Truth?

by Mike Ratliff

2 καὶ ἐζήτουν οἱ ἀρχιερεῖς καὶ οἱ γραμματεῖς τὸ πῶς ἀνέλωσιν αὐτόν, ἐφοβοῦντο γὰρ τὸν λαόν. (Luke 22:2 NA27)

2And the Chief Priests and the Scribes were seeking how they might destroy him for they were afraid of the people. (Luke 22:2 a personal translation from the NA27 Greek text)

Even though it is not exactly new, we live in a day when the concept of truth is seen as something that is “relative.” I was listening to Dr. Al Mohler’s ‘The Briefing’ Podcast a couple of days ago in which he read part of an editorial from a major newspaper that was written to defend the intellectual concept of ‘Abortion on demand’ as being right if the mother considered it in her best interest to exercise her ‘right to choose.’ Her “rights’ outweighed those of the unborn baby she was carrying in her womb. On the other hand, the writer of the editorial, a woman, celebrated with her friends who had babies and wept with others who had miscarriages. What was the difference? It was the value placed by the parents and those around them on the “fetus” that gave it “rights” that demanded sacrifice on the part of the woman. If the woman felt like the pregnancy was a burden in any way then an abortion should be the next step. That was her “truth.” 

This is open rebellion against what is right and moral and is what Paul spoke of in Romans 1:18-32. We see the same thing with the homosexual rights movement, which seems to be overwhelming our society right now. Here is what Paul said in that passage:

18 For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who by their unrighteousness suppress the truth. 19 For what can be known about God is plain to them, because God has shown it to them. 20 For his invisible attributes, namely, his eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly perceived, ever since the creation of the world, in the things that have been made. So they are without excuse. 21 For although they knew God, they did not honor him as God or give thanks to him, but they became futile in their thinking, and their foolish hearts were darkened. 22 Claiming to be wise, they became fools, 23and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images resembling mortal man and birds and animals and creeping things. 24 Therefore God gave them up in the lusts of their hearts to impurity, to the dishonoring of their bodies among themselves, 25 because they exchanged the truth about God for a lie and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed forever! Amen. 26 For this reason God gave them up to dishonorable passions. For their women exchanged natural relations for those that are contrary to nature; 27 and the men likewise gave up natural relations with women and were consumed with passion for one another, men committing shameless acts with men and receiving in themselves the due penalty for their error. 28 And since they did not see fit to acknowledge God, God gave them up to a debased mind to do what ought not to be done. 29 They were filled with all manner of unrighteousness, evil, covetousness, malice. They are full of envy, murder, strife, deceit, maliciousness. They are gossips, 30 slanderers, haters of God, insolent, haughty, boastful, inventors of evil, disobedient to parents, 31 foolish, faithless, heartless, ruthless. 32 Though they know God’s decree that those who practice such things deserve to die, they not only do them but give approval to those who practice them. (Romans 1:18-32 ESV)

What is key to that passage? Those under the wrath of God denied his truth and so he gave them over to their passions. There has always been unrighteousness in this fallen world. However, I can remember a time in this country (the U.S.) when it was illegal to have an abortion. It was illegal to be a practicing homosexual. Marriage was understood to be defined as God defined in his Word. Even the ungodly knew this and did not challenge it with success. Now, it seems that something evil has changed. What is it? Has God lifted his hand and begun his judgment? Why is the visible church so powerless to stand firm against these things?

The reason it has no voice to speak against such outrageous evil is that it has become like the world. Within so much of it the gospel has long ago lost its power because it has been diluted by the “Free Grace” nonsense, that is, that salvation is available without repentance. Also, so many in these churches see the gospel and salvation as something more along the lines as something sentimental or as personal act on one’s part that allows a so-called Christian to live any way they want without fear of judgment. That is not based on Biblical truth.

What is the cry when someone stands against this stuff? The accusations begin immediately that we are being unloving and judgmental. Those who say that obviously are ignorant of how Jesus handled those who stood against him and how the Apostles stood against those against them. We must obey God not men.

God’s Word makes it clear that there is truth and that truth is to be found only in God and his Word. In English we have the words “truth” and “true.” Both speak of what is real, what really is, what is factual. It is not opinion, it is not conjecture, and it is not hypothesis or theory. If something is true, it is absolutely reliable, totally secure. It cannot change because to do so would mean it is not true, not reliable.

The New Testament’s original language is Koine Greek. In our English Bibles the word “truth” translates a form of ἀλήθεια, “alētheia.” It means basically the same thing as our English word “truth.” Etymologically ἀλήθεια means “nonconcealment.” This means that is denotes what is seen, indicated, expressed, or disclosed, a thing as it really is, not as it is concealed or falsified. In other words, ἀλήθεια is the real state of affairs.

Carefully read the following passage I translated from Luke 21:37-22:6.

37 Ἦν δὲ τὰς ἡμέρας ἐν τῷ ἱερῷ διδάσκων, τὰς δὲ νύκτας ἐξερχόμενος ηὐλίζετο εἰς τὸ ὄρος τὸ καλούμενον Ἐλαιῶν· 38 καὶ πᾶς ὁ λαὸς ὤρθριζεν πρὸς αὐτὸν ἐν τῷ ἱερῷ ἀκούειν αὐτοῦ. 1 Ἤγγιζεν δὲ ἡ ἑορτὴ τῶν ἀζύμων ἡ λεγομένη πάσχα. 2 καὶ ἐζήτουν οἱ ἀρχιερεῖς καὶ οἱ γραμματεῖς τὸ πῶς ἀνέλωσιν αὐτόν, ἐφοβοῦντο γὰρ τὸν λαόν. 3 Εἰσῆλθεν δὲ σατανᾶς εἰς Ἰούδαν τὸν καλούμενον Ἰσκαριώτην, ὄντα ἐκ τοῦ ἀριθμοῦ τῶν δώδεκα· 4 καὶ ἀπελθὼν συνελάλησεν τοῖς ἀρχιερεῦσιν καὶ στρατηγοῖς τὸ πῶς αὐτοῖς παραδῷ αὐτόν. 5 καὶ ἐχάρησαν καὶ συνέθεντο αὐτῷ ἀργύριον δοῦναι. 6 καὶ ἐξωμολόγησεν, καὶ ἐζήτει εὐκαιρίαν τοῦ παραδοῦναι αὐτὸν ἄτερ ὄχλου αὐτοῖς. (Luke 21:37–22:6 NA27)

37 Now during the day he was in the Temple teaching, but at evening he would go out and spend the night in the mountain that is called Olivet. 38 And all the people were getting up early to come to him in the Temple to hear him. 1 And the Feast of Unleavened Bread was coming near, which is called the Passover. 2And the Chief Priests and the Scribes were seeking how they might destroy him for they were afraid of the people.3 And Satan entered into Judas who was called Iscariot, belonging to the number of the twelve. 4 And having departed, he spoke with the Chief Priests and the Captains of the Temple how he might hand him over to them 5 and they rejoiced and they agreed to pay him money. 6 And he consented, and he was seeking an opportunity to betray him without a crowd with them. (Luke 21:37-22:6 a personal translation from the NA27 Greek text)

Who is doing the concealment? Who wants to do things behind the scenes? Who is in Temple everyday teaching the people telling the truth? Who is concerned about image? Who is concerned about what the people think and do? Our Lord went to the cross voluntarily and what he accomplished there was the atonement and he became our propititiation. His shed blood is what paid that price that enables all God draws to himself to be justified by grace through faith. Yes, all that is truth, but Satan did an evil work in taking over Judas Iscariot who betrayed our Lord. Yes, all that God used to accomplish his will, but Judas is culpable.

My brethren, do you see how those who want to hide the truth in their self-righteousness do not care about doing evil things like arresting Jesus in the middle of the night and condemning him to die in an illegal trial in which it is obvious to everyone that he is in no way guilty of anything?

This is what we see continually within the workings of the evil people in power right now in this country who are bound and determined to make the U.S. just like Western Europe, that is, morally reprehensible in the eyes of God. What is tragic though is the absolute lack of backbone the so-called Christian leadership in the country have in the face of it. Where is the outcry? Where is the moral outrage? Can you see it now my brethren? Has God silenced those so-called Christian leaders by making them pawns in the hands of these evil people by making them “buy into” the lie that it is unloving to offend anyone and condemn sin by calling it sin and calling for repentance?

Let us pray for God to have mercy on the true Church here by either sending us real leaders or by coming soon that we will be with him forever.

Soli Deo Gloria!

17 thoughts on “Truth?

  1. Praying for your country, Mike…(thank you for this post)
    …Praying for the ‘Church’ there that does not stand for the truth…
    Sad, because my own family members there,(my son and his family, my sister and hers) have fallen so far from ‘the old paths’
    and are now on the broad highway!
    But.. rejoicing that our God is above all..has permitted all this ..
    And will keep us, His own, till He takes us to be with Him!
    May He keep us FAT..(.faithful..available..teachable).

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  3. Mike,
    I went to the mall yesterday with my daughter and her friend. As we walked by all the stores, I couldn’t help but comment on the sexually saturated culture in which we live. Displays in the windows included women’s underclothing that was way too suggestive to be displayed in front of children; pictures as well of women displaying these garments that you would expect to find in a porn mag, not in a mall for all eyes of all ages to see. There were multitudes of people walking by, all unaffected by the images as being too suggestive for small children and even adolescents to view; no shock, no shame, no outcry.
    As we entered several different stores, the music was pumping over the sound system. The beat seemed to be the same in every store! I wondered, [not out loud], why do we need to have this music vibrating through us as we shop? There is little doubt, the mall stores are geared towards the young and those who are silly enough to think they can stay forever young by hideously dressing so.
    I saw multitudes of young people covered in tattoos, young black men wearing pants that purposely did not cover their back side, piercings, and girls dressed like prostitutes. I am not implying that tattoos and piercings are sinful, although I disagree with them; I am implying that the generation[s] to come are without a clue. The future for this world is not good…period. If the Lord tarries, the escalation of evil will destroy multitudes. The dress of young people reflects the mind of young people; there is no respect for decency and no understanding of what it means to look presentable.
    We ventured into a store that sells t-shirts, jewelry, and various other items that appeal to young people. I noticed right away the gothic atmosphere of this store; there was a variety of tees that were black, covered in skulls, or pentagrams, or images that were just scary. There was a tee that displayed an image of what was supposed to be Christ, riding on a t-rex, I still do not know what that was supposed to mean.

    This nation is rapidly descending into such darkness and evil, nothing seems to shame or shock. I too must ask, where is the backbone of Christian leadership to cry out against the evil in this country?

    A trend I see all too often in Christian blogging concerns using the world’s terminology when speaking about sin. I am offended by professing Christians who post on the sin of homosexuality and use words like ‘orientation’ and ‘same sex attraction’. Homosexuality is a SIN! an abomination to a Holy God. Land sakes! Let’s use biblical terminology when we speak about sin. A woman who claims to be Christian insists homosexuals can and do love in their relationships just like heterosexuals do; I wholeheartedly disagree. This perversion stems from a forbidden lust, lust which is selfish and self-seeking. How can such a heart know true love?

    Truth MUST be proclaimed, just as it is written. Thank you brother for your continued firm stance on that very truth…to God be the glory!!!

  4. As noted above, wicked people have always been wicked. But God has used the church, His moral law, and Christians to restrain evil – as in every unregenerate person, He mostly keeps from being as wicked as his nature would like. When Christians and the local churches fail to hold to and proclaim the Truth, when they begin to ape the culture rather than reproof it, they and culture slouch closer and closer to Sodom. It is not the job of the church to redeem the culture, but we are to influence brothers & sisters and lost friends and family to know and fear the Lord and keep the moral law which is written on every soul.

  5. Amen Mike!

    I’ve noticed here in the south there are many churches which I call “circus organizations”, who claim they love truth, but inside their buildings have all sort of entertaintment devices, like wolfes in clothes preachers, gyms, coffee shops, children’s games, etc, to keep them busy and away from the same truth they claim to preach.

    I have found that whenever I try to pass tracts to them they all claim to be christians. One tract that I have had to give up passing was “Are you a believer”(still a good tract), because almost everytime I gave one they would tell me, “Oh, yes, I am a believer, thank you!!” So now instead I give them “Repent or perish” tracts. They seem to be more efficient.

    The only problem is that it requires more boldness on my part, since it’s not a politically correct message to pass around at all. Basically it sounds more like an anonymous threat message from a big foreign guy with a clumsy accent.

    Anyways, please pray that I may get more bolndess. I need it badly. :)

  6. Sounds like you are describing a lot of the churches I am familiar with Joao. I do pray for boldness not only for you but for all of us who to bear Christ’s image.

  7. I am shocked at the lack of civility in public.

    I’m not very far from where the 6 year old boy is being held hostage that’s in the news – probably about 30 miles in the next county from me. Anyways, where I work this man comes in and we’re talking about it. The man doesn’t have any sense of propriety when it comes to what flows out his mouth though. He uses curse words as he’s describing the setting. I’m not sure why people don’t seem to care what flies out of their mouths even in public settings. There was a time when we held some kind of common decency and respect by watching what we said especially in public. But the holy has become profane and nothing is holy and held sacred anymore as people are being desensitized by the filth that spews from our TV’s, radios, etc.

    Truth is the new hate speech when it comes to morality. If it were a surgeon making a mistake then truth would NOT be relative and the surgeon would be sued. The surgeon could not say all is relative and my truth is what I believe and you have yours. If it were our bank not having the money in there we know we deposited, we’d quickly know all is not relative…. Only in Christianity do people think all is relative and truth is whatever “your” truth is.

    Are we in the days of Lot yet?

  8. Indeed Mike, thankfully the Lord has a few local churches that remained faithful. Thank you for your prayers! May we all grow bold like lions!

  9. Hi Mike,

    What Lyn described – inappropriate clothing on both males and females, s*x-saturated, goth/dark imagery, loud raucous music – sounds like what’s going on in many churches, let alone “worldly” places like the mall. No not just the “mega” churches, I’ve sadly seen it in what is considered a conservative, reform baptist church.

    When the church looks like the world… that’s a sad, sad place to be.

    Manfred nailed it too – we aren’t supposed to be redeeming the culture, we are here to call individual unsaved people to penitent faith, and to disciple and build up believers. Yes, moral law restrains evil – so it is necessary in any society that wants to have a semblance of peace and order – but it is powerless to convert the soul, excepting that it points us to our own inability to obey and thus our need to be saved by the blood of Jesus Christ. He IS the truth.

    Indeed, Lord have MERCY on Your children!!!

    Thanks Mike. :)

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  11. PS – Mike – your comment about the lack of leadership in the church – that was a keen observation.

    For my previous comment, please forgive me, if I came across as picking on a particular “denomination”. I guess I was trying to emphasize that I’ve seen even very good churches falling into compromise. I ache when I see these very solid gospel preaching congregations faltering.

    (And for clarification, that reform baptist church didn’t have bad music or racy sermons, nothing of that sort… but there sadly was immorality in the body, and inappropriate dress, especially amongst the youth.)

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