Wednesday, March 9, 2016

Holding to the Truth - Martin Wiles

Instead, we will hold to the truth in love, becoming more and more in every way like Christ. Ephesians 4:15 NLT

He was a hell fire and brimstone preacher who held to the truth regardless. 

My dad was a preacher for 40 some odd years. I remember him being of the fundamentalist bent, but I forgot just how much until I recently discovered the only recorded sermon of his I have. He was a young man at the time, in his late 30’s. His voice undulated with passion. He preached the “unadulterated” gospel with zeal. He didn’t mince words in order to be politically correct; he simply preached what the Bible said. If the Bible called something sin, he did too—regardless of what anyone else thought. 

Paul instructs believers to hold to the truth, but to do so in love. As early believers took the gospel into the world, they encountered pagan lies. Confronting them meant speaking the truth, but getting the people to listen required speaking it in love. 

The truth isn’t always pretty. It can cut me to the quick and raise the hackles on my neck. When I’m violating it and someone calls my hand, my gut reaction is to get angry and snap back. Truth reminds me of how ugly I can be. 

The truth of the matter is I was born a sinner. I may have been a pretty baby, but I had an ugly nature. I didn’t arrive with a clean slate that was later adulterated by a sinful environment. All Satan had to do was capitalize on what was already present. 

The truth is also that I will live and die the same way unless I allow God to do something about it. He can change my nature but won’t unless I agree with Him that I’m a sinner. 

But the prettier truth is I can be changed. Through repentance of my sins and belief in Jesus Christ as my Savior, I can exchange my ugly nature for a more handsome one. This new nature won’t take away my struggle to be obedient—in fact, it will intensify it. But now God has something to work with. He can bring me into a state of obedience to His commands. A state I could never enter before. 

Have you accepted the cold hard truth about your nature? 

Prayer: Father, may we never shy away from the truth but speak it boldly to a world that needs to hear. 

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