The Truth, the Whole Truth, and Nothing but the Tr

A witness in a court of law will be asked to take an oath to tell the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth.  We would all do well to take this oath regarding the truth of God, for many falsehoods, misunderstandings, and deceptions are propagated by the telling of half-truths and outright lies.  Some of this is done intentionally and some out of ignorance, but the result is the same – souls are kept in the darkness from the blessed light of God’s complete truth.

To demonstrate that the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth are desperately needed in spiritual matters, let us consider a few basic examples.

The Truth: Jesus saves (Acts 4:12).

The Whole Truth: Jesus saves those who are faithful and obedient to His commandments (John 3:16, 36; 2Thess. 1:5-10).

Nothing but the Truth: The whole truth about salvation in Christ invalidates the false doctrines of salvation by "faith only” (the false idea that one is saved by mental belief in Jesus only – see Jas. 2:14-26), unconditional election (the false idea that one cannot affect his soul’s destination because God has already decided it – see 2Pet. 3:9), limited atonement (the false idea that Christ’s blood atoned only for a few, not all – see 1John 2:1-2), and a host of other errors.  The whole truth also reveals that all could be saved, but only a few will be saved because only a few will choose to be faithful and obedient to Christ (Matt. 7:13-14, 21-23; 22:1-14; Luke 13:23-24).

The Truth: Believers should be baptized (Matt. 28:18-20).

The Whole Truth: It is necessary for believers to be immersed in water in the name of Christ for the forgiveness of sins and salvation (Mark 16:15-16; Acts 2:38; Rom. 6:3-4).

Nothing but the Truth: The whole truth about baptism refutes the false notions that baptism is for entrance into a church or that it is because forgiveness has happened already.  It also refutes the error that baptism is unnecessary, for it is a commandment of the Lord as a condition of salvation.  The fact that baptism is immersion by definition also disproves the false practices of sprinkling and pouring as modes for baptism.

The Truth: The Bible is God’s inspired word (2Tim. 3:16-17).

The Whole Truth: The Bible is God’s complete, inspired message to man (1Cor. 2:11-13; 13:8-12; 1Thess. 2:13; 1Pet. 1:25; 2Pet. 1:3; Jude 3).

Nothing but the Truth: The whole truth about the Bible proves that additions to the Bible are not only unnecessary, but they are also wrong.  Writings such as denominational creed books, catechisms, the Book of Mormon, the Westminster Confession, etc., are unlawful additions to the Bible that violate the precept that uninspired men should not add to nor take away from the message of God (Deut. 4:2; Rev. 22:18-19).

The Truth: All have sinned (Rom. 3:23).

The Whole Truth: All have sinned because they have chosen to act in violation of God’s laws (Jer. 31:29-30; Ezek. 18; 1John 3:4).

Nothing but the Truth: The whole truth about the guilt of sin reveals the error of the Catholic doctrine of original sin (the false idea that one inherits the sin of Adam) and the Calvinistic doctrine of total depravity (the false idea that one is born sinful and incapable of any good whatsoever).  The truth is that God created man with a holy nature, but man has learned sin from the world (Eph. 2:1-3; 1John 2:16).  Before one is born, he has done neither good nor bad (Rom. 9:10-11), and when he dies, he will account only for what he has done himself and not for what someone else has done (2Cor. 5:10).  Through the gospel of Christ, God takes away the guilt of sin and spiritually restores believers to their original holiness by making them new creatures in Christ (2Cor. 5:17; Gal. 6:15, Eph. 2:10; 4:20-24; Col. 3:10; 2Pet. 1:4).

These examples are effective to demonstrate how the whole truth and nothing but the truth must be our guide in all things spiritual.  Partial truths, errors, and falsehoods have combined to mislead many, so let us be on our guard.  Jesus said, "If you continue in My word, then you are truly disciples of Mine; and you will know the truth, and the truth will make you free” (John 8:31-32).  He also said, "Everyone who is of the truth hears My voice” (John 18:37).  May we all be of the truth, hear the voice of Jesus, and be made free.

Stacey E. Durham


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