By: Mark McCool
There are two eternal things that God has committed to the trust of the church: truth and love. Truth is eternal. Truth is unmovable, unalterable, and needs not to be defended. Truth only needs to be proclaimed and lived! Love is also eternal. Love is expendable, but never exhaustible. Love never fails in any test, nor withers with age.
Truth declares, “This is the way, walk ye in it.” Love replies, “I will.” Truth requires a standard. Love submits to it. Jesus told his disciples. “If ye love me, keep my commandments.” He who declared, “I am the way, the truth, and the life,” was revealing to them that true love requires commitment to a covenant, and commitment is expressed through a lifestyle. The marriage vows between a husband and a wife are a replica of the inseparable parties of truth and love. Marriage vows are a covenant. Fidelity to those vows can only exist by committal to them through love and truthfulness. This same principle of relationship is enjoyed by the church, for we are espoused to Christ.
We cannot fulfill the guidelines of God’s Word out of the motive of obligation alone. The true motive that causes our joy to be full in Christ is through the love for Him. We do not live and dress according to God’s
word because we ‘have to.’ We live holy because He is holy, and because we love Him we desire to identify with His likeness! This is the reason believers take on the name of Jesus in water baptism, and come forth to walk in Christlikeness (Acts 2:38; Romans 6:1-17).
The modern church world shouts, “We do not need rules and regulations! We only need love! Do away with the doctrinal standards and take down the wall. We will never win souls with doctrine. Love is the key!” Yes, love is the key. But, so-called love, without commitment, is mere infatuation! It has then become a lewd license to continue a sinful lifestyle without a continue a sinful lifestyle without consciousness of sin. Then truth’s question will be, “… and what are you winning the lost to?”
Truth becomes an elusive commodity if it is not sought after with sincere love. I Timothy 4:1,2 says, “Now the Spirit speaketh expressly, that in the latter times some shall depart from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits and doctrines of devils; speaking lies in hypocrisy, having their conscience seared with a hot iron.” There are some people who are “ever learning, and never able to come to the knowledge of the truth.” In II Timothy 3:7,8, Paul uses James and Jambres as examples of this, as they resisted the truth. He called them, “men of corrupt minds, reprobate concerning the faith.”
Paul expresses the urgency of these last days to Timothy, charging him to “preach the Word; be instant in season, out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort with all longsuffering and doctrine. For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears; and they shall turn away their ears from the truth, and shall be turned unto fables” (II Timothy 4:2-4).
In I Kings 22, we read the account of Ahab seeking guidance by the four hundred prophets who unanimously declared for him to go against Syria and to defeat them. Jehoshaphat, king of Judah, looked on this sham and asked, “is there not here a prophet of the Lord besides, that we might enquire of
him?” Then the prophet Micaiah was sent for. As Ahab scowled at the mention of that name, he said, “I hate him; for he doth not prophesy good concerning me, but evil.” When Micaiah arrived to answer Ahab’s inquiry, he also said, “Go, and prosper: for the Lord shall deliver it into the hand of the king.” At this Ahab asked, “How many times shall I adjure thee that thou tell me nothing but that which is true in the name of the Lord?” Then Micaiah told him of the disaster that awaited him in battle. In other words, Ahab had become so removed from what was truth that he had four hundred false prophets to tell him what he wanted to hear. He had no real love for truth.
Paul warned the church of this spirit which would deceive many, “because they received not the love of the truth, that they might be saved. And for this cause, God shall send them strong delusion, that they should believe a lie: That they all might be damned, who believed not the truth, but had pleasure in unrighteousness” (II Thessalonians 2:10b-12).
Let us hold fast in these last days to these inseparables. These two eternal strengths will keep us balanced in these shaky times and keep us focused on our soon coming eternal habitation.
(The above material appeared in the December 1992 issue of The Mississippi Torch.)
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