“Let God Be Found True”
“But let God be found true, though every man be found a liar.”—Rom. 3:4.
1. Who is the greatest possessor of the Bible, but what questions arise because of her attitude toward the Bible?
THE greatest possessor of God’s written Word, the Holy Bible, is Christendom. Does she accept it as “the word of truth”? That is, Does she believe it? By her works, which speak louder than words, she betrays unbelief in the Holy Bible, a non-adherence to the Bible, and a rejecting of it in favor of worldly science, philosophy and politics. What are the more than two thousand millions of persons who do not belong to Christendom to think of this or to conclude from this? Logically they would be inclined to ask this question: Since Christendom does not believe and obey its most sacred Book of religion, does this not prove that the Holy Bible does not contain the truth? Does this not prove that the God of the Bible does not exist, that he is not the true God, and that he is not true but is, in fact, a liar? Informed Bible students who are not part of Christendom will answer No!
2, 3. How did the apostle Paul face a situation similar to that of ours today regarding God’s written Word?
2 Let us call on a renowned Bible writer to argue the case. This is the apostle Paul of nineteen hundred years ago. A similar situation faced Bible readers in his day. This Paul was a circumcised Jew, who had to take issue with his own nation because it had caused a great misunderstanding to grow about the Hebrew Bible of that day. To those circumcised Jews there had been committed the exclusive care of the collection of sacred scriptures, holy writings from the days of the prophet Moses of the fifteenth century before our Common Era to the prophet Malachi of the fifth century before our Common Era. There were twenty-four books, as the Jews count them, or thirty-nine books, as Christendom counts them. Those holy writings, filled with prophecies in God’s name, should have led those Jews to become followers of Jesus Christ, who came and spoke, lived, worked and died and was resurrected from the dead right in the Jews’ own country.
3 It did not matter that the Bible prophecies of God were fulfilled right among them in proof that Jesus the descendant of King David was the Christ. The vast majority of the Jews refused to accept him as such. They disbelieved and thus were disobedient to their God Jehovah. Now what should we conclude from all this?
4. The course of action on the part of the Jews raises what questions regarding God and his written Word, but how did Paul answer those questions?
4 We do not overlook the fact that the far greater number of circumcised Jews of that day did not accept the testimony of their own holy writings of prophecy. But did this prove that those sacred pronouncements of God were false? Did it prove that God, the Inspirer of the Holy Bible, was not true to his part of the covenant that he had made with the Jews through Moses? Was God found to be unreliable, unworthy of faith on our part? Should we therefore throw the Bible away as being found untrue or as being the work of just ordinary human writers who made mistakes and who lie? Should we follow the Jewish course of sticking to the traditions of men rather than to the Holy Scriptures? If we were to let the example of faithless, disobedient, self-righteous men influence us, we would answer Yes to each one of those questions. That is the way many of the 13,016,000 circumcised Jews answer today. But the Christian apostle Paul, who also was a Jew by birth and who was “circumcised the eighth day,” says No! He was not influenced by those who claim to be Jews but who are not true Jews in fact.
5. How does Paul, in Romans 2:28 to 3:4, argue against our misjudging God from looking at his professed people, the Jews?
5 Paul comes to the defense of God. He argues against our misjudging God from looking at his professed people and says: “He is not a Jew who is one on the outside, nor is circumcision that which is on the outside upon the flesh. But he is a Jew who is one on the inside, and his circumcision is that of the heart by spirit, and not by a written code. The praise of that one comes, not from men, but from God. What, then, is the superiority of the Jew, or what is the benefit of the circumcision? A great deal in every way. First of all, because they were entrusted with the sacred pronouncements of God. What, then, is the case? If some did not express faith, will their lack of faith perhaps make the faithfulness of God without effect? Never may that happen! But let God be found true, though every man be found a liar, even as it is written [in Psalm 51:4]: ‘That you [O God] might be proved righteous in your words and might win when you are being judged.’”—Rom. 2:28 to 3:4.
6. By applying this same rule of judgment with regard to unfaithful Christendom of today, what decision do we make, like Paul’s?
6 The same rule of judgment holds true with regard to Christendom of today, which has proved unfaithful to God’s holy Word, the Bible, for the apostle Paul says: “If we are unfaithful, he remains faithful, for he cannot deny himself.” (2 Tim. 2:13) In other words, God will carry out what he says in his written Word regardless of the fact that the hundreds of millions who claim to be Christian neither live up to the Bible nor uphold the God of the Bible. What men do can never make God false or prove God false.
7, 8. In his argument in favor of letting God be found true, why did the apostle Paul quote David’s words in Psalm 51:4?
7 In proving the faithfulness and truthfulness of God, the apostle Paul quoted the words of King David in Psalm 51:4. Why? Because David did not try to defend himself, excuse himself or declare himself righteous and thus discredit God. David admits his wrong and error and he acknowledges that God is true and righteous.
8 David says: “Show me favor, O God, according to your loving-kindness. According to the abundance of your mercies wipe out my transgressions. Thoroughly wash me from my error, and cleanse me even from my sin. For my transgressions I myself know, and my sin is in front of me constantly. Against you, you alone, I have sinned, and what is bad in your eyes I have done, in order that you may prove to be righteous when you speak, that you may be in the clear when you judge. Look! With error I was brought forth with birth pains, and in sin my mother conceived me. Look! You have taken delight in truthfulness itself in the inward parts; and in the secret self may you cause me to know sheer wisdom. May you purify me from sin with hyssop, that I may be clean. May you wash me, that I may become whiter even than snow.”—Ps. 51:1-7; Rom. 3:4.
9. If people of Christendom and Jewry were like repentant David, what confession would they make and what attitude would they take toward God’s written Word?
9 If people, especially those of Christendom and of Jewry, were like repentant King David of Jerusalem, they would confess that they are sinful from birth and were inclined to error from the very time of their conception in their mother’s womb. Then they would take a humble attitude before God and not argue against God in favor of human science and man-made moral standards. They would argue that they are sinners, righteously condemned by God’s law. They would admit that God is true in his speaking and judging, even though this was an admission that they themselves were liars. By doing this they would show true wisdom, and they would take the right viewpoint toward God’s written Word and would accept it, believe it, understand it and live in harmony with it. This would then recommend the Bible to people to whom they offer it.
10. How, according to men’s argument, does God get a benefit from their unrighteousness, and why, therefore, do they impute injustice to him in his treatment of them?
10 Men’s going into error and unrighteousness does not hurt God himself. Rather, it causes God’s truthfulness, holiness and righteousness to stand out in sharp contrast, all to God’s glory. Well, then, it may be argued that, when men do wrong, they really do God a benefit, at least indirectly. If, then, God gets an indirect benefit from their course of unrighteousness, does God justly have a reason for adversely judging sinful men, condemning them? Does not God act unjustly in executing a condemnatory judgment upon them in the coming “war of the great day of God the Almighty”? (Rev. 16:14, 16) Are wickedness and improper ways to be condemned and punished if good results therefrom? Men, who are born in error and in sin, argue that way. They argue that God is acting unjustly, unrighteously, if he is faithful to his Word of truth and executes destructive judgment upon them for their unrighteousness.
11. (a) According to what reasoning about sin do men argue that God’s condemnatory judgment will not be executed toward them? (b) Why are they wrong in such reasoning?
11 By arguing in such a worldly-wise way men, who have proved to be liars, go only deeper into error. They say that sinners should never fear that God’s condemnatory judgment will be executed upon them. They ignore the fact that sin, error, lawbreaking are wrong in themselves. A religious philosophy is wrong when it argues that, if a wrong or bad thing that we do hurts only ourselves, it is no sin. Or, if from the wrong that we do somebody else gets an unintended benefit or advantage, it is not sin and it does not deserve to be punished. Regardless of how a religious philosophy argues, a wrong is a wrong, and no one has a right to do wrong or harm even to himself. Why not? Because each one of us is a creation of God and we have no right to harm God’s creation. Any wrong course of action is a sin, because it is a violation of God’s law regarding the way that we creatures should live. God does not want us to sin just because it makes his righteousness show forth.
12, 13. (a) Will God’s judgment be just against those who argue that good comes from their doing bad things? (b) Why should we not fool ourselves in this matter?
12 That is how the inspired apostle Paul reasons. After advising us to let God be found true though every man should thereby be found a liar, Paul goes on to say: “However, if our unrighteousness brings God’s righteousness to the fore, what shall we say? God is not unjust when he vents his wrath, is he? (I am speaking as a man does.) Never may that happen! How, otherwise, will God judge the world? Yet if by reason of my lie the truth of God has been made more prominent to his glory, why am I also yet being judged as a sinner? And why not say, just as it is falsely charged to us and just as some men state that we say: ‘Let us do the bad things that the good things may come’? The judgment against those men is in harmony with justice.”—Rom. 3:5-8.
13 So let us today not fool ourselves. The end does not justify the means. If we do bad things just because we like bad things, and then if we try to excuse ourselves by saying that in the long run good will come from such bad things, we shall not escape. God’s righteous judgment will be executed against us just the same.
HOW TO “LET GOD BE FOUND TRUE”
14. If we love God the Creator, whom will we let be found true, and how will we do this?
14 If we want to love, honor and respect God our Creator, what will we do? We will then desire to “let God be found true” in all cases where there is a dispute or controversy between God and men. We will do so by going to God’s written Word the Bible. We will allow what it says to stand as the truth in regard to human history, in regard to true religious teachings and in regard to the decisions that we should make when worldly men and political institutions make extreme demands upon us. We will wholeheartedly take God’s written Word, the Holy Scriptures, as being the criterion, the standard for determining truth and righteousness.
15. (a) If we claim to be Christians, what must we acknowledge God’s Word to be? (b) In Jesus’ day what truth was there in addition to the Hebrew Scriptures?
15 What if we claim to be Christians? Then our being true to our claim requires us to say the same thing that Jesus said in prayer to God: “Your word is truth.” (John 17:17) In Jesus’ day all thirty-nine books of the Hebrew Scriptures had been written up and were on hand to be read. But those inspired Hebrew Scriptures were not the only things true. What Jesus taught during his ministry on earth was additional truth. This fact must be so from what he said in that same prayer to God: “I am speaking these things in the world in order that they may have my joy in themselves to the full. I have given your word to them.” (John 17:13, 14) So what Jesus Christ had given to his disciples was really the word of God his Father, and not words of his own origination. It also was truth.
16. Why could writings in Greek by Jesus’ disciples be added to the Hebrew Scriptures, and how many books does God’s written Word now contain?
16 Jesus told his disciples that they would receive help to remember the truths that he had revealed to them. Before offering the aforementioned prayer to God, he said to his disciples: “I will request the Father and he will give you another helper to be with you forever, the spirit of the truth, which the world cannot receive, because it neither beholds it nor knows it. You know it, because it remains with you and is in you. . . . the helper, the holy spirit, which the Father will send in my name, that one will teach you all things and bring back to your minds all the things I told you.” (John 14:16, 17, 26) As a result, after the festival day of Pentecost when the holy spirit was poured out upon them, the things that Jesus’ faithful disciples wrote under inspiration of God’s spirit were likewise part of God’s Word and became part of the Holy Scriptures. These inspired writings in the form of the twenty-seven books written in common Greek were finished by the end of the first century of our Common Era. They were added to the inspired Hebrew Scriptures, to form a Bible made up of sixty-six books. All this written word is God’s truth.
17. Why did Jesus, when before Pilate, not have to swear to tell the truth, and why should we accept his teachings?
17 Jehovah God is wholly committed to the truth and nothing but the truth. So is his faithful Son, Jesus Christ. It is a fact that when Jesus stood before the Roman governor Pontius Pilate he was not made to swear with a solemn oath that he would tell the truth and nothing but the truth, so help him God! Yet, although he was on trial for his life, Jesus did not deny who and what he was. (John 18:37) His willingness to die for the truth produces in us more confidence that what he taught, preached and commanded was the pure truth. Hence we should accept it as such.
18. Why did Jesus appropriately quote David’s words in Psalm 31:5 when dying on the stake, and so to whom did Jesus’ spirit return?
18 When, shortly after being sentenced to death, Jesus was hanging on the execution stake, with the inscription posted above his head, “This is the king of the Jews,” he quoted words from Psalm 31:5 as he was about to die and said: “Father, into your hands I entrust my spirit.” (Luke 23:38, 46) That psalm was written by King David, who foreshadowed Jesus Christ. So it assured Jesus that he could safely entrust his spirit to Jehovah God in full hope of being delivered from Sheol, the common grave of dead mankind. Jesus knew that the psalmist David appealed to God’s truthfulness, saying: “You will bring me out of the net that they have hidden for me, for you are my fortress. Into your hand I entrust my spirit. You have redeemed me, O Jehovah the God of truth. I do hate those paying regard to worthless, vain idols; but as for me, in Jehovah I do trust. O Jehovah, may I not be ashamed, for I have called on you. May the wicked ones be ashamed; may they keep silent in Sheol.” (Ps. 31:4-6, 17) When Jesus thus entrusted his spirit of life to Jehovah at his death, his spirit returned to the God of truth, who had given it to him.—Eccl. 12:7.
19. (a) Why was the Son of God not allowed to “keep silent in Sheol”? (b) How did Jehovah then prove to be not one of those “worthless, vain idols”?
19 On the third day after that, Jehovah restored the spirit of life to his Son and thus resurrected him from the dead. He had safely kept in trust what his Son had committed to him. He did not let his Son “keep silent in Sheol,” for his Son was not wicked. It had been just to fulfill the prophecy of Isaiah 53:9 that Jesus made “his burial place even with the wicked ones, and with the rich class in his death, despite the fact that he had done no violence and there was no deception in his mouth.” Because Jehovah raised his Son to spiritual life in heaven on the third day, it proved that Jehovah was not one of those hated “worthless, vain idols” but was actually “the God of truth.” As such, he was able to make good his word, make good his prophecies that were given over his own name.—1 Pet. 3:18, 19; Ps. 16:10; Acts 2:22-36.
20. What does God’s resurrection of Jesus prove as to His ability to do things?
20 The resurrecting of his Son Jesus Christ to renewed life in heaven, in immortality, was conceivably the hardest test of the trueness of Jehovah God. (Eph. 1:18-22) Since he met such an extraordinary test of his trueness, what else is there that he has promised that he cannot fulfill? Nothing!—1 Cor. 6:14; 2 Cor. 4:13, 14.
21. (a) Hence what confidence should the inspiration of the Holy Scriptures by such a God excite in us? (b) From what point forward is God’s written Word the truth?
21 Such a God as this has inspired the writing of the Holy Scriptures. What confidence we should therefore have that these Scriptures are exclusively the truth, as distinct from all the other religious books that have been written, belonging to the religious systems of this world, ancient and modern! The very essence or substance of the written Word of God is truth, his Word being in full harmony with the facts and never once departing from actualities or from the successful carrying out of God’s glorious purpose. From its very beginning God’s written Word is the truth, and such truth moves on through the sixty-six Bible books to a grand climax of truth concerning God’s established kingdom for the eternal blessing of mankind.
22. How is it true that the substance or sum of God’s Word is truth?
22 Added together, the sixty-six books of the Bible sum up to be a full, complete statement and expression of truth. That is why truth seekers love the Bible. The psalmist nicely expressed the matter when, under inspiration, he wrote in appreciation of God: “O see that I have loved your own orders. O Jehovah, according to your loving-kindness preserve me alive. The substance [or, sum] of your word is truth, and every righteous judicial decision of yours is to time indefinite.”—Ps. 119:159, 160; marginal reading, 1957 edition.
23. Why could the psalmist say that God’s commandments are truth?
23 All of God’s commandments, as recorded in his written Word, are for the carrying out of the truth. They are given for the purpose of keeping the obedient ones in accord with the truth. His commandments are issued in order to move persons and things on to the realization of God’s prophecies, that thus these may come true. Sometimes persons who have got far away from God’s law in loose conduct come near to us to do us harm; but God is also near us if we lovingly and loyally keep his commandments. As the psalmist gratefully expressed the matter: “You are near, O Jehovah, and all your commandments are truth. Long ago I have known some of your reminders, for to time indefinite you have founded them.” (Ps. 119:150-152) Marvelously, those reminders and testimonies that God founded so long ago have continued till today, despite all efforts of the enemies of truth to overthrow and destroy them by destroying copies of the Bible and destroying believers in the Bible. But, says Psalm 117:2, “the trueness of Jehovah is to time indefinite.”
24. How is fighting against Bible truth sure to result, and what course toward it is the better one to take?
24 To fight against the truth of the Bible means to fight against the “God of truth.” We can never win out in such a fight, but are sure to go down in defeat and death as liars. God’s truth has always prevailed and will always prevail. It is a wise reminder that the apostle Paul gives us, when he writes: “We can do nothing against the truth, but only for the truth.” (2 Cor. 13:8) For that reason we should not, by a course contrary to God’s Word, cause the truth of God to show forth in triumph over us. To receive His blessing we should take a positive course in favor and support of God’s truth and publish it abroad to His glory and praise.