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Background Reading: Isaiah 59

 

So justice is driven back, and righteousness stands at a distance; truth has stumbled in the streets, honesty cannot enter.  Truth is nowhere to be found and whoever shuns evil becomes a prey.  Isaiah 59:14-15b

Is this the situation of our day in our culture, in the church, in our hearts and minds?  If it is, how is it to be overcome?  Is there redemption?  In these next four devotionals, we will consider truth, what conceptions of it are present in today and how we can redeem it.

Let’s consider four propositions.  First, Truth itself is propositional.  It must be if it is to be transmitted to another.  Even the personal character of biblical Truth, for example when Jesus says, “I am the Way, the Truth, and the Life,” is propositional.  The proposition being that Jesus is the Way, Truth and Life.  We cannot escape that.  Our contemporary culture, maybe more than any other, has tried, but it cannot.  Even if the culture bombards us with the idea that truth is within, that we find it when we follow our hearts or that we will never find it at all, the messages are propositional.  They are communications of propositional truth claims.  So, one might ask, what difference does this idea make?  This difference is the key to the redemptive process with regard to Truth as we will see when we consider I Corinthians 10:5.  This idea enables us to challenge the governing claims about truth.  It enables us to tear down the strongholds and to take every though captive to Christ, because every truth claim is subject to critique because no truth claim is wholly internal, even though the proposition might be that truth is wholly internal.

The second proposition is this: Truth, by its nature, is exclusive.  Every truth proposition precludes another proposition from being true.  For example, Chuck Colson has suggested that the governing philosophy of our day is summed-up in the careless term, “whatever.”  The term suggests that there is no absolute truth, that there are only preferences that have no significance than one’s choice of a blue rather than white shirt.  That inference however, is not the case, because as a philosophy, the relativism expressed as “whatever” propounds the exclusive truth claim that there is no absolute truth to be found.  One cannot hide from the exclusivity of truth claims.

The third proposition is this: Truth need not be lost in confrontation, but it can be lost in amalgamation.  While direct attack of true propositions is always a danger, the Scriptures represent, and history confirms, that the biggest danger may be a tendency to eclecticism, the practice of putting together various truth claims.  This was certainly the case in the day of Isaiah.  Truth had not stumbled in the streets among the people of God because it had lost in a direct confrontation with other false truth claims.  No, it fell because it was amalgamated with falsehood and was, therefore, no longer true.  Jude opens his letter by saying that it was his intention to write to his readers about salvation, but because of the error born by men who had secretly slipped in their midst, it was necessary to write to them to encourage them to “contend for the faith once for all delivered to the saints.”  Christian truth had become mixed with error.  The result was error not truth.

This inclination to amalgamation is an exceedingly strong tendency in modern culture.  From the spiritualism of the New Age movement to the secularism of political correctness, our culture bombards us with the message that the best is to have it all, something from and for everyone.  It’s a clarion call to amalgamate and it sounds so American, so Enlightened.  It is particularly tempting for lawyers who have been trained to be suspicious of any side having all the truth.  Isn’t it risky to put all your eggs in one basket?  Isn’t it better to take something from everyone?  It would be if we were its author and sustainer of truth.  But, we are not, and that leads to the last proposition.

Proposition number four, Biblical truth is God’s revealed Truth.  As such, it is free from the frailties of man.  It is sufficient, not lacking; it is eternal, not temporal; it is absolute, not limited.  It is, in short, True Truth, to use Francis Schaeffer’s phrase, because it is not like all of man’s proposed counterfeits.  Therefore, it and it alone serves as the standard by which every other true claim is tested.  Do you do that in your life?  Do you do more than affirm the truth of God’s Word, do you live it?  The people in Isaiah’s day did not.  And God said, “Truth has stumbled in the street.”  May that not be so with us.

Richard Bowser

 

– This article comes from AI’s devotional for lawyers titled, “What Does the Lord Require of You?”

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