We started our look at the one-chapter epistles of the New Testament by highlighting the importance of truth. A Christian would point to the Word of God as the bedrock foundation of truth. It is from the Bible that we learn and understand the essential elements of the Lord God that define our human understanding of morality and ethics. Our culture, from the constitution of the United States to the legal code that guides our daily life and interaction with each other was founded upon the bedrock truth found only in the Bible.
Today, the very definition of absolute truth has become relative. Rather than identifying what is absolute based on the unchangeable Word of God, our culture believes that absolutes can be defined and redefined to accommodate the needs and necessities of society. As a result, absolute truth (the Word of God) does not define and guide culture, culture defines and redefines what is absolute truth!
The church is guilty of the same fallacy. Many Christians shy away from hard absolutes because our culture has painted such beliefs as extremist and hateful. Moreover, we have allowed our “pursuit of life, liberty, and happiness” to slowly silence the convicting voice of the Holy Spirit in our life. In a 2009 end-of-year perspective, Christian pollster George Barna noted that “only one-third (34 percent) of [American Christians] believe in absolute truth. This is down from 50 percent in a 2002 survey. The consequences of this slide into relativism within the church is startling. Barna observes,
Americans typically draw from a broad treasury of moral, spiritual and ethical sources of thought to concoct a uniquely personal brand of faith. Feeling freed from the boundaries established by the Christian faith, and immersed in a postmodern society which revels in participation, personal expression, satisfying relationships, and authentic experiences, we become our own unchallenged spiritual authorities, defining truth and reality as we see fit.
Consequently, more and more people are engaged in hybrid faiths, mixing elements from different historical eras and divergent theological perspectives. In some ways, we are creating the ultimate ecumenical movement, where nothing is deemed right or wrong, and all ideas, beliefs and practices are assigned equal validity. Everyone is invited to join the dialogue, enjoy the ride, and feel connected to a far-reaching community of believers. Screening or critiquing what that community believes is deemed rude and inappropriate. Pragmatism and relativism, rather than any sort of absolutism, has gained momentum.It is sobering to realize this is from 2009—six years ago—and the moral decay and confusion within our culture has accelerated at an increasingly alarming pace.
This reality makes the warnings from Jude more critical than ever. Jude warns in explicit language that the teaching and acceptance of false teachers leads to destruction (Jude 13b). Jude encourages his readers to contend for the faith and to be people of faith, prayer, and the word. “But you, beloved, building yourselves up in your most holy faith and praying in the Holy Spirit, keep yourselves in the love of God, waiting for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ that leads to eternal life” (Jude 20-21).
How can you tell if you have fallen prey to relativism, the false teaching of our age? Is the Bible your bedrock guide for how you live and conduct your life? Do you find yourself making decision to participate in things and not participate in things based on biblical conviction? Are you more concerned about biblical truth than about being popular or in with the crowd? These are all signs of a Christian life committed to following God and openly identifying with Jesus Christ.
If these signs are not evident in your life, do you live a life of self-determined truth and beliefs. Do you find yourself seeking and searching for spiritual guides and teachers who support your view of life? Do you find yourself confronted with biblical truth yet internally arguing, “yes, but…” Do you find yourself listening to voices who say “judge not lest you be judged” when you see society running in the opposite direction of God’s declared truth? If you answer yes to any of these questions, you need to heed Jude’s warning!
Oh, beloved, don’t fall prey to the false beliefs of our age. Ground your life and your worldview on the Word of God. Study the Word. Memorize the Word. Let the Spirit of God mold and shape you into the image of Christ through the Word of God. There is nothing of more importance to the Christian than this process of sanctification that produces the outward evidence of one’s salvation. “Now to him who is able to keep you from stumbling and to present you blameless before the presence of his glory with great joy, to the only God, our Savior, through Jesus Christ our Lord, be glory, majesty, dominion, and authority, before all time and now and forever. Amen” (Jude 1:24-25)
This week’s R2R distinctive Authenticity (John 13:33-34): I know and understand biblical truths and transfer these truths into everyday life. Who I am on the inside and outside is a pure reflection of Christ and His Word.
For this week’s devotional study, download this week’s issue of The Compass.