You Will Know the Truth
You will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.
—John 8:32 ESV
For the Christian, the ultimate expression of truth is found in the Bible, in Jesus, who said, “I am the way, the truth, and the life…” (John 14:6) Of course, most philosophers and skeptics will dismiss His claim, but for the Christian, He is the mainstay of hope, security, and guidance. Jesus, who walked on water, claimed to be divine, rose from the dead, and said that He was the truth and the originator of truth. If Jesus is wrong, then we should ignore Him. But, if He is right, then it is true that we should listen to Him. The eyewitnesses wrote what they saw. They were with Him. They watched Him perform many miracles, heal the sick, calm a storm with a command, and even rise from the dead.
What is truth?
Almost 2,000 years ago, a Roman governor chose to ask a profound question of a man who was about to be executed.
“What is truth?” he asked.
Most people ponder that question at some time in their lives, especially at critical points when they are struggling with the question of the meaning of life. After all, the need for meaning is a basic human need, and there can be no meaning without some ultimate truth. We seem to know instinctively that ultimate truth is somehow related to the existence of God. In fact, it is interesting that those who deny the existence of God are the same ones who say there is no absolute truth and that everything is relative. But something deep within us says this is not so—something tells us that God exists and that He holds the key to truth. …
Pontius Pilate was the Roman governor who, almost 2,000 years ago, looked into the eyes of Jesus and asked, “What is truth?”
Pilate was talking to the Truth. He was talking to God in the flesh—the One through whom the worlds were created.
“You will know the truth and the truth will set you free,” Jesus had proclaimed. But the truth was not setting Pilate free that day, because he didn’t honestly want to know it. So there in his governor’s palace, while history held its breath, with Truth standing right in front of him, Pilate still had to ask, perhaps flippantly or perhaps sadly, “What is truth?”
He never knew. The human heart unwilling to submit to the truth will never know the truth.
Jesus didn’t just talk about being the Messiah, He demonstrated the power of God—His power—through many “signs and wonders.” He revealed His authority over creation by turning water into wine, and by commanding storms to cease—and cease they did. He revealed His compassion for people by healing multitudes, restoring sight to the blind, hearing to the deaf, and health to the sick. He raised people from the dead. Finally, after Jesus was crucified and buried, He physically arose from the dead and appeared afterward to more than 500 people. In every phase of His life—from His conception to His resurrection—Jesus fulfilled prophecies made hundreds of years beforehand, convincing those around Him who knew and believed the Scriptures that He was the Messiah.
Christ became human flesh and lived among us. We saw His shining-greatness. This greatness is given only to a much-loved Son from His Father. He was full of loving-favor and truth.
—John 1:14 NLV
True for you but not for me…
Christian philosopher J. P. Moreland has written about an illuminating encounter with a student at the University of Vermont. Moreland was speaking in a dorm, and a relativistic student who lived there told him, “Whatever is true for you is true for you and whatever is true for me is true for me. If something works for you because you believe it, that’s great. But no one should force his or her views on other people since everything is relative.”
As Moreland left, he unplugged the student’s stereo and started out the door with it. The student protested: “Hey, what are you doing? … You can’t do that.” Moreland replied, “You’re not going to force on me the belief that it is wrong to steal your stereo, are you?” He then went on to point out to the student that, when it’s convenient, people say they don’t care about sexual morality or cheating on exams. But they become moral absolutists in a hurry when someone steals their things or violates their rights. That is, they are selective moral relativists.
Interestingly, a few weeks later this student became a follower of Christ because he recognized the connection between God and human dignity and rights—that God made us in His image. I like to tell churches that this could be a great new evangelistic method, called “Stealing Stereos for Jesus.”
See to it that no one takes you captive by philosophy and empty deceit, according to human tradition, according to the elemental spirits of the world, and not according to Christ.
—Colossians 2:8 ESV
True for you, but not true for me is a self-defeating and therefore false statement. You can prove this one conclusively to yourself today. Just drive 90 in a 55 lane, and when the cop stops you for speeding just say, “That’s true for you, but not for me,” and speed off. Since it’s not true for you, he can’t give you a ticket, right?
Christianity, if false, is of no importance, and if true of infinite importance. The only thing it cannot be is moderately important.
—C. S. Lewis
The Bible tells me so
Our convictions as Christians include that God exists, that this is His world, and that man is made in His image. If we are right, then reality turns out to be structured in a very specific way, and no skeptic can escape it. That’s the rest of the story. Unless a person is truly pathological, his language and his behavior will always betray his deepest beliefs about the world. Sure, emotions, prejudice, and bull-headedness may cause him to deny what would otherwise be obvious except when he is defending his ideological turf. But when his guard is down, every person understands that the basic structure of the world is the way the Bible says it is, at least in the broad strokes. Simply put, reason and rationality still matter, even to the postmodernist, regardless of his claims to the contrary.
From a Christian worldview, God doesn’t simply tell us what is righteous; He is righteous. Goodness and righteousness are attributes of His innate character. While it’s tempting to think there isn’t anything God couldn’t do, this is not the case. God cannot act or command outside of His character. He is innately logical and moral; it is impossible for Him to create square circles or married bachelors, just as it is impossible for Him to sin. Objective moral truths are simply a reflection of God’s eternal being. They are not rules or laws God has created (and could therefore alter recklessly), but are instead immutable, dependable qualities of His nature reflected in our universe. They exist because God exists (not because God created them or recognized them later). The Bible describes God as omnipotent and capable of doing anything He sets out to do. God’s choices, however, are always consistent with His moral and logical nature; He never sets out to do something contrary to who He is as God.
—J. Warner Wallace
Knowledge has a unique and irreplaceable function in human life. Unlike any other human capacity, it authorizes individuals to act, to direct, and to teach, and the lack thereof disqualifies one in those same respects…. Knowledge therefore lays the foundation for confident and successful dealings with reality and, as such, is one of the most precious things one can acquire. People “perish for lack of knowledge,” (Hosea 4:6) as the Bible tells us, precisely because, without it, disastrous encounters, or lack of encounters, with reality are certain to occur; most importantly, they occur with reference to God, God’s Kingdom, and any possibilities for an eternal kind of living.
There are absolutes
In every field of science, math, art, music, history, philosophy, and religion, they have tried to destroy confidence and faith in the absolute to try to shake your faith that there is anything sure, anything that is necessarily so or true or right. The whole theme song is: “It ain’t necessarily so. The things that you read in that Bible, they ain’t necessarily so. Beginning with the Bible, that ain’t necessarily so; and history, it ain’t necessarily so; religion, it ain’t necessarily so; and philosophy ain’t necessarily so.” They’ve gone right on down the line through everything—“creation ain’t necessarily so; music, art, none of them are necessarily so, because there ain’t no so. There’s nothing that’s true, so there is no truth,” in other words.
Pilate asked Jesus, “What is truth?” Jesus answered him and said, “I am the way, the truth, and the life.” (John 14:6) So if nothing is so, then nothing is true, then there is no truth and no Christ! So to disprove the existence of God, they had to disprove the existence of truth and rhyme and reason, order, plan, laws, rules, etc. …
A revolutionary education today would be back-to-God education, and that’s really revolutionary in this modern day and age! Back to God in creation. Back to real faith in religion, back to creation in science, back to a plan in history, beauty in art, harmony in music, laws in learning to read, right and wrong in behavior, and order in government and God in everything—the Creator of all things, the designer of everything, the planner—so that life again means something. …
Back to reasoning, back to a pattern for existence made by a divine designer who makes the plans according to rules, brings about order, and who gives meaning to the universe and purpose to the planets, and love to our hearts and peace to our minds, and health to our bodies and rest to our spirits, and happiness to our lives and joy to our souls, and the wisdom to know that “the fear of God is the beginning of wisdom,” (Proverbs 9:10) and that mere knowledge is not enough, but how to use it is more important for the glory of God.
We must see God in everything to give it meaning, reason, purpose, plan, design, and a goal, and peace and order and a design for living given us by the great designer in His rules and laws, rights and wrongs and absolutes, without which there can be no peace and no order and no happiness.
Thank God for the absolutes and the rules of the Ruler, that we may know the difference between right and wrong and therefore find happiness through His love and His loving laws and reasonable rules. May God help you to “know Him, whom to know is life eternal.” (John 17:3) And absolute!
—David Brandt Berg
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