THE TRUTH THAT SETS US FREE
In the eighteenth chapter of the Gospel of John, Pontius Pilate asked Jesus, “Are you the King of the Jews?” (v. 33) Jesus answered, “You say rightly that I am a king. For this cause I was born, and for this cause I have come into the world, that I should bear witness to the truth. Everyone who is of the truth hears My voice.” (v.37) In chapter 19, since he could find no fault in Him, Pilate continued appealing to the Jews to release Jesus. Their response, “He made Himself the Son of God, therefore He ought to die.” We are told, “…when Pilate heard that saying, he was the more afraid.” (John 19:8)
It is incredulous that the Jews had heard the words of truth and seen the works of power of the Son of God, and yet were now demanding that He be put to death. It is also clear that Pontius Pilate stood in awe of this Man who claimed to be the Son of God, that He was come into the world to bear witness to the truth, and that everyone who is of the truth would hear His voice. Nevertheless, the troubled, yet cynical response, of Pilate: “What is truth?”
Early on, Jesus had said to Nicodemus, “And this is the condemnation, that the light (truth) has come into the world, and men loved darkness (the lie) rather than light, because their deeds were evil…But he who does the truth comes to the light, that his deeds may be clearly seen, that they have been done in God.” (John 3:19,21) We see here, light and truth vs. darkness and lying. Jesus shed light on this for the Jewish religious leaders in John 8.44,45: “You are of your father the devil, and the desires of your father you want to do. He (the devil) was a murderer from the beginning, and does not stand in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he speaks a lie, he speaks from his own resources, for he is a liar and the father of it. But because I tell the truth, you do not believe Me.” (Emphases mine)
Pilate’s question suggested that he believed that absolute truth neither did nor could exist. This attitude toward truth has always and still does prevail today. In an article in Decision Magazine, Franklin Graham explains, “To some, truth is subjective—the individual world of preference and opinion. Others believe truth is a collective judgment, the product of cultural consensus. Still others flatly deny the concept of truth altogether.”
Graham continues, “Here’s a simple definition drawn from what the Bible teaches: Truth is that which is consistent with the mind, will, character, glory and being of God. Even more to the point: Truth is the self-expression of God.” The position of Scripture has not changed, nor will it. Therefore, the following biblical basics will hopefully help to establish in our thinking an authoritative answer to Pilate’s cynical question.
First, both the Old and New Testaments affirm that Scripture is the basis of absolute truth:
De 32:4 “He (God) is the Rock, His work is perfect; For all His ways are justice, A God of truth and without injustice; Righteous and upright is He.”
Ps 119:160 “The entirety of Your word is truth, and every one of Your righteous judgments endures forever.”
Mt 24:35 “Heaven and earth will pass away, but My words will by no means pass away.” (Emphases mine) By the Word of God, we know the truth, the absolute truth!
Second, the Scriptures tell us that God’s Word is alive and powerful. Hebrews 4:12 “For the word of God is living and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the division of soul and spirit, and of joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.” We are sanctified (cleansed; set apart) by His Word, “Sanctify them by Your truth. Your word is truth. (” (John 17:17) God teaches and leads us by His truth. (Psalms 25:5) “However, when He, the Spirit of truth, has come, He will guide you into all truth; for He will not speak on His own authority, but whatever He hears He will speak; and He will tell you things to come.” (John 16:13) We are told in John 10:35, … (and the Scripture cannot be broken).”
Third, “God is Spirit, and those who worship Him must worship in spirit and truth.” (John 4:24)
One final and important note: Jesus declares to the Jewish religious leaders in Joh 8:32 “And you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.” To this point I want to speak. The Jews were confused and offended at Jesus’ inference that they were in bondage. In the following verse, they retorted, “…We have never been in bondage to anyone. How can you say, ‘You will be made free’?”
In retrospect, we can possibly have a better perspective of their bondage. They were bound by pride, selfishness, tradition and preconceived ideas. The tendency on our part might be to judge them. However, the truth is, we all are afflicted with this malady to one degree of another. Although our faults may differ from theirs (or not) we are subject to all sorts of human-based bondage and need to be set free. We need deliverance in a multitude of areas: spiritual darkness (ignorance) deception, anxiety, immorality, carnality, guilt, hopelessness, and death. The list could go on and on. Our need is great, but not achievable through our on strength or merit.
We must honestly assess our needs in light of what Jesus said. “…know the truth and the truth shall make you free,” (John 5:39) and “…I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me.” (John 14:6) You shall ‘know the truth‘! This freedom does not just happen – it comes through ‘knowing’ the truth! The Apostle said to Timothy, “Be diligent to present yourself approved to God, a worker who does not need to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.” (2 Timothy 2:15) Knowing will not ‘just happen’. We must study to become knowledgeable. Knowing the truth of Scripture can set us free.
TRUTH – GOD’S WORD, THE SCRIPTURES! This is where the answer lies. If those early pretenders of religion would have opened their eyes and hearts to the TRUTH, they could have been set free from their bondage, and so can we. However, we do well to hear the warning of Jesus, “Therefore I said to you that you will die in your sins; for if you do not believe that I am He, you will die in your sins.” (John 8.24) FREEDOM THROUGH KNOWING THE TRUTH – GOD’S WORD; ABSOLUTE TRUTH. WHAT A GIFT!!
Let’s commit to a daily habit (at least 15 minutes) of reading God’s Word. The rewards will be great!
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