Those who perish, because they did not receive the love of the truth so as to be saved.
-2 Thessalonians 2:10
For years I have thought, if I were going to divide a church congregation into two groups, I would divide it based on the criteria in this verse. With one group comprising of authentic Christians and the other on dangerous ground (to say the least), I would have to ask: What puts you in one group or the other? The Biblical basis for distinction comes to rest on whether one is a lover of truth. Many times, sitting side by side on a church pew, will be one who loves truth and one who avoids truth. Both groups are in churches today, yet there is a fundamental difference in the outcome of their lives.
Notice this scripture doesn’t say that there are people who do not receive truth. It says that there are those who do not receive the “love” of truth—“so as to be saved.” Interestingly, Paul is indicating that the love of truth directly relates to one’s salvation. In fact, Revelation 22:15 makes the same point from the opposite perspective. It says that the one who goes to hell is the “one who loves and practices lying.” The Word of God draws a vast dividing line between “lovers of truth” and “lovers of lying”—and to be on the wrong side of that dividing line is of eternal consequence.
When a person doesn’t receive the love of truth that is being offered by God, 2 Thessalonians 2:11 tells us that a “deluding influence comes upon him so that he believes what is false.”When that deluding influence comes on a person, lies and liars will suddenly become attracted to him; then he starts getting and giving wrong information. It is frightening to realize that one can come to a point of rejecting the love of truth until he blurs the difference between truth and deception. One’s walk with God can actually be measured by how much truth he loves and how quickly he runs toward it.
I told one zealous young man, who was an aspiring preacher, “You will have to first learn to tell the truth before you can preach the truth.” Truth has to be going into us—and coming out of us—at all times. Behind the pulpit, in the pew, in our own private lives and outside of church we need to search to see if we truly love truth.
If you have an area in which things consistently go wrong, look closely. You will often find that there is not an adamant love of truth, because truth always sets one free. Just to acknowledge truth is not enough; one will not continue to adhere to the truth unless he chooses to love it.
As individuals we need to ask ourselves, “Do I really love truth—or do I justify? Take liberties? Make excuses? Cover over certain gray areas?” Some people will go as far as finding some scripture to hide behind to defend questionable ideas and actions. Manipulating scripture is treading on spiritually dangerous ground.
What are some things that cloud one’s perception? Half truths can be as harmful as lies. If someone with marital problems comes in for counseling and tells only one side of the story, without telling what he did to aggravate the problem, that person has no real love of the truth and no real desire to have the marriage healed. Even if his part is just ten percent of the problem, it is amazing what ten percent can do to change the entire direction of a story.
For example, the wife tearfully confides, “I cannot believe my husband had such a fit of anger that he actually broke out the window.” From that statement it sounds as though the woman has to endure this husband who has unprovoked temper fits, until you hear that the reason he broke the window was because the wife had locked him out of the house. She omits one little detail—that the husband accidentally broke the window while trying to open the lock.
When the husband explains that he was trying to slide open the window, he is more deeply convinced that she is provoking him to anger in order to have him arrested. The wife then interjects more to her story line. She exclaims, “If you would take the time to listen it was your two-year-old son who shut the door and I didn’t know it locked until you burst the window and threatened my life!”
“I never threatened your life,” he exclaims, “That is what you said about your step father before you had him thrown in jail!”
“And you are just like him,” she wails. And on it goes... Too often the partners refuse to give one shred of evidence that favors the other one, as if they enjoy seeing how few facts they can be forced to admit. Case after case has proven that just one minor detail left out is a sign that there is no real love of truth. What a pleasant surprise to see someone in love with the truth who volunteers his own shortcomings.
-Peggy Joyce Ruth
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