The Dividing Truth — “My soul, wait thou only upon God; for my expectation is from Him.” – Psalm 62:5

The Lord Jesus Christ has said, “If the world hates you, keep in mind that it hated me first. If you belonged to the world, it would love you as its own. As it is, you do not belong to the world, but I have chosen you out of the world. That is why the world hates you.” (John 15:18,19). He said to Pilate, “My kingdom is not of this world.” (John 18:36), making a separation between Himself and the world. The dividing line between Christ with His followers and the hostile world is “the truth”. Jesus said, “For this I came into the world, to testify to the truth. Everyone on the side of truth listens to Me.” To which Pilate gave his notorious response, “What is truth?” (John 18:37-38).

According to Jesus, there are those “on the side of the truth,” and others who are not. When we recall that He spoke of the devil as “a liar and the father of lies” (John 8:44), we see how clear a distinction Jesus makes between the kingdom of God and the world. The prophets and apostles all proclaim, in their various ways, “we know that we are children of God, and that the whole world is under the control of the evil one.” (1 John 5:19).

To the intellectual world of the Greeks of Athens, Paul gave a summary of Christian teaching. Its foundation is the reality of God, Who “made the world and all things therein, seeing that He is Lord of heaven and earth.” (Acts 17:24). Writing to the Colossian church, Paul says, astoundingly, of Jesus Christ: “For by Him were all things created that are in heaven, and that are in earth, visible and invisible, whether they be thrones, or dominions, or principalities or powers; all things were created by Him and for Him.” (Colossians 1:16). Reinforcing this amazing claim for Jesus of Nazareth is the writer to the Hebrews who says that God “hath in these last days spoken unto us by His Son whom He hath appointed heir of all things, by Whom also He made the worlds.” (Hebrews1:2).

So according to the Bible, when people say there is no God and reject the Scriptural revelation of who Jesus is, they make themselves “fools” (Psalm 14:1), “antichrist” (1 John 2:22) and do not stand “on the side of truth.” Where there is only a superficial, social-club religiosity, a “form of godliness” that denies God any real power in daily life, the result is an effectual atheism. The ultimate authority of God and Christ is fundamentally rejected.

Controversial Statements

One of the most controversial statements made by Jesus is “I am the way, the truth and the life: no man comes to the Father but by Me.” (John 14:6). In an age when pluralism of beliefs is politically correct this exclusive claim of Jesus is a truth that divides deeply. This definite boundary-line, this unique declaration of Christ Jesus, is the corner-stone of the New Testament Church. “Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved,” (Acts 4:12). The Church cannot compromise on this absolute doctrinal position. Either Jesus Christ is God the Son, born of a virgin woman, the Second Person of the Triune God, fully God and fully man, who died in the place of sinful, condemned man, is the coming Judge of humanity, is the only King of kings, the only Saviour –  or He is none of these things. We are called to take all of Jesus as revealed in the New Testament. To stand with Christ as one of His followers is to be on the side of this life-changing truth.

When the Bible refers to the world as evil, it does not describe the natural creation. The “world” here refers to the sinful state of man and all the works of wickedness produced by the rebellious, evil nature of fallen humanity. Many of those works are attractive and highly valued in the world system, described in the Bible as “Babylon” or “Egypt.” Worldly, ungodly man is “dead in trespasses and sins,” depraved and lost, “fulfilling the desires of the flesh and of the mind.” (Ephesians 2:1-3).

The convert to Christianity is warned often about the powerful, seductive nature of the world, his own sinful nature, and cautioned against apostasy, a return to the former state of spiritual darkness: “Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world.” (1 John 2:15,16).

The division between Christ and the world is an irreconcilable one. “Be ye not unequally yoked together with unbelievers: for what fellowship has righteousness with unrighteousness? And what communion has light with darkness? (2 Corinthians 6:14). The world, flesh and devil are all opposed to the truth of Christ and the Biblical doctrines held by the faithful Church. Hatred and violence come when the world sees such statements as this as absolute arrogance and an attitude of overbearing superiority. Biblical teaching and the gospel question the ways of the world. The pride of man flares up and demands, “How dare anyone, God or pious twerp tell me how to live? How dare they judge ME??”

There is a final division of humanity coming. “The world passes away and the lust of it: but he that does the will of God abides forever.” (1 John 2:17). Beyond race, culture, prestige and power, there are only two families in the world: the family of God and the family of Satan, who is real and alive, “the ruler of this world.” (John 14:30). They are bound for different places: Heaven and Hell.

For Christians, the Bible is the written repository of the dividing truth. It is “Scripture given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness.” (2 Timothy 3:16). The Bible makes claims for God, Christ, Salvation, Judgement, Church that are exclusive and with which there can be no compromise. For the serious believer, separation from the ways and attitudes of the world is necessary. Unfortunately, the visible example of churches and Christians today leaves much to be desired if we were to measure them by the highest Biblical standards. The word of God to His professing people is clear: “Wherefore come out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean thing and I will receive you.” (2 Corinthians 6:17).

This is certainly not a time for complacency, self-righteousness, self-satisfaction on the part of professing Christians. People are free to choose to believe or not to believe, to make their own religious and other choices. The Church needs today to show much compassion, kindness, graciousness, love even as believers hold without compromise to their Biblical faith. The Apostle Peter exhorts us: “Sanctify the Lord God in your hearts and be ready always to give an answer to every man that asks you a reason of the hope that is in you, with meekness and fear, having a good conscience…”(1 Peter 3:15, 16).

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