KNOWLEDGE OF THE TRUTH?

 

  There is a verse in the book of Hebrews which should strike

fear into the heart of all Christians who sin.

 

  "For if we sin deliberately after receiving the

         KNOWLEDGE OF THE TRUTH,

              there no longer remains a sacrifice for sins,

                 but a fearful prospect of judgment, and a fury of fire   

                    which will consume the  adversaries."  

                                                        Heb 10:26-27

 

The author was saying that Christians should be sure to gather

together and exhort each other (v:25) because if they were to

sin willfully after receiving "the knowledge of the truth" their

only prospect was "judgment and a fury of fire".

 

WHAT IS THE "KNOWLEDGE OF THE TRUTH"? 

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If we dip beneath the surface of the English translation we

quickly discover that it is not just knowledge (Gk gnosis)

rather, it is "epi - gnosis".

 

The Greek preposition "epi" is an intensifier which when

combined with gnosis  "always refers to knowledge which

very powerfully influences the form of religious life."  and

implies a "full" knowledge.  Standard reference works explain

epignosis in this way...

 

Strong's Dictionary of the NT 1922  epignosis -

    recognition, i.e. (by implication) full discernment,   

   acknowledgment:

 

Thayers Lexicon 1922  epignosis-

   precise and correct knowledge; used in the New Testament of    

   the knowledge of things ethical and divine

 

If you apply those definitions to "knowledge of the truth" we

see that it refers to a full and CORRECT knowledge of things

ethical and divine which in turn influences ones religious life.

 

Vines expository dictionary agrees:

 

          2. epignosis 1922,....denotes "exact or full knowledge,

discernment, recognition," and is a strengthened form of No. 1,

[gnosis] expressing a fuller or a full "knowledge," a greater

participation by the "knower" in the object "known," thus more

powerfully influencing him.

 

 

The author of Hebrews was pronouncing a dreadful warning to

those who had received this "epignosis of the truth". The

warning was:  "...sin deliberately and there would be no more

hope, only the prospect of judgment."  So, if epignosis refers to

full and complete knowledge of the truth, what is "the truth"?

 

There are two things which come to mind when we see the

term "the truth" (not simply truth, but THE truth)

 

  1.  Jesus,  who is referred to as "the truth."

       

          "I am the way, the truth and the life." (John 14:6)

 

  2.  The law of God, which is "the truth".

 

         "Thy law is the truth."  Psalms 119:142

 

 

  The law of God and Jesus are forever intertwined.

If you know Jesus, you keep the commandments of God.

And conversely, if you keep the commandments of God, you

know that you have come to know Jesus.

 

Not true you say - argue with the apostle John...

 

      "And by this we know that we have come to KNOW Him,

        if we keep His commandments.   I Jn 2:3

 

      "The one who says, "I have come to KNOW Him," and   

       does not keep His commandments, is a liar, and THE 

       TRUTH is not in him;                          1 John 2:4

 

 

The term "knowledge of the truth" is used elsewhere by Paul

and if we look at those verses they will help us to understand

what this enigmatic phrase really means.

 

   Titus 1:1

      Paul, a servant of God and an apostle of Jesus Christ, to   

      further the faith of God's elect and their KNOWLEDGE OF  

     THE TRUTH which accords with godliness,

 

In this verse we see that it is the "elect" who have the

"knowledge of the truth";  and we see that the knowledge

of the truth has to do with godliness.

 

The word "elect" in the Greek text is a form of "eklektos"

which is sometimes translated as "chosen" as indicated by

Strong's Greek Dictionary:

 

1588  eklektos:  select; by implication, favorite:

KJV-- chosen, elect.

 

It is important to understand this because according to

Paul,  it is the chosen (elect) who have the knowledge of the

truth .  In the gospel of Matthew Jesus used the same word

"eklektos" when He said:

 

      'For many are called, but few are CHOSEN"   Matt 22:14

 

If you refer to the definition of eklektos you will see that Jesus

was saying that many are called, but few are selected.  That is

many are called by the Father - but only a few are "elect".

 

Many Christians have been called by God and given the gift

of faith, but not all of them will be selected (chosen) by God to

receive eternal life.  Those who are chosen, are those who

have received the knowledge of the truth.  ("...the elect

and their knowledge of the truth."  Tit 1:1 above)

 

Peter also referred to this process of calling and choosing when

he said:

 

     10  "Therefore, brethren, be all the more diligent to make certain

     about His CALLING and CHOOSING you; for as long as you

     practice these things, you will never stumble;  

 

 

Was Peter really talking about salvation?  The next verse makes

it absolutely clear that he was...

 

    "...for in this way the entrance into the eternal kingdom of our

     Lord  and Savior Jesus Christ will be abundantly supplied to you.

                                 2 Pet 1:10-11

 

That is why the author of Hebrews warned the Christians to

make sure that they continued to gather together and exhort

each other about love and good works because if those who

had come to the knowledge of the truth were to "sin

deliberately,  they could be certain  of  "a certain fearful looking

for of judgment and fiery indignation, which shall devour the

adversaries."

 

Why are those who have "received the knowledge of the truth"

and then "sin deliberately" punished so severely?  

 

     "How much worse punishment do you think will be deserved by the

      man who has spurned the Son of God, and profaned the blood of

      the covenant by which he was sanctified, and outraged the

     Spirit of grace?   Heb 10:29

 

Because, after receiving the "full and correct" knowledge of the

truth, they have spit upon the blood of the covenant by which

they were sanctified and outraged the Spirit of grace by rejecting

obedience to God's law and deliberately committing sin.

 

PETER GIVES THE SAME WARNING!

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Peter said this about Christians who have come to the

knowledge (epignosis) of Jesus and have known the way of

righteousness and then turn back to committing sin...

 

    "For if, after they have escaped the defilements of the world  

     through the KNOWLEDGE OF THE LORD and Saviour  

     Jesus Christ, they are again entangled therein and overcome,

     the last state is become worse with them than the first.

 

     For it were better for them not to have KNOWN THE WAY

     OF RIGHTEOUSNESS, than, after knowing it, to turn back

     from the HOLY COMMANDMENT delivered unto them."

                                                                   2 Peter 2:20-21

 

  Like the dog returning to its vomit these people escaped the

defilements of the world and ceased from sin through the

KNOWLEDGE of Jesus (The Truth) and then turned back to

sin.

 

They had KNOWN the way of righteousness (the truth) and then

chose to "sin deliberately" and  break one of the holy

Commandments of God.

         

     " It has happened unto them according to the true proverb,

       The dog turning to his own vomit again, and the sow that

        had washed to wallowing in the mire.

 

The dire warnings found in Peter and Hebrews are there for

our protection.  If the reader is a Christian who is still

committing sin by deliberately breaking any of the Ten

Commandments and is anxious to repent, let him take heart, for

if he is able to repent, then he is not one who has come to a

knowledge of the truth and turned back to sin.

 

The very fact that one wants to repent is proof that he is

still able to be saved, for God has not yet rejected him and

sent him a delusion as described in 2 Thessalonians:

 

  "...and with all unrighteous deception among those who perish,  

     because they did not receive the love of  THE TRUTH, that   

     they might be saved.

 

   "And for this reason God will send them strong delusion, that   

    they should believe the lie, that they all may be condemned 

    who did not believe THE TRUTH but had pleasure in  

    UNRIGHTEOUSNESS."    2 Th 2:10-12

 

As I sat here pondering how to close, I decided there could be

no better way than to simply repeat the words that God inspired

in the author of Hebrews as he tried to warn his brethren about

the awful consequences of intentional sin...

 

          "...and let us consider how to stir up one another to love  

 

           and good works, not neglecting to meet together, as is

 

           the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all

 

          the more as you see the Day drawing near.

 

           For if we sin deliberately after receiving the knowledge

 

         of the truth, there no longer remains a sacrifice for sins,

        

         but a fearful prospect of judgment, and a fury of fire

 

         which will consume the adversaries."

 

 

 

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Verses referring to the "knowledge of the truth"

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1 Tim 2:4

          "Who will have all men TO BE SAVED, AND TO  

         COME UNTO THE KNOWLEDGE OF THE TRUTH.'

 

 

2 Tim 2:25

      "...in meekness correcting them that oppose themselves; if 

      peradventure God may give them REPENTANCE UNTO  

                THE  KNOWLEDGE OF THE TRUTH.

 

2 Tim 3:7

          "...led away by diverse lusts, ever learning, and NEVER   

               ABLE TO COME TO THE  KNOWLEDGE OF   

                                        THE TRUTH."

 

Titus 1:1

          "Paul, a servant of God and an apostle of Jesus Christ,  

        to further the faith of God's elect and their KNOWLEDGE    

               OF THE TRUTH WHICH ACCORDS WITH  

                                      GODLINESS."

 

Heb 10:26

          "For if we sin wilfully after that we have RECEIVED 

                 THE KNOWLEDGE OF THE TRUTH, there 

                     remaineth no more sacrifice for sins."