LCN Article
Immerse Yourself in the Truth

January / February 2024

Richard F. Ames

When you go for a walk, you probably don’t often think of the air around you. You’re walking in an atmosphere of oxygen, nitrogen, carbon dioxide, and other gases. It’s around you all the time. You’re immersed in it so thoroughly that, even though it sustains you, you hardly notice it unless you pay special attention.

When you involve yourself in some activity so closely and intently you barely think about or notice what else is going on around you, you are immersed in that activity. Maybe it’s a game of chess, or a challenging puzzle, or a deeply introspective meditation on something you’ve read in the Bible.

As Christians, we should have that kind of relationship with God’s truth. We want to be immersed in it. We want to walk in an atmosphere of truth. We want it to be so much a part of our lives that we can’t imagine living without it. In this article, we’ll consider seven principles for clothing ourselves in the truth, surrounding ourselves with the truth, and internalizing the truth—immersing ourselves in the truth. There is some overlap among these principles, and if we organized them in other ways we might outline five broader principles or ten narrower ones. But I hope you will appreciate this overview of the ways we can and should make the truth an indelible part of our character and our life.

Treasure the Truth

Do you treasure the truth? Christ gave us this parable: “Again, the kingdom of heaven is like treasure hidden in a field, which a man found and hid; and for joy over it he goes and sells all that he has and buys that field. Again, the kingdom of heaven is like a merchant seeking beautiful pearls, who, when he had found one pearl of great price, went and sold all that he had and bought it” (Matthew 13:44–46).

What is the pearl of great price? It is the truth of God’s way of life—His plan of salvation and His gift of eternal life through Jesus Christ. Do you treasure that truth? The Apostle Paul wrote about some who do not. “The coming of the lawless one is according to the working of Satan, with all power, signs, and lying wonders, 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 2:9–10).

We in God’s Church have received the love of the truth—and we should love our Savior. When the resurrected Jesus was challenging the Apostle Peter in John 21, and said, “Simon… do you love Me?”, He used the Greek word agapaó, meaning spiritual love. But Peter answered, “I love You” using the word phileó. After two uses of agapaó, Jesus changed the question and asked, “Do you love Me?” using phileó—brotherly love. And again, Peter said, “You know that I love You [with a brotherly love]” (vv. 15–17). Peter did not say agapaó love in this situation, but this was before the gift of the Holy Spirit. God has given us agapaó love, which we ought to treasure and use.

We must not be like those Jesus warned about whose love would grow cold (Matthew 24:12).We must not take pleasure in unrighteousness (2 Thessalonians 2:12). Jesus said, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me” (John 14:6). We need to treasure the truth He has given us.

And how do we apply the truth in our lives? If we are rejoicing in the truth, we’re thinking the truth. It’s the very first object or concept of meditation Paul mentions: “Finally, brethren, whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy—meditate on these things” (Philippians 4:8).

What does Paul say about love? “Love suffers long and is kind; love does not envy; love does not parade itself, is not puffed up; does not behave rudely, does not seek its own, is not provoked, thinks no evil; does not rejoice in iniquity, but rejoices in the truth; bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Love never fails” (1 Corinthians 13:4–8).

Know the Truth

Jesus said, “And you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free” (John 8:32). As Christ’s followers, we have access to the greatest freedom that anyone can have. Are we gaining more knowledge of the truth? Do we study the Bible regularly? If you haven’t already done so, I urge you to study the lessons in the Tomorrow’s World Bible Study Course. You can enroll in the course online or ask for the printed version. And Living Education is not just for young adults in Charlotte—at, you will find study resources for brethren of all ages. And, of course, we hear sermons every Sabbath.

 Christ prayed to His Father, “Sanctify them by Your truth. Your word is truth. As You sent Me into the world, I also have sent them into the world. And for their sakes I sanctify Myself, that they also may be sanctified by the truth” (John 17:17–19). To “sanctify” means to consecrate—to set apart for sacred purpose. It has the idea of separation—to separate the pure from the impure. Knowing the truth sets Christ’s followers apart from the world. The world is deceived by Satan, the father of lies (John 8:44). But we as Christians know the word of God. And we know, “The entirety of Your word is truth” (Psalm 119:160).

As Christians, we must not forget the truth. We read, “Do not be deceived, my beloved brethren. Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and comes down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shadow of turning. 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 1:16–18).

If you are a baptized Christian, do you understand that, having received God’s Holy Spirit, you are begotten by God’s very word of truth? That itself is an awesome truth!

Live the Truth

Scripture tells us to “be doers of the word, and not hearers only” (James 1:22). What must we have in order to live? The gospels give us Christ’s answer: “Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word of God” (Luke 4:4). We also read, “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom; a good understanding have all those who do His commandments. His praise endures forever” (Psalm 111:10). 

How do we gain understanding? How do we live the truth? Christ said plainly, “If you love Me, keep My commandments. And I will pray the Father, and He will give you another Helper, that [it] may abide with you forever—the Spirit of truth, [which] the world cannot receive, because it neither sees [it] nor knows [it]; but you know [it], for [it] dwells with you and will be in you. I will not leave you orphans; I will come to you” (John 14:15–18).

Jesus told His disciples, “I still have many things to say to you, but you cannot bear them now. However, when… the Spirit of truth, has come, [it] will guide you into all truth; for [it] will not speak on [its] own authority, but whatever [it] hears [it] will speak; and [it] will tell you things to come. [It] will glorify Me, for [it] will take of what is Mine and declare it to you” (John 16:12–14).

God has given us the Spirit of truth—and what does the Spirit do? It gives us the truth! God is giving us the wonderful gift of truth, the Spirit of truth; we are begotten by the word of truth, by God’s Holy Spirit. And we have a weighty responsibility to live by the truth we have been given, as we must not fall into heartfelt rebellion and risk losing our salvation. “For if we sin willfully after we have received the truth, there no longer remains a sacrifice for sins” (Hebrews 10:26). 

Rejoice in the Truth

Paul wrote the book of Philippians while he was in prison. While he was there, he gave us one scripture that sometimes seems a bit hard to apply: “Rejoice in the Lord always. Again I will say, rejoice!” (Philippians 4:4). It’s hard to do that when things go wrong. When things go wrong for me, I have to ask myself, How should I handle this? Instead of becoming discouraged, I need to remember that “all things work together for good to those who love God” (Romans 8:28). When something goes wrong, I need to keep the perspective that God wants me to learn lessons from whatever the circumstance may be. And because we are learning, we are told to “count it all joy when you fall into various trials” (James 1:2). Not that the trial itself is joyous, but that we can use it to come closer to the truth.

We must not let disappointment make us cynical, turning us into scoffers. We read, “A scoffer seeks wisdom and does not find it, but knowledge is easy to him who understands” (Proverbs 14:6). If we know the truth, we can rejoice in the truth. But do we really appreciate the truth as deeply as we should, or do we just take it for granted? Do we really thank God, acknowledge Him, and rejoice in the truth? 

Notice what the Apostle John wrote: “Beloved, I pray that you may prosper in all things and be in health, just as your soul prospers. For I rejoiced greatly when brethren came and testified of the truth that is in you, just as you walk in the truth. I have no greater joy than to hear that my children walk in truth” (3 John 1:2–4). John rejoiced greatly upon hearing that those he taught were walking in the truth. Are we causing others to rejoice by our walk in the truth?

Stand Up for the Truth

Most of us live in places where we have relative freedom to live the truth and even to preach the truth. But even in the best of circumstances, sometimes there are challenges. Maybe it’s a work environment, or a school environment, or with your extended family. Even if only in a smaller way many of us have had to stand up for the truth. We’ve had to have the wisdom to be wise as serpents, yet harmless as doves (Matthew 10:16). 

We read of Peter pleading before the Sanhedrin: “But Peter and John answered and said to them, ‘Whether it is right in the sight of God to listen to you more than to God, you judge. For we cannot but speak the things which we have seen and heard.’ So when they had further threatened them, they let them go, finding no way of punishing them, because of the people, since they all glorified God for what had been done” (Acts 4:19–21). Even after being brought back to the Sanhedrin and beaten, they continued to stand up for the truth (Acts 5:40). They went back to their brethren rejoicing that they were counted worthy to suffer for the name of Christ.

So, will we be able to stand up for the truth? First, of course, we need to prove the truth. “Test all things; hold fast what is good” (1 Thessalonians 5:21). What is a solid part of our truth, our character—what we really know, as far as the truth of the Bible is concerned? Are we going to be able to stand up for it?

Standing in the gap is a major principle. We, as God’s people, have a responsibility to stand up for the truth and continue warning the whole world:

“The people of the land have used oppressions, committed robbery, and mistreated the poor and needy; and they wrongfully oppress the stranger. So I sought for a man among them who would make a wall, and stand in the gap before Me on behalf of the land, that I should not destroy it; but I found no one. Therefore I have poured out My indignation on them; I have consumed them with the fire of My wrath; and I have recompensed their deeds on their own heads,” says the Lord God (Ezekiel 22:29–31).

Brethren, God wants us, as His people, to stand in the gap. He wants us to stand up for His commandments, His way of life, His righteousness, and His truth. We need to stand up for the truth and build a wall of righteousness against oppression, wickedness, and evil. 

Speak the Truth

With so much conflict and division in our nations’ political and social lives, it may seem that nobody is speaking the truth. God wants us to speak the truth, but He adds another vital qualifier: He wants us to speak the truth in love (Ephesians 4:15). Our words define our character. Parents correct their children, and should do so in love. Employers correct their employees at times, and are to do so not in hate, but in love. This is part of our growing up in Christ, not being as children (vv. 14–15).

The Ninth Commandment instructs us, “You shall not bear false witness against your neighbor” (Exodus 20:16). We also read, “He who speaks truth declares righteousness, but a false witness, deceit” (Proverbs 12:17). The Bible is filled with instructions on the use of speech and words. “If you have been foolish in exalting yourself, or if you have devised evil, put your hand on your mouth” (Proverbs 30:32). 

That’s an expression, but maybe we have actually put our hands on our mouths to keep from saying something inappropriate. I think of these words of King David: “Lord, I cry out to You; make haste to me! Give ear to my voice when I cry out to You. Let my prayer be set before You as incense, the lifting up of my hands as the evening sacrifice. Set a guard, O Lord, over my mouth; keep watch over the door of my lips” (Psalm 141:1–3). When I pray, even daily, I ask God to help me to speak that which is edifying and administers grace to the hearers—and I ask God to help me not to say things that I should not say, because once it’s out, “the horse is out of the barn,” as the saying goes.

Every so often, we sing the hymn “Who Shall Dwell on Thy Holy Hill?” It’s based on Psalm 15, where King David asks, “Lord, who may abide in Your tabernacle? Who may dwell in Your holy hill? He who walks uprightly, and works righteousness, and speaks the truth in his heart” (vv. 1–2). David goes on to explain that these truth-speakers dwelling with God will not backbite, will not do evil to neighbors, and will honor those who fear the Lord (vv. 3–4). Does this describe us? It should.

Obey the Truth

We must believe the truth. Believing in God the Father and Jesus Christ is the foundation of our lives. “Now after John was put in prison, Jesus came to Galilee, preaching the gospel of the kingdom of God, and saying, ‘The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand. Repent, and believe in the gospel’” (Mark 1:14–15). But belief alone is not enough. “You believe that there is one God. You do well. Even the demons believe—and tremble!” (James 2:19). As Christians, we must also obey the truth we have been given!

Sadly, Scripture shows that there will be those who will not obey the truth. Paul tells us of those who are “always learning and never able to come to the knowledge of the truth” (2 Timothy 3:7). And he tells us that there are “those who are self-seeking and do not obey the truth” (Romans 2:8). 

We are living in a day and age when the Bible warns that many will not obey the truth. “O foolish Galatians! Who has bewitched you that you should not obey the truth, before whose eyes Jesus Christ was clearly portrayed among you as crucified? This only I want to learn from you: Did you receive the Spirit by the works of the law, or by the hearing of faith? Are you so foolish? Having begun in the Spirit, are you now being made perfect by the flesh?” (Galatians 3:1–3).

Later on, Paul writes, “You ran well. Who hindered you from obeying the truth? This persuasion does not come from Him who calls you” (Galatians 5:7–8). And this is one of my favorite verses: “As you therefore have received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk in Him, rooted and built up in Him and established in the faith, as you have been taught, abounding in it with thanksgiving” (Colossians 2:6–7).

The Galatians had been deceived into not obeying the truth, and we see that the world around us is not doing so, either. We need to make sure that we are knowing the truth, proving it, living it, and obeying it. “Since you have purified your souls in obeying the truth through the Spirit in sincere love of the brethren, love one another fervently with a pure heart, having been born again, not of corruptible seed but incorruptible, through the word of God which lives and abides forever” (1 Peter 1:22–23). The word translated “born” should be translated “begotten,” of course. As we yield to the Holy Spirit within us, we gain the power we need to grow ever closer toward the full obedience God desires of us.

Men and Women of Truth

We know that our God is a God of truth. His word is truth, and he is “a God of truth and without injustice” (Deuteronomy 32:4). Without truth, we cannot have true justice. God expected the Israelites to administer justice truthfully. “Moreover you shall select from all the people able men, such as fear God, men of truth, hating covetousness; and place such over them to be rulers of thousands, rulers of hundreds, rulers of fifties, and rulers of tens” (Exodus 18:21).

Would God recognize us as men or women of truth? We should all be striving to overcome our carnal human nature. We aren’t perfect yet, but we should be actively engaged in a transformation toward truth.

How would we describe our nature? King David described human nature, and the transformation of that nature that God wants us to achieve: “Behold, I was brought forth in iniquity, and in sin my mother conceived me. Behold, You desire truth in the inward parts, and in the hidden part You will make me to know wisdom. Purge me with hyssop, and I shall be clean; wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow” (Psalm 51:5–7).

Truth must reach our inward parts. It must become an indelible part of our character. And we know that God’s Church is the pillar and ground of the truth (1 Timothy 3:15). God leads each of us toward His truth perfectly, but we sometimes don’t listen or obey Him perfectly, and we make mistakes as a result. We aren’t robots; God is working with us to perfect us, and He doesn’t give up on us as long as we are sincerely striving to obey Him.

Even the Church as a whole may sometimes make a mistake, but God works with His obedient human leadership, providing guidance and correction as needed to keep the Church on track. Mr. Herbert Armstrong saw the Worldwide Church of God drifting into error, and before he died in January of 1986, he made great strides to put the WCG “back on track.” 

When his successor ceased to obey the truth and started teaching others to disobey, God used His obedient servant Dr. Roderick C. Meredith, mistakes and all, to powerfully continue the proclamation of His truth. That you are reading this article today is a testimony to Dr. Meredith’s zeal and dedication to preserving and preaching the truth. And you can read our Official Statement of Fundamental Beliefs and see for yourself that we as a Church are dedicated to proclaiming and obeying the truth—the “whole counsel of God” (Acts 20:27).

Full Immersion

Brethren, when we are baptized, we are immersed fully under the water. That symbolizes the death of our old carnal nature and the beginning of a new spiritual nature begotten in us through the gift of the Holy Spirit. Our symbolic immersion should not end at baptism. We’ve been begotten by the word of truth and the Spirit of truth. 

“Show me Your ways, O Lord; teach me Your paths. Lead me in Your truth and teach me, for You are the God of my salvation; on You I wait all the day” (Psalm 25:4–5). That has been my prayer many times—to ask God to teach me and to lead me in His truth. 

May we all, as brethren, shine as the light of truth in a very dark and evil world. May we internalize the truth, clothe ourselves with the truth, believe and obey the truth, love the truth, live the truth—so that we can teach the world the reality and the truth of God in the Kingdom to come.

Let’s immerse ourselves in the truth—today, tomorrow, and forever.