by Scott Stephens
Scott Stephens is the counseling pastor at West End Baptist Church’s West End Counseling Center, a board member of Redeemer Biblical Counseling Training Institute, and a PhD student in the Biblical Counseling Program at Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary. To find out more about our counseling center (WECC), please call the church at 864-232-7312.
Saint Augustine wrote in his work titled On Christian Doctrine, “Let every good and true Christian understand that wherever truth may be found, it belongs to the Master; and while he recognizes and acknowledges the truth, even in their religious literature, let him reject the figments of superstition.”
Because of his fallen nature, the noetic effects of sin obscures mankind’s judgement, causing him to seek truth from unreliable sources. Romans 1 explains how sinfulness and rebellion affect man and his ability to think. Verse nineteen states that all that can be known about God is made plain to mankind in nature because God has revealed it to them. Even though mankind knows God, because of how sin has affected them they reject Him; they don’t honor or acknowledge Him. As a result, their “foolish hearts” are darkened, and they become “futile in their thinking” (Romans 1:18-23). Man in his sinfulness is living with a depraved mind (Romans 1: 28).
Man is capable, though, of understanding and knowing the difference between what is true and what is false; because God in His infinite wisdom has revealed His truth in the Bible, the ultimate source for God’s truth (2 Timothy 3:16-17). God wants His truth to be the foundation of His people’s lives (John 8:32). God’s truth should permeate man’s thoughts and actions to the extent that everything that is said and done should be examined by the truth of His word (2 Corinthians 10:5).
God has also provided the Holy Spirit to every believer to enable them to understand the truth that He has revealed in His Word (1 Corinthians 2:14-16). It is a task of the Holy Spirit to open the minds of man so that he can perceive the testimony of Scripture, and then to cause it to embolden him with power and conviction. The opening of man’s mind enables him to behold the excellence that is the Word of God. The Word of God is to be used by the church to teach and admonish Christ-followers with wisdom, singing the Psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, with thankfulness in their hearts toward God (Colossians 3:16). 2 Timothy 3:16-17 proclaims that the entirety of Scripture is breathed out by God and is sufficient to be used for education, for admonition, for correction, and for training in righteousness, so that every believer can be whole and equipped for every good work.
We are blessed that we have been provided the truth from our God who loves us and want’s what is best for us (Psalm 103:8). We are also blessed to see God’s goodness every day. On our own, we cannot understand what genuine truth is. Thanks be to God that He has given us His Truth in the Bible, and He has also provided us the ability to understand it with the help of the Holy Spirit!