The Cost of Truth
Christianity is a religion that is based upon the truth of God as revealed in the Holy Scriptures. Moreover, our heavenly Father desires that we worship Him correctly. As it is written,
“God is a Spirit: and they that worship him must worship him in spirit and in truth.”
To that end we have also been given a comforter to dwell in us that helps us know God’s truth. As it is written,
“Even the Spirit of truth; whom the world cannot receive, because it seeth him not, neither knoweth him: but ye know him; for he dwelleth with you, and shall be in you.”
And finally, Jesus said He is,
“The Way, the Truth, and the Life…”
We all realize that truth is important both to God and therefore to ourselves as believers. Truth is not optional but essential.
What I wish to speak about today is the “cost” of truth. Christianity is full of paradoxes that seem at odds with one another. For instance,
“For whosoever will save his life shall lose it; but whosoever shall lose his life for my sake and the gospel’s, the same shall save it.
Just like in order to gain our lives we must first loose our lives it is also correct that although truth is freely given it costs us everything. What do I mean when I say this? Here is a fundamental truth:
“If you truly wish to know God, accepting Him for what and who He really is, then that same truth which sets you free also separates you from those who do not wish to accept it.”
For example, salvation separates you from those who do not wish to accept Jesus as their personal Lord and savior. Holy Spirit baptism separates you from those who do not believe that the baptism of the Holy Spirit with the evidence of speaking in other tongues is for today. Believing God is ‘one’ separates you from those who believe that God is somehow three in one. Each time you accept “truth” and come closer to knowing who and what God really is you move further away from the unbelieving majority.
Each time you step into further truth in God it will cost you a little bit or perhaps a lot in terms of relationships, acceptance, and comfort in this world. Perhaps speaking in tongues will make your friends mock you as a “tongue talk’in holy roller” or perhaps believing that God is “one” will make your church ask you to leave their fellowship much like Jesus was forced out of the synagogue when He declared the acceptable day of the Lord. Maybe it will be your job or your family’s acceptance, or even your very life depending on where you live in the world. The point is that accepting truth, while it does commend you spiritually to God, costs us a great deal in the natural world.
Brethren, we do a great disservice to those whom we lead when we do not tell them that all who live godly in Christ Jesus will suffer persecution. Persecution for believing and following the truth is supposed to be the norm of Christianity and not the exception. Many times we do not call attention to the “cost of truth” because we ourselves are fearful of paying it. The cost of truth is unacceptable to us and so we prefer to teach and preach a belief system that creates minimal waves in our circle of friends, family, churches, and communities. Our measure of truth becomes how well we fit into the world around us and not how close we know, believe and practice the word of God.
There is also a cost of not having the truth and it is equally as expensive. Spiritually, the price we pay for denying the truth is to live a joyless Christian life devoid of the life and power of the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit is easily grieved and so if you do not accept Him on His terms He leaves and you are left with the impossible task of living a Christian life without Him.
So many people read about and desire such power as we see in the book of Acts but do we actually want to pay the price that the apostles did in order to have it? Paul knew and preached the truth in power and demonstration of the Holy Spirit and he details the price he paid,
“Are they ministers of Christ? (I speak as a fool) I am more; in labours more abundant, in stripes above measure, in prisons more frequent, in deaths oft. Of the Jews five times received forty stripes save one. Thrice was I beaten with rods, once was I stoned, thrice I suffered shipwreck, a night and a day I have been in the deep; In journeyings often, in perils of waters, in perils of robbers, in perils by mine own countrymen, in perils by the heathen, in perils in the city, in perils in the wilderness, in perils in the sea, in perils among false brethren; In weariness and painfulness, in watchings often, in hunger and thirst, in fastings often, in cold and nakedness.”
2 Corinthians 11:23-27
And in the gospel according to Luke Jesus further reveals the cost of truth:
“If any man come to me, and hate not his father, and mother, and wife, and children, and brethren, and sisters, yea, and his own life also, he cannot be my disciple. And whosoever doth not bear his cross, and come after me, cannot be my disciple. So likewise, whosoever he be of you that forsaketh not all that he hath, he cannot be my disciple.”
Luke 14: 26,27
Forsaking all is the price of the power of the book of Acts. Bearing our own cross is the cost of accepting and living the way, the truth, and the life in Jesus Christ. In earthly terms the price of living the truth is very high but in the heavenly view it is a real bargain.
Should we dare preach such high standards today in our churches? Yes, I say, definitely yes. No longer should we allow ourselves to preach a Christianity of conformity that seeks to cause as little discomfort as possible to our members and those around us. We should speak the truth in love and as led by the Holy Spirit without fear.
I do not preach confrontation for confrontations sake, for that is merely contention. I advocate that we become servants of the Most High and that following His Holy Spirit will inevitably bring us into situations where we will have to stand for truth when others wish to continue to preserve the status quo. This is the cost of truth and we must determine before hand to gladly pay it.
Finally, to live a Christian life is not complicated for we are promised the comforter that has been given us will lead and guide us into all truth. All that is required to know the truth is a willingness to pay the price to live it. What cost are you willing to pay and how far are you willing to go to stand with God? The path is laid plain before us by the author and finisher of our faith. Again, as Jesus said,
“Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.”
And also in 1 John we read,
“Beloved, now are we the sons of God, and it doth not yet appear what we shall be: but we know that, when he shall appear, we shall be like him; for we shall see him as he is.”
1 John 3:2