Devoted to the Propagation and Defense of New Testament Christianity
June 2, 1955

Love (No. 3)

Connie W. Adams, Atlanta, Georgia

We have shown in this study that love is a divine characteristic; therefore, to love properly is to be like God. We proceeded then to show that love may choose improper objects, and then we sought to answer the question, what should we love ? First, we must love God, and to love him involves obedience to his will. We must also love our brethren in the divinely appointed way. There are other scriptural objects of love: love for the souls of those in sin, love for our enemies, and love for the truth.

Loving The Truth

In this concluding article on love, your attention is turned to the matter of love for the truth. John declared: "For the law was given by Moses, but grace and truth came by Jesus Christ." John 1:17. Jesus told his disciples, "And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free." John 8:32. All who are interested in freedom from sin should surely love that which liberates them, and Jesus said the truth brings freedom. Our Lord answered the question as to where truth may be found. "I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me." John 14:6. It was the truth of God that set the apostles apart for the work they were to do. "Sanctify them through thy truth: thy word is truth." (John 17:17.) Truth is not to be found apart from the word of the Lord. People may speak of the word as "the ineffectual word," "the dead letter" and with other such expressions, yet Jesus said, "Thy word is truth." To love the truth is to love, honour and obey the revealed word. Paul rebuked the Galatians because they did not continue in obedience to the truth. "0 foolish Galatians, who hath bewitched you, that ye should not obey the truth, before whose eyes Jesus Christ hath been evidently set forth, crucified among you?" Galatians 3:1. In this passage the word truth is put for the whole system. Failure to obey any part of that which the gospel of Christ binds us is to become guilty of despising the truth, and after all, the truth makes us free. To the same people Paul said, "Am I therefore become your enemy, because I tell you the truth?" Gal. 4:16. In listing the Christian soldiers armament Paul admonished, "Stand therefore, having your loins girt about with truth." Eph. 6:14. No plainer statement could be found regarding the necessity for loving the truth than 2 Thessalonians 2:10-12. In this passage it is pointed out that those who perish do so "because they received not the love of the truth, that they might be saved. And for this cause God shall send them strong delusion, that they should believe a lie; that they all might be damned who believed not the truth, but had pleasure in unrighteousness." Paul instructed Timothy about certain ones who resisted the truth and concerning those who would turn from the truth to fables. 2 Tim. 3:8; 4:4. In describing love Paul said, "Love rejoiceth not in iniquity, but in the truth." 1 Cor. 13:6.

In the face of all these plain and understandable passages, it is most distressing to find so many who do not love or want the truth. Many who wear the name of Christ are often among the number that wants to suppress the truth, lest someone should become offended."Just preach the gospel and let others alone" seems to be the disposition of many. When a gospel preacher begins to "try" certain doctrines to see if they conform to truth, and then proceeds to set forth what God's truth reveals on said doctrines, some pious-faced church member will express his dissatisfaction at such procedure and will not hesitate to criticize the preacher for his action in the matter. Brethren, love for the truth demands that error be exposed. Error is opposed to truth and where error dwells, truth cannot find lodging. Worldings in the church want to hear sweet little PTA talks on general subjects that do not touch their sins, and there are some preachers who will accommodate them. But, when the search-light of truth is turned on, someone shouts, "Let us alone, just preach the gospel." The truth is mishandled when sin is not pointed out. Christ preached the truth, and they killed him because of it. Stephen preached the truth, and his audience recognized it as truth, but they killed the preacher. Paul was beaten and stoned for preaching the truth. He loved the truth. If we love the truth and diligently seek it, our problems in the church will diminish. When we become more concerned with preserving our prestige than with truth, we have embarked upon a road that can lead only to ruin.

Often someone averse to the pointing out of error will say, "Preach more on love." The implication is that the exposing of error is not within the realm of love. Yet the Lord said to the Laodiceans, "As many as I love, I rebuke and chasten: be zealous therefore and repent." Rev. 3:19. A preacher who loves the souls of his hearers will not withhold the truth from those whose lives are not in harmony with the truth. One may preach on love and speak of it from a sentimental standpoint, but if he fails to point out error he does not practice love. We must preach love surely, but we must also practice it as well. May we seek constantly for truth, and having learned it, let nothing snatch it from us.

Proper love for God, for our brethren and for the truth will make our lives worthwhile here and insure for us a crown eternal. "And now abideth faith, hope, love, these three; but the greatest of these is love."