I am going to quote from a man by the name of W.E.H. Lecky. He is the author of a book called The History of European Morals, and this comes from page 189. He is discussing responding to truth. He says:
To love truth sincerely means to pursue it with an earnest, conscientious, unflagging zeal. It means to be prepared to follow the light of evidence, even to the most unwelcome conclusions; to labor earnestly to emancipate the mind from early prejudices; to resist the current of desires and the refracting influence of the passions; to proportion on all occasions conviction to evidence; and to be ready, if need be, to exchange the calm assurance for all the suffering of a perplexed and disturbed mind. To do this is very difficult and very painful, but it is clearly involved in the notion of earnest love of truth.
Let us ask a simple question. Do you not think that at some time in people's lives they somehow stumble across the truth regarding these days? Just like Winston Churchill said," remember, people stumble on the truth but they pick themselves up and they go on as if the truth did not mean a thing."
that is what God is describing in Jeremiah 5. It was the underlying problem that the ministry did not respond properly to God. They passed on, little turns away the truth of God, little by little, year after year, until it came to the place that the truth of God was unrecognizable. It did not happen in great leaps and jumps but a little bit at a time.
Religion represents just one area of life about which religions lie, or we might say, blunt the truth, because what people believe regarding religion has wide-ranging effects on how people conduct the business of life. What people believe about the purpose of life affects ethics and morals. It reaches into every area of life and it ultimately determines the quality of life itself.
We cannot afford to do that. The search for truth is of the highest priority for you and for me. Unfortunately audiences out there have itching ears and because of the deception they want to hear things that do not require a great deal of commitment or, we might say, work for them to do.
So Jesus said, "Think not that I came to send peace on the earth, but a sword." In another place the sword is compared to the Spirit, the essence of His mouth, that is of His Word. What comes out of Jesus' mouth is always going to be true. Those who are of the truth are going to respond. That response is very frequently going to be fraught with all kinds of difficulty, and they are going to be pressured on every side to shrug it off and to say, "Oh, it doesn't really matter." So they deceive themselves that there is not going to be much of a consequence in turning away from truth.
Truth is not easy to accept whenever it cuts across the grain of our belief, or even more seriously, what we are currently practicing, especially if that practice gives us a certain measure of pleasure or a certain measure of acceptance before those that we admire and respect.
We could point to many examples, but just to give you one example that we can all relate to, every one of us I am sure knows people who believe that the Sabbath (as described and commanded) ought to be kept, but they are not keeping it. They will believe that Jesus kept the Sabbath. They will believe that God's holy days ought to be kept and that Christmas and Easter are pagan, but they will not do it themselves. Why? Because it is too big of a price for them to pay at this time. Let's face it, we all struggle with something that we need to change in our lives, but can't until we are willing or forced to pay the price.
What do you think is going to be the most common idol that we come up with? Ourselves. We are almost inevitably led to the worship of the self when the truth of God is rejected because we turn our attentions inward. There is, in effect, nothing higher or greater than ourselves that we can come up with. So mankind ends up worshipping itself. We keep our little idols of the things that we desire over the truth, that feed the "self-cancer" with in us.
So then perhaps one of the most severe punishments that God can give us is to simply, in a sense, turn His back on us for awhile and let us muddle around in what we have produced by our sin. He lets His laws take their course and the penalty will come. Sadly, after offering and persuading us to accept the truth, he has no other option but to leave us without His loving guidance. Our Father gives us our choice of who is to be obeyed and in charge, who we are to submit to and trust.
Satan has from the beginning has known that submission is the key. He deceived from the beginning by making submission a negative thing. He throws doubt into God's order of authority (more on that later), thus nullifying faith and trust.
The Greek word used for "Truth" means, "reality," "genuine," and "authentic facts." It is reality as contrasted to what is false, what is imagination, or what is mere appearance. Truth in the New Testament is almost always seen as that which is in accordance with or in harmony with God's purpose. As when Jesus says, "I am truth." He means that what I say and do is always in harmony with God's purpose. He embodied it.
As with our own children, we try to teach them and tell them what and what not to do. Because we have experienced the hard way , many truths and with our reflection of our limited experiences (compared to Jesus, who has the insight and experience of all things) we want our children trust what we say. We want them to obey and submit to our direction in order to avoid the painful lessons, just on our word. However, sometimes they (we) have to run into the physical truth of that symbolic brick wall. It is then that it realized and believed, the reality of our own limitations and painful results of our actions.
I am not saying that God will never intervene in an attempt to get us to turn around. He loves us too much to allow Himself to do that, and He will do something to bring us up short (similar to grabbing us by the back of the neck or in some cases a smack on the head) and try to get us to face up to the fact that we are sometimes running from His truth. He will do this in an attempt to get us to repent.
We must freely choose to submit to God's truth and not allow ourselves to deceive us into somehow thinking that we can get away with it.
Just as in the beginning, when Eve was offered the destructive knowledge that God knew were not equipped to handle, and Adam took the offer from Eve as something which "she" thought would we be a good and pleasurable experience.
Sin is always a lie. Remember Romans 1:25, ". . . who exchanged the truth of God for the lie." Sin is always a lie because the sinner deceives himself into thinking that sin will make him happy, but in the end it ruins life both for him and the others who are a part of his life, and maybe not even a part of it.
Yet, even when we know this, we accept the trade. We get the temporary, easier satisfaction that we crave in exchange for the long-term rewards of our sacrifice to be obedient, suffer the battle against our sin nature, and do the work in faith of that reward. (Think about Esau and his choice and read Genesis 25:27-34)