We have noted that “truth” is the Word of God, that the Word originated with God the Father, was manifested to mankind by God the Son, the Lord Jesus Christ in His First Advent, and by the giving of His mind to us, and that God the Holy Spirit teaches and reveals to us the truth through the Grace Apparatus for Perception (GAP) as He too is called “truth.” We have also noted that the believer must receive “the truth” for Sanctification: Positionally, Experientially, and Ultimately.
Now, we turn to that portion of Scriptures that tell us about those who reject the truth. In this outline, we will note both the unbeliever’s rejection of the truth for salvation, and the believer’s rejection of the truth for Experiential Sanctification. For the unbeliever, rejection of the truth means eternal condemnation. For the believer, it means loss of “walking in the light” of Jesus Christ, and the potential for Divine discipline which could result in the third stage of Divine discipline; the Sin Unto Death.
The first Scripture of the New Testament that deals with unbelievers rejecting the truth is found in, John 8:40, 44-47. Here our Lord is contesting with the religious leaders of His day, the Pharisees, regarding their rejection of God’s truth which was the manifestation of the Second Person of the Trinity, the Lord Jesus Christ in His First Advent.
John 8:40, “But as it is, you are seeking to kill Me, a man who has told you the truth, which I heard from God;”
John 8:44-47, “You are of your father the devil, and you want to do the desires of your father. He was a murderer from the beginning, and does not stand in the truth because there is no truth in him. Whenever he speaks a lie, he speaks from his own nature, for he is a liar and the father of lies. 45But because I speak the truth, you do not believe Me. 46Which one of you convicts Me of sin? If I speak truth, why do you not believe Me? 47He who is of God hears the words of God; for this reason you do not hear them, because you are not of God.”
John had this scene in mind, when he wrote in his first epistle in 1 John 2:21b, “No lie is of the truth.”
These self-righteous, legalistic, religious leaders rejected God’s truth and grace of providing a Savior. They were too caught up in themselves and their own works, because they had been deceived by Satan. They had swallowed the satanic lie that salvation is found in your own good works and deeds. That is why our Lord said, “You are of your father the devil, the father of lies.”
Our Lord also had this scene in mind when He told the disciples in the Upper Room in John 14:17a, “The Spirit of truth the world cannot receive, because it does not see Him or know Him.”
- Those who are deceived and have rejected the truth for salvation are of, or a type of, the Antichrist, as noted in 2 Thes 2:10, 12.
2 Thes 2:10, “And with all the deception of wickedness for those who perish, because they did not receive the love of the truth so as to be saved…. 12In order that they all may be judged who did not believe the truth, but took pleasure in wickedness.”
- These Pharisees who rejected the truth were the forerunners of many to follow during the Church Age. Of the false and legalistic teachers of the Church Age, we are given,2 Peter 2:1-3, 21-22.
2 Peter 2:1-3, “But false prophets also arose among the people, just as there will also be false teachers among you, who will secretly introduce destructive heresies, even denying the Master who bought them, bringing swift destruction upon themselves. 2Many will follow their sensuality, and because of them the way of the truth will be maligned; 3and in their greed they will exploit you with false words; their judgment from long ago is not idle, and their destruction is not asleep.”
2 Peter 2:21-22, “For it would be better for them not to have known the way of righteousness, than having known it, to turn away from the holy commandment handed on to them. 22It has happened to them according to the true proverb, “A dog returns to its own vomit,” and, “A sow, after washing, returns to wallowing in the mire.”
In both of these passages, we see that some of these false teachers are believers who have gone astray.
Likewise, throughout the Church Age, the people too will reject the truth, and instead follow the lie, 1 Tim 4:1-4; 6:3-5; 2 Tim 2:16-18; 3:1-9; 4:3-4; Heb 10:26; James 3:14; 1 John 1:6; 2:4.
1 Tim 4:1-4, “But the Spirit explicitly says that in later times some will fall away from the faith, paying attention to deceitful spirits and doctrines of demons, 2by means of the hypocrisy of liars seared in their own conscience as with a branding iron, 3men who forbid marriage and advocate abstaining from foods which God has created to be gratefully shared in by those who believe and know the truth. 4For everything created by God is good, and nothing is to be rejected if it is received with gratitude; 5for it is sanctified by means of the word of God and prayer.”
1 Tim 6:3-5, “If anyone advocates a different doctrine and does not agree with sound words, those of our Lord Jesus Christ, and with the doctrine conforming to godliness, 4he is conceited and understands nothing; but he has a morbid interest in controversial questions and disputes about words, out of which arise envy, strife, abusive language, evil suspicions, 5and constant friction between men of depraved mind and deprived of the truth, who suppose that godliness is a means of gain.”
2 Tim 2:16-18, “But avoid worldly and empty chatter, for it will lead to further ungodliness, 17and their talk will spread like gangrene [GAGGRAINA – γάγγραινα (gang’-grahee-nah) — cancer like]. Among them are Hymenaeus and Philetus, 18men who have gone astray from the truth saying that the resurrection has already taken place, and they upset the faith of some.”
Thayer notes, GAGGRAINA, “A gangrene, a disease by which any part of the body suffering from inflammation becomes so corrupted that, unless a remedy be seasonably applied, the evil continually spreads, attacks other parts, and at last eats away the bones.”
2 Tim 3:1, “But realize this, that in the last days difficult times will come. 2For men will be lovers of self, lovers of money, boastful, arrogant, revilers, disobedient to parents, ungrateful, unholy, 3unloving, irreconcilable, malicious gossips, without self-control, brutal, haters of good, 4treacherous, reckless, conceited, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, 5holding to a form of godliness, although they have denied its power; Avoid such men as these. 6For among them are those who enter into households and captivate weak women weighed down with sins, led on by various impulses, 7always learning and never able to come to the knowledge of the truth. 8Just as Jannes and Jambres opposed Moses, so these men also oppose the truth, men of depraved mind, rejected in regard to the faith. 9But they will not make further progress; for their folly will be obvious to all, just as Jannes’ and Jambres’ folly was also.”
Charles Ryrie notes, “Jannes (he vexes) and Jambres (foamy healer). Though these names do not appear in the OT, in late Jewish, pagan, and certain early Christian writings they are applied to the Egyptian magicians who performed counterfeit miracles in opposition to Moses (Ex. 7:11, 22). They are symbols of the folly of opposing the truth.” (Brackets mine)
A.T. Robertson notes, “Traditional names of the magicians who withstood Moses (Targum of Jonathan on Exodus 7:11).”
Weirsbe notes, “Paul compared the apostate teachers to the Egyptian magicians Jannes and Jambres, who opposed Moses by imitating what he did (Ex. 7:11ff). Satan is an imitator, and his imitation gospel and church will spread in the last days.”
2 Tim 4:3-4, “For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but wanting to have their ears tickled, they will accumulate for themselves teachers in accordance to their own desires, 4and will turn away their ears from the truth and will turn aside to myths.”
Heb 10:26, “For if we, (the writer is including himself = believers), go on sinning willfully after receiving the knowledge [EPIGNOSIS – ἐπίγνωσις (ep-ig’-no-sis] of the truth, there no longer remains a sacrifice for sins.” Remember all sins were paid for by Christ on the Cross. This just means that the believer is not utilizing 1 John 1:9 for Experiential Sanctification.
James 3:14, “But if you have bitter jealousy and selfish ambition in your heart, do not be arrogant and so lie against the truth. 15This wisdom is not that which comes down from above, but is earthly, natural (soulishly), demonic.”
1 John 1:6, “If we say that we have fellowship with Him and yet walk in the darkness, we lie and do not practice the truth…. 8If we say that we have no sin, we are deceiving ourselves and the truth is not in us.”
1 John 2:4, “The one who says, “I have come to know Him,” and does not keep His commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in him.”
- Sometimes, even mature believers are the object of falsehoods and rejection of the truth, as we see Paul rebuking Peter and other hypocritical believers inGal 2:14.
Gal 2:14, “But when I saw that they were not straightforward about the truth of the gospel, I said to Cephas in the presence of all, “If you, being a Jew, live like the Gentiles and not like the Jews, how is it that you compel the Gentiles to live like Jews?”
- As for those who teach and support false doctrines of the world, God’s judgment will be brought upon them,Rom 1:18, 25; 2:8-9.
Rom 1:18, “For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men who suppress the truth in unrighteousness.”
Rom 1:25, “For they exchanged the truth of God for a lie, and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed forever. Amen.”
Rom 2:8, “But to those who are selfishly ambitious and do not obey the truth, but obey unrighteousness, wrath and indignation. 9There will be tribulation and distress for every soul of man who does evil, of the Jew first and also of the Greek.”
- What is the Pastor to do in these times of apostasy?
2 Tim 4:2, “Preach the word; be ready in season and out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort, with great patience and instruction….5But you, be sober in all things, endure hardship, do the work of an evangelist, fulfill your ministry.”
Titus 1:13-16, “This testimony is true. For this reason reprove them severely so that they may be sound in the faith, 14not paying attention to Jewish myths and commandments of men who turn away from the truth. 15To the pure, all things are pure; but to those who are defiled and unbelieving, nothing is pure, but both their mind and their conscience are defiled. 16They profess to know God, but by their deeds they deny Him, being detestable and disobedient and worthless for any good deed.”
- How should the believer treat those who are deceived and do not know the truth?
2 Tim 2:24-26, “The Lord’s bond-servant must not be quarrelsome, but be kind to all, able to teach, patient when wronged, 25with gentleness correcting those who are in opposition, if perhaps God may grant them repentance leading to the knowledge of the truth, 26and they may come to their senses and escape from the snare of the devil, having been held captive by him to do his will.”
James 5:19-20, “My brethren, if any among you strays from the truth and one turns him back, 20let him know that he who turns a sinner from the error of his way will save his soul [PSUCHE – ψυχή (psoo-khay’) – also means, life] from death and will cover a multitude of sins.”
- You will lead him in the avoidance of the 3rdstage of Divine Discipline, the Sin Unto Death judgment, 1 Cor 11:2-30; 1 John 5:16-17.