53. SEARCH FOR TRUTH

LOVE OF TRUTH is a noble and godly trait. It is one mark of a true Christian. Yet there are two dangers even here.

One is a disregard for truth known, or an indifference to truth still unlearned. The popular habit of designating between “essential” and “non-essential” commands of God well illustrates this fault. God does not have any “non-essential” commands. If He took the trouble to make a command known, man had better find the interest to learn it and the time to do it. That does not mean that every command in Scripture is intended for man today. Noah was to build an ark, Abraham to offer his son, Hosea to marry a harlot — and we are to do none of these things. This is not such a problem with us, however, as disregard for truth that does apply. Men do not usually say, “that doesn’t apply to me,” but they do frequently object, “is that really necessary?”

The other possible error involves a misunderstanding of the nature and value of truth. Before someone accuses me of contradicting the first point, let me explain what I mean.

Truth has value, not merely because it is true, but because of the particular truth involved. If this were not so, the truth that Nixon defeated Humphrey and Wallace in the 1968 presidential election would be as important as the truth that Jesus Christ rose from the dead. Both are true statements, but not of equal importance. It is the content of truth which makes it important.

For this reason, not even all spiritual truths have the same relative importance. Each must be seen in the light of the great truth that man is saved by the grace of God and the merit of Jesus Christ and not by his own intellectual progress or depth of understanding. All truth is important in relation to this great truth. Arranged under it, all truth finds its proper place.

Salvation by grace means that no one has an advantage because of his education, understanding or mental abilities. The Christian is responsible to God, not to know all truth, but to seek it, and to accept it when he finds it. This leaves no room for spiritual laziness or indifference.

Jesus IS truth (John 14:6), and the person who is right about Him may possibly be wrong about a number of other things and still be saved. But no one can be wrong about Him and be saved, regardless of his understanding of truth otherwise. Salvation is “in Christ.” God was “in Christ” reconciling the world to Himself. All spiritual blessings are “in Christ.” There is no condemnation to those who are “in Christ Jesus.” In New Testament days, men were taught to confess their faith by being baptized “into Christ” (Galatians 3:26,27). When they did this, they became heir to all the blessings which are “in Him.”

They were then obligated to seek for truth, and to accept it when they found it. Truth learned could never become a whip for lashing less informed brethren, or a soapbox for proclaiming one’s own righteousness. Some today have gone from one extreme to the other and a few have remained at both. Let us search for truth — honestly, willingly, and humbly. But let us remember as we find it that it is bigger than any of us