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What Is Truth?

14 Nov
What is truth? by Nikolaj Nikolajewitsch Ge. S...
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Do we know the truth? Pilate once asked Jesus facetiously “What is truth?” as he ended one round of his interrogation of Jesus to go out to the Jewish authorities to say Jesus was innocent of the charges brought against him. Pilate didn’t wait for a reply from Jesus, because he didn’t believe anyone really knew what truth was, at least not in the sense conveyed by Jesus (John 18:37-38). Today, we speak of there being no absolutes, as though that statement were absolutely true, a contradictory statement to be sure, but this doesn’t seem to bother us. We talk of your truth and my truth, and in a world of Political Correctness anything, even contradictory beliefs, can all be true, simply because we say it is so. Is this the truth?

One of the most basic needs of mankind is to know what reality is. However, in ancient times (but this is still so today for many) people believed that the true reality was on a different level or dimension than ours. We would be but an emanation of the gods or different forces that collided and produced our world in the process. Awhile back I wrote two blogs about these things, one concerning the ancient era and it can be found HERE, and the other concerning our era and can be found HERE. The long-story-short is, the ancient world lived in total darkness. They lived and believed a lie. The only light in that world was the Jewish civilization and they struggled with coming to terms with the real truth. They wondered if they could be the only civilization that had it right, especially considering the great empires that were gradually eating up their own nation, the very territories promised them by the God whom they were told gave them the truth? In the end, they trusted in the God of truth, but they still struggled, not having the truth as it needs to be understood. This could come only through seeing Jesus!

Jesus tells us that he is the truth (John 14:6), and, if this is really so, coming to terms with him will fill our world with Light, that is, true knowledge, both about God and about ourselves.[1] The only problem is that, though Light has come into our world, most folks prefer their darkness (John 3:19). Why do we prefer darkness, that is, why do we prefer lies over the truth about ourselves and God? Well, John gives us the answer in his first epistle.

John tells us that the message they (the 12 disciples) heard and which they report to us is that God is Light (Truth, Reality), and in him is no darkness (lie, falsehood). However, if we claim that we have fellowship or communication with God (Light, Truth, Reality) but walk in darkness (i.e. live out a lie), then we are lying to others about ourselves (1John 1:5-6). This is only logical. One cannot live out a lie and claim we are living in reality. It just isn’t so.

John goes on to say that if we live in the light as Jesus dwells in Light, then not only are we in communication with God but with one another as well. And, the blood of Jesus cleanses us from every sin (1John 1:7). This sounds like a contradiction, but actually it is not. As we learn to walk, we can expect to fall many times, but refusing to walk is an entirely different matter. Forgiveness repairs damage done while one is in a relationship, but rebellion is like divorce—there is no relationship in such a case, and claiming there is on would be a lie.

John then says, if we claim we have no sin, we deceive ourselves and light or truth is not in us (1John 1:8). In other words, we cannot hide what we’ve done or who we are. When we try to hide what we’ve done or what kind of a person we are from our family and friends, we end up believing our own lie, thinking we really have done no wrong and are really as good as we’ve allowed others to believe about ourselves. We may want this to be true, but desiring something to be so doesn’t make it true. Nevertheless, if I am willing to face reality and let folks know the real me, then God is faithful and righteous to not only forgive me, but to cleanse me from all unrighteousness, which is fulfilling my present need, and this is what he has always desired to do from the beginning (1John 1:9; cp. Revelation 4:11). He is the Great I AM… whatever we need him to be in order to live life to its fullest.

On the other hand, if I deny I am a sinner, I make God out to be a liar (1John 1:10), because he claims I’m a sinner. Worse still—I am saying that he sent his Son to die in my stead in payment for my sins, but my lies claim this wasn’t necessary. This is the ultimate conclusion of lying to others. There is an inevitable sequence of developments that must occur when I seek to deceive others. When I lie to others, I end up believing my own lie, and in believing what is false, ultimately denies the reality of God. I deny his word, what he claims about me and given enough time, I would deny his very existence. To believe the lie denies the Truth—Light—Reality.

Truth isn’t all that complicated. It is found in Jesus (John 14:6). Pilate thought it was illusive, but he wasn’t honest with himself or with others, so how could be begin to know the truth, even when he was standing before his very eyes. When I see Jesus, I see the Truth—who God is and who I am. Jesus is the perfect expression of God in human form (Hebrews 1:3), and to see him is the same as seeing God (John 14:9). Moreover, to know God is to know him as my Creator. I am real, not merely an emanation from him. What I do is important in that it has consequences, and to see Jesus is to understand this. Seeing Jesus lifted up upon a cross is to see myself as I truly am. Seeing Jesus means understanding that my basic need to understand truth can be satisfied only by repenting of my rebellion against God.  Seeing Jesus as the Truth leads to knowing, believing and trusting him as my Savior and my God.


[1] This blog was inspired by my reading a book entitled We Would See Jesus by Roy and Revel Hession; Christian Literature Crusade; Fort Washington, Pennsylvania 19034; Copyright 1958. I bought the book years ago and have read it several times. At the writing of this blog, I am reading it again. Although I don’t believe I have merely put down the authors thoughts, some similarity is inevitable. I have used some of the Scripture references used by the authors, but not all, and all the Scriptures I have used are not contained in the book. Moreover, there are some doctrinal difference between us that would prevent the authors from concluding everything I have in my blogs. So, while there is some similarity, my blogs are not copies of the authors’ material. Anyway, I wish to be as honest about this as I am able, so let this disclosure inform the reader as needed.

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Posted by on November 14, 2010 in Christianity, Religion, seeing God

 

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