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“Of His own will He brought us forth by the word of truth, that we might be a kind of firstfruits of His creatures.”—James 1:18 (NKJV)
How does “truth” factor into the spiritual life? How important is it in God’s process of bringing people into a life-giving relationship with Himself? According to this verse in the Book of James, truth is what God chose to use as He “brought us forth.”
“Brought forth” is another way of saying give birth. So, what James is teaching us here is that God uses truth (His word of truth) to bring about spiritual birth in those who are His. That makes truth pretty important. In fact, that makes truth vital; for the spiritual life depends on spiritual birth, and spiritual birth depends on the word of truth. There can be no fruit if there is no seed!
If truth is so important, we should ask ourselves what James means by “the word of truth.” The truth God uses to bring about spiritual life is specific and definable. It’s not some ambiguous or subjective notion floating around that can mean whatever a person wants it to mean. That’s how much of our world wants to understand “truth”—as something very open-ended that cannot be defined. But the truth that saves is definable just as words are used to define and make things certain.
And that word of truth tells us something definite and specific. It tells us that God loves us, despite the fact we’ve fallen into a state of sin, death, and eternal judgment. And that He loves us so much that He sent His sinless Son to take all of our guilt upon Himself to satisfy its penalty, so we could be forgiven and experience an everlasting relationship with Him. In its most basic essence, the word of truth declares: “He is for me . . . God died for me!” That is the “irreducible minimum” of the gospel.
If anything distorts or denies this, it is not the word of truth that James is writing about. It’s a counterfeit word of truth, a false path that may sound spiritually profound but won’t lead to the spiritual life that God desires to give.
The truth is vital, the truth is definable, and the truth is the gospel. May we never be confused or swayed but always understanding and resolute when it comes to these truths about the word of truth!
DIG: What are three truths about the word of truth James refers to here?
DISCOVER: How are these truths contested by the world around us?
DO: Consider practical steps you can take to strengthen your resolve for the word of truth.
Pastor Dan Hickling serves our online community, also known as the Calvary Chapel Online Campus. He and his wife Becky have been married for 22 years and have two children, Lauren and Danny. Both Dan and Becky have been part of the CCFL church family for 22 years and have served in full time ministry for 20 of those years.