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.”
More on truth. . . I told you, I have had truth on the brain lately! We’ve already talked about one link between love and truth and how love does not rejoice at wrongdoing but rejoices with the truth.
But what is the truth? I don’t have enough space here to explain how I came to believe that the Bible is true nor to give credit to all the evidence as I have had it explained to me over the years. If you want some depth, there are many good books on the topic including I Don’t Have Enough Faith to be an Atheist by Norman Geisler and Frank Turek.
For today, I will simply state that I believe the Bible to be true on good evidence. I believe there is an actual, Creator God who made all that we can see, taste, touch, and understand, and I believe in His ability to radically transform a life based on my personal experience. I also believe that man has an immortal soul that will exist after the death of the body, and so Eternity of greater importance than the transient life of the body. The eternal impact of our choices in this life are grave.
Because God created everything, it is His definition of wrong and right — His decisions on morality — that constitutes moral truth and provides the standard for right and wrong. By experience and observation alone, I can see the truth that mankind is sinful. Romans 3:23 tells us, “For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.”
We are, all of us, selfish and self-centered. While we may have moments of charity and compassion, if we are brutally honest with ourselves, even those moments are frequently tainted by self-righteousness or motivated by personal satisfaction rather than selflessness. We have all lied. We are all imperfect. Originally created in the image of God, we have without exception allowed sin to twist and distort that image.
All but Jesus, that is.
The ultimate embodiment of Truth was in the person of Jesus. He is the Way, the Truth, and the Life. He came to live as a man without sin, unreservedly given over to the will of the Father. As a Man, He alone retained the unspoiled Image of God, living out a loving and total trust in the Father’s will. In His first appearing, He came not to conquer and rule as is His right, but to suffer and die for the sake of a people who had repeatedly rejected Him and who repeatedly still do. He came to drink the full cup of God’s wrath and spare each one of us that horror if we will accept His way.
He died for the truth of a holy God who loves all the men He created and yet cannot be defiled by their sin. Jesus died to bridge the gap; the only unstained Image Bearer who willingly gave Himself as ransom for all who are corrupt so that, through Him, we may all come before the Almighty.
It is only by faith in Jesus that anyone can be saved. This faith, if it is real faith, invariably involves an understanding of and recognition of sin that is very personal and leads to contrition and repentance. Genuine repentance brings about surrender to the Lord and His will. Only by this process of “putting on Christ” which is compared to changing garments (Eph. 4:22-24) and to dying to sin (Romans 6) can we enter the presence of the One whose name is Holy; the Creator God.
In Christ alone, we are set free from a hopeless bondage to sin and death and given instead a hope of eternal life lived in the glorious presence of the Almighty. In Christ, we are restored; the image of God in us is renewed. What grace and mercy! I am humbled by the enormity of it and intensely grateful for the grace of a God who could merely destroy His rebellious creation and yet chooses to rescue and redeem. How can I not love this truth?
But you are near, O LORD, and all your commandments are true.