If truth plus charity equals unity, then what is truth without charity? Truth without charity is hypocrisy.
Truth - Charity = Hypocrisy
There are men who claim to speak the truth and to love their fellow men, but in reality they do not. Their lips and their hearts are not in sync; they say one thing but mean something else. Or they say one thing but do something quite different, quite the opposite. They really do not believe the truth, neither do they love it, even though they say they do. Isaiah 29:13 describes them, “Wherefore the Lord said, Forasmuch as this people draw near me with their mouth, and with their lips do honour me, but have removed their heart far from me, and their fear toward me is taught by the precept of men”.
The prophet reveals that their “fear of God” does not come from God at all but “is taught by the precept of men”. Their fear is a man-made fear that is based upon false human assumptions and self-induced prejudices. They think they fear God and love men, but actually, they fear men and love themselves. They think themselves godly and righteous, but actually, it is conceit or conceitedness, plain and simple.
People may not be able to see through the façade, but God sees all, He sees the heart, and the heart is not good, nor right. Jeremiah 17:9 says, “The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it?” The Lord Jesus exposed the “God-fearing” scribes and Pharisees for who they truly were, “Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye are like unto whited sepulchres, which indeed appear beautiful outward, but are within full of dead men’s bones, and of all uncleanness. Even so ye also outwardly appear righteous unto men, but within ye are full of hypocrisy and iniquity.” (Matt 23:27–28).
Hypocrisy is a form of deceit or deception that seeks to divide, not unite. A deceitful and divisive tongue is an abomination to God. Proverbs 6:16–19 says, “These six things doth the LORD hate: yea, seven are an abomination unto him: A proud look, a lying tongue, and hands that shed innocent blood, An heart that deviseth wicked imaginations, feet that be swift in running to mischief, A false witness that speaketh lies, and he that soweth discord among brethren.” Proverbs 11:9 says, “An hypocrite with his mouth destroyeth his neighbour: but through knowledge shall the just be delivered.”
What God loves is unity in the ministry of the gospel and that can only be had if there is truth and charity. “Only let your conversation [ie loving manner of life] be as it becometh the gospel of Christ [ie the truth of God’s Word]: that whether I come and see you, or else be absent, I may hear of your affairs, that ye stand fast in one spirit, with one mind striving together for the faith of the gospel [ie in Christian unity and harmony]; And in nothing terrified by your adversaries [who hate you and seek to destroy you]: which is to them an evident token of perdition, but to you of salvation, and that of God.” (Phil 1:27–28).
A hypocritical faith is no faith at all (Matt 23:2–3). In James 2:19–20, we are told that the demons believe the truth, but are they saved? “Thou believest that there is one God; thou doest well: the devils also believe, and tremble. But wilt thou know, O vain man, that faith without works is dead?” (cf Acts 6:16–17). The statement, “O vain man”, is another way of saying, “I am nothing” (1 Cor 13:2). God is not impressed with lip service. The life must match the lips or else it is not life at all but a lie. 1 John 2:4–5 says, “He that saith, I know him, and keepeth not his commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in him. But whoso keepeth his word, in him verily is the love of God perfected: hereby know we that we are in him.” Faith without charity is empty.
Charity - Truth = Heresy
Charity without truth is heresy. Charity that is not defined or governed by truth is not charity at all. It is a false charity that is deceptive. For instance, the liberals or modernists who hype love but despise truth are quick to dismiss the fundamental doctrines of the Christian faith. One example of this is the infamous Auburn Affirmation (1924) of the liberal Presbyterian Church of USA (PCUSA). In that declaration, they dismissed (1) the inerrancy of Scripture, (2) the virgin birth of Christ, (3) the miracles of Christ, (4) the substitutionary atonement of Christ, and (5) the resurrection of Christ as unnecessary for the Christian faith. A Christian they say does not need to believe in these five fundamentals to be saved. That is heretical for if these doctrines are denied, there is no gospel, no forgiveness, no salvation.
The liberals may be full of charity and charitable deeds, but if they deny the gospel truth by believing in a lie, then it brings death not life. As the Apostle Paul said, “And if Christ be not risen, then is our preaching vain, and your faith is also vain. Yea, and we are found false witnesses of God; because we have testified of God that he raised up Christ: whom he raised not up, if so be that the dead rise not…. And if Christ be not raised, your faith is vain; ye are yet in your sins…. If in this life only we have hope in Christ, we are of all men most miserable.” (1 Cor 15:14, 15, 17, 19). “But now is Christ risen from the dead, and become the firstfruits of them that slept.” (1 Cor 15:20). The resurrection of Christ is an undeniable historical fact attested by “many infallible proofs” (Acts 1:3); “For we can do nothing against the truth, but for the truth.” (2 Cor 13:8).
Then there are those who teach that unity is most important, not truth, quoting Jesus’ words in John 17:11, “that they may be one, as we are”. But they quote Jesus out of context, for Jesus qualified what that oneness is in John 17:17–23. When Jesus spoke of oneness, it is a oneness found in those (1) who believe in God’s sanctifying truth, ie His Word, the Holy Scriptures (John 17:17), (2) who are in true and holy communion with God the Father and God the Son (John 17:21), (3) who love and obey the Father and the Son (John 17:6, 8), (4) who have received the glory of Christ which is full of grace and truth (John 17:22 cf John 1:14). It is thus not a free-for-all, up-to-you kind of love and unity that the liberals want us to have—a truthless unity that is without any boundaries or controls.
Dr John Whitcomb in his article, “When Love Divorces Doctrine and Unity Leaves Truth”, gave an excellent reason why love cannot exist without truth. He wrote, “Love rejoices in the Truth. Why? Because without Truth to define it, to interpret it, to protect it, to guide it, to channel it—love can become a total disaster! We dare not place Truth on the same level as virtues. Virtues would shrivel up and die if it were not for Truth. We cannot imagine life on this planet without water. Water is absolutely essential for life, as long as it stays within proper channels, within its canals, aqueducts and pipes. But when water gets out of control, it is the second greatest catastrophe that can happen to this planet, second only to fire. On the one hand it is an absolutely essential blessing, but on the other hand, it may become a near-total disaster. So it is also with love.”
Let us make sure we truly possess the truth for truth is life, and if we indeed possess the truth, we will surely live a life of charity and not hypocrisy. A loveless truth and a truthless love will not bring unity, harmony, and peace, but dissension, division, and destruction.
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