God bless you and greetings in the name of Jesus Christ who unsheathed the sword of the spirit declaring, “It is Written! when facing the enemy (Matthew 4:4ff).
Jeremiah told us that his countrymen used their tongues like instruments of war—bows and arrows—that launched lies. What a vivid illustration of the power of words. Like deadly arrows that find their prey, the enemies of truth fire their missiles at the minds of their victims.
The effect of lies should not be underestimated. Their acceptance means the truth’s rejection. When a person rejects the truth in any measure and in any form, there are often consequences. Jeremiah indicted his countrymen for not being “valiant for the truth.” They were more captivated by lies than they were by truth. There are few more demanding concerns in our day and time than this.
Being valiant for the truth does not just mean we can distinguish the truth from lies. It means we refuse to lie. We eschew falsehood and the evil it breeds in every form. Truth will always eventually prevail against lies, regardless of the persuasive power behind the lies. Truth will triumph.
Paul championed the truth. He was adamant about not lying and called on God as a witness when he made that claim. Life is not a power struggle; it is a matter of truth. The only way the devil ever beats us is with lies. When we submit ourselves to God and His Word, we will always be victorious. We cannot let our allegiance to truth deteriorate.
The Word sets wonderful standards for doctrine and practice for those of us who want to be good ministers of Jesus Christ. In II Corinthians 4, Paul reminds us that he has nothing to hide, that his life and ministry is pleasing to God. So he remains transparent, and his handling of the Word of God is honest and forthright. Paul’s critics accused him of dishonesty and deceitfulness in his version of the gospel. However, Paul renounced secret, shameful and deceitful ways, knowing the mercy of God upon his life.
The enemies of truth who opposed him were secretive and deceptive, using shameful ways and distorting the Word of God to suit their own purposes. The subtlety of handling the Word of God deceitfully is that it uses the Word of God but corrupts it. That kind of thing has gone on through the years and is still going on today. Enemies of truth are hucksters. They use the Word of God for their own purposes—to promote their own agendas. They use people and make merchandise of them. They twist and pervert scripture for their own end.
There is no real threat posed by those who teach something explicitly and overtly anti-biblical, anti-Christ, and anti-God. The greater danger comes from subtle teaching that appears to be biblical and pulls away unwary souls from the faith. That is handling the Word of God deceitfully. On the other hand, those who preach the truth will strive to demonstrate the truth by a well-ordered life and a godly conversation. Only by manifestation of the truth will we become powerful in advocating the truth and in giving it the sure application that God has ordained.
Satan’s strategy of deception blinds men’s minds. Therefore, God makes us a savour of life so the glorious gospel of Christ can still shine unto them. We are valiant for the truth upon the earth, and we engage our world and our culture heroically. We fight with prayer and spiritual weapons. We are open and honest in our own communication. We declare the good news of Jesus Christ concerning the mystery with clarity, and we love with great intensity.
It is the Word of God that we believe and the power of God that we operate that appropriates our victory over the enemies of truth. In this study we listed and studied thirteen enemies that were associated with the Greek words pseudos, heteros and allos.
We saw Paul valiant for the truth with the Galatians. He was so fully persuaded of the gospel he preached that he pronounced an anathema upon those who presented any other gospel. Then we saw Paul valiant for the truth with the Corinthians, where he, as a protective father of the bride, adamantly assaulted those who opposed the truth. We also saw Paul beseeching Timothy to be valiant for the truth and to keep the doctrine he taught him pure. Finally, we saw how the enemies of truth used the subterfuge of lying signs and wonders and false witnesses to deceive and seduce even the elect of God.
When Paul addressed the Galatians, he marveled that they had been so soon removed from the gospel. His major concern was with those who troubled the Galatians. They were the ones who perverted the gospel; they were the ones he pronounced the curse upon. Although the Galatians had been bewitched, Paul never directly addressed them as enemies of the truth.
Similarly, when Paul addressed the Corinthians, he was concerned about them being corrupted from the simplicity that is in Christ. Although Paul identified the work of the false apostles and the deceitful workers, he never included the Corinthians as being enemies themselves.
Yes, Paul warned the believers about enemies of the truth, but he never treated them as enemies. Even when it became necessary to sever fellowship with some of the believers, Paul never treated them as such.
II Thessalonians 3:14-15:
And if any man obey not our word by this epistle, note that man, and have no company with him, that he may be ashamed. 15 Yet count him not as an enemy, but admonish him as a brother.
We never treat anyone in our believing household as an enemy. We treat them as brethren and do our best to help them, even when believers go so far as to refuse to obey the Word. The last thing we need is to go on witch hunts, pointing fingers at one another and trying to identify enemies of the truth. Within the household of faith, we instruct one another in righteousness, using doctrine, reproof and correction.
Paul had established households of faith or communities of faith in these locations. He had developed relationships with them and maintained strong bonds of love, established as they worked shoulder to shoulder in the furtherance of the gospel. They knew one another’s heart and were willing to fight for each other and the family faith they had established. In Galatia, Corinth and Ephesus, there were strong communities, likeminded on the truth. Paul wanted to fight to maintain the unity of the spirit that God had established through the truth of the gospel Paul preached. That was being attacked from others outside these communities. They were introducing damnable heresies intent on dividing the believers and scattering the flock.
Like Paul, we operate with pure hearts without personal agendas. That allows us to esteem one another better than ourselves. We endeavor to keep the unity of the spirit in the bond of peace. We want to protect our believing household, our community of faith, from attacks from the outside. We protect ourselves from those outside and stay put on the doctrine we have received and believed. Of course, we can always learn more and change; but we are slow to change our doctrinal position, because we are faithful to apply the Word we know. Furthermore, we only change with the agreement of all after taking whatever time is necessary to reach agreement. We do not allow anyone from the outside to cause division within our family of faith. This can easily occur as those who are members one of another go outside of their believing household to search for truth with itching ears.
God needs people who are valiant for the truth. We are not afraid of the world or intimidated by it. It is where we live, move and have our being, walking in the spirit. It is where we carry out our Father’s business. We are more than conquerors because, though we are in the world, we are not of the world. Our allegiance is to God, and we dedicate our lives to Him. II Corinthians 5:15b teaches us that we should not live unto ourselves, but unto him who died for us and rose again. We walk in the steps of our Lord Jesus Christ, living by the faith of Jesus Christ, showing the world there is more available than what the five senses world offers them.
The Bible is replete with examples of men and women who did their Father’s will—men and women who dared to go beyond the limits of their natural abilities—men and women who dared to do the impossible and change the course of history. Our lives can make a difference. We may never know how big a difference, but we must be willing to dare valiantly in great causes for God.
Theodore Roosevelt said, “Far better is it to dare mighty things, to win glorious triumphs, even though checkered by failure . . . than to rank with those poor spirits who neither enjoy much nor suffer much, because they live in a gray twilight that knows not victory nor defeat.” Cecil Beaton also said, “Be daring, be different, be impractical, be anything that will assert integrity of purpose and imaginative vision against the play-it-safers, the creatures of the commonplace, the slaves of the ordinary.” We are free to be whom God made us to be, and that is not just like everyone else. That will take some “grit,” however.
Sometimes I wonder: “Do I have “true grit?” Am I made of the “right stuff?” If the Bible is right, the answer to both questions is affirmative. We have the wherewithal we need to accomplish great things for God. Jeremiah so wanted to be with men valiant for the truth, but he lamented that there were none in Israel. That is where we can come in. We are among those who are valiant for the truth. We can walk in the footsteps of the Master; we can demonstrate that we have what is required. We are made from the “right stuff.” We have “true grit.”
Oh that I had in the wilderness a lodging place of wayfaring men; that I might leave my people, and go from them! for they be all adulterers, an assembly of treacherous men. 3 And they bend their tongues like their bow for lies: but they are not valiant for the truth upon the earth; for they proceed from evil to evil, and they know not me, saith the LORD.
In the movie True Grit, the elusive nature of “grit” is a theme spanning the full length of the film. Although the quality is never explicitly defined, it seems to be just the right combination of toughness and bravery to get the most dangerous job done. It may not appear outwardly until absolutely necessary, but those who have it will summon it when they truly need it. Quite naturally, it also includes a certain amount of self-sacrifice. In the movie, none of the characters, no matter how resourceful or upstanding, emerged untouched by pain and suffering. It was as if it was enough merely to survive. In the movie, escaping outright destruction seems to be the ultimate test of who has grit and who has none.
When the dust settles, we will still be standing. When the faint of heart have vanished, we will still remain. When the call for help goes out, we will be there to answer and respond. Let us invest ourselves in people we love. Let us give ourselves to them and serve them wholeheartedly. As we have therefore opportunity, let us do good unto all, especially unto them of the household of faith (Galatians 6:10), and live valiant for the truth.
I recently ran across an ancient prayer. It was not prayed in the name of Jesus Christ, but that is easy to fix. The prayer itself is short and to the point and appropriate for closing out our study. It is my prayer for myself and for those of you who stand together with me:
From cowardice that shrinks from new truth,
From the laziness that’s content with half truth,
From the arrogance from the one who thinks he knows all the truth,
Oh God of truth,
Deliver me! (1.)
1. From Lists to Live By, compiled by Alice Gray, Steve Stephens, and John Van Diest, Multnomah Publishers, Sisters, OR, page 80.