The prophet Isaiah wrote about the loss of truth 2700 years ago.
Woe to those who call evil good
and good evil,
who put darkness for light
and light for darkness,
who put bitter for sweet
and sweet for bitter! (Isaiah 5.20)
Isaiah could have been talking about our era when he wrote about the absence of justice and truth in the public space.
Justice is turned back,
and deliverance stands at a distance,
for truth stumbles in the public square,
and uprightness cannot enter. (Isaiah 59.14)
When the truth is absent, uprightness cannot enter. The lack of truth opens the door to injustice and oppression.
What happens to a nation, when the truth is absent from the public square? Isaiah captures the effect.
My people — their oppressors extort them,
and creditors rule over them.
O my people, your leaders mislead you
and confuse the course of your paths. (Isaiah 3.12)
The ruling class uses dishonest tactics to take advantage of the powerless. People who wear suits manipulate those who wear blue jeans to further increase their wealth and power.
Dishonesty in Crete
Crete was legendary for its dishonesty. As I wrote in yesterday’s blog: To “cretanize” was used in the Greco-Roman world for “to lie or cheat.”
The church should not participate in the kind of dishonesty that was present in Crete, and neither should it resemble the problem that Isaiah described.
According to Paul, this should be our reaction.
For this reason rebuke them sharply, so that they may become sound in the faith,
Not paying attention to Jewish myths or to commandments of those who reject the truth.
To the pure all things are pure, but to the corrupt and unbelieving nothing is pure; their very minds and consciences are corrupted.
They profess to know God, but they deny him by their actions; they are detestable, disobedient, unfit for any good work (Titus 1.13b-16).
Instead of paying attention to people who use dishonesty for personal gain, we should rebuke them.
In today’s video, I state the fact that I have no venue to challenge the lies of high-profile persons. Neither do I intend to put my views on Facebook.
Paul did not confront the Roman Emperor Nero over his false claims that Jews and Christians were responsible for the historic fire in Rome.
However, Paul told Titus to confront the church in Crete to make sure they were truth-tellers.
Within the church, we need to contend for the truth with each other. We also need to make sure that we don’t pass on lies that appear on social media.
A Strong Word of Condemnation
Paul’s words are accurate for the person who has dishonesty as an essential part of their character.
He wrote, “To the corrupt and unbelieving nothing is pure; their very minds and consciences are corrupted” (verse 15).
To paraphrase Paul, when dishonesty becomes part of our character, our minds and consciences are permanently stained by it.
Like many who use untruths to manipulate and oppress, they may “profess to know God, but they deny him by their actions” (verse 16).
A wise old black preacher once said, “Every pot has to sit on its own bottom.” When it comes to truth, it is every follower of Jesus’ responsibility to be counted among the truthful.
Beyond that, we should appropriately encourage our fellow Christians to tell the truth, live truthful lives, and not pass on dishonesty through our words or social media.
Rudy Ross and I talk about this passage today on YouTube. You can see the video on the Bob Spradling channel.
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