by J.D. Watson
In a final look at Ephesians 1:13-"In whom ye also trusted, after ye heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation"-we consider the Apostle Paul's broader meaning when he speaks of Truth. Not only is there the Immediate Truth of the gospel, but there is also the Broader Truth of all of God's revelation, that is, all of His Word. We say this because the message of the gospel is the center of God's revelation and everything else flows from that. When we come to Christ, we embrace not only the Truth of the gospel, but all of God's Truth.
It is precisely for that reason that we need to recognize that God's Word is the only source of absolute Truth (which is actually redundant, because Truth implies an absolute). As we've seen, there are many other claims on how to discover Truth, but it is God alone who reveals it in His Word.
Words fail to express the impact this realization has produced in my own life and service. After examining the history of science, philosophy, and religion, it becomes glaringly obvious that Truth is to be discovered only in God and His Word. To argue along the lines of these other things is pointless, fruitless, and, if I may be so bold, borderline blasphemous. We should not argue from any other premise than "Thus saith the Lord."
Now, some would object to our whole discussion by saying, "This is all quite silly. After all, I can say, The book is on the table; that is a fact and is therefore true, and the Bible didn't have anything to do with it." And to that we say, you are quite right. That is what philosophers call "self-evident fact." Something that is self-evident does not need to be proved because it shows itself to be true.
That thought immediately prompted me to ask, however, "Does the Bible have anything to say about self-evident fact?" And I found that it does, indeed. Galatians 3:11 declares, "But that no man is justified by the law in the sight of God, it is evident: for, The just shall live by faith." The word "evident" translates the Greek de\los, which refers to, as John Gill put it, "a clear case, out of all dispute."
Writing to the Galatians, who had become entangled in works-oriented religion, Paul is saying that there is nothing more "self-evident" than the fact that man cannot be justified by Law, but by faith in Christ alone.
There is, indeed, no more obvious and self-evident Truth than that. That is precisely what changed Martin Luther's life and ignited the Reformation. In Luther's own words, "If anyone could have been saved by his monkery, it would have been me." But he finally realized the self-evident Truth of sola fide (faith alone).
Dear reader, I would encourage you that if you are looking for Truth, you will never find it unless you come to Christ, who said, "I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me" (John 14:6). If you are already a Christian, I would challenge you that no matter what the question, no matter what the issue, may your motto be, "What saith the Scripture?" (Rom. 4:3; Gal. 4:30). Why? Because only It is Truth.
What a contrast there is between our day and the early days of Christianity! As Francis Schaeffer points out (How Should We Then Live? pp. 24,25), the Romans threw those Christians to the lions for two reasons: First, they refused to worship Caesar. It didn't matter who or what else you worshiped, as long as that did not interfere with the formal worship of Caesar. The early Christians, however, committed treason by worshiping only one God, which became a direct threat to state unity.
Second, and perhaps even more profound, they were persecuted because they looked to one source alone for their authority-God's revelation. They were enemies of the state because they judged all things-including the state-by that single authority, and that simply could not be tolerated. In the eyes of Rome, in fact, they were no less than "rebels" who had to be destroyed.
How many Christians today are of the same stock as those who stood so uncompromisingly? How many are willing to be called "rebels," not because of political activism or "social awareness," but solely because God's Word is their only authority?
Let us close with two other wonderful verses: "Then said Jesus to those Jews which believed on him, If ye continue in my word, then are ye my disciples indeed; And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free" (John 8:31,32). Will science make us free? No, we're ever learning but never discovering. Will philosophy make us free? No, it drove Nietzsche mad. Will even religion make us free? No, the Law keeps us in bondage. It is only the gospel of Christ that makes us free, and it is only in His Word that we find Truth.
The complete study ("The Truth About the Truth") on which these installments are based, is available online at www.TheScriptureAlone.com. A 36-page booklet is also available free of charge (Sola Scriptura Ministries; PO Box 235; Meeker, CO; 81641). The booklet includes the plan of salvation and can be used as a witnessing tool ($1.00 per copy in quantities).