Studying for the Truth
Updated: Jan 24, 2020
This weeks article on Truth comes from Logan Hagoort from Covenant Presbyterian Church in Manurewa.
You're in your favourite coffee shop with a friend, discussing some profound truth when your friend disagrees with your view on the subject. You have a rigorous discussion about it, both turning to certain texts and making truth claims. One claims Calvin said something like...another says Augustine said...one of you retorts with the well worn, "but my pastor said"..." but the Westminster Confession says"...so the discussion continues. Yet no one at any point stops to ask whether any of the claims made are true. Did Calvin say that? Did the Westminster Divines mean that? Is that what my Pastor's point was?
Very often we throw truth claims at people with fervour, but how often do we stop and consider whether those truth claims are true or not?
Opinion can be a dangerous thing.
When people accept opinion as truth without studying to see if it is true we are lead into falsehood. Yet God is called the "God of Truth" in Isaiah 65:16. Truth matters. It is not a matter of being right, it is a matter of being like our Father in Heaven. Our Father in Heaven is true, therefore, as his children, we must strive to be true.
We must pursue truth with all our efforts. Notice, again, that I did not say "rightness", we do not attempt to ensure we are right and others wrong, rather we pursue the truth. God is the God of Truth, therefore we long for the truth that God is of. But there is a problem with this isn't there?
Truth is hard to come by.
In an era filled with fake news, post-modernity, and relativism, where girls can identify as boys and men can identify as children, where distinctive categories no longer exist how does one even begin to search for truth, let alone pursue it? I would like to suggest three requirements to start searching for the truth.
1) Truth requires a True Motive
If you are going to pursue truth you must do it with the right motive. The pursual of truth must come from a desire to know God. If God is the God of truth, then ultimately the desire for truth, is the desire to know God and what he has revealed.
This means we must give up our desires for rightness. I know that being right feels satisfying, but that comes from pride, not a desire to know the truth. To search for truth is to embrace being wrong.
As we fallible creatures come to search for God's truth, we quickly come to realise that we are lacking in our understanding.
2) Truth requires a True Commitment
Dr Sinclair Ferguson writes, "While man has never had so much knowledge about the world as he possesses today, perhaps he has never had so little knowledge of God. That is why our times are marked by a singular lack of understanding, appreciation, and genuine insight into the need of the hour." (S. B. Ferguson, "A Heart for God", P. 2) This sort of understanding, appreciation, and genuine insight only comes through a solid commitment to the truth of God.
This does not happen by osmosis, or naturally. It comes by being a student. A student of God through his Word and his creation.
This type of truth commitment does not come easily but comes with labour. We must labour for the truth!
3) Truth requires a Humble Heart
To recognise one's need for truth and commit oneself to it requires a humble heart. Pride leads away from truth; it always has. Adam and Eve were led to believe a lie instead of truth because of their prideful desire to be like God. When we have pride we will reject the search for truth to be seen as right or to obtain the praise of men.
But when we humble ourselves before God and his truth we find the truth our hearts so long for.
The question is, will we be students of the truth? Will we study studiously to find the truth? When we hear comments will we study the Word to test the thoughts of men to see if claims are true? Or will we consider our opinion to be the highest value?
There is but one truth, and it is not our own, let us submit ourselves to it, no matter the cost!