 1 Timothy 3:15 that “the church of the living God, (is) the pillar and ground of the truth.”
Jude verse 3 exhorts us to “earnestly contend for the faith, once for all, delivered to the Saints”, referring to God’s Word, the Scriptures, and the sound doctrine that is the revelation of God committed to us. We are to earnestly fight and to consistently contend for that faith, because it is the battle for truth and truth is one of the most powerful weapons God has set before His people.
How then can we contend for the faith once delivered? How can the Church in our nation stand as the pillar and ground of truth?
Firstly, we must hold firmly to and accept the entirety of God’s Word as His truth because there is a fierce battle waging over the supremacy, inerrancy and divine inspiration of Scripture. Paul writes in 2 Timothy 3:16 that “all Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness”. Psalm 119:160 states that “the sum of Your Word is truth, and every one of Your righteous rules endures forever.” The Bible is under incessant assault from the enemy, both within Christendom and without. Every attempt to devalue God’s Word must be rigorously opposed as part of contending for the faith. As soon as someone does not completely, entirely and unreservedly trust in God’s Word as truth, as the source of wisdom and of revelation, then they are on the slippery slope to deception. Either the Bible is true or it’s not – there’s no in-between. It cannot be partly true and left to mankind, in his limited wisdom and understanding, to determine which parts we will take as truth! If we do not hold to the truth of God’s Word in it’s entirety, then we are left to various opinions and viewpoints that open the way to all kinds of moral and spiritual error.
Secondly, we must hold to the deity of Christ and to the fact that salvation is only found in Him. Jesus says in John 14:6: “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me.” He says in Luke 10:22: “All things have been handed over to Me by My Father, and no one knows who the Son is except the Father, or who the Father is except the Son and anyone to whom the Son chooses to reveal Him.” Simon Peter says to Jesus in John 6:68: “Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life.” We must resist every attempt to devalue or to diminish the truth of Christ’s substitutionary death and atoning work on the cross. Salvation is by grace alone, through faith alone, in Christ alone.
Thirdly, God’s Word of Truth must take precedence over experiences and the truth of His Word must stand ahead of signs and wonders and miracles. Signs do not validate ministries. Only truth does. The intent does not sanctify the source! Experiences and practices founded in eastern mysticism, ancient catholic mysticism and new age that are finding their way into the Church are not “made right” because the stated intention behind adopting these experiences and practices is to have greater intimacy with God.
Fourthly, we must have a love for the truth of God’s Word and be earnestly seeking to hold to sound doctrine. Paul warns us in 2 Thessalonians 2:9–11 that “the coming of the lawless one is by the activity of Satan with all power and false signs and wonders, and with all wicked deception for those who are perishing, because they refused to love the truth and so be saved.” God’s judgment on those who refuse to love the truth is that He will “send them a strong delusion, so that they may believe what is false.” 2 Timothy 4:3-4 warns us of these days stating that “the time is coming when people will not endure sound teaching, but having itching ears they will accumulate for themselves teachers to suit their own passions, and will turn away from listening to the truth and wander off into myths.” Walking in the truth and in sound doctrine must be our sincere intention.
Lastly, we must stand rightly before God with regards to Israel. God made an everlasting covenant with Abram and His descendants in Genesis 12:3 declaring: “I will bless those who bless you, and him who dishonours you I will curse, and in you all the families of the earth shall be blessed.” The nation and the Church that dishonours Israel is subject to the curse of God. Ruth is the type of the end-time gentile Church who stands with Israel. The name Ruth means “friend”. Orpah is the type of the end-time gentile Church who turns her back on Israel and ultimately turns her back on God to go after foreign gods. The name Orpah means to turn the back of the neck. To walk in truth, we cannot “turn the back of the neck” on Israel.
“Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved, a worker who has no need to be ashamed, rightly handling the word of truth.” (2 Timothy 3:16). Find a local Church that is Christ-centred and that adheres to God’s Word as the truth and that stands as a friend of Israel. Ensure that you are a lover of truth. The Lord bless you.