“They did not receive the love of the truth”

This is said of those who perish: “They did not receive the love of the truth, that they might be saved” (2 Thessalonians 2:10). How sad! They could have been saved if they had chosen to love the truth!

Someone who does not like the truth, cannot love the Source of truth.

God is the God of truth.

“The truth of the LORD endures for ever!” (Psalm 117:2). “Into Your hand I commit my spirit; You have redeemed me, O LORD God of truth” (Psalm 31:5). How can someone who does not like the truth, love the God of truth?

Jesus is the truth.

“I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father but through Me” (John 14:6). How can someone who does not like the truth, love the Son of God? “If anyone does not love the Lord Jesus Christ, let him be accursed” (1 Corinthians 16:22).

When Pilate stood before Christ and asked about His kingdom, Jesus explained: “You say rightly that I am a king. For this cause I was born, and for this cause I have come into the world, that I should bear witness to the truth. Everyone who is of the truth hears My voice.” Pilate responded, “What is truth?” (John 18:37, 38).

They who are “of the truth” listen to the truth because they love the truth.

God’s word is the truth.

“The entirety of Your word is truth” (Psalm 119:160).

“Sanctify them by Your truth. Your word is truth” (John 17:17).

“The word of truth” is the gospel of our salvation (Ephesians 1:13). “Of His own will He brought us forth by the word of truth” (James 1:18). How can someone who does not like the truth, value the word of God?

Someone who does not like the truth, prefers something false.

The unrighteous suppress the truth.

“For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who suppress the truth in unrighteousness” (Romans 1:18). “Men of corrupt minds” “resist the truth” (2 Timothy 3:8).

Some pretend that truth does not exist.

In our schizophrenic ‘post-modern’ age, many deny that truth can be known or even that truth exists. (Schizophrenic, because they are absolutely sure that they cannot be sure about anything!)

Jesus said something different: “You shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free” (John 8:32).

People deny the truth because they want to escape from the truth. They will be lost unless they repent. Paul tells us to correct “those who are in opposition, if God perhaps will grant them repentance, so that they may know the truth” (2 Timothy 2:25). God wants everyone “to come to the knowledge of the truth” (1 Timothy 2:4).

Some want to “adapt” the gospel to the “post-modern age.” The gospel does not need to be adapted, it just needs to be preached. Post-modernists are dead wrong. They need to repent and accept the truth.

All who do not love the truth will be lost.

Paul, in his second letter to the Thessalonians, explains that people perish when they do not love the truth.

At Thessalonica Christians were being persecuted. Paul assures them that it is “a righteous thing with God to repay with tribulation those who trouble you, and to give you who are troubled rest with us when the Lord Jesus is revealed from heaven with His mighty angels, in flaming fire taking vengeance on those who do not know God, and on those who do not obey the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ. These shall be punished with everlasting destruction from the presence of the Lord and from the glory of His power, when He comes, in that Day, to be glorified in His saints and to be admired among all those who believe, because our testimony among you was believed” (2 Thessalonians 1:6-10).

Paul affirms that God’s eternal punishment of “those who do not know God” and of “those who do not obey the gospel” “is a righteous thing.”

Paul then discusses “the mystery of lawlessness” and why many are deceived by “the man of sin,” “the son of perdition,” “the lawless one” (2 Thessalonians 2:3-8).

“The coming of the lawless one is according to the working of Satan, with all power, signs, and lying wonders, and with all unrighteous deception among those who perish, because they did not receive the love of the truth, that they might be saved” (2 Thessalonians 2:9, 10).

“Love of the truth” is essential. All who reject the truth will be lost.

Truth is exclusive. The sum of two plus two is four. No other answer is correct. The number of incorrect answers is unlimited. When someone rejects the truth, the only alternative is to accept something false.

Because they do not love the truth, “God sends them a strong delusion, so that they may believe what is false, in order that all may be condemned who did not believe the truth but had pleasure in unrighteousness” (2 Thessalonians 2:11, 12 ESV). Love “does not rejoice in iniquity, but rejoices in the truth” (1 Corinthians 13:6).

People refuse to believe the truth because they enjoy unrighteousness. They reject the truth because they prefer falsehood. “A strong delusion” sent by God enables them to believe a lie that leads to condemnation.

Sometimes people who do not love God like to listen to God’s word with no intention of obeying it. God told Ezekiel: “So they come to you as people do, they sit before you as My people, and they hear your words, but they do not do them; for with their mouth they show much love, but their hearts pursue their own gain. Indeed you are to them as a very lovely song of one who has a pleasant voice and can play well on an instrument; for they hear your words, but they do not do them” (Ezekiel 33:31, 32).

They listened to Ezekiel for entertainment. It helped them pretend that they loved God.

False teaching tests our love for the truth.

Satan empowers the lawless one to work “signs, and lying wonders” to deceive those who do not love the truth (2 Thessalonians 2:9, 10).

God allows this as a test to reveal who really loves Him. "If there arises among you a prophet or a dreamer of dreams, and he gives you a sign or a wonder, and the sign or the wonder comes to pass, of which he spoke to you, saying, ‘Let us go after other gods’ - which you have not known - ‘and let us serve them,’ you shall not listen to the words of that prophet or that dreamer of dreams, for the LORD your God is testing you to know whether you love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul. You shall walk after the LORD your God and fear Him, and keep His commandments and obey His voice; you shall serve Him and hold fast to Him” (Deuteronomy 13:1-4).

Someone who loves the truth, relies on God’s word for instruction: “And when they say to you, ‘Seek those who are mediums and wizards, who whisper and mutter,’ should not a people seek their God? Should they seek the dead on behalf of the living? To the law and to the testimony! If they do not speak according to this word, it is because there is no light in them” (Isaiah 8:19, 20). Peter gives the same charge: “If anyone speaks, let him speak as the oracles of God” (1 Peter 4:11).

Someone who loves God does not listen to false teachers. He knows they are false, he knows “there is no light in them” because their words contradict the word of God: they do not “speak according to this word,” they do not “speak as the oracles of God.”

Jesus, comparing Himself to a shepherd, explains: “the sheep follow him, for they know his voice. Yet they will by no means follow a stranger, but will flee from him, for they do not know the voice of strangers” (John 10:4, 5).

Paul warns: “Now I urge you, brethren, note those who cause divisions and offenses, contrary to the doctrine which you learned, and avoid them” (Romans 16:17).

Love for the truth leads to salvation.

The saved believe and obey the truth.

We are chosen for salvation “through sanctification by the Spirit and belief in the truth” (2 Thessalonians 2:13). “In obeying the truth” our souls are purified (1 Peter 1:22).

The church of Christ is the pillar of the truth.

I write so that you may know how you ought to conduct yourself in the house of God, which is the church of the living God, the pillar and ground of the truth” (1 Timothy 3:15).

They who love the truth, proclaim the truth.

Some religious leaders try to please men rather than God. They are entertainers rather than sound preachers of the truth.

Paul warned: “For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine, but according to their own desires, because they have itching ears, they will heap up for themselves teachers; and they will turn their ears away from the truth, and be turned aside to fables” (2 Timothy 4:3, 4).

Timothy was given a solemn charge: “Preach the word! Be ready in season and out of season. Convince, rebuke, exhort, with all longsuffering and teaching” (2 Timothy 4:2).

I once heard Marshall Keeble explain: “‘In season and out of season’ means you preach it if they like it, and you preach it if they don’t!”

A preacher’s job is to tell people what God says, to “preach the word.” God told Ezekiel: “I am sending you to them, and you shall say to them, ‘Thus says the Lord GOD’” (Ezekiel 3:4); “You shall speak My words to them, whether they hear or whether they refuse” (Ezekiel 2:7).

The truth is powerful!

“The word of God is living and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the division of soul and spirit, and of joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart” (Hebrews 4:12).

The power is in the word, not in the eloquence of man. God’s word convicts men of sin, and changes lives when heard by people who love God and the truth.

Many years ago I reprimanded a former classmate because in a recorded sermon he had not quoted or alluded to a single scripture! He explained that he was speaking to unbelievers so did not think they would be interested in what the Bible said!

Paul said something different: “Faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God” (Romans 10:17).

Once when visiting relatives in Abilene, Texas, they invited us to a special service on the ACU campus. Many congregations had dismissed Sunday-evening service so members could attend. Some 10,000 were assembled to hear a popular speaker.

He confided that on a Dallas golf course the day before, when a friend asked what he was going to speak about in Abilene, he told him that he did not know yet.

During his 45-minute discourse, he quoted a total of eight words of Scripture, which he misapplied. What was his theme? He told us how great the congregation was for which he preached.

What a wasted opportunity! If someone like Marshall Keeble had spoken, someone who preached the gospel powerfully and without compromise, “if they like it or if they don’t.” No doubt among 10,000, some would not have liked it. But lovers of truth would have been moved by the power of the gospel to give or rededicate their lives to God.

Do we love the truth?

Much depends upon it: our eternal destiny in heaven or hell. Let us love the truth, learn the truth, believe the truth and obey the truth so we can be saved by the God of truth through His Son who is the way, the truth and the life. Amen.

Roy Davison

The Scripture quotations in this article are from
The New King James Version. ©1979,1980,1982, Thomas Nelson Inc., Publishers.
Permission for reference use has been granted.

Published in The Old Paths Archive