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Latest revision as of 23:23, 12 October 2019

The TRUTH of God.

The next attribute is God's truth. "A God of truth and without iniquity; just and righteous is he." "For your mercy is great unto the heavens, and your truth unto the clouds." "Plenteous in truth."

God is the truth. He is true in a physical sense; true in his being: he has a real subsistence, and gives a being to others. He is true in a moral sense; he is truth without error; truth without deceit. God is prima veritas , the pattern and prototype of truth. There is nothing true but what is in God—or comes from God.

I shall speak of God's truth, as it is taken from his veracity in making good his promises. "There has not failed one word of all his good promise." The promise is God's pledge; God's truth is the seal set to his pledge.

There are two things to be observed in the promises of God to comfort us.

[1] Observe he POWER of God, whereby he is able to fulfill the promise. God has promised to subdue our corruption. "He will subdue our iniquities." Oh, says a believer, my corruption is so strong, that I am sure I shall never get the mastery of it. Abraham looked at God's power. "Being fully persuaded that what God had promised he was able to perform." He believed that God, who could make a world, could make Sarah's dry breasts give suck. It is faith's support—that there is nothing too hard for God. He who could bring water out of a rock, is able to bring to pass his promises.

[2] Observe the TRUTH of God, in the promises. God's truth is the seal set to the promise. "In hope of eternal life, which God, who cannot lie has promised." 'Eternal life'—there is the sweetness of the promise. 'God which cannot lie'—there is the certainty of it. Mercy makes the promise; truth fulfills the promise. God's providences are uncertain—but his promises are the 'sure mercies of David." "God is not a man who he should change." The word of a prince cannot always be taken—but God's promise is inviolable. God's truth is one of the richest jewels of his crown, and he has pawned it in a promise. "Although my house be not so with God—yet he has made with me an everlasting covenant, ordered in all things and sure ." 'Although my house be not so,' that is, though I fail much of that exact purity the Lord requires—yet he has made with me an everlasting covenant, that he will pardon, adopt, and glorify me; and this covenant is ordered in all things and sure.

"The elements shall melt with fervent heat;" but God's covenant abides firm and inviolable, being sealed with the truth of God. Nay, God has added to his word his oath —wherein he pawns his being, life, and righteousness to make good the promise. If as often as we break our vows with God, he would break promise with us, it would be very deplorable. But his truth is engaged in his promise, therefore it is like the law of the Medes and Persians, which cannot be altered. "We are not," says Chrysostom, "to believe our senses so much as we are to believe the promises ." Our senses may fail us—but the promise cannot, being built upon the truth of God. God will not deceive the faith of his people; nay, he can not. "God, who cannot lie, has promised." He can as well part with his Deity —as his verity . God is said to be abundant in truth . Exod 34:6. What does that signify? If God has made a promise of mercy to his people, he will be so far from coming short of his word—that he will be better than his word. He often does more than he has said—but never less . He is abundant in truth.

(1.) The Lord may sometimes delay a promise—but he will never deny a promise. He may delay a promise. God's promise may lie a good while, as seed under ground—but at last it will spring up into a crop. He promised to deliver Israel from the iron furnace—but this promise was over four hundred years in travail, before it gave birth. Simeon had a promise that he should not depart, "until he had seen the Lord's Christ." But it was a long time coming. But a little before his death—he did see Christ. Though God delays the promise—he will never deny a promise. Having given his bond—in due time the money will be paid.

(2.) God may change his promise—but he will not break it. Sometimes God changes a temporal promise, into a spiritual promise. "The Lord shall give that which is good ." This may not be fulfilled in a temporal sense—but a spiritual sense. God may let a Christian be cut short in temporals—but he makes it up in spirituals. If he does not increase the basket and the store, he gives increase of faith, and inward peace. Here he changes his promise—but he does not break it; he gives that which is better . If a man promises to pay me in farthings, and he pays me in a better coin, as in gold, he does not break his promise. "I will not allow my faithfulness to fail ." In the Hebrew it is, "I will not allow my faithfulness to lie ."

How does it consist with the truth of God, that he "wants all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth"—and yet some still perish?

Augustine understands it, not of every individual person—but some of all kinds of people shall be saved. As in the ark, God saved all the living creatures; not every individual bird or fish was saved, for many perished in the flood; but all , that is, some of every kind were saved. In this sense, God will have all to be saved, that is—some out of each of nations.

It is said, Christ died for all. "He is the Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world ." How does this consist with God's truth, when some are vessels of wrath? Rom 9:92.

(1.) We must qualify the term world . The world is taken either in a limited sense, for the world of the elect; or in a larger sense, for both elect and reprobates. "Christ takes away the sins of the world," that is, the world of the elect.

(2.) We must qualify also Christ's dying for the world. Christ died sufficiently for all, not effectually . There is the value of Christ's blood, and the virtue of Christ's blood. Christ's blood has value enough to redeem the whole world—but the virtue of it is applied only to such as believe. Christ's blood has the value to save all, but it is not efficacious for all. All are not saved, because some put away salvation from them, "We had to speak the word of God to you first. Since you reject it and do not consider yourselves worthy of eternal life, we now turn to the Gentiles." Acts 13:46. Others vilify Christ's blood, counting it an unholy thing.

Use one: The truth of God, is a great pillar for our faith. Were he not a God of truth—we could not believe him—our faith would be an empty dream. But he is truth itself, and not a word which he has spoken shall fall to the ground.

The truth of God, is the object of trust. The truth of God is an immovable rock, on which we may venture our salvation. Isa 59:15, "Truth fails," that is—truth on earth fails—but not truth in heaven. God can as well cease to be God, as cease to be true. Has God said, he "will do good to the soul who seeks him," and he will "give rest to the weary." Here is a safe anchor-hold, he will not alter the thing which has gone out of his lips. The truth of the God of heaven is engaged for believers. Can we have better security? The whole earth hangs upon the word of God's power—and shall not our faith hang upon the word of God's truth? Where can we rest our faith, but upon God's faithfulness? There is nothing else we can securely believe in, but the truth of God. To trust in ourselves is to build upon quick sands; but the truth of God is a golden pillar for faith to rest upon. God cannot deny himself. "If we believe not—yet he abides faithful; he cannot deny himself." Not to believe God's veracity, is to affront God. "He who believes not, has made God a liar." A person of honor cannot be more affronted or provoked, than when he is not believed, and called a liar. He who denies God's truth, says that God's promise is no better than a forged deed. Can there be a greater affront offered to God?

Use two: If God is a God of truth, he is true to his THREATENINGS. The threatenings are a flying scroll against sinners. God has threatened, " Surely God will crush the heads of his enemies, the hairy crowns of those who go on in their sins." Psalm 68:21. He has threatened to judge adulterers. Heb 13:3. To be avenged upon the malicious. Psalm 10:14, "You behold mischief and spite, to requite it with your own hand;" and to "rain fire and brimstone upon the sinner." God is as true to his threatenings as to his promises . To show his truth, he has executed his threatenings, and let his thunderbolts of judgment fall upon sinners in this life. He struck Herod in the act of his pride. He has punished blasphemers. Olympius, an Arian bishop, reproached and blasphemed the blessed Trinity, and immediately lightning fell down from the heaven upon him and consumed him. Let us fear the threatening that we may not feel it.

Use three: Is God a God of truth? Let us be like God in truth.

(1.) We must be true in our WORDS. Pythagoras being asked what made men like God, answered, "When they speak truth." It is the distinction of a man who shall go to heaven, that "He speaks the truth in his heart."

Truth in our words, is opposed to all LYING. "Putting away lying, speak everyone truth to his neighbor." Lying is when one speaks that as truth, which he knows to be false. A liar is most opposite to the God of truth. There are, as Augustine says, two sorts of lies. There is an officious lie—when a man tells a lie for his profit; as, when a tradesman says his commodity cost him so much, when perhaps it did not cost him half so much. He who will lie in his trade—shall lie in hell. There is a jesting lie—when a man tells a lie in sport, to make others merry—and goes laughing to hell. He who tells a lie makes himself like the devil. "The devil is a liar, and the father of lies." John 8:44. He deceived our first parents by a lie. Some are so wicked, that they will not only speak an untruth—but will swear to it; nay, they will wish a curse upon themselves, if that untruth is not true.

I have read of a woman, one Anne Avarie, who in 1575, being in a shop, wished that she might die, if she had not paid for the wares she took, and fell down speechless immediately and died. A liar is not fit to live in a commonwealth. Lying takes away all society and converse with men. How can you converse with a man—when you cannot believe what he says? Lying shuts men out of heaven. "Outside are dogs, and whoever loves and makes a lie."

As it is a great sin to tell a lie—so it is a worse sin to teach a lie. "The prophet that teaches lies." He who teaches error, teaches lies. He spreads the plague; he not only damns himself—but helps to damn others!

Truth in our words, is opposed to all DECEIT. The heart and tongue should go together, as the dial goes exactly with the sun. To speak fair to one's face, and not to mean what one speaks, is no better than a lie. "His words were smoother than oil—but war was in his heart." Some have an art to flatter and deceive. Jerome, speaking of the Arians, says, "they pretended friendship, they kissed my hands—but plotted mischief against me." "A man who flatters his neighbor, spreads a net for his feet." Deadly poison can be hidden under sweet honey. Falsehood in friendship, is a lie. Counterfeiting friendship, is worse than counterfeiting money.

(2.) We must be true in our PROFESSION of religion . Let practice go along with profession . "Righteousness and true holiness." Hypocrisy in religion is a lie. The hypocrite is like a face in a mirror, which is the 'show of a face'—but no true face. He makes show of holiness—but has no truth in it. Ephraim pretended to be that which he was not; and what does God say of him? "Ephraim compasses me about with lies ." By a lie in our words , we deny the truth; by a lie in our profession , we disgrace the truth. Not to be to God what we profess to others—is telling a lie; and the Scripture makes it little better than blasphemy. "I know the blasphemy of those who say they are Jews—and are not."

Oh! I beseech you, labor to be like God. He is a God of truth. He can as well part with his Deity—as his verity. Be like God, be true in your words , be true in your profession . God's children are children that will not lie. When God sees "truth in the inward parts," and "lips in which is no deceit," he sees his own image—which draws his heart towards us. Likeness produces love .