CAN TRUTH SURVIVE?
Lord, keep me in the truth.
Read 2 TIMOTHY 3:1–9
3 But mark this: There will be terrible times in the last days. 2 People will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boastful, proud, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, 3 without love, unforgiving, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not lovers of the good, 4 treacherous, rash, conceited, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God— 5 having a form of godliness but denying its power. Have nothing to do with such people.
6 They are the kind who worm their way into homes and gain control over gullible women, who are loaded down with sins and are swayed by all kinds of evil desires, 7 always learning but never able to come to a knowledge of the truth. 8 Just as Jannes and Jambres opposed Moses, so also these teachers oppose the truth. They are men of depraved minds, who, as far as the faith is concerned, are rejected. 9 But they will not get very far because, as in the case of those men, their folly will be clear to everyone.
New International Version (NIV)
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Consciously come into the presence of the Jesus who said, “I am… the truth” (John 14:6).
In verses 1–5, Paul describes a society in which it is difficult for truth to have a fair hearing. Similarly, the concept of absolute truth does not sit well in twenty-first-century western culture: “That may be true for you, but it isn’t true for me,” says the postmodernist. In 2016, according to the Oxford Dictionaries, the “Word of the Year” was “post-truth”—meaning that it does not matter whether a statement made by a public figure is factually accurate or not; what matters is that it gets repeated loudly and frequently enough so that people eventually believe it and act on it.
Have you encountered postmodernity and post-truth? How can we communicate the Gospel in these contexts? Although postmodernity may be a new phenomenon, there is an encouraging thought in today’s passage: in “the last days” (1; in the New Testament this means the whole period between Jesus’ ascension and his return) there will always be different forms of antipathy to the Gospel, but the Lord will show his people how to identify and communicate his truth.
A further challenge to the Gospel comes from false teachers, this time outside the church, unlike those in yesterday’s passage. Paul likens them to Jannes and Jambres (8) who, according to Jewish thinking, were the two ringleaders opposing Moses in Exodus 7. Can you identify false teaching in your society—teaching that offers spiritual fulfillment to those who are needy (6b,7) but is toxic, if not destructive? Paul encourages Timothy—and us—that these false teachers will “not get very far” (9); God’s truth will eventually triumph.
Ultimately, truth is not a statement but a person: Jesus. Our strategy is not that of the post-truth mindset, to shout loud and long, but to reveal Jesus by integrity of word and lifestyle.
Pray that you will live, speak and reveal the truth as it is in Jesus.
Lord, give me the ability to function in a society wherein defiance to Your truth is an everyday phenomenon.
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