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What is Truth? A blog post

March 23, 2018

When I was a kid, one of the TV shows I enjoyed was Sanford & Son. I’m not sure what it was about it, but it made me laugh. I didn’t particularly enjoy the character of Aunt Esther, but she did provide some of the more memorable lines from the show. She would glare at Fred Sanford and say things like “you ole HEATHEN”, “fish-eyed FOOL”, raise her hand and say “HAVE MERCY!” or my favorite, “and the TRUTH shall set you FREE!”

Even at an early age, I recognized that last statement as something that was Biblical, even though I did not understand it at all. As I grew up, I learned that telling the truth kept you free from having to cover your tracks all of the time or getting your cover blown by someone else. Later I embraced REAL Truth, the Truth that Jesus Christ died for my sins, so I could be spared from Hell if I would confess my sins and give Him my life. That was freedom I could certainly embrace and start to understand.

Aunt Esther was portrayed as one who knew the Truth and was so burdened for Fred Sanford’s soul that she was always preaching to him and shaming him for his behavior. However, Fred’s behavior did not determine his destiny. The only true determination of Fred’s destiny was, did he have a relationship with Jesus Christ?

Some people think of Christianity as a series of do’s and don’ts. Even within Christianity, people will say “the Baptists believe this”, or “the Methodists believe you can do that”, etc. Jesus didn’t die so we’d have better rules. He died so that we could have true freedom. True freedom means I don’t have to fear for my eternal destiny any longer.

True freedom means that I draw closer to God through a living, breathing relationship with Him.

TRUTH – Jesus Christ is the Holy Son of God
TRUTH – Jesus didn’t just live a sinless live, He IS sinless
TRUTH – All have sinned and fall short of the Glory of God
TRUTH – Jesus will save all who come to Him in true repentance

Whenever we get close to Easter, as I think about the crucifixion story, I always think about Pilate. I’ve read his story all of my life, but when I saw the movie “The Passion of the Christ”, I thought the portrayal of Pilate was among the most powerful elements of the movie.

Here is Pilate, a Roman governor who should have nothing to do with ruling over any case involving a Jew, thrust into having to make a judgment regarding the one heralded by some as the King of the Jews, because of an angry mob. He challenges the mob to take Jesus to the Jewish courts and try Him there. Their response is, basically, “the Jewish court can’t crucify Him, so we need you to sentence Him to die”. Pilate asks what Jesus has done to deserve such a fate and the initial response is, basically “Just trust us – if He didn’t deserve to die, we wouldn’t have brought Him here.” What?? There was no evidence, because there was no evidence. Eventually they came forth with claims like “He stirs people up with His teaching”, and eventually, “He claims to be the Son of God”.

Pilate seems genuinely conflicted. First of all, he has no real jurisdiction, but with an angry mob desiring an answer, he was thrust into having to make some sort of decision. Jesus had appeared before Annas and Caiaphas before they brought Him to Pilate, then Pilate sent Him to Herod, who just mocked Him and sent Him back. Order was at stake, perhaps Pilate’s life was even at stake if he did not do something.

He tried to find anything, any evidence at all, that would merit such a response, but he found nothing, and told the crowd repeatedly. At one point, his wife approached him and cautioned him to do nothing with Jesus, for she had been troubled about Him in a dream. Her spirit was in distress. Pilate’s spirit was in distress, but he evidently felt he must do something. He washed his hands in a basin in front of the crowd and told them that he was washing his hands of responsibility. The crowd proclaimed that the blood of Jesus would be on them and their children. How true that would be!

The statement I always reflect on when I study this story is in an exchange between Pilate and Jesus. Jesus says “I have come into the world for this: to testify to the truth. Everyone who is of the truth listens to my voice.” Pilate’s response says everything you need to know about why this was so tough for him. He response, “What is truth?” (John 18:37-38).

That question, and Pilate’s lack of an answer for it, is symptomatic of much of what is wrong in the world. Many think Truth is relative – what’s truth for you might not be truth for me. There is not a universal understanding, outside of the church, that there is one Truth, that it is absolute, and receipt of this truth (or not) determines our ultimate fate.

What is Truth?

  1. Truth is a distinct person – Jesus says “I am the way, the truth and the life” (John 14:6). He IS the way, no one comes to the Father but through Him. He IS the Truth, the manifestation of God in the flesh and the Word of God. He is the life – apart from Him, there is no real life.
  2. Truth is our true freedom – Aunt Esther was right, for Jesus said “the truth will set you free” (John 8:32)
  3. Truth is what sanctifies us – It is the Word, the Truth, it is our fellowship with Christ that shapes us in to what He desires for us to be (John 17:19)
  4. Truth is our promised salvation – The Holy Spirit seals us for salvation when we respond to the Truth (Ephesians 1:13)
  5. Truth is the Holy Spirit revealed – The Holy Spirit guides us into all Truth. He teaches us, He brings forth the Word of God and interprets it for us (John 16:13)
  6. Truth is the Word of God – “your word is truth”, (John 17:17).
  7. Truth is life and death – “They perish because they did not accept the love of the truth and so be saved” (2 Thessalonians 2:10)

Truth is not a personal persuasion or understanding. Truth is not subject to culture. Truth is not relative, nor does it change over time. There is a reason God’s Word remains unchanged over time. It is TRUTH, without mixture of error.

Truth sets you free, Truth transforms, Truth will wreck your life, in a good way. The older I get, the more I realize I have to have an infusion of Truth everyday to help me discern the opportunities that are before me on a daily basis. The power of the flesh, the power of the mind, the outside influences are strong, but Truth is stronger.

Are you committed to Truth? Are you getting a daily dose of Truth? Are there decisions in your life that are weighing upon you. Trust TRUTH.

Blessed,

Tony Watson
Senior Pastor
First Baptist Church of Palestine, TX

From → Blog Posts

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