When we do things by The Book


By Pastor Ron Branch



Branch

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One of the exciting prospects of studying God’s Word is discovery. I often approach Bible study with the prayer, “Lord, what will you let me find this time?” Times are that Biblical statements seemingly leap from the pages of the Bible, grabbing my heart and my focus. Those of you who regularly study your Bible know exactly what I say. Such happened recently as I studied through the Book of Zechariah, which is an exciting Old Testament book because of its prophetic insight to Calvary, the Anti-Christ, Armageddon, the Second Coming, and the Millennial Reign.

Reading 8:19, I was halted by the last statement, “Therefore, love the truth, and peace.” It had initial spiritual impact that necessitated prayerful introspection for my personal life. Without question, I love peace, but I confess that loving the spiritual truth has moments of internal struggle. The bottom line, however, is that peace can only be embraced after we have acknowledged the spiritual truth. Give spiritual truth due consideration and acceptance, and peace will be the certain consequence.

“Love the truth, and peace” is a timely consideration, too, in the light of our social and political mindsets, for, instead of holding to “love the truth, and peace,” it seems as though we have optioned morally and politically for “love the lie, and confusion.”

For those who subscribe to it, the lie has become the truth as seen from one’s own personal perspective, and the confusion is the escape from any kind of accountability. The immensity of immorality in our contemporary society boils down to a love for the lie and confusion.

That is why “love the truth, and peace” is such a critical message for us today. God still expects us to embrace what is truth so that we may experience the benefits of what is true peace. You see, it is love for the truth that standardizes and equalizes life against the inequities and inconsistencies of evil. Love for the truth gives hope that man may life in the fullness of life.

Love for the truth gives extreme credence to the understanding that all men are equal under God. Love for the truth eliminates the possibility of people being disadvantaged by others.

Love for the truth protects people from themselves. From where I sit as pastor and counselor, I encounter many people whose quality of life is marred for not having a love for the truth and peace. The Scripture points out that truth is manifest in the Word of God. God asks the question, “Do not my words do good to him that walks uprightly?”

The priority of God’s Word as the source for truth is explained by the Lord Himself, who said, “If you continue in my word…you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.” But, be careful how you apply that terminology, for, according to the Lord, he that does truth “…comes to the light, that his deeds may be manifested that they are wrought of God.” In other words, the one who loves truth keeps on getting closer to the truth, and yields to the priority of truth as revealed in the Scripture.

“That his deeds may be manifest” refers to the one who looks for verification from God that one’s actions are correct, that one’s actions are according to the will of God, and that one will continue in the truth with assistance from God.

Incidentally, the truth of God is supremely embodied in the Person of Jesus Christ. He made that point absolutely clear when He affirmed, “I am the way, the truth, and the life…”

It then follows that to love the truth brings a love for peace, specifically that peace which comes from Him. Jesus promised, “Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you: not as the world gives, but that which I give you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.”

It makes a big difference whenever we do things by The Book.

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By Pastor Ron Branch

Pastor Ron Branch lives in Mason County and is pastor of Hope Baptist Church, Middleport, Ohio.

Pastor Ron Branch lives in Mason County and is pastor of Hope Baptist Church, Middleport, Ohio.