So Jesus said to the Jews who had believed in him, “If you abide in my word, you are truly my disciples, and you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.” – John 8:31-32 (ESV)
I’ve been thinking a lot about truth lately. It seems to be one of those subjects that keeps coming up – sometimes in the peripheral of life, sometimes bulls-eye in the center. Truth can be tricky to perceive. As flawed human beings, we have a tendency toward self-interest, which causes us to skew the truth to fit our needs.
However, we do have a source of absolute truth. And, yes, at the risk of being labeled “narrow-minded,” I will state emphatically and without reservation that there is such a thing as absolute truth. And it is found in the Word of God, the Author of Truth Itself.
So… as I ponder the subject of truth, I wonder if the opposite is a lie, or an opinion. It seems to me that both fit. That does not mean that all opinions are lies. But… just because one holds an opinion does not mean it is truth. Truth has no sliding scale: there are no levels of truth, nor is there any such reality as something being true for one person but not for another. Truth is truth. Period.
So… consider this. Jesus came into the world “to bear witness to the truth” (John 18:37, ESV). As disciples of Christ (disciples being people who should be striving to emulate Jesus in our lives), it only stands to reason that we should want to be as accurate and pure in our teaching as possible. Sticking to Scripture and the truth it contains is vital. Consider this warning from James:
Not many of you should become teachers, my brothers, for you know that we who teach will be judged with greater strictness. For we all stumble in many ways. And if anyone does not stumble in what he says, he is a perfect man, able also to bridle his whole body. If we put bits into the mouths of horses so that they obey us, we guide their whole bodies as well (James 3:1-3, ESV).
There are plenty of opinions being expressed out in the world of Christendom. I write what I write today to say this simply: please make sure that what you are hearing is the whole truth of Scripture, not just scratching for tickling ears. I am grateful for churches where the Truth is presented, where comfort is found but not at the expense of the truth of the Gospel. God’s Word will not always be comfortable. Sometimes it will be convicting (which should never be confused with condemning). Sometimes the truth will be challenging. But always, always, always, the truth will point us toward Christ. Not toward simply what we want to hear, but what we need. The truth leads us to God – without flash and flair. The truth is found in what Jesus said and modeled for us. The truth is revealed through the Bible, the Word of God Himself.
Abide in the truth – in God’s Word and Jesus’ Way – and the Truth will set you free. Free from sin. Free from guilt. Free from misguided teaching. Free indeed.
This post feels quite incomplete. I realize it only skims the surface and hits the obvious. But it needs to be said. I hope to delve deeper into the subject of truth in future posts.