There is an old saying, “You never have to fear the truth. It will set you free.” Many would question this statement. There are times when it is hard to face the truth, especially when it confronts us with reality. For example, many
people have big problems in misusing their credit cards. When they have to face the reality that these bills have to be paid, it is an uncomfortable time for them.
Jesus believed and taught that truth was not to be feared. He said, “If you hold to my teaching, you are truly my disciples, and you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.” We are always better off to face the realities of life. It may hurt for a time, but it ultimately saves us a lot of pain.
Well, if we don’t like to face the whole truth, how about living with half-truths? This is living with the idea that, while I cannot deny the truth, it doesn’t necessarily apply to me. As we get older, it is easy to live with half-truths concerning our health. The men in my golf group are 65 years or older.
There is always something wrong with one of us. Some go to the urologist, dermatologist, or oncologist. Others are on the way to see the cardiologist, rheumatologist or orthopedist. Often one will say, “I can’t understand what is wrong with me. It seems like I am on my way to the doctor most of the time.”
One day I suggested that we really know what is wrong; we just don’t want to face the truth.
One of my friends asked, “What is wrong with us?”
I suggested to the group that we are getting older and the body is wearing out. It is like an automobile with 100,000 miles on it. What can we expect at our age?
Read the obituaries and the evidence is before us. We are mortal beings. It is appointed for us to die. That’s truth, which is kind of hard for some to accept, especially when we are enjoying life. We sometimes tell our kids to act their age.
Maybe we who are older have to accept our age.
It is also difficult at times to accept spiritual truth. We are not as verbal in telling
others what is wrong with us spiritually as we are physically; but in all honesty,
doesn’t some of our behavior bother us? Don’t you get disappointed with yourself?
We have been Christian for many years, but we still have a quick temper, a critical
spirit, and a self-centered personality. Why is that the case?
God tells us the truth about ourselves when He says, “Just as sin entered the world through one man, and death through sin, and in this way death came to all men because all sinned . . .” (Romans 5:12).
What does it mean? It means that sin has come into the world, and it is passed on to us from our first parents. It’s called original or inherited sin. Original sin carries with it imperfections of all minds. By nature we are not the good people that humanism pictures us being. We are born with a fallen nature and are helpless sinners.
That’s why I have trouble with temper, a critical spirit, and a self-centered personality. Listening again to St. Paul. He writes, “What a wretched man I am. Who will rescue me from this body of death?” This is the spiritual truth I must face if I want God to help me. It is when we accept the truth about who we are that God’s Word brings us great hope. Jesus says, “Never fear the truth. It will always set you free.”
No one understood this better than Martin Luther. On this Reformation Sunday, let’s take a look at the Reformer’s experience when facing the truth.
Martin Luther was a brilliant young law student who was haunted with the question, “How can I appease a Holy God?” Luther faced the truth that he was a helpless sinner. But his answer to the problem was to escape to the monastery in the hope that there would be fewer temptations to sin
there. Instead he experienced Satan’s power there as well as on the streets of Eisnarach.
He went to confession frequently, and his confessor suggested that he not take himself so seriously. He continued to search the writings of the Church Fathers in the hope that there the answer could be found. Nothing seemed to help. But then came that blessed day when, in the Word of God, the Holy Spirit opened Luther’s eyes, and God revealed the truth, “the righteous shall live by faith” (Romans 1:17). Humans cannot save themselves; but God, in His love and mercy has given His Son, the Lord Jesus, to pay the price for our sins through His sacrificial death and resurrection. It was Christ and Christ alone who set Luther free.
When we meet Jesus, we find out the truth about ourselves, and that truth sets us free. That spiritual freedom transcends all other freedoms. How thankful we should be for our political freedom; but even that great blessing does not compare to spiritual freedom. Hitler took political freedom away from the German people, but thousands in that great nation walked through
the Nazi enslavement as free people in Jesus Christ.
These last weeks have presented us with new fears. Our country has been attacked. Buildings have been destroyed. A biological attack, though
ever so small, is causing us some distress. We are told, and rightly so, to remain calm. But how can we, if our souls are in spiritual captivity?
On this Reformation Sunday, let us not forget our heritage. From the Scriptures we have learned that, through faith in Jesus Christ, our sins are forgiven and we are restored into fellowship with God forever. Trusting in Him we are safe forever more.