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. 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 Thessalonians 2:9–12—NKJV)

I learned “all that glitters is not gold” in a visual sense during a junior high science class. Our teacher passed around a piece of pyrite (fool’s gold) for all the class to examine. Even though there was the huge cool factor of holding such a heavy and solid rock, it still lacked the value of the real thing.

“All that glitters is not gold” is a truism, a general statement expressing a conglomeration of truths. Among them, many things glitter. Gold glitters, and gold has a perceived value that other glittery things do not have.

When a thing like truth is being discussed, the great challenge is to mine, refine, and claim the “gold” in its most pure form while not accepting any “fool’s gold.” But, just like gold, many things share similarities to truth, they may even contain bits of truth (just as fool’s gold can), but nothing substitutes for the real thing. Also, truth is easily diluted and devalued. For many men, truth has been adulterated. Most philosophical constructs of “truth” may actually only be partial truth, if not a full-fledged lie. “Truths” so easily embraced and believed may fall prey to time’s verdict that they were fool’s gold all along.

The explanation of why so much supposed “truth” is fool’s gold is evident in our text. Satan (the father of all unregenerated souls) is the father of lies (John 8:44) and so all of his “children” have a natural bent to avoid the truth and share a common susceptibility to embrace lies. One cannot really be a lover of truth unless he has received that quality from God [God is Truth (Isaiah 65:16)] through trusting Jesus Christ—the Way, the Truth, and the Life (John 14:6). Just as fool’s gold may be found in nature along with the real thing, so an unsaved man may tolerate a certain level of unvarnished truth, but to be a lover of the truth is beyond his grasp. He goes through life watching his ideals founder on the reefs of sin and perversion until he asks, like Pilate, “What is truth?” (John 18:38).

The divine miracle that is conversion from a man’s natural state of spiritual death to becoming a lover of the truth at salvation occurs when God enables a man to fully see he is a lost sinner according to the Word of Truth (the Bible) and that despite his best efforts and beliefs he is under the imminent doom of the wrath of God. His sins banish him from the very presence of God, they ban him from all hope of heaven and sweep him into the fires of hell. He is powerless to save himself, but must cast his fate and soul upon the mercies of God. With this reckoning of the bitter truth of his utter inability coupled with the truth of the sufficiency of the blood sacrifice of the innocent Lamb of God dying in his stead, he receives the grace of God unto regeneration (John 3:3, 16). He is made anew and becomes a lover of truth.

Being a lover of truth changes everything in his life. He considers as genuine, pure gold, the entirety of the Bible as God’s final revelation of truth (Psalm 19) and the Holy Spirit uses the Bible to lead him into truth (John 16:13). He lives in the realm of authenticity (2 Timothy 2:15). He worships God in truth (John 4:24). He thinks in the realm of truth (Philippians 4:8). Truth is an integral part of his daily armor (Ephesians 6:14). He values “24 carat” truth so highly that he recognizes its luster wherever it appears (Proverbs 23:23) and will accept no substitute even when it is painful (Ephesians 5:8–11). He speaks the truth in love (Ephesians 4:15). He loves the local church where the truth is purely communicated and corporately revered (1 Timothy 3:15). His prayers are replete with truth and his counsel is bathed with it. He trusts God’s promises as “Gospel Truth” and lives accordingly.

Are you a lover of the truth as God defines it? It only takes one lie to become a liar but it takes a miracle of new birth in Christ to be made a lover of the truth. Trust and obey.