Every Thought Captive

The Way, the Truth, & the Life

And to the angel of the church in Pergamum write: "The words of Him who has the sharp two-edged sword:

'I know where you dwell, where Satan’s throne is. Yet you hold fast My name, and you did not deny My faith even in the days of Antipas My faithful witness, who was killed among you, where Satan dwells. But I have a few things against you: you have some there who hold the teaching of Balaam, who taught Balak to put a stumbling block before the sons of Israel, so that they might eat food sacrificed to idols and practice sexual immorality. So also you have some who hold the teaching of the Nicolaitans. Therefore repent. If not, I will come to you soon and war against them with the sword of My mouth. He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches. To the one who conquers I will give some of the hidden manna, and I will give him a white stone, with a new name written on the stone that no one knows except the one who receives it.'"

Revelation 2:12-17

What defines truth? Our culture would answer that by telling you to speak "your truth," meaning whatever you think or feel is what is true for you. Our sixteenth President of the United States, Abraham Lincoln, was known for his courage in standing against slavery. While others opposed him and deeply believed that slavery was okay, Abe fought for the justice of the voiceless and as we know, issued the Emancipation Proclamation that declared slaves forever free within the Confederacy. We look back today, and it is easy for us to say that slavery was not okay, and it was unjust. Yet, those who stood for it were just believing their own truth. This is where the idea our culture has of speaking "your truth" is not as loving and freeing as its story paints it to be.   

As Christians, it is so important to know what we believe. We believe that Jesus is the only way, truth, and life. John 8 also says that if the Son sets you free, you are free indeed. So, what our lives are called to reflect is that the Word of God is our only truth, that He alone sets us free, and that should shape the way we think, believe, and love. So, if our culture believes one thing, and we believe another, where is our place as Christians here? The response is not one of judgment or condemnation, but it’s a response of a heart that delights in sharing the good news. When I got engaged in December, to my now husband, I was ecstatic to call my friends and family back home and share that news with them. How much more excited should I be, and should we be to share the good news of the gospel that has changed our eternity with others?   

Yet when we scroll on social media, listen to that Spotify New Music Friday drop (sorry Apple Music), go to our schools, attend our places of work and even in our own homes, we see other news and alluring stories being shared, ones that oppose the truth of God’s Word. We must face the question, what then is the truth? We are in a culture where we are told different stories, ones that promise us false hope, a misplaced identity, and are contrary to the one true story told by the Word of God. As believers, we hold fast to the belief that the Bible is the inherent Word of God, that every word of God proves true, and that because God is who He says He is, His Word and His promises can be fully trusted.   

At the Church of Pergamum, they had love, but they did not have truth. Instead of God and His Word being their ultimate foundation, they replaced God with an idol. They worshipped the Roman emperor himself. Our church and our city do not have a physical idol placed on a hill that we go to and worship, and we sure aren’t worshipping a Roman emperor. Yet, could we look at our lives and honestly say that the Word of God shapes every single aspect of our lives and is the only recipient of our worship, or does the world get our praise, attention, and affection?  

Lastly, in this passage, the Word of God is referred to as a literal two-edged sword. This is because Scripture is both our authority and our judgment. We can look at that without fear, because we know as believers there is no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. We are covered by the cross and seen as holy, righteous, and blameless. So judgment is the righting of wrongs, which is the restoration of all things. How beautiful it is to picture one day all things being made right. In the book A Gospel Centered Life, Tim Keller says, “Because the gospel is endlessly rich, it can handle the burden of being the ‘main thing’ of a church.”  The gospel is not just a story, it is the greatest story of all time. It’s a story that has changed our lives and eternities forever. It’s a story where Jesus turned the double-edged sword of judgment on Himself so that He could speak over you a new name, a name that says, “You belong to Me.” Because of Christ, you are no longer defined by your sins, your failures, or the sins committed against you. You are a beloved daughter or son of the Holy and perfect, loving, almighty God, and you are His forever.  

As the Church, our call is that this story would be spread to the ends of the earth until Jesus comes again. Where in your life, or to whom, can you spread the good news today?

About the Author

Photograph of Kenna Gaw

Kenna Gaw

Middle School Resident

Park Cities Presbyterian Church

Kenna Gaw is a Resident for Middle School at Park Cities Presbyterian Church. She graduated from TCU with a degree in Youth Advocacy and Educational Studies with an emphasis on Criminal Justice and afterwards attended the Kanakuk Institute. Kenna’s passions include encouraging young girls in their faith and identity in Christ, wake surfing on the lake, and learning how to cook. Kenna is newly married to her husband, David.