Paul recounts that when he was a young man, he sat at the feet of Gamaliel (who was a leading scholar among the Jews in Jerusalem), learning the principles of the Law and the customs of the Jews. (see Acts 22:3). It was this same Gamaliel who cautioned the Jews about their early persecution of the disciples of the LORD. “Then stood there up one in the council, a Pharisee, named Gamaliel, a doctor of the law, had in reputation among all the people, and commanded to put the apostles forth a little space; And said unto them, Ye men of Israel, take heed to yourselves what ye intend to do as touching these men. ---- And now I say unto you, Refrain from these men, and let them alone: for if this counsel or this work be of men, it will come to nought: But if it be of God, ye cannot overthrow it; lest haply ye be found even to fight against God.” (Acts 5:34-39)
Not a lot is known about this man, Gamaliel, as the scriptures only mention him on these two occasions. Some have speculated that he was among those Pharisees (along with Nicodemus) who became secret followers of CHRIST. This is mere speculation but that he spoke the incontrovertible truth concerning the certainty of the LORD’s purpose being accomplished, cannot be denied. He also serves to illustrate that very fact by his silence as the Jews sought to crucify the spotless LAMB of GOD, for this was a purpose which could not be thwarted in any wise, as the LORD used the wickedness of men to accomplish that which HE had ordained. “Him, being delivered by the determinate counsel and foreknowledge of God, ye have taken, and by wicked hands have crucified and slain.” (Acts 2:23)
The LORD HIMSELF taught this principle of certainty when HE said, “upon this rock I will build my church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.” (Mat 16:18) Many have erred in thinking that the “rock” upon which HE would build HIS church was Peter, yet that “ROCK” is CHRIST HIMSELF who revealed HIMSELF to Peter (not by might but by HIS SPIRIT). Peter could in no wise fail to confess that TRUTH which was written upon his heart, (see Mat.16:16) for it is GOD which works in HIS people both to will and to do of HIS good pleasure. Thus, we clearly see that when the LORD told Thomas, “I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.” (John 14:6) HE was not commenting about the possibility of men coming to the FATHER by CHRIST but rather the certainty that those to whom HE revealed HIMSELF would come. Just as HE said, “All that the Father giveth me shall come to me.” (John 6:37) and “My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me: And I give unto them eternal life; and they shall never perish, neither shall any man pluck them out of my hand.” (John 10:27-28)
The FAITH of GOD’s elect is not built upon premises but rather promises. What HE says HE will do and there is no power, in either Heaven, Earth, or Hell, that can overturn HIS purpose to redeem and deliver HIS people from guilt and darkness, the curse of the law, and the pit of destruction. If the salvation of the LORD’s people in any measure depended upon their own ability to either believe it or receive it, then there could be no certainty that any man would be saved and the possibility would exist that the LORD could fail to save any. How foolish is such a thought and how utterly barren is such preaching which relies upon the decision of men to follow the LORD. “Thy people shall be willing in the day of thy power.” (Psa 110:3)
Paul says, “we can do nothing against the truth.” Yet is it not true that we each daily find ourselves at odds with the truth? Do we not wrestle with our own flesh which seeks to dominate us and turn us aside from that “TRUTH” which is written upon our hearts? Nay in all these things we are “more than conquerors” for it is the SPIRIT of GOD working in us that proves the very principle which Paul states. The TRUTH is in us except we be reprobates. When David prayed “take not thy HOLY SPIRIT from me”, is he not illustrating the very fact that the sons of GOD are kept by HIM who will not let them go. Where else could such a desire come from except from HIM who convicts and convinces HIS people. “A thousand shall fall at thy side, and ten thousand at thy right hand; but it shall not come nigh thee.” (Psa 91:7) This is a promise which is given to CHRIST, who in turn has hidden HIS people in HIS side, and HE will never leave nor forsake them. We stand because HE stands.
The greatest lament of the sons of GOD is that they find themselves so very far from the “TRUTH”, and yet they long to be found in the “TRUTH”. Thus, they can do nothing against the TRUTH. They are compelled to confess that in themselves dwells no good thing. This is the TRUTH which only those awakened by the SPIRIT of GOD can see and embrace. The saddest thought that could enter the mind of a child of GOD is that he would be found fighting against the TRUTH of GOD. “For if our heart condemn us, God is greater than our heart, and knoweth all things.” (1John 3:20)
When Peter denied the LORD, in a display of cowardice and human weakness it would seem to men that he had overturned this very principle. Yet the LORD used Peter to illustrate this principle as HE assured Peter (while Peter scoffed at the thought) that HE had prayed for him, that his FAITH would not fail even though he would be sifted as wheat. Those whom the LORD loves HE will keep and they can do nothing “against” the truth. Some will, no doubt, remind us that “If we deny him, he also will deny us.” This is certainly true and every child of GOD (including Peter) would be in jeopardy were it not also true that, “If we believe not, yet he abideth faithful: he cannot deny himself.” (2Tim 2:12-13) Thus, the sons of GOD can do nothing against the TRUTH, because CHRIST is their PERFORMER and the KEEPER of the sheep. HE will lose none which are given to HIM.
Those sent by GOD can do nothing against the TRUTH for they are all given the same message that Paul declared, “For I determined not to know any thing among you, save Jesus Christ, and him crucified.” (1Cor 2:2) Paul was not reluctant to label those that did not preach this same message as being deceivers. “there be some that trouble you, and would pervert the gospel of Christ. But though we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel unto you than that which we have preached unto you, let him be accursed. As we said before, so say I now again, If any man preach any other gospel unto you than that ye have received, let him be accursed.” (Gal 1:7-9)
Even though the men of this world (deceivers included) seek to overturn the WORD of GOD, yet they cannot thwart the will of GOD for HE has ordained their actions unto HIS glory and the fulfilment of HIS purpose to destroy them and preserve HIS flock. The LORD will winnow HIS wheat and gather it into HIS barns using even the errors of men in contrast to that which is TRUE, to establish HIS people in the FAITH once delivered to the saints. “there shall be false teachers among you, who privily shall bring in damnable heresies, even denying the Lord that bought them, and bring upon themselves swift destruction.” (2Pet 2:1) “The Lord knoweth how to deliver the godly out of temptations, and to reserve the unjust unto the day of judgment to be punished.” (2Pet 2:9) “For there must be also heresies among you, that they which are approved may be made manifest among you.” (1Cor 11:19)
The children of GOD are “for the TRUTH”, not simply passively but in actively rejoicing in HIM who is the “TRUTH.” Any message which gives all glory to CHRIST in the redemption of sinners is both a welcome and a delightful sound to the sons of GOD, who are bought with a price. As the SPIRIT leads them into all TRUTH, they are compelled to desire the TRUTH in even greater measure. “For this cause also thank we God without ceasing, because, when ye received the word of God which ye heard of us, ye received it not as the word of men, but as it is in truth, the word of God, which effectually worketh also in you that believe.” (1Thes 2:13) “Having made known unto us the mystery of his will, according to his good pleasure which he hath purposed in himself.” (Eph 1:9)