Donald L. Norbie, Greeley, Colorado, USA [SEE PROFILE BELOW]
Recently, in discussing a scriptural matter with a y o u n g e r man, he heatedly stated, ‘You think you are right and others are wrong’. He was correct in believing that I thought I was right on this matter because of what the Bible teaches. But the implication was that truth is relative, a very common assumption in our culture. What is true for you may not be true for someone else; it is said especially in moral and spiritual realms.
Many would say, ‘You have no right to claim that Christianity has the truth. What about all of those sincere Hindus, Moslems and Buddhists? What they believe is true for them’. Many Christians are yielding ground on spiritual issues. Some have stopped evangelizing Roman Catholics, stating that they too believe in God. Some Lutherans now affirm that the Reformation was a mistake, and there are steps to establish fellowship between the two groups. This is a far cry from Martin Luther who called the Catholic Church ‘a whore’ and the Pope ‘the antichrist’. Luther believed strongly in salvation by grace through faith, not of works. He was willing to die for this truth.
At Jesus’ trial, like many sceptics today, Pilate asked Him, ‘What is truth?’, John 18. 38. Jesus had said to him, ‘I have come into the world, that I should bear witness to the truth’, John 18. 37, NKJ. Jesus claimed to be the Truth, John 14. 6, and He affirmed that God’s word was truth. ‘Sanctify them by Your truth. Your word is truth’, John 17. 17. In a world of shifting values we proclaim that there is truth, and that this is found in the word of God. There are many direct commands and teachings to guide the life of the believer. Paul claimed of his teachings that they were the commands of the Lord, 1 Cor. 14. 37. The apostles claimed to be models for believers to follow, ‘Be ye imitators (followers) of me just as I also am of Christ’, 1 Cor. 11. 1. The early churches, under the guidance of the apostles, are held up as models—‘you became examples’, 1 Thess. 1. 7.
The believer rejoices over the instruction of God’s word; it is God’s truth:
With my whole heart I have sought You:
Oh, let me not wander from Your commandments.
Your word I have hidden in my heart,
That I might not sin against You.
Blessed are You, O Lord.
Teach me Your statutes.
Psalm 119. 10-12, NKJ
Since Satan is the father of lies and is constantly attacking the truth of God, believers must stand fast. Jude writes, ‘I found it necessary to write to you exhorting you to contend earnestly for the faith which was once for all delivered to the saints’, Jude 3. The word ‘contend’ is the word used of the intense competition witnessed in the Roman arena. Jude would say, ‘Fight with all your might for the truth of God’. God’s honour is at stake, also the salvation of souls. Let us not be intimidated by unbelief.
How can we test error? Isaiah cries, ‘To the law and to the testimony! If they do not speak according to this word, it is because there is no light in them’, Isa. 8. 20. Like the Bereans, check what is heard by the word of God. Be faithful in proclaiming this truth to others. God told Jeremiah, ‘And he who has my word, let him speak my word faithfully’, Jer. 23. 28. In a world of darkness God’s word shines brightly, guiding men to God. Paul’s word to Timothy was, ‘Preach the word! Be ready in season and out of season. Convince, rebuke, exhort, with all longsuffering and teaching’, 2 Tim. 4. 2.
AUTHOR PROFILE: Donald Norbie is in fellowship with the assembly in Greeley, Colorado, and is a commended full-time worker. A regular contributor to Precious Seed and other assembly magazines his ministry is widely appeciated throughout N. America and the UK.