In our current series we’ve been going through an old list of questions and answers contained in the Westminster Larger Catechism published in 1648. This week I want to continue answering the question, ‘What is God?’ Previously we’ve seen God is a spirit who is infinite, glorious, blessed, perfect, all-sufficient, eternal, unchangeable, incomprehensible, everywhere, knowledgeable, wise, holy, just, merciful, gracious, patient and good.
The last attribute of God that I want to look at in this series is truth. Firstly we see that Jesus explicitly calls the Spirit of God the Spirit of truth: ‘And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Counselor to be with you forever–the Spirit of truth’ (John 14:16-17). Thus God is truth itself.
This means that God does not lie: Even Balaam the pagan sorcerer in Numbers acknowledges this when God gives him a message for the pagan King Balak: ‘God is not a man, that he should lie, nor a son of man, that he should change his mind. Does he speak and then not act? Does he promise and not fulfill? (Numbers 23:19). When God says something, it happens as he cannot lie. This is in sharp contrast to humans who are full of falsehood.
Similarly Paul also makes the point that God is true in contrast to men being liars. Paul is arguing against the idea that the lack of faith among the Jews shows God is unfaithful: ‘What advantage, then, is there in being a Jew, or what value is there in circumcision? Much in every way! First of all, they have been entrusted with the very words of God. What if some did not have faith? Will their lack of faith nullify God’s faithfulness? Not at all! Let God be true, and every man a liar’ (Romans 3:1-4). Man is the liar and not God.
And truthfulness of God is important to uphold. Why? Because our salvation depends on it. Humans are in a mess. You only have to read the paper to understand that we are full of sin and unable to help ourselves. But Jesus who is God says: ‘I tell you the truth, whoever hears my word and believes him who sent me has eternal life and will not be condemned; he has crossed over from death to life’. (John 5:24). Now if God is a liar, then we are lost. But if God is not, then we’d better make sure we believe in Jesus so that we can have eternal life.
Do you believe God is true? Do you believe that God is telling the truth when he tells you that if you believe in his Son’s death you have eternal life?