One of the greatest challenges of life is to discover truth. There are many voices in the world today all claiming to be the voice of truth. Sometimes it’s difficult to discern fact from fiction. But I guess it’s always been that way. The apostle Paul had to deal with these same issues in his day. In his letters to the churches he spoke of false teachers, false prophets, false brothers, and false apostles. You see, the devil has always tried to counterfeit everything God does.
We live in a world that’s full of counterfeits. There are counterfeit philosophies and religions, all vying for the minds and hearts of men and women. Jesus warned us that this would happen. Speaking of the last days he said, “For false Christs and false prophets shall rise, and shall show signs and wonders, to seduce, if it were possible, even the elect (Mark 13:22).
So, what are we to do? Is there a way we can tell the true from the false? Yes there is. Jesus said, “Ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free” (John 8:32). In order for the truth to make us free we must know it. What is truth? Jesus, in his great prayer recorded in John’s gospel said, “Thy word is truth.” (John 17:17) The Bible is God’s word. It is truth. It is the standard by which all other philosophies can be judged. The way to discern false teaching is to study true teaching.
One of the jobs of FBI and Secret Service agents is dealing with counterfeit money. These agents spend a lot of time in training learning how to spot counterfeit money. You would expect that they might spend hours studying different kinds of counterfeits. The truth is that they don’t study the counterfeit. They spend days studying the genuine thing. Once they learn the detailed characteristics of real money the counterfeit is easy to spot.
The same is true for things pertaining to God. We need to be studying the details of His word. We must become serious students of the Bible if we are going to discern the heresies that confront us. John said, “Beloved, believe not every spirit, but try the spirits whether they are of God: because many false prophets are gone out into the world” (1 John 4:1).
Rather than make extensive studies of the teachings of the cults and false religions we need to be deep into God’s word. We do need to be informed about the adversary. But Jesus didn’t say that knowing the false will set us free. He said that knowing the truth will set us free. When we draw near to God, he draws near to us (Jas. 4:8) When we spend time in his presence through prayer and Bible study, we can get such a clear vision of truth that when the false comes around we can identify and avoid it.
We are greatly blessed to have God’s word so readily available to us. In fact, it is so available that we usually take it for granted. Chances are you own at least one Bible. Some of us own several. Wouldn’t it be tragic to own the truth, but not know the truth? How about it? Have you read God’s truth today?