By John Stallings
And judgment is turned away backward, and justice standeth afar off: for truth is fallen in the street, and equity cannot enter. (Isa. 59:14)
In the past few weeks the world has had a ringside seat to watch, obviously a world-class liar, bicyclists Lance Armstrong admit that he’s weaved a web of lies for years about his use of performance enhancing drugs. How frustrating is that? It seems that to him the truth isn’t a valued coin in the realm he inhabits.As the poet said, “Oh, what tangled webs we weave when first we practice to deceive.”
Then there’s the strange case of the Notre Dame football player who has kept us all on the tiptoe of expectancy wondering about his “imaginary internet lover.”
On the subject of lies we could cast our eyes to our nation’s capitol where lies are an everyday occurrence. There’s a funny story about a man who was being sworn in as a witness in a court case and as he put his hand on the Bible was asked if he’d tell- “The truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth,” whereupon he asked, “Well which of the three do you want?”
Orlando has been abuzz for the last several years after the disappearance of three year old Caylee Anthony.
There can be no doubt that Caylee’s mother; Casey Anthony’s trial was the trial of the century so far. You may be familiar with the details of the case: the body of the beautiful Caylee was found in a decomposed state and her mother Casey was accused of her murder by the State of Florida.
The trial started in May and after 33 days of testimony, 400 pieces of evidence and more than 90 witnesses, the jury in the Casey Anthony case reached a verdict. After just a day of deliberation, jurors informed the court at midday that they had reached a decision, and both sides in the case were ordered to assemble in the courtroom.
Anthony was found not-guilty of killing her 3-year-old daughter, Caylee. She was also found not-guilty of aggravated child abuse and aggravated manslaughter of a child. But she was convicted on charges of misleading law enforcement.
The case against Anthony was mostly circumstantial, but as it unfolded she was portrayed in the trial as a promiscuous, self-centered woman who became a cold-blooded killer. The motive, prosecutors alleged, was to allow her to live a carefree life without her daughter.
The state’s case theory was that a desperate Anthony used chloroform to subdue her daughter and then suffocated her with duct tape. Anthony then fabricated fantastic lies to cover up her deeds, they said. Anthony’s attorney Jose Baez told the jury his client was the victim of an abusive upbringing.
As soon as Casey was found not-guilty of murder, a tidal wave of protests began which may hound the woman to her grave or a mental hospital.
Born To Lie?
Though people had varying opinions as to the guilt of Casey, one thing everyone agreed on was that she was the most prolific and proficient liar anyone had ever seen in action. Casey started lying at an early age. Although a good student, she dropped out of high school in her senior year not long before she would have graduated. Because she’s also sneaky, her mother didn’t find out she’d quit school for weeks after the fact, but when she finally uncovered the truth, she took Casey’s side and tried to help her cover it up. Do we see a pattern here?
Casey’s grandmother went to the school graduation and was non-plussed when Casey was nowhere to be seen. She confronted her daughter about it, and while she was at it, dropped the bombshell that Casey had stolen a blank check from her and bought clothes. But this was “small-ball” to Casey.
One thing for sure about Casey; she’s a double-barreled liar and obviously prefers a lie when the truth would sound better.
Lies, Lies, and More Lies
It used to be that truth was pretty obvious. Truth was truth. We see that in the well-known language of the American Declaration of Independence: “We hold these truths to be self-evident.” Today, however, we live in a different climate. Truth is no longer “self-evident,” as is clearly seen and acknowledged by everyone.
Truth is now, apparently, only evident to one’s self. What’s “true” for one person can apparently be “not true” to another. Our culture has largely rejected the idea of Absolute Truth, and has ridiculed and marginalized those of us who still cling to such a concept.
The verse in Isaiah 59 likens life to a street, or an expressway, and it says that something has fallen in the Street.
Truth Has Fallen in the Street
Because truth has blocked the street, equity cannot get by. Consequently, judgment is turned away backward. Judgment drives down the street, comes to a blockade, and finds truth lying prostrate in the street. There is no way to get by it. Judgment turns and walks back. There is no proper judgment. Why? Truth has fallen in the street.
The verse goes on to say, “Justice standeth afar off.” Justice comes down the road and wants by, but justice can’t get by. Why? Because justice, like judgment, is built on truth. If there is no truth, there is no justice. If there is no truth, there is no judgment. Judgment is turned away backward and justice stands afar off and says, “I can’t get by.” Why? Truth has fallen in the street.
The verse says, “Truth is fallen in the street and equity cannot enter.”
Next, equity comes down the street, and finds that truth has fallen, and, because truth has fallen and is blocking traffic, equity can’t enter. Consequently, there’s a traffic jam. All because truth has fallen in the street.
In the Orlando area we depend mainly on one big artery called I-4. I can’t count the times over the years that we’ve been stranded on I-4, sometimes for hours. Usually when we’re finally able to see what’s happened, someone has rear-ended another car, or more likely an 18-wheeler has jack-knifed and scattered its contents all over the road.
To state the obvious, when somebody blocks the street, nothing can get through. An ambulance cannot get through. Somebody going to the hospital in a car can’t get through. Why? The street is blocked.
Isaiah looks at his generation and says, “We have one great problem: judgment has to turn and go back; justice has to stand afar off; equity can’t get by; truth is fallen in the street.”
Just about everything except Christianity is welcome on most of America’s college compasses. They’ll accept everything but the truth. The truth is not accepted as the truth anymore. That’s why we have confusion. We need to get truth up again and quit blockading justice, equity, and judgment.
The problems in our land today stem from the fact that we have quit exalting truth.
Hundreds of churches are empty because there’s no truth. Truth has fallen in the streets. If our churches are ever to be full and growing again, and influencing our society again, you’re going to have to get truth up and say, “This is true, and this is error; this is right, and this is wrong.”
There will never be a virile Christianity, there will never be a church that will affect and influence society until the church says, “This, ladies and gentlemen, is truth!” As long as the Bible may or may not be so, justice will not pass, judgment will have to go back, and equity will not be able to pass in the street.
I heard a little story the other day that illustrates so well what is going on in so many places. There was a rural area that had a lot of barns. These were not just any barns. These barns had targets painted on them. The interesting thing was that there was a bullet hole in the bulls-eye of all of the targets. All the neighbors knew that this had to be some pretty good shooting. They also knew who it had to be. It had to be Zeek. Zeek’s fame went far and wide as the best sharp-shooter in the valley. One day someone was congratulating him and asking him how he managed to hit the bull’s-eye every time.
“It ain’t hard,” he said. “I just shoot the barn and then I paint a circle around the bullet-hole!”
What’s happening to truth is not hard to see! People embrace a “truth” and then in pride and arrogance draw a bull’s-eye around it, pretending they’ve “hit the mark.”
There are three things I want to say about truth.
1. Truth Doesn’t die.
Truth doesn’t die. It falls in the street, but it doesn’t die. Truth will not die.
The Bible is still the Word of God. Jesus Christ is still the virgin-born Son of God. Our natures are sinful by birth. Christ died for sinners. We must be born again to go to Heaven. There is a Heaven that has golden streets and gates of pearl. There is a Hell that has fire.
You could listen to some preachers until your hair turned green and never hear them mention hell. Although I don’t enjoy saying it, If I believed there was no Hell, I would close my Bible. If I believed there was no Hell, I would stop preaching. After all, Jesus told us most of what we know about hell and He wasn’t a liar. If He told a lie about hell, why would I bother to believe anything else He said? Truth does not change. Truth never changes.
Just because someone has a degree doesn’t change truth. The Bible is still true. Christ is still God’s Son. Hell is still hot. Hell is still fire. The temperature in Hell hasn’t changed one degree since Pontius Pilate and Adolph Hitler went there. Heaven is still real. Salvation is still available. The new birth is still a necessity, if we want to go to Heaven. Truth doesn’t die.
Some Biblical statements about truth:
God is a God of truth – Deu. 32:4
Jesus is the truth, and full of truth, and spoke the truth – Jn. 14:6; 1:14; 8:45
The Holy Spirit is the Spirit of Truth, and guided the apostles and disciples of every age into all the truth – Jn. 14:17; 16:13
The Word of God is truth – Jn. 17:17
The judgments of God are according to truth – Psa. 96:13; Rom. 2:2
Christians should walk in the truth as revealed by Jesus, including the standard of morality He taught – cf. Eph. 4:17-32;5:1-17
Christians should patiently teach others the truth – cf. 2 Tim. 2:23-26
Many will turn their ears away from the truth – cf. 2 Ti. 4:1-4
Much more could be said, as the Bible reveals so much about what is truth.
2. Truth Needs Help.
Truth does not die, but truth needs help.
Do you recall that story of the Ethiopian Eunuch on the road to Gaza in Acts 8? Philip is coming down through the desert place, and he sees the eunuch in a chariot reading the Prophet Isaiah. Philip comes down and sees him reading Isaiah 53.
Philip cries, “Hey, do you understand what thou readest?” The eunuch replies from his chariot, “How can I, except some man should guide me?” If there is one chapter in the Bible that would tell a man how to be saved, it’s Isaiah 53. If there is one chapter in the Old Testament that pictures Jesus Christ dying for sinners, it’s Isaiah, Chapter 53. If there is one chapter in the Old Testament, the Scripture he had available at that time, that would tell the eunuch easily and simply how to be saved, it’s Isaiah 53. And yet, he shouted, “How can I except some man should guide me?” This man needed help!
Truth needs help. Truth needs a man/woman. Truth needs proclaiming. Truth needs preaching. Truth needs declaring. Truth needs to be lifted high. And that’s why the writer inspired the Apostle Luke to quote the eunuch saying, “How can I, except some man should guide me.”
Truth once stood erect. Once truth stood and pointed the way. Now it lies in the street.
3. Without Truth There Is No Way!
The One who said, “I am the Truth,” also said, “I am the Way.” When the Truth falls, the Way falls. For He who is Truth is also the way.
John Wycliffe was, of course, martyred for his Christian stand. They hated him so much they dug his body up, burned his bones, and drowned his ashes. They put his ashes in the Avon River, and then they went down to the sea. They hated John Wycliffe that much. It was not enough to kill him. They did not want his body lying whole, or intact, in the grave. They dug his body, burned his bones, and drowned his ashes in the river. Fox wrote about that in Fox’s Book of Martyrs and said that God made it so, for the ashes and the body of John Wycliffe was as his message. His ashes were placed in the Avon, and from there they floated to the sea, and from there they floated to the oceans, and from there, around the world. The truth that John Wycliffe preached cannot die, and his body did as the truth he wouldn’t denounce—it went around the world.
Our nation totters on the brink of destruction. We’re not that far from being a socialist nation today. We totter on the brink! Why? Truth is no longer truth. Right is no longer right. Integrity is no longer integrity. There is no black and white. Everything is a misty gray.
I thank God for the Tea Party, because I see them as the people. We need to pray that their ranks will grow and that they’ll keep their hearts right. It’s strange that the Lefties have a distaste for calling terrorism by its real name, but they have no problem calling the Tea Partiers, terrorists. Truth has been stood on its head and spun like top.
Nobody is dogmatic about truth anymore. Nobody says, “This is it!” anymore. Consequently, truth falls in the street. When truth falls in the street, the way also falls and people not being able to find the way, end up confused. Everybody today is looking for the answer. Everybody wants the way out. Our leaders are meeting day and night trying to find a way out for America. It seems that everyone is confused.
When truth falls in the street, the Supreme Court becomes confused.
When truth falls in the street, our Congress doesn’t know what laws to make.
When truth falls in the street, our leaders grope in darkness.
When truth falls in the street, our young folk become anarchists.
When truth falls in the street, every man does that which is right in his own eyes.
Truth Opens Up The Thoroughfare
Truth always allows equity to pass, and always allows judgment and justice to pass. Truth, when it is standing erect, easily points the way! But when truth falls, equity cannot enter. When truth falls, there is no Way. Truth must be adhered to whether popular or unpopular, whether accepted or rejected, whether liked or hated.
We must point people to the One who is the Truth, for He who is the Truth is the Way. Jesus said, “I am the Way, the Truth, and the Life” (Jn. 14:6)
Jesus didn’t say, “I am the way, and someone else is the truth, and someone else is the life.” No. Jesus is the Way, the Truth, and the Life.
All of it hinges on the truth.
“And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free!” (Jn. 8:32)
No truth, No way. No way, No life. First comes the truth. If the truth is not preached, you won’t know the way, and if the way is not known, you will not have life.
Our medical scientists are working day and night to give us life. If we want life, we’ve got to find the way.
The Bible Is Truth!
Where is the truth? The Bible is the truth. Every word of it is true. When this truth falls in the street, we lose our way, and man dies without God. When this truth is picked up off the street and held and preached, man can find the way through Jesus Christ to life and life eternal.
Truth says that all of us are sinners. What is the truth? The truth is, as sinners, we are lost.
What is the truth? The truth is, Jesus Christ became sin. He was the perfect substitute accepted by God, and on the cross bore our sins in His body on the tree.
What is the truth? The truth is that Christ was buried, and our sins were buried with Him.
What is the truth? The truth is when you are born again, you receive Christ, by faith, as your Savior.
What is the truth? The truth is you can be saved this very moment.
What is the truth? The truth is: If you, right now, would acknowledge the fact that you’re a sinner, and that Christ died for your sins, and receive Him personally as your sacrifice and your hope for Heaven, you could be saved.
What is the truth? The truth is you could have your named registered in heaven if you’ve not already done so. That’s the truth.
What is the truth? Jesus is coming soon!
The truth is that those whose bodies have decayed in the grave shall become like the Lord Jesus Christ, and those of us who live at His coming and are saved will be caught up to meet Him in the air. Then for seven years hell will break loose on planet earth. A man claiming to be God will take over the reins, and put most of the world in servitude to him. He’ll bring the world out of economic disaster. Confused mankind who’d been looking for an answer will see his success and turn to him and worship him.
Listen to John the Revelator concerning that time:
“And then shall that Wicked be revealed, whom the Lord shall consume with the spirit of his mouth, and shall destroy with the brightness of his coming. Even him, whose coming is after the working of Satan with all power and signs and lying wonders, And with all deceivableness of unrighteousness in them that perish; because they received not the love of the truth, that they might be saved. And for this cause God shall send them strong delusion, that they should believe a lie: That they all might be damned who believed not the truth, but had pleasure in unrighteousness.” (2 Thes. 2:8-12)
What is the truth? The truth is: In order to go to Heaven; you’ve got to receive Christ as your personal Savior.
What is the truth? The truth is not that you join the church, or live a good life, or turn over a new leaf, to obtain Eternal Life. The truth is: You have to be born again!
There are still places where truth stands tall. Where truth has not fallen in the street, and because truth is not fallen, the way is still plain.
You can live forever through faith in Jesus Christ. That’s the truth!###
John Stallings is an award-winning Southern Gospel songwriter, who wrote numerous classics such as: Learning To Lean, Love Grew Where The Blood Fell, Touching Jesus, One Day I Will, You’re All Invited To My Mansion, Blessing After Blessing, Light The Light, Angels Camping All Around Me, God’s Gonna Do It, and many more. His songs have been recorded by many well-known Gospel artists, including, The Blackwood Brothers, The Speers, The Stamps Quartet, J.D. Sumner, Wanda Jackson, Del Reeves, Wendy Bagwell, Roy Rogers & Dale Evans, among many others. His singing career was launched at the young age of six in a citywide revival at famed Soldier Field in Chicago. At the age of sixteen he began preaching. John was Nashville’s prestigious Dove Award recipient in 1977, as well as many other awards over the years. He’s also a veteran pastor, evangelist, church-planter, and travels internationally with his wife, Juda, as singing evangelists. They reside in Altamonte Springs, Florida. John’s twin-daughters, Mary Alessi and Martha Munizzi, are both award-winning Gospel recording artists and songwriters in their own right, who with their husbands co-pastor churches. John’s blog, Wisdom and Wit of John Stallings, is a featured column here on Spirit Life Magazine (see left sidebar).
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