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Youth Messenger Online Edition

July-September

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The Belt of Truth
Bianca Sirbu

And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free” (John 8:32). What is this truth? In the gospel according to John, Jesus explains: “I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me” (John 14:6).

In the present world, truth is perhaps one of the most difficult concepts to define and understand. Amidst the present corruption and depravity in the world, it has become extremely difficult to distinguish between what is good or evil, what is truth or a lie. This conflict between what is true and what is false has been ongoing since the fall of Adam and Eve. In Eden, the first pair knew only the truth, which is God and His word—but with their sin, they also learned the falsehood that Satan has always tried to portray as something better than the truth.

It is often hard to understand why Eve would ever want to know anything more than the truth which God had given them. The first couple had known only joy and purity in that truth. God, the loving Father, had created them in His own image, giving them the ability to decide for themselves. He did not force them to believe His truth, but hoped, in His mercy, to make them understand that only in this truth could they find happiness. Only by knowing this truth could they be completely pure from all evil. God let the first pair decide whether or not this truth was enough for them.

The test that our first parents had to pass was a small test. God warned them that in the day they would eat from the forbidden tree, they would know evil as well as good, and thus would die.

Consequences

Adam and Eve did not understand the meaning of evil nor of death. They did not understand that Satan’s words were a lie because all they had known was the loving truth of God’s love. As soon as their eyes were opened, they saw Satan’s lie in its true light for the first time. Their remorse was insurmountable, and only when they were driven out of the garden of Eden, did they really understand the depravity of Satan’s lie.

“And the Lord God said, Behold, the man is become as one of us, to know good and evil” (Genesis 3:22). God knew about the cause and existence of evil, but He wished to spare man from knowing and experiencing its depravity. He had hoped to make man stronger against the allurements of evil through this test. However, when the first couple failed the test, God showed them the consequences. Adam and Eve could not think of God as cruel for driving them out of Eden because they knew it was their own choice that had caused their fall. When their communion with God, their closest Friend, was interrupted, the pain they felt could hardly be described. But for the grace of God, their separation would have been forever.

“When Adam, according to God’s special directions, made an offering for sin, it was to him a most painful ceremony. His hand must be raised to take life, which God alone could give, and make an offering for sin. It was the first time he had witnessed death. As he looked upon the bleeding victim, writhing in the agonies of death, he was to look forward by faith to the Son of God, whom the victim prefigured, who was to die man’s sacrifice.

“This ceremonial offering, ordained of God, was to be a perpetual reminder to Adam of his guilt, and also a penitential acknowledgment of his sin. This act of taking life gave Adam a deeper and more perfect sense of his transgression, which nothing less than the death of God’s dear Son could expiate. He marveled at the infinite goodness and matchless love which would give such a ransom to save the guilty.”—Lift Him Up, p. 25.

The battle

Looking back through the ages, one recurring conflict stands out above all others—the conflict between good and evil. The Bible clearly shows the similarity and connection between good and truth. In Mark 10:18, Jesus explains, “there is none good but one, that is, God.” He also explained in the gospel according to John: “I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me” (John 14:6), declaring that He and His Father “are one” (John 10:30). If Jesus is the truth, then so is God, because they are one. Thus, God can be defined both as good and as the truth. The truth is God’s goodness and love. Evil, on the other side, is the opposite of good, and therefore the opposite of truth—it is falsehood. Thus, we can conclude that the battle between good and evil is also a battle between truth and falsehood.

Today, we see the consequences of the sin of Adam and Eve. We live in a fallen world, where sin and evil abound. The line of demarcation between truth and falsehood has become blurred with time. Satan and his angels have become more and more experienced over the last 6000 years. He knows that the biggest lie He can inflict upon man is that they can live separated from God. Peter warns God’s people: “Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour” (1 Peter 5:8). As God has had His remnant people in every age, He has His people today that will stand for the truth no matter what. When Jesus ascended to heaven after His crucifixion, He sent His disciples a Comforter—the Holy Spirit. John says: “When he, the Spirit of truth, is come, he will guide you into all truth: for he shall not speak of himself; but whatsoever he shall hear, that shall he speak: and he will shew you things to come” (John 16:13). Only through the Holy Spirit can we comprehend the true meaning of this truth. Although it may seem like we are constantly surrounded by evil, God’s truth is still available to all those who want to partake of it: “Sanctify them through thy truth: thy word is truth” (John 17:17). The only real truth is God’s word.

Without this truth, we cannot stand up to Satan’s temptations. The meaning of temptation is: “something that causes a strong urge or desire to have or do something and especially something that is wrong.” How can we know if something is wrong or not? Imagine a society where there is no law. There would be only chaos, and morality would not exist. From the beginning, God gave His people a set of rules to follow. At Sinai, He wrote these laws on two tablets of stone with His own finger. These laws were not given to make us feel restricted. At the basis of these commandments lies the truth of God’s love. The apostle Paul said, “Because the carnal mind is enmity against God: for it is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be” (Romans 8:7). Because our human nature has been so corrupted, the law seems like a burden or restriction rather than a return of God’s love. If we love God, keeping His law would not be a requirement but rather a joy. Imagine if one of your best friends asked something of you, something which may not be important to you, but is to them. Would you do it? Most likely yes. Why would you do this? The answer is simple: because you love them. It is the same with God. If He is your best friend, will you not do what He asks of you? All He asks is: “If ye love me, keep my commandments” (John 14:15). Imagine a friend who would choose to die for you so that you would be able to live. God sent His only Son to this fallen world so that through His sacrifice we would be able to partake of eternal life.

The blessing of salvation

“Without the atonement of the Son of God there could be no communication of blessing or salvation from God to man. God was jealous for the honor of His law. The transgression of that law caused a fearful separation between God and man. To Adam in his innocency was granted communion, direct, free, and happy, with his Maker. After his transgression God would communicate to man through Christ and angels.

“Such a sacrifice was of sufficient value to save the whole world. . . . This sacrifice was of such infinite value as to make a man who should avail himself of it more precious than fine gold, even a man than the golden wedge of Ophir.”—Ibid.

Standing firm

With every passing day, we are getting closer to the end of this world. In an article named “Truth,” R. F. Cottrell said: “The truth always meets with opposition.” This will be seen more in the future, and in the final conflict. Therefore, knowing the times we are living in, and seeing prophecy fulfill with our own eyes, we have to decide on which side we stand. Are we going to be able to stand for the truth on that final day? Or will we be part of those who only claimed to know the truth, but when tested, will not be able to stand for it? Jesus said: “He that saith, I know him, and keepeth not his commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in him” (1 John 2:4). We cannot claim to know this truth and not carry it out. When we really understand the truth of God’s goodness and love for us, we will obey the Lord’s commands. We cannot trust in our own selves, because as Jeremiah said, “The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it?” (Jeremiah 17:9). God is stretching out His helping hand, waiting to help us stand strong for the truth. All we need to do is ask in faith. The apostle Paul said: “Stand therefore, having your loins girt about with truth, and having on the breastplate of righteousness” (Ephesians 6:14). In order to “gird” ourselves with the truth, we must first understand this truth. Psalm 119 defines the law of God as the truth: “Thou art near, O Lord, and all thy commandments are truth” (Psalm 119:151). By keep–ing God’s law and standing up for His truth, we can be protected from falling prey to the lies and deceptions of Satan. The psalmist says: “Blessed are the undefiled in the way, who walk in the law of the Lord” (Psalm 119:1). Those who keep the commandments of God and who are a living example of His truth, will find happiness not only here on earth, but also in the life to come. Others will be able to see this truth living in us, and will also want to find that happiness that can be found only in knowing the truth. May the Lord help us to be a part of those who strive every day to better understand the truth of God’s goodness and grace. Only by doing this can we use the truth as our armor against the error and falsehood that exists in the world.