What Is Truth?

Never in the history of Christianity has it been more necessary for the true children of God to know how to distinguish truth from error than in these perilous days. The methods of the enemy are far more subtle now than ever before. Even the very elect of God are in great danger unless they walk very humbly and give the Word and Spirit their proper place. In the sphere of the material and commercial, there are certain units of measure and value which make it comparatively easy to detect fraud. In linear measurement we have the yardstick; in weight we have the pound and in currency the dollar. But the moment we leave the lower realm and ascend even one degree into the sphere of the ethical, confusion begins and intensifies as we go higher.

In the Bible, however, God, in love and mercy, has given men a measurement for everything. The Golden Rule, for example, is both just and beneficent as a unit of ethical and religious values. But the real, infallible standard is given in God’s Word in the cross of Christ—not the wooden cross on which He was crucified, but His life and death and resurrection as an embodiment and revelation of the will of God as a God of love, of wisdom, of power and justice. Because the cross is a measure of these, it is necessarily a measure of everything in the universe. Whether it be in heaven above, in the earth beneath or in the underworld makes no difference. The cross is as truly a measure of human depravity as it is of God’s love and justice. Beyond a doubt this is the one standard by which all men, saved and unsaved, will be ultimately judged. This being so, Christians should glory in the cross. Galatians 6:14.

The world absolutely refuses this standard of measurement and, having no other, goes its way to perdition. Pilate asked the Son of Man the question: “What is truth?” The unspoken reply was the cross. The whole trouble with Christians in their failure to distinguish between truth and error is that they do not wish to use God’s standard of measurement and value beyond the boundary of worldly convenience and established ecclesiastical usage.

There are, however, multitudes of Christians who believe God’s Word is all He claims for it, but they are unable beyond a certain limited degree to apply it when face to face with the subtle working of evil spirits. For the benefit of these we ask permission to present a few propositions which will, if followed, greatly assist them in avoiding the snares and pitfalls that abound on every side today. Chief among these are Christian Science, spiritualism, Millennial Dawnism (Jehovah’s Witnesses), Theosophy, New Thought and Bahaism. Now the dangerous thing about these is that they all profess to accept the Bible but so pervert and distort its teaching as to make it a pathway to destruction. Here, Satan works and works successfully, only as an angel of light. Current theology, so far as it is influenced by the higher criticism and the spirit of the age, is quite as dangerous as any of the above and in the present article may be classed with them.

The Bible Affirms and They Deny:

I. That the whole human race was on probation in Adam and fell with him in his fall into death— temporal, spiritual and eternal. Romans 5:12-21. The important point to be noted is that in the process of generation, children do not merely inherit sin, depravity and death immediately from their parents but immediately from Adam. Romans 5:12. This truth is fundamental, and the man who lets it go, or even holds it indifferently, is already at the mercy of the devil. God’s Word affirms this, and there is no room for reason to speculate. The one thing to do is to believe, in the face of the most profound human ignorance and the most brilliant scholarship. This is wisdom and all else satanic folly. On this foundational fact God is building the new creation, and on its denial the devil has already built all the kingdoms of the world. Look at Theosophy and Bahaism in the light of this one fact. They reject it, but still the Bible affirms it; and the whole record of human history reaffirms the depravity of man. In the light of this fact, all these “-isms” are seen at one glance to be emanations from the Pit.

II. That Jesus Christ is the eternal Son of God and the Son of Man, having two natures in one person forever, and that He by His life, death and resurrection potentially redeemed and rescued the whole human race from its fallen condition and, thereby, founded the new creation and laid the basis for the coming, universal, theocratic kingdom. In Romans 5:18, the “all men” of the second part is coextensive with the “all men” of the first part. But while He potentially redeemed the whole human race, only those who actually believe on Him will benefit by the purchase. Indeed, it is this very fact of the universality of redemption that makes the sin of unbelief carry with it such fearful retributive condemnation. While the substitutionary work of Christ confers unspeakable blessing on the race in lifting the curse, it at the same time exposes a fearful danger—the danger of a far deeper curse because of rejected mercy. The fact that He tasted death for every man put every man under obligation to accept the offered redemption or expose himself to a judgment proportionate to the enormity of his sin as measured by the price paid—the sinless life of Christ given up to be a curse and to die on the cross.

III. The method of redemption is redemption by substitution, by vicarious suffering of an innocent victim. It is redemption by blood. It is by an atonement so infinitely meritorious that it puts away sin. It deals not only with the results of sin but with sin itself, that is, with the very principle of sin. He put away sin by the sacrifice of Himself. Hebrews 9:26. He who knew no sin was made sin for us. 2 Corinthians 5:21. Atonement by blood, by the substitution of one life for another, the innocent for the guilty, is the scarlet thread which runs from the third chapter of Genesis to the end of the New Testament. But this third proposition, so vitally related to the first and the second, is exactly what all these satanic systems ignore or repudiate, and that with scorn and contempt. It is quite common in some quarters to use the terms “redemption” and “atonement,” but when you look for the blood there is none. That which God affirms to be absolutely necessary they regard to be quite superfluous, and moreover, they do not hesitate to say that the very idea is repulsive. On the other hand, the divine Trinity, the angels and the choicest and most self-sacrificing souls that have ever walked this earth regard it as the one supreme mani-festation of the love of God for man. With absolute certainty, wherever the blood of atonement is absent, the devil is present, and that in the very choicest, the most plausible and charming humanitarianism which says, “Ye shall not surely die.” Yes, look for the blood. Look for the blood. Without shedding of blood there is no remission of sin. Hebrews 9:22.

IV. The fourth proposition is also foundational. We state it thus: The imperative demand on all who would enter the new creation, the kingdom, is “Ye must be born again.” John 3:7. Regeneration is the supernatural work of the Holy Spirit, the Third Person in the divine Trinity, whereby, on the condition of faith in the Lord Jesus Christ, He imparts the very life and the very nature of Christ to the believer by virtue of which he becomes a son of God and an heir of eternal glory. The underlying assumption of the prior “–isms” is that every man, regardless of creed or nationality, has in him a divine principle by virtue of which he is a son of God. On the contrary, Jesus Christ makes it unmistakably clear that every man is by nature a child of the devil and that this condition of life may coexist with a high profession of religion. He said to the Jewish leaders, “Ye are of your father the devil, and the lusts of your father ye will do.”

V. The Bible affirms that the devil is no myth but a veritable person possessed of marvelous wisdom and almost boundless resources and that he has at his disposal millions of inferior spirits through whom he controls and governs the present world system in the interests of organized lawlessness. The above systems, including the higher criticism, refuse to believe a word of this and, in doing so, put themselves at his disposal to work out his iniquitous designs against God and His people. Satan has power not only to inject his thoughts into the mind of man and also nourish and develop the same by suitable food (falsehood), but he is able, under certain circumstances, to enter personally or representatively into men and women and control their whole activity spiritually, psychically and physically and in such a manner as to leave them quite satisfied that they are acting in perfect freedom while in reality they are his slaves and tools.

VI. The Bible affirms that hell is a reality, a place as well as a condition. They all deny this awful fact. Satan is obliged, by his very character, to work in the darkness. “When he speaketh a lie, he speaketh of his own: for he is a liar, and the father of it.” John 8:44. It is worthy of the most serious consideration that wherever the blood of atonement is ignored or denied, a personal devil and a literal hell are also ignored or denied. Take for illustration, not simply the literature of the above systems, but search carefully the weekly publications of almost any of the big denominations representing current Christianity.

VII. The Bible affirms that the progress of the human race is downward. They affirm that it is upward. In the great image seen in vision by the king of Babylon (Daniel 2), the order of the metallic elements is thus: gold, silver, brass, iron and iron mixed with clay. The world is now in the fifth stage. This is quite as incredible and even inconceivable to modern theology as to modern science. “The wisdom of this world is foolishness with God.” 1 Corinthians 3:19. They have no unit of measurement for anything higher than dollars and cents, pounds and yardsticks. Above this, the world’s thought is a bedlam of human opinion and ceaseless contention. Who is reckless enough to challenge the assertion?

VIII. The Bible affirms that the world-system, considered as a whole, is approaching its doom, and that it is going down under the wrath of God in the most fearful judgment ever recorded in the history of the race. Matthew 24:21; Revelation 16, 19. They deny this and affirm that the outlook for the race never was so bright as today. This is the devil’s gospel of optimism and delusion. In the last ten years, thousands upon thousands of Christians have been caught in these and other snares of the enemy. But there is no need for it. No true child of God need be deceived.

IX. We must add one more proposition of boundless significance, namely, that the world’s hope and the hope of the church centers wholly in the second coming of the Lord Jesus Christ. They deny this also. Inasmuch as Millennial Dawnism denies the true divinity of Christ and, therefore, denies the true doctrine of atonement by blood, the whole system is a delusion. There is some truth in Russel’s writings, but the leaven of error nullifies it.

Finally, let it never be forgotten that the mere mental possession of the above facts will help no man. They must be received into the heart and practiced in the life.

— Written by S. S. Craig and reproduced from the April 1913 issue of Watchword and Truth