As believers, we live with the tension of seeking to be relevant to our generation while remaining faithful to the Lord Jesus Christ. Fortunately, God’s truth is relevant for every generation and never needs to be compromised or jettisoned for the sake of relevancy.
There is no question that we are living in times of transition. Changes are not only occurring in society – changes which most of us never envisioned – but we are also living in times of change in assembly life. The precepts of Scripture must never be bartered for size or appeal; the principles of Scripture, however, will undoubtedly be applied differently in each generation.
The Lord has “sown” us during a time of unprecedented ungodliness and evil in society. The days of which Isaiah spoke, when men call good evil and evil good, are the days in which we live (Isa 5:20). While every generation has doubtless felt that theirs was the most difficult in which to live for God, the moral decline in our day has been precipitous; it has moved with a speed that even its most optimistic proponents did not anticipate. The successes of militant atheism and cultural relativism show the wisdom of Satanic strategy for the last days.
But we are not consigned to a fatalistic acceptance; we need not resign ourselves to “holding on” until the Rapture. We have the deposit of truth, just as former generations had. In his closing Pastoral Epistles, Paul made several appeals as well as charges to Timothy and Titus concerning the “deposit” of truth. “That good thing … keep” (2Tim 1:14, KJV). “The same commit thou to faithful men” (2Tim 2:2, KJV). “Preach the Word” (2Tim 4:2, KJV). To Titus, “speak thou the things which become sound doctrine” (Titus 2:1, KJV). “These things speak, and exhort, and rebuke with all authority” (Titus 2:15, KJV). And for added emphasis, Paul exhorted Timothy, “Take heed unto thyself, and unto the doctrine … thou shalt save thyself and them that hear thee” (1Tim 4:16, KJV).
Doctrine is vital to pleasing God and living for Him. Whenever it refers to divine truth, “doctrine” is always in the singular; it is not a group of “doctrines.” You cannot compromise part of the truth without endangering all the truth; you cannot sacrifice truth concerning the assembly without sacrificing truth concerning the person of Christ. Doctrine stands together as one coherent inter-related entity.
Difficult days call for unwavering devotion. There is always a danger of being devoted to “truth” but losing sight of the Author of truth. In our devotion to the truth of God, let us never forget the primary call to be devoted to the God of Truth. To compromise truth is to deny the One who is Truth (John 14:6). “The day defines the deed.” Faithfulness to David the king was admirable when he sat upon the throne. When he was forced into exile by the Absalom rebellion, devotion took on a totally new significance. It was then that a hitherto unknown man, Hushai, stepped from the shadows and earned for himself eternally the title “David’s Friend” (2Sam 16:16). To be known as His friend in that day is well worth living for in this evil day.