“and with all unrighteous deception among those who perish, because they did not receive the love of the truth, that they might be saved” (2 Thessalonians 2:10).
The New Testament gospel of John records a question that Pontius Pilate presented to Jesus just prior to His crucifixion. That inquiry represents one of the most important questions anyone can ever ask: “What is truth?” (John 18:38). This question relates to 2 Thessalonians 2:10 because Paul the Apostle uses the word “truth” three times in verses ten to thirteen. An accurate definition of truth is vitally important, for if we fail to define “truth” now, others will surely try to define it for us later.
We can begin with this basic definition of truth: “truth” is defined as “that which corresponds to reality.” Simply put, if you’re speaking the truth, you’re telling it like it is. So truth is that which is in agreement with the facts. Although we may dispute the facts of a matter, we cannot dispute the overall existence of truth. We can demonstrate that reality with a brief exercise.
Let’s consider the following statement: “There is no such thing as truth.” We might respond to that declaration by asking, “Is that true?” If it is, then we have just uncovered the self-defeating nature of that idea and confirmed the existence of truth.
This question may also arise in regard to Jesus’ statement from John 14:6: “…I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me” (NIV). Some prefer to dismiss that claim with the following response: “Jesus may be true for you but not for me.” Yet just as with our previous example, a statement like this is self-defeating if we stop to think about it.
To understand why, let’s reconsider this assertion: “That’s true for you but not for me.” Does that statement apply to everyone? In other words, is it universally true that something may be true for some but not for others? If the answer is yes, then at least one thing is universally true- and if it’s possible for one thing to be true for everyone, then it is at least possible for Jesus’ statement to be true for everyone as well.
For some, the reality of “truth” may be disconcerting in view of the natural inhibition it places upon our ability to do whatever we want. But choices lead to consequences and a disavowal of the existence of truth helps explain the difficult and uncomfortable message of 2 Thessalonians 2:10: “They perish because they refused to love the truth and so be saved.”