Imitating the God of Truth
“Become imitators of God, as beloved children.”—EPHESIANS 5:1.
1. What do some believe about truth, and why is their reasoning flawed?
“WHAT is truth?” (John 18:38) That question, cynically posed by Pontius Pilate nearly 2,000 years ago, implies that truth is too elusive to be pursued. Many today would agree. The very nature of truth is under attack. You may have heard it said that everyone makes his own truth, or that truth is relative, or that truth is ever changing. Such reasoning is flawed. The very goal of research and education is to learn the facts, the truth, about the world in which we live. Truth is not a matter of personal opinion. For example, either the human soul is immortal or it is not. Either Satan exists or he does not. Either there is a purpose to life or there is not. In each case, there can be only one correct answer. One is true, and the other is false; both cannot be true.
2. In what ways is Jehovah the God of truth, and what questions will now be discussed?
2 In the preceding article, we considered that Jehovah is the God of truth. He knows the truth in all things. In striking contrast with his deceitful adversary Satan the Devil, Jehovah is ever truthful. What is more, Jehovah generously reveals the truth to others. The apostle Paul urged fellow Christians: “Become imitators of God, as beloved children.” (Ephesians 5:1) As Witnesses of Jehovah, how might we imitate him in speaking and living the truth? Why is it important to do so? And what assurance do we have that Jehovah approves of those who pursue a course of truthfulness? Let us see.
3, 4. How did the apostles Paul and Peter describe what was to occur during “the last days”?
3 We live in an era in which religious untruth abounds. As foretold by the apostle Paul under divine inspiration, many people in these “last days” have a form of godly devotion but prove false to its power. Some resist the truth, being “completely corrupted in mind.” Furthermore, “wicked men and impostors . . . advance from bad to worse, misleading and being misled.” Though such people are always learning, they never come to “an accurate knowledge of truth.”—2 Timothy 3:1, 5, 7, 8, 13.
4 The apostle Peter was also inspired to write about the last days. Just as he prophesied, people not only reject the truth but also ridicule God’s Word and those who proclaim its truth. “According to their wish,” such ridiculers ignore the fact that the world of Noah’s day was deluged with water, setting a pattern for a future day of judgment. Their wishful thinking will spell disaster for them when God’s time comes to destroy ungodly ones.—2 Peter 3:3-7.
Jehovah’s Servants Know the Truth
5. According to the prophet Daniel, what would happen in “the time of the end,” and how has this prophecy been fulfilled?
5 In a description of “the time of the end,” the prophet Daniel foretold quite a different development among God’s people—a revival of religious truth. He wrote: “Many will rove about, and the true knowledge will become abundant.” (Daniel 12:4) Jehovah’s people are not confused or blinded by the great Deceiver. Roving through the pages of the Bible, they have come to acquire true knowledge. In the first century, Jesus enlightened his disciples. He “opened up their minds fully to grasp the meaning of the Scriptures.” (Luke 24:45) In our day, Jehovah has acted similarly. Through his Word, his spirit, and his organization, he has enabled millions throughout the earth to understand what he already knows—the truth.
6. God’s people today understand what Bible truths?
6 As God’s people, we understand many things that we could not otherwise have known. We know the answers to questions that worldly-wise men have grappled with for millenniums. For example, we know why suffering exists, why people die, and why humans cannot achieve global peace and unity. We have also been blessed with a vision of what the future holds—the Kingdom of God, a paradise earth, and endless life in perfection. We have come to know Jehovah, the Supreme One. We have learned about his appealing personality along with what we must do to enjoy his blessing. Knowing the truth enables us to recognize what is not true. Applying the truth protects us from fruitless pursuits, enables us to get the best out of life, and gives us a marvelous hope for the future.
7. To whom are Bible truths accessible, and to whom are they not?
7 Do you understand Bible truth? If so, you have been richly blessed. When an author writes a book, he or she usually fashions it to appeal to a specific group of people. Some books are written for the highly educated, others for children, still others for those in specialized fields. While the Bible is easily available to all, it is meant to be understood and appreciated by a particular group of people. Jehovah crafted it for the humble, the meek ones of the earth. Such people can grasp the sense of the Bible, whatever their education, culture, station in life, or ethnic group. (1 Timothy 2:3, 4) On the other hand, an understanding of Bible truth is denied to those not rightly disposed, no matter how intelligent or educated they may be. The haughty, the proud, cannot grasp the precious truths of God’s Word. (Matthew 13:11-15; Luke 10:21; Acts 13:48) Only God could produce such a book.
Jehovah’s Servants Are Truthful
8. Why was Jesus the very embodiment of the truth?
8 Like Jehovah, his faithful Witnesses are truthful. Jesus Christ, the preeminent Witness of Jehovah, affirmed the truth by the things he taught and by the way he lived and died. He upheld the truth of Jehovah’s word and promises. Consequently, Jesus was the very embodiment of the truth, as he himself stated.—John 14:6; Revelation 3:14; 19:10.
9. What do the Scriptures say about speaking the truth?
9 Jesus was “full of undeserved kindness and truth” and “there was no deception in his mouth.” (John 1:14; Isaiah 53:9) True Christians follow the pattern that Jesus set in being truthful with others. Paul counseled fellow believers: “Speak truth each one of you with his neighbor, because we are members belonging to one another.” (Ephesians 4:25) Earlier, the prophet Zechariah wrote: “Speak truthfully with one another.” (Zechariah 8:16) Christians are truthful because they want to please God. Jehovah is truthful and knows the harm that results from falsehood. Therefore, he rightfully expects his servants to tell the truth.
10. Why do people lie, and with what negative results?
10 To many, lying may seem a convenient tool to obtain certain advantages. People lie to escape punishment, to profit in some way, or to gain the praise of others. Yet, a practice of lying is a vice. What is more, a liar cannot gain God’s approval. (Revelation 21:8, 27; 22:15) When we are known to be truthful, others believe what we say; they trust us. However, if we are caught telling even a single lie, others may doubt the truthfulness of anything we say in the future. An African proverb states: “One falsehood spoils a thousand truths.” Another proverb says: “A liar will not be believed, even when he speaks the truth.”
11. In what way is truthfulness more than merely telling the truth?
11 Truthfulness means more than merely telling the truth. It is a way of life. It defines who we are. We make the truth known to others not only by what we say but also by what we do. “Do you . . . the one teaching someone else, not teach yourself?” asked the apostle Paul. “You, the one preaching ‘Do not steal,’ do you steal? You, the one saying ‘Do not commit adultery,’ do you commit adultery?” (Romans 2:21, 22) If we are to impart truth to others, we must be truthful in all our ways. Our reputation for truthfulness and honesty will have a powerful impact on how people respond to what we teach.
12, 13. What did one young person write about truthfulness, and what was the reason for her high moral standard?
12 Young ones among Jehovah’s servants also understand the importance of being truthful. In a school essay, Jenny, who at the time was 13 years old, wrote: “Honesty is something I truly value. Unfortunately, not many people are completely honest today. I promise myself that I will always maintain honesty in my life. I will also be honest even if telling the truth won’t immediately benefit me or my friends. I make sure that my friends are those who tell the truth and are honest people.”
13 In commenting on this essay, Jenny’s teacher noted: “You are very young to have developed such a strong moral and ethical code. I know you will stick with your code because you have strength of character.” What was responsible for this schoolgirl’s moral strength? In the introduction to her essay, Jenny stated that her religion “sets the standards for [her] life.” Seven years have passed since Jenny wrote that essay. As her teacher surmised, Jenny continues to manifest a high moral standard in her life as one of Jehovah’s Witnesses.
Jehovah’s Servants Reveal the Truth
14. Why do God’s servants have a particularly great responsibility to uphold what is true?
14 Of course, others besides Jehovah’s Witnesses may tell the truth and try to be honest. However, as servants of God, we have a particularly great responsibility to uphold what is true. We have been entrusted with Bible truths—truths that can lead one to everlasting life. Hence, we have an obligation to share that knowledge with others. “Everyone to whom much was given,” said Jesus, “much will be demanded of him.” (Luke 12:48) Certainly ‘much is demanded’ of those who have been blessed with the precious knowledge of God.
15. What happiness do you find in imparting Bible truth to others?
15 There is happiness in imparting Bible truth to others. Like Jesus’ first-century disciples, we declare the good news—a heartwarming message of hope—to those “skinned and thrown about like sheep without a shepherd” and to those blinded and confused by “teachings of demons.” (Matthew 9:36; 1 Timothy 4:1) The apostle John wrote: “No greater cause for thankfulness do I have than these things, that I should be hearing that my children go on walking in the truth.” (3 John 4) The faithfulness of John’s “children”—perhaps those he introduced to the truth—brought him great joy. It brings joy to us when we see people respond with appreciation to the Word of God.
16, 17. (a) Why do not all accept the truth? (b) What joy can you experience as you proclaim Bible truth?
16 Granted, not all will accept the truth. Jesus spoke the truth about God, even when it was unpopular to do so. To Jewish opposers he said: “Why is it you do not believe me? He that is from God listens to the sayings of God. This is why you do not listen, because you are not from God.”—John 8:46, 47.
17 We, like Jesus, do not hold back from telling the precious truth about Jehovah. We do not expect everyone to accept what we tell them, for not all accepted what Jesus said. Nevertheless, we have the joy of knowing that we are doing what is right. Jehovah in his loving-kindness wants the truth to be revealed to humankind. As possessors of truth, Christians become light bearers in a bedarkened world. By letting the light of truth shine through our words and deeds, we can help others to give glory to our heavenly Father. (Matthew 5:14, 16) We publicly make known that we reject Satan’s counterfeit version of the truth and uphold the pure and unadulterated Word of God. The truth that we know and share can impart true freedom to those who accept it.—John 8:32.
Pursue the Course of Truthfulness
18. Why and how did Jesus favor Nathanael?
18 Jesus loved and spoke the truth. During his ministry on earth, he showed favor to those who were truthful. Concerning Nathanael, Jesus said: “See, an Israelite for a certainty, in whom there is no deceit.” (John 1:47) Subsequently, Nathanael, who was likely also called Bartholomew, was chosen to be one of the 12 apostles. (Matthew 10:2-4) What an honor!
19-21. How was a once blind man blessed for his courageous truthfulness?
19 An entire chapter in the Bible book of John relates the account of another honest man who was blessed by Jesus. We do not know his name. What we do know is that the man was a beggar who was blind from birth. People marveled when Jesus restored his sight. The news of this miraculous cure reached the ears of some of the Pharisees, haters of truth, who had agreed among themselves that anyone exercising faith in Jesus was to be expelled from the synagogue. Knowing their scheme, the fearful parents of the once blind man lied to the Pharisees, saying that they did not know how their son could now see or who was responsible.—John 9:1-23.
20 The cured man was again called before the Pharisees. Disregarding any consequences, he boldly told the truth. He explained how he was cured and that it was Jesus who did it. Astounded that these prominent and educated men did not believe that Jesus was from God, the healed man fearlessly urged them to accept the obvious: “If this man were not from God, he could do nothing at all.” Having no counterargument, the Pharisees accused the man of insolence and threw him out.—John 9:24-34.
21 When Jesus learned of this, he lovingly took the time to find the man. After doing so, he built on the faith that the once blind man had shown. Jesus openly identified himself as the Messiah. How that man was blessed for telling the truth! Surely divine favor rests upon those who speak the truth.—John 9:35-37.
22. Why should we pursue the course of truthfulness?
22 Practicing truth is a pursuit that we should take seriously. It is fundamental in forging and maintaining good relations with people and with God. To be truthful is to be open, genuine, approachable, and trustworthy, and it wins Jehovah’s approval. (Psalm 15:1, 2) To be untruthful is to be deceitful, unreliable, and false, and it incurs Jehovah’s disfavor. (Proverbs 6:16-19) Therefore, be resolved to pursue the course of truthfulness. Indeed, to imitate the God of truth, we must know the truth, speak the truth, and live the truth.
How Would You Answer?
• Why can we be grateful that we know the truth?
• How may we imitate Jehovah in being truthful?
• What benefits are there in imparting Bible truth to others?
• Why is it important to pursue the course of truthfulness?
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Entrusted with Bible truth, Christians zealously share it with others
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The blind man cured by Jesus was highly blessed for telling the truth