Many people reject the truth of God’s word and there are explanations for their behavior. Not only must we receive the truth in obeying that form of doctrine delivered unto us, we must receive and retain the love of the truth. To the Thessalonians, Paul wrote: “And with all deceivableness of unrighteousness in them that perish; because they received not the love of the truth, that they might be saved. And for this cause God shall send them strong delusion, that they should believe a lie: That they all might be damned who believed not the truth, but had pleasure in unrighteousness.” (2 Thessalonians 2:10-12). If we are to be saved by the truth, we must be careful that no stumblingblock prevents us from receiving and loving the truth which God has given for us to respect. We have previously noticed that some individuals reject the truth because it is too narrow; it restrains; it excludes and condemns. These are qualities that they generally find distasteful in their chosen society and they can’t picture religion featuring such characteristics. There are other features of truth which suggest a stumblingblock to many people. Many dislike the truth because:
It has a negative side. It appears that any thing which resembles something on the negative side is repulsive to many people. They want positive things with no allowance for the negative values. They fail to appreciate the fact that many profitable advantages in life today, such as legitimate electricity current, functions on the basis of the appreciation of the negative and positive. But the cry of many is preach to us the positive and do away with the negative. When the true gospel of Christ is preached, there will be both positive and negative preaching. “Let love be without dissimulation. Abhor that which is evil; cleave to that which is good.” (Romans 12:9). We are to abhor the evil (the negative) and cleave to the good (the positive). “For the grace of God that bringeth salvation hath appeared to all men, Teaching us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously and godly, in this present world;” (Titus 2:11-12). In these two verses, we are taught to deny ungodliness and worldly lusts, and to live soberly, righteously and godly. If this is not emphasizing the negative and positive principles, where would one find them?
There may be rare exceptions, but when members of the Lord’s church cry about too much negative preaching, it is due to their sins being exposed and “toes being stepped on”. I remember a certain man voicing such objections to the preaching and it wasn’t long before he had left his wife for another woman, and is now living in an adulterous marriage relationship apart from God’s truth. It wasn’t hard to see how the truth was too negative for him. Years ago, there was the old song about “accenting the positive and eliminating the negative”. This was mentioned to a faithful gospel preacher as a rule to govern his sermons. He replied with the name of another old song at that time: “Don’t fence me in.” Paul admonished Timothy: “Preach the word; be instant in season, out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort with all longsuffering and doctrine. For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears; And they shall turn away their ears from the truth, and shall be turned unto fables.” (2 Timothy 4:2-4). How could any sober minded person contend that such a charge could for a moment eliminate that which is both negative and positive in preaching the truth? “And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.” (Romans 12:2). “Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world. And the world passeth away, and the lust thereof: but he that doeth the will of God abideth for ever.” (1 John 2:15-17). How could these verses, and many others be appreciated, when one would eliminate the negative side of truth?
Has a definite price. “Buy the truth, and sell it not;” (Proverbs 23:23). There are no marked down sale prices regarding the truth. There is the price that all must pay in obeying the gospel of Christ. “Seeing ye have purified your souls in obeying the truth through the Spirit unto unfeigned love of the brethren,” (1 Peter 1:22). “Then said Jesus unto his disciples, If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me.” (Matthew 16:24). The doctrines and precepts of men may come at a much less price, but of what value are they? The truth and only the truth can purify our souls. There is a price to pay in obedience, but think of the price of disobedience! Stumblingblocks exist and we need to know of them, and have the faith to avoid being victimized by them!