The Plain Truth

The plain truth is: truth matters. We don’t live in a world of eternal shifting gray. Clouds part, mist dissolves, and fog only conceals solid objects, it does not make them disappear. When two people disagree, reality does not magically accommodate itself to them so that they can both be right at the same time. Two plus two is four, red is not green, boys are not girls, and Edward Cullen is a figment of Stephanie Meyers’ imagination no matter how many pre-teen girls you can get to really, really wish it were otherwise.

And this is true of the Gospel. The God of love, of self-sacrifice, of grace and salvation, is also the God who torched Sodom and Gomorrah. The God who gave his only begotten Son so that anyone who believed in him might be saved, also said that Son was the way, the truth, and the life, that no one could come to the Father except by him. No, you do not get to heaven by passing a theology exam. But you do have to put your faith in the right God.

Yes, we are saved by grace through faith, but we are called to avoid sin. Doing that, and repenting when we fail, that is part of being faithful. And in order to avoid sin and pursue righteousness, some things have to be right and others wrong. Yes, context does help determine what is right, but only because there is a standard of right and wrong to aim at in every context.

I love art. I love music, novels, plays, movies, poems, pictures, sculptures, and the occasional interpretive dance. How art comes across changes from time to time and place to place. But one bit of cultural context never changes: we are human beings on God’s earth. Some things will always be ugly, and some things will always be beautiful. No buts about it.

Truth, goodness, and beauty are fixed. If you love Jesus, you must love good theology every bit as much as he does. If you place your faith in Christ, you must pattern your life after his. If you are a follower of the Word, your words must resemble his.

Tolerance is all well and good—for things that are tolerable. But there are things which our Lord, in the Scriptures and by common sense in the world he made, has said are intolerable. A love for truth, righteousness, and the glory of God all require that occasionally we stand up for something. And this means that we will be standing against people. There will be real disagreements that will not end in easy reconciliation. One of you will be right and the other wrong, and the guy who is wrong will not always like that you have pointed it out. And that still very well may have been the right thing to do.

If you want to be a peacemaker, blessed are you. But peace is not so sweet as to come at the price of spiritual slavery. If the Gospel means anything, sometimes we must fight for it. We serve a real God, with real standards. Act like it.

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