Jesus also, that he might sanctify the people with his own blood, suffered outside the gate. Therefore, let us go forth to him outside the camp, bearing his reproach. For we have no continuing city here, but we seek one to come.
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God’s truth is not newspaper information; it is spiritual power. Doctrines of men are developed through debate and consultation, and they provoke dissension and admiration; God’s truth springs from His heart, flows into ours, and gives us life. The reason wise men embrace the truth of Christ is that when they do, it alters their thoughts and behavior. The very purpose for God revealing His true doctrine is to change us, to make us more like Him, not simply to inform us of His opinions. If we obey the truth of God when we hear it, the truth will free us from ungodly influences that we have unknowingly picked up along the way. We do not defend the truth of God; it defends us when we love it.
Peter told certain saints that “you have purified your souls by obeying the truth through the Spirit”, with the result that they now lived in “unfeigned love of the brethren” (1Pet. 1:22). But what if they had not obeyed the truth? What if they had only learned it? Their souls would certainly not have been purified, and they would not have possessed “unfeigned love of the brothers”.
Jesus told the people who believed in him that if they walked in the light of what he told them, “the truth will make you free”, but did he mean that just being told the truth would make them free? Of course not. He meant that the truth would make them free if they submitted to what he said so that the truth might have its intended effect on their behavior.
Paul told the saints in Rome that they had escaped their slavery to sin by obeying the truth when they heard it (Rom. 6:17). Loving the truth enough to be influenced by it is the only way anyone is ever cleansed from sin, and it is the only way that anyone will ever be saved.
To the saints at Thessalonica, Paul wrote that God had chosen to save them by sanctification of the Spirit (baptism of the Spirit) and belief of the truth (2Thess. 2:13), but he clarifies that a bit when he says that they will be damned who do not love God’s truth when it is given to them (2:10). God will save no one who has been taught the truth but does not love it because He will judge us all by our actions, and only by loving His truth enough to obey it do we behave in ways that are acceptable to Him.