The power of truth is formidable. The demise of falsehood is sure, absolutely. The certain law of sowing and reaping always produces a harvest, as Americans and the world have recently learned from our President, who looked us square in the eye of national TV and said, "I did not. . . ," when in truth, he did. Did you ever tell a lie, and think you got away with it, only to discover long later that a similar damaging lie was told about you? Did you ever steal something, only to discover later that others stole from you? From all of life's experiences there emerges a surprising lesson we can learn today. That lesson is that we can in fact do "nothing against the truth but for the truth."
by Jerry Gentry
"Now I pray to God that ye do no evil; not that we should appear approved, but that ye should do that which is honest, though we be as reprobates. For we can do nothing against the truth, but for the truth" (2Cor. 13:7-8).
Look back on your life and think about the things you have done, and how you have lived?
Consider your upbringing? Did you grow up in a converted home, where father and mother were genuine born again Christians, who read the Bible to you daily, who prayed with you, and who taught you to live by Biblical principles? Some few can say, yes, I grew up in such a family. Others of us grew up amidst religiosity, but with little living faith. Still others grew up where the Bible was altogether absent.
Take this proposition one further step. Did you grow up in a family where father and mother did all the above, and even more. As you grew up, did they speak the truth constantly in your ears and eventually lead you into a personal faith walk with Jesus Christ? Did they eventually lead you into personal salvation, where you came to know by faith that if you died at any moment, you would go and be with the Lord? Few Christians today had such an upbringing.
Few of us can say yes, my parents not only took me to church, read the Bible to me, prayed with me, and disciplined me; but they went that extra mile of leading me to faith and personal salvation. Few of us can say that our parents helped us look eternity squarely in the eye and deal with the greatest of all issues of life. Perhaps our parents taught us about the great God "which is able to destroy both soul and body in hell" (Matt. 10:28). In fact, many of us were taught that we had to be good, or we would go to the bad place. Such a lie is commonly taught in nominally Christian homes! Precious few of us were taught the truth, that is, that "there is none that doeth good, no, not one" (Ps. 14:3), "For my people is foolish, they have not known me; they are sottish children, and they have none understanding: they are wise to do evil, but to do good they have no knowledge" (Jer. 4:22).
Yes, the Bible teaches us the truth of our faithless, unsaved condition:"They are all gone out of the way, they are together become unprofitable; there is none that doeth good, no, not one" (Rom. 3:12). How could we possibly have grown up and been "good little boys and girls," when the truth is, "there is none that doeth good, no, not one."
How many parents or preachers will tell you the truth, as written by the prophet Isaiah: "But we are all as an unclean thing, and all our righteousnesses are as filthy rags; and we all do fade as a leaf; and our iniquities, like the wind, have taken us away" (Isa. 64:6).
Whole denominations deny the clear premise of truth taught by Jesus Christ: "For I say unto you, That except your righteousness shall exceed the righteousness of the scribes and Pharisees, ye shall in no case enter into the kingdom of heaven" (Matt. 5:20). These were the religious leaders, the preachers, the ecclesiastical authorities. Truth is, you can with the Pharisees keep the sabbath, pay your tithes, keep holydays meticulously, confess daily, do many good deeds, and still burn in hell forever.
"For we can do nothing against the truth, but for the truth."
You may personally see yourself as relatively good, in relation to someone else you know, who is a big hypocrite. Where does that place you, in relation to truth? Your relation to truth has no connection with any such hypocrite. God's sovereign will is never thwarted by human comparisons. "For we can do nothing against the truth, but for the truth."
We have all wandered through a maze of life experiences, many of which were clearly outside the will of God. Yet the Bible proclaims, "we can do nothing against the truth, but for the truth." God fearing parents have raised reprobate children. Yet they could "do nothing against the truth, but for the truth."
And unbelieving parents have sometimes brought forth believing children. Some have lived many years in the gutter of alcoholism and lasciviousness. Others have wandered through philosophy, through careerism, through religiosity, through hobbies and vain dreams and every imaginable thing, none of which can satisfy the soul's most longing need for truth. Friend, you can deny the truth today, but you will eventually eat those words. Why? Because you too "can do nothing against the truth, but for the truth."
No matter how far you stray from the truth, God takes your circumstances, even sometimes jerks your chain, for all whom "he hath chosen. . . in him before the foundation of the world" (Eph. 1:4). Yes, friend, you can live a lie for half a century or longer. Yet the truth will eventually find you out. Why? Because "we can do nothing against the truth, but for the truth." It's a true axiom. You can take it to the bank, both now and into the new millennium. And even when the banks fail, truth will never fail. Because it is a true saying: "we can do nothing against the truth, but for the truth."
"The preacher sought to find out acceptable words: and that which was written was upright" (Eccl. 12:10). And what kind of words did he find? "even words of truth" is what he found.
At the showdown of all history, the lamb of God appeared before the powerful magistrate named Pontius Pilate.
"Pilate saith unto him, What is truth?" (John 18:38). Consider the utter darkness Pilate suffered from, as he gazed upon the very Light of the world, the one who was in fact "the way, the truth, and the life" (John 14:6). What transpired that day ended in the death of "the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world" (Rev. 13:8), the very "Word [that was] was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth" (John 1:14).
Though whipped, beaten, pummeled, gouged, torn, and ultimately killed, He gave his life to pay the sin debt for all who believe. And yes, he rose from the dead, the victor over death's dark domain, Alleluia! No matter the bitter hatred and venomous animosity of that maddened crowd who crucified Jesus, they could "do nothing against the truth, but for the truth." In their worst rancor, bitterness, resentment, and gall, they could only advance the truth, never thwart it. They could "do nothing against the truth, but for the truth." They played into and advanced God's sovereign will as surely as everyone advances His will, no matter the circumstances.
Jesus tells us clearly: "And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free" (John 8:32).
Does truth alone really have such power? And if so, how is it that everyone is not seeking truth with all their heart and soul and mind and strength? Why has mankind as a whole been living in deception and falsehood and iniquity, if truth is so great. If truth is so absolute, then why are so many people living by the seat of their pants? Why do so many today, as the ancient Athenians, spend "their time in nothing else, but either to tell, or to hear some new thing" (Acts 17:21).
Even those who wander through life without a clue as to the purpose of their existence advance the truth, in one way or another. Little did the thief on the cross, who was crucified beside Jesus, think before that his life would end in such ignominy, dishonor and humiliation. Yet almost with his dying breath he believed on Jesus and heard the words, "Today shalt thou be with me in paradise" (Luke 23:43). Yes, even the thief on the cross could "do nothing against the truth, but for the truth." And how many murderers, and rapists and criminals on death row have read those words, believed, and found salvation.
"And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose" (Rom. 8:28). God will take your worst circumstances, and turn them for good, if you believe.
Reprobate man has "changed the truth of God into a lie, and worshiped and served the creature more than the Creator, who is blessed for ever. Amen" (Rom. 1:25). Even so, in the eternal sovereign scheme of things, God will get glory from the worst of reprobate mankind. Thereby, He reveals Himself. "For the invisible things of him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even his eternal power and Godhead; so that they are without excuse" (Rom. 1:20).
Within the church which Jesus died for, that elect group of sojourners in this earth, God has shown a particular aspect of his sovereign will, that being the preservation of truth.
"But if I tarry long, that thou mayest know how thou oughtest to behave thyself in the house of God, which is the church of the living God, the pillar and ground of the truth" (1Tim. 3:15). It is within that body of believers called the church of God that we find "the pillar and ground of the truth," like it or not. God does not exercise his sovereign will for preservation of truth within any group or person or body outside the living church. Think about it carefully, before you follow some loose cannon into doctrines the living church has never held.
To that body of believers, the apostle John writes: "I have not written unto you because ye know not the truth, but because ye know it, and that no lie is of the truth" (1John 2:21).
That little flock of believers hold the truth precious, in contrast with the worldly unsaved who "travaileth with iniquity, and hath conceived mischief, and brought forth falsehood" (Ps. 7:14). All who follow the deceiver depend upon falsehood to shore up their views. The Bible identifies those "whose mouth speaketh vanity, and their right hand is a right hand of falsehood" (Ps. 144:8). Against such, the Psalmist prayed, "Rid me, and deliver me from the hand of strange children, whose mouth speaketh vanity, and their right hand is a right hand of falsehood" (Ps. 144:11). He further confessed: "Through thy precepts I get understanding: therefore I hate every false way" (Ps. 119:104).
The prophet Isaiah speaks boldly against such purveyors of wickedness: "Against whom do ye sport yourselves? against whom make ye a wide mouth, and draw out the tongue? are ye not children of transgression, a seed of falsehood" (Isa. 57:4)?
He continues: "In transgressing and lying against the LORD, and departing away from our God, speaking oppression and revolt, conceiving and uttering from the heart words of falsehood" (Isa. 59:13).
Which side of God's will are you marked out for? The saved or the unsaved, the righteous or the wicked, the true or the false? Only God and you know for sure your personal condition.
Can you say with the Psalmist, "Therefore I esteem all thy precepts concerning all things to be right; and I hate every false way" (Ps. 119:128)? Do you personally "esteem all thy precepts concerning all things to be right; and. . . hate every false way?" Then you can face eternity head on. You have gotten your heart right with God. You have diligently sought the forgiveness of all whom you have wronged. And you have found that all of God's creatures remain steadfastly within His sovereign will, and under His control, because for good and for bad, for life or death, for righteousness or reprobation or any circumstance imaginable, you "can do nothing against the truth, but for the truth."