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      Nurturing people in the image of God since 1868.                                                                          POB 397/520 Dry Creek Rd./Smithville, TN

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THE UNBENDING TRUTH

The following words remind us sometimes we are not pleased with the truth. "Mirror, mirror on the wall, You're not pleasing me at all.  I know you cannot lie, forsooth, But can't you slightly bend the truth?" Displeasure with the truth has often led to attempts to bend it. First John 2:18-29 deals with a controversy which raged in the church near the end of the first century. John notes that many "antichrists' had arrived on the scene. This text reveals that these teachers had seceded from the church and were preaching that Jesus was neither the Christ nor "God in flesh." With characteristic bluntness, John labeled them with a term that offends the sensibilities of uncritically tolerant postmodern thinking. He called them liars "Who is a liar but he who denies that Jesus is the Christ? He is antichrist who denies the Father and the Son" (2:22). John won't let up on them and a short time later writes, Every spirit that does not confess that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is not of God. And this is the spirit of the Antichrist, which you have heard was coming, and is now already in the world" (4:3). The doctrine that Jesus Christ was God in the flesh is a truth that finite human brains strain to asp. The apostle Paul affirmed as much when he penned (a number of years before 1 John was written, we might add), "Without controversy great is the mystery of godliness: God was manifested in the flesh" (1 Timothy 3:16a). But whether we understand it or not, and whether we accept r it or not, the New Testament affirms repeatedly and aggressively that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of the living God, God in the flesh ((John 1:1 14; Matthew 16:1647; 26:63-64; Colossians 2:9). So the apostles preached, and so do we.

How we react to the truth proclaimed about Jesus Christ is a big deal in the New Testament. John asserts in 1 John 2:23, "Whoever denies the Son does not have the Father either; he who acknowledges the Son has the Father also." This verse threatens that bending the truth about Jesus will break your connection with God. That divine threat has not stopped millions from seeking to slightly bend the truth about Jesus Christ. He was a son of God but not the Son of God, a light but not the light, a way but not the way so they say. But the unbending truth is that our reaction to Christ in the here and now will either make or break us in eternity. "Whoever confesses Me before men, him I will also confess before My Father who is in heaven. But whoever denies Me before men, him I will also deny before My Father who is in heaven (Matthew 10:32-33)." Are you bending your knee to Christ, or seeking to bend the truth?

Dan Gulley
Smithville church of Christ