By Larry Sitz Kedron Church of Christ

Our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ told the Jews who believed on Him in John 8:31-32, If ye continue in my word, then are ye my disciples indeed, and ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free. For the truth to make us free, first we must know what the truth is. On the last night of his life, Jesus prayed, "Sanctify them in truth, thy word is truth" (John 17:17) James tells us that God has begotten us with the word of truth (James 1:18). So it is God's word that gives life, and that life is only possible through His truth. This being true, then it stands to reason that we must know the truth to be set free.

How can we know what is really the truth? Our Lord tells us, "I am the way, the truth, the life" (John 14:6). At His departure from this earth Jesus promised the spirit of truth, to guide the apostles into all truth (John 16:13). Today, with the bible, we have all truth right at our finger tips, therefor we must learn, believe, and follow it. We often hear it said that no one can be sure there is a right way, but we can be sure. We are commanded to study the word of truth (II Tim. 2:15) and to search the scriptures (John 5:39). There is no way to secure the promised eternal blessings of God without learning the truth revealed in the word of God.

Paul declares that the gospel is the power of God unto salvation "to everyone who believes" (Rom. 1:16). Those who believe the truth are chosen by God for salvation through sanctification of the spirit (II Thess. 2:13). Even after we learn and know the truth, we must accept that truth. The Word of God has no power to save one who does not accept it. It is not enough to know what the Scriptures say, we must accept that truth and act upon it. When Jesus told the apostles to go and preach the gospel to every creature, He promised, "He that believes and is baptized shall be saved, but he that does not believe shall be condemned" (Mark 16:16).

Many try to water down the truth, change the truth, or find a way around the truth. We must not add to or take from God's truth, lest we risk having our part taken out of the book of life (Rev. 22:19). There is no getting around the truth, we must accept the truth as God Almighty presented it and act upon it. The apostle Paul wrote, "Because they received not the love of the truth, that they might be saved. And for this cause God sent them a working of error that they should believe a lie, that they all might be judged who believe not the truth, but had pleasure in unrighteousness (II Thes. 2:10-12). The difference between accepting God's truth and accepting error is the difference between heaven and hell, for we must live by every word that proceeds out of the mouth of God (Matt. 4:4).

When one has learned what the truth is, accepted that truth, then one must commit to what the truth demands. In Luke 4:46 Jesus asked, "And why call ye me Lord, Lord, and do not the things which I say?" The conclusion of the whole matter can be summed up with what Jesus tells us in Matt. 7:21-23. "Not everyone that says to me Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven, but he that does the will of my Father which is in heaven. Many will say unto me on that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? And in thy name cast out devils? And in thy name done many wonderful works? And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you, depart from me, ye that work iniquity. If we choose to listen to and follow false teachers, rather than God's commandments, so plainly presented in the truth of His Holy Word, we risk disaster to our soul for all eternity.