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Truth, Unity -- These
attributes and more are the essentials of healthy Christianity.
Unfortunately, Christians have been deceived into misunderstanding
these things. The result has been that Love, Truth and Unity have
suffered and been perverted and changed into something God has not
intended and does not honor. Because some have championed
own versions of Love, Truth, and Unity, we are enjoying less
all three. The real have been replaced too often by the counterfeit and
the counterfeit can never produce life.
this is an
attempt to understand God's intended relationship between these three,
their relative importance and how they interact with one another. In
order to make such an investigation we must determine that any
investigation is to be based on Truth as presented and define by the
scriptures. Since Truth defines Love, Truth is essential
Love can be known. While it is also possible to have an untruthful view
of Love, untruthful views of Love are not Love, but only counterfeits.
is neither the creator of Love or Unity. It only allows each to be made
known to us and enables a fuller partaking of both. It contrasts the
true characteristics of Love and Unity against erroneous ones
characteristics and helps keep both untainted.
I believe, is the preeminent and greatest of all ways God relates to
His creation and we are to relate to one another. The only way we can
understand anything from God is because it is part of His Truth. It is
Truth that reveals the nature of things. God's word declares that He is
Love. 1 Corinthians 13 truthfully defines much of what Love is and its
importance in comparison to the gifts, knowledge, to good intentions,
sacrifice, and selflessness. It is pre-eminent and everything else
pales in comparison to it. It should be noted that Love is not compared
in importance to Truth nor can it be. Love cannot be separated from
what it is. Truth's function is only to faithfully say what Love is and
is not. Love cannot and will not deceive or allow deception. Deception
pollutes love, error pollutes love. If anyone promotes a
definition of Love that is inconsistent with 1 Corinthians 13, then it
is no longer Love that is being defined, but something else. 1
Corinthians 13 is an example of Truth doing its task.
the face of Truth that Love is strongest. Love must completely know the
reality (Truth) about someone or it is not complete Love of that person
-- it is a love not based on reality but only partial
For example, knowing the truth about someone with all their failings
and shortcomings and yet loving that person, is greater love than
loving someone of whom we know little. Romantic love may be blind, but
God's Love never is. Love has its eyes wide open. It is comforting to
know that God knows EVERYTHING about us, nothing is hidden, or
distorted and yet He chooses to love us.
Truth can never
hinder Love but only help show what is true Love and what things may be
mistakenly called love (but is something less than love because it is
based on false understanding). Truth is NEVER an enemy or at odds with
Love. Love cannot be diminished or altered by Truth.
is not just knowledge or information. Truth is not necessarily
something that has to be processed through the mind and intellect.
Truth uses knowledge and information but it is greater than both.
Knowledge and information can be inaccurate and incomplete. Knowledge,
information, and Truth are not the same things but
and information are the common tools used by Truth. We can know things
that are unprofitable, erroneous, and only partly true. Truth is
greater than knowledge. Knowledge and information are dangerous apart
from truth. Knowledge can puff up, Truth never does. Truth is
that spiritual communication that happens so that "My sheep hear my
voice, and I know them, and they follow me: " (John 10:27 )
knowledge that is based on Truth brings
life. For example:
14:6 Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth,
and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.
is a fundamental! Truth, life, and the way identifies Jesus. There is
no identifying with Jesus without the Truth -- it is impossible. Truth
is necessary before anyone can come into unity with Jesus, the Father,
and the Spirit. Unity is a result of knowing the truth and acting on it
and entering Life. More is needed than just understanding and agreeing
with John 14:6. I will develop this further with more comments when I
discuss unity later in this article.
does not change simply
because we lack knowledge of it, can not comprehend it, explain it, or
see the full picture. For example, we don't know why God is Love or the
mechanics of how we become new creatures in Christ Jesus, or many other
things. We may have a portion of the truth about such things, but our
knowledge is incomplete.
we may not understand all truth,
we should and can understand what is not truth.
We will never understand all truths. God has not said we would. He only
said He would lead us in all truth. There are many things spoken of in
the bible that are mysteries and will remain so. There are many things
where different persons see different facets of a truth and disagree
about the full meaning. One or both may be correct in what they see.
One or both may be wrong in the application of what they see. Each
facet can be valid and yet seem not to be in agreement.
knowing Truth is different than discovering error. One does not have to
understand all truth to discern error. We need not to have tasted all
varieties of apples to know that the one in our hand is rotten. There
are truths that must be knowable -- Truths that are
critical to the identity and nature of God, Christ, and Salvation.
If one maintains that absolute Truth can not be agreed upon about these
basics, then we have no foundation for our faith. Our
is based on the fact that we do know the truth and way of Salvation.
If we say we believe, then there has to be specific information about
what is believed. No one can live according to opinions that vary with
every wind of doctrine. For example, we cannot believe that our God is
the same god that the Hindu's worship. If someone told us that we could
present Truth that refuted that claim - even though there is much that
we do not understand about God we have enough Truth to clearly prove
that they are not the same. The Hindu would present facts and
information about their claims which would be in contradiction to what
scripture has to say. This same process must be applied to any
teaching/revelation that attempts to define what scripture says and
especially any teaching/revelation that defines God, Christ, and
anyone says something is untrue, that person is
responsible to expose the error using Truth. There is always sufficient
Truth to reveal error. In fact, no one can say something is untrue,
unless they know what truth is being violated. Any valid Truth that is
attacked by error will withstand that attack by using Truth to reveal
the nature of the error. Truth never says, "don't pick on me," "don't
test me," "don't question me." Truth does not fear challenge,
Truth shines clearest against darkness. Truth prevails, is strong
against error, and overcomes it. Its very purpose to to bring down
strongholds of error and preserve the purity of those things it
defines. Truth walks like a giant amid the cowering errors. Error hates
Truth lest its deeds be exposed. Truth like Love reflects the voice of
our great Shepherd. Those who are His will hear His voice and follow
Him. Those who are not His will hate truth because it reveals they do
not know Him.
finds all sorts of reasons not to be
confronted by Truth. Error is quick to shout, "unkindness, no brotherly
love, no compassion, who-are-you-to-say-what-is-right, divisive ... and
the list goes on. Error likes to find the flaws in the earthen vessel
carrying the Truth, rather than to deal with the Truth carried. God
would rather have Truth carried by flawed vessels than to leave His
Body weakened and destroyed by error. If it can, error's
course of defense is to discredit the messenger or do anything it can
do divert attention away from the Truth that is leveled against it. I
retaliates with personal attacks for it cannot bear the scrutiny of
can not vindicate itself with honesty or truth --
only by name-calling, innuendoes, and distortions ( of facts,
scripture, and interpretation). It can and does use experiences,
worldliness, suppositions, false teachings/"truths", traditions,
prejudices, and more to defend itself against the Truth and mask the
issues involved. Truth cuts through the experiences, suppositions,
false teachings/"truths", traditions, prejudices, and finds what God
usually uses true things as its most effective
weapons. Even Satan likes to say, "It is written" Mat 4:6. and uses it
frequently. Like poison, it lures its victim using the bait
true things. True things that we like, know, and understand.
it always adds, takes away, or misrepresents something about
Truth. Basically, it can be said that error is nothing other
distorted or diminished Truth. Since Truth is the essence of God's
communication to us, then how can we be content to allow His words to
be polluted, distorted, and misrepresented? We don't like it when that
happens to our words.
needs a core that
defines what is unified. Without Truth, there can be no definition of
Unity. Unity is only possible when the unifying factor is properly
defined. Family Unity is based on those things that define a family --
birth relationships, genetic factors, and social factors. Church Unity
is based first of all based on what the Church is and then upon who I
am and why I am a part of the Church. Unless the Church
defined, then no one can properly discover whether Church Unity is a
reality or not. Some are defining church Unity as everyone getting
along and liking each other, and saying nice things about each other.
In the same manner, we cannot say a gathering of Christians,
non-Christians, false Christians, and nice people represents Church
Unity. A family gathering that includes strangers, friends, and
co-workers does not represent family unity even though family unity may
function within such a gathering. We can all agree on the truth of John
14:6. We cannot confuse Unity with the expressions of Unity for the
expression of Unity can be counterfeited.
saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the
life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me. But that is not enough to call us unified.
Even calling Him him Lord and doing many works in His name
does not mean or illustrate Unity! These next verses from the mouth of
Christ, Himself prove this to be true.
7:22 Many will say to me in
that day, Lord, Lord, have we not
prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast
out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works?
The fact that
showing signs of unity and belief did not make them
unified with Christ for He states
And then will I profess unto them, I never
knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity. He never knew them, they
a part of Him, never united to Him. How many among us are there now
prophesying, casting out devils, and doing wonderful works, that are
not part of us, not unified with us, not to be considered as one of us?
Jesus states that not only were they unknown to Him, but they are the
ones who work wickedness. What a sobering statement for our times.
24 Therefore whosoever heareth these sayings of mine, and
doeth them, I will liken him unto a wise man, which built his
house upon a rock: It is
quite apparent that doing wondrous, miraculous, supernatural works are not
proof of anything.
of what Jesus said on this imagined unity and false
13:25:...saying, Lord, Lord, (they
too, called Him, Lord, just like one of the biggest false teachers in
Christianity today loudly proclaims Jesus is Lord. Saying it,
advertising it, teaching it does not necessarily mean anything) open
unto us; and he shall answer and say unto you, I know you not whence ye
are: (they expect to
enter, they are sure He knows them, but
He does not)
26 Then shall ye begin to say, We have eaten and drunk in thy presence,
and thou hast taught in our streets.
(they say that they have enjoyed communion, and were in His presence
even in eating and drinking, and they heard His teaching where they
27 But he shall say, I tell you, I know you not whence ye are; depart
from me, all ye workers of iniquity. (He
does not accept their proofs as significant, He does not know them)
16:17 Now I beseech you, brethren, mark them which cause divisions and
offences contrary to the doctrine which ye have learned; and avoid
them. Are you doing this?
Paul is demanding that there be no unity with people violating the
truth. Truth is meant to divide.
offers surer proofs of being United to Him and His body than do signs,
wonders, and "fellowship". Those proofs are found in the pages of the
Bible. False and true members are to evaluated on the basis of
doctrine, it is the standard -- part of the believer's fruit.
Signs, wonders, and fellowship were never meant for marking members of
the Body, but such things may follow those that believe. It
befuddling to me to understand why persons are called divisive and
unloving for helping the Body see those among us who are false and not
known by Jesus. Divisive, yes, but dividing the pure from the impure,
the wheat from the tares, the members from the non members. We are all
called to do that. Why are so few doing that and why are so many hating
those who do it?
think it is a great service to
those false believers to point out to them that their works, miracles,
gifts, popularity, and experiences do not make prove that they are of
the Church. Then, if possible, they can repent and truly become one
with us. It is also a great disservice to allow them to remain among
the Church for their leaven weakens and destroys. They also present a
false view of the Body of Christ and Christ, Himself.
doesn't matter if the smell like a sheep, walk like a sheep, eat like a
sheep, or bleat like a sheep. They are only ugly ducklings that will
never grow to be swans. (how is that for a mixed metaphor?)
order to determine whether a gathering represents unity, each of its
components needs to be defined. What defines a Christian? What defines
the Church? What defines a false Christian? What defines a heretic?
Only Truth can do these things. To refuse to define is to abort Unity.
We can call something Unified all we want, but we must define the
unifying factor or unity will be like the shifting sand and change its
meaning with every element that happens to wander in.
define in order to judge. But truth always exposes error and then we
must report what we see. Call it judging if you want, but it is only
pointing out what is clearly revealed by the truth, and we all need to
grow in the truth. Growing in Truth necessitates being faithful to the
Truth and separating it from untruth.
person is not a
Christian it is an unkindness not to show them the Love and Truth of
God so that they too may know the joy of knowing Him. Although, we may
not know whether a person is a Christian for sure, every Christian
walking in the light should love and rejoice in the Truth, for his hope
of salvation is based on the Truth. One is or is not a Christian based
on another person's observations. One is a Christian only
his faith is based on the truth about God, Christ, and the gospel of
salvation. Otherwise, his hope is on something else other than Christ
and he is NOT a Christian.