11/02/T – Faith in the Truth

Daniel 9:1-27; 1 John 2:18-29; Psalms 119:169-175; Proverbs 26:27

NT: “But you have an anointing from the Holy One, and all of you know the truth. I have not written to you because you don’t know the truth, but because you do know it, and because no lie comes from the truth. Who is the liar, if not the one who denies that Jesus is the Christ? This one is the antichrist: the one who denies the Father and the Son. No one who denies the Son has the Father; he who confesses the Son has the Father as well. What you have heard from the beginning is to remain in you. If what you have heard from the beginning remains in you, then you will remain in the Son and in the Father. And this is the promise that he himself made to us: eternal life. I have written these things to you concerning those who are trying to deceive you. As for you, the anointing you received from him remains in you, and you don’t need anyone to teach you. Instead, his anointing teaches you about all things and is true and is not a lie; just as it has taught you, remain in him. So now, little children, remain in him so that when he appears we may have confidence and not be ashamed before him at his coming. If you know that he is righteous, you know this as well: Everyone who does what is right has been born of him.” (‭‭1 John‬ ‭2:20-29‬ ‭CSB)

There is a notion that exists and is encouraged in contemporary culture that all things are possible if you just believe strongly enough – as if it is the strength and sincerity of your belief that makes things possible. “If you just believe in yourself, you can do it,” is a phrase that is often repeated. However good that phrase may make someone feel, it is not true. As much as I loved running when I was younger, I couldn’t believe myself into becoming an elite Olympic caliber athlete. Belief isn’t the thing that makes things so. Believing strongly in a lie does not make it true. It is the believing in truth that has power to make things so.

Creeping into the church of John’s day were “teachers” that believed very sincerely in what they were teaching – but what they were teaching was not true. Someone’s sincere and passionate belief can be very compelling, but we must be people that, despite someone’s sincerity and passion, are only willing to believe and place faith in the truth. John’s readers had heard the gospel and had responded to the gospel, placing their faith in the truth of who Jesus was and what He had done. Faith in the truth had set them free from sin and opened their lives to the anointing of Christ through the Holy Spirit. But “teachers” were trying to lure them away from the truth that they knew into a lie that denied who Christ was and what He accomplished.

John was present, and actually recorded the moment when Jesus told His disciples that He would send the Holy Spirit… and when the Holy Spirit came, He would teach them all things and lead them into all truth. When John wrote that his readers didn’t need anyone to teach them, he didn’t mean that there wasn’t a need for teachers to explain truth to them. He meant that they didn’t need anyone to teach them new “truth” – especially “truth” that denied the Father and the Son. As believers in Christ who are filled with the Holy Spirit, we have the word of God (which is truth) and the Holy Spirit (who will guide us into all truth). If we know and understand the word of God (with the Holy Spirit’s help), we will know the truth. If we listen to the voice of the Holy Spirit, He will give us discernment to know if something we are hearing is truth or a lie. If it does not reconcile with the word of God, and if the Holy Spirit does not bear witness to it, then it should not be something that we accept as spiritual truth. By knowing the word of God and listening to the Holy Spirit, we can avoid being led astray by heretical teachings and the antichrist spirit, and remain firmly rooted through faith in the truth of the gospel of Christ.

Psalms: “Let my cry reach you, Lord; give me understanding according to your word. Let my plea reach you; rescue me according to your promise. My lips pour out praise, for you teach me your statutes. My tongue sings about your promise, for all your commands are righteous. May your hand be ready to help me, for I have chosen your precepts. I long for your salvation, Lord, and your instruction is my delight. Let me live, and I will praise you; may your judgments help me. I wander like a lost sheep; seek your servant, for I do not forget your commands.” (‭‭Psalms‬ ‭119:169-176‬ ‭CSB)

In the psalmist’s day, Israel was surrounded by nations that worshipped pagan gods. Throughout Israel’s history, the worship of pagan gods made its way into the people of God. People would neglect and reject the word, will and ways of the Invisible God for man-made idols that seemed real because they could be seen and touched. In our day, there are plenty of “experts” that will give you “truth” that seems reasonable and may even appear more “real” than the word, will and ways of God – but in the end will lead to death. Just like the psalmist, we can cry out to the Lord and say, “give me understanding according to Your word… teach me Your statutes… help me with Your judgements,” and the Lord will hear our prayer and answer. In fact, Jesus sent us His Holy Spirit to do just that. If we delight in the word, will and ways of the Lord and listen to the leading and teaching of the Holy Spirit, we will be rescued from deception and saved from believing in a lie. We won’t be left to wander around like a lost sheep, but will be led on the path to light and life.

Prayer: Lord, I thank You for the truth that is found in Your word. I thank You that You are truth, and that there is no falsehood or deceit found in You. I can place my faith on You in confidence knowing that the object of my faith is true in every way. Help me to be able to distinguish truth from falsehood and deception through the work of the Holy Spirit and a love for and commitment to Your word. Keep me from every false way as I keep my faith in You. In Jesus’ name I pray, Amen.

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