In a recent post I argued that our desire to acquire and know absolute truth must meet or even exceed Bartimeaus’ desire to receive his natural sight. In all actuality, unadulterated truth is the requisite foundation and qualifier of all human intercourse in life. Without truth, all interactions denigrate and break down leading to abysmal failure. All meaningful relationships are founded on truth. All successful business transactions rely on truth. The significance and power of the academic community only rises to the level of its dedication to truth. Marriages rise and fall based on the depth of truth in which they are rooted. Without a deep consciousness of truth, the mass media loses all semblance of respectability and meaningful persuasion. Truth is the essential glue for all human conduct and interaction. Without the existence of truth, the exercise of relational traits such as trust, faith, confidence, interpersonal dealings, commitment and reliance become mere abstractions.
The point I would like to make in this article is the absolute and undeniable responsibility we have to respond faithfully to the discoverable and palpable truth in our lives. In a nutshell, what are you doing with what you know? I believe we are and will be held responsible for the truth we hold both in natural consequences and in potential forfeiture of spiritual realities for our lives. Not only that, but we are also responsible for earnestly seeking out the truth of all matters. When Jesus said, “I am the way, the truth and the life,” he was in essence personifying truth. Therefore, to reject truth is very much the same as rejecting Christ himself. One of the messages I see in this passage is—the way to life is always through truth. As believers we are in process, on the way, and God’s desire for us is fullness of life in Christ. It is in our discovery of truth that we progress along this way unto life. The more truth I discover, the more life I come into.
One of the most devastating aberrations of the Christian faith was the creation of clergy and laity classes within the church. This dichotomy had its origins in the fourth century when the Roman Empire was virtually “Christianized.” This creation of a special clergy caste has resulted in many Christians abdicating their personal responsibility for seeking ever deepening relationships with God for themselves and choosing instead to rely on the clergy to do that for them. God has always intended that we know Him and His truth by personal revelation.
He said to them, “But who do you say that I am?” Simon Peter answered and said, “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.” Jesus answered and said to him, “Blessed are you, Simon Bar-Jonah, for flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but My Father who is in heaven. Matt 16:15-17 NKJV
Whatever I see or hear regarding all things of Christianity and the Lord regardless of the source, I am personally responsible for proofing. Sincere ministers of the gospel can be mistaken in what they are preaching. We are also aware that there are false prophets and teachers in our midst masquerading as truth tellers. We are responsible to heartily seek out the truth and confirm it for ourselves. The more we devote ourselves to studying and meditating on the Word of God, the more equipped we will be in this effort.
Jesus said something remarkable about truth to those who chose to believe in him:
Then said Jesus to those Jews which believed on him, If ye continue in my word, then are ye my disciples indeed; And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free. Jn 8:31,32 KJV
Many Christians as well as many unbelievers are familiar with at least a portion of this passage. When you hear it quoted it is mostly just the excerpt, “The truth will set you free.” However, the elision of the context denudes this powerful Scripture of its real and essential essence. What is lost in the elision of the context are two qualifiers for knowing truth—continuing in the word and becoming disciples. Disciples are those who continue in the word with the intention of becoming utterly conformed to the image of Christ. Disciples are ones who follow a master. To follow means to become like the one being followed. To “continue” in the word means much more than casual reading of Scripture. The Greek for “continue” means this: to sojourn, tarry; to continue to be present; not to depart, not to leave. This means much more than just reading. It means to mine the word of God, to dig out all the substance and value you can regarding the text. It means giving the Holy Spirit opportunity to thoroughly wash you in the Word thus bringing you more deeply into the life of Christ.
I never cease to marvel at Pilot’s response to Jesus at his inquisition before the Roman magistrate. When Jesus told him that he came into the world to witness to the truth and that all who loved truth would recognize the veracity of what he said, Pilot’s response was, “What is truth?” The very personification of truth was standing before him and all he could do was philosophize with that question. But his inability to do otherwise was simply an illustration of what Jesus had just spoken—without a love for truth, you won’t recognize it even when it’s right before your face.
We are so blessed today with all the helpful study tools available to us either in hard copy or on the Internet. I hardily encourage all of you reading this article to avail yourselves of these study aids as you intentionally deepen your search for truth. I pray you will be deeply convicted to commit yourselves to not just discovering truth but to allowing it to shape and mold your life ever more perfectly in Christ.
So we are no longer to be children, tossed back and forth by waves and carried about by every wind of teaching by the trickery of people who craftily carry out their deceitful schemes. But practicing the truth in love, we will in all things grow up into Christ, who is the head. Eph 4:14, 15 NET