This month, our meditation has been excerpted from the book entitled Jesus Freaks: Volume 2, compiled by DC Talk and the Voice Of the Martyrs. In the following passage, the testimony of a modern saint provides us with fodder for reflection and perhaps application:
Jesus said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.” (John 14:6)
God is “the Truth.” The Bible is the “truth about the Truth.” Theology is the “truth about the truth about the Truth.” Christian people live in these many truths about the Truth, and, because of them, have not “the Truth.”
Hungry, beaten, and drugged, we had forgotten theology and the Bible. We had forgotten the “truths about the Truth,” therefore we lived in “the Truth.” It is written, “The Son of Man is coming at an hour when you do not expect Him” (Matthew 24:44). We could not think anymore. In our darkest hours of torture, the Son of Man came to us, making the prison walls shine like diamonds and filling the cells with light. Somewhere, far away, were the torturers below us in the sphere of the body. But the spirit rejoiced in the Lord. We would not have given up this joy for that of kingly palaces.
- Richard Wurmbrand
A moment of consideration: How often, in today’s world, do we find the unbelieving masses demanding that believers accede to their “reality” and “truth”? How seldom do we hear Pilate’s query, “What is truth?” We live in an age of denunciation of Christ, abhorrence of the Truth, and insistence that all people abide by their agenda which, for them is “reality”. In today’s culture, Christ’s absolute truth often takes last place in decision-making; consider the following Barna Poll results (following the terrorist attack on the World Trade Center in 2001):
Americans were united in denouncing the terrorist attacks on September 11th as the perfect example of evil in action. The response suggested to many that Americans held a fundamental belief in an absolute standard of right and wrong. A new survey by the Barna Institute suggests most people responded based on their feelings, not their beliefs.
The Barna organization conducted two surveys, one among adults and another among teenagers. By a 3-to-1 margin, adults said they believe the truth always depends on the person and the situation. The teens said the same thing by a margin of 83 percent. Only six per cent of the respondents said moral truth is absolute.
The survey asked people to indicate the basis on which they make their moral and ethical choices. The most common answer was, doing whatever feels right or comfortable in a situation. 4 out of 10 teens, and 1 in 3 adults said this was their primary consideration.
The Barna organization says the result is a mentality that values pluralism, relativism, tolerance, and diversity without actually considering the implications of the actions or viewpoints we hold. They state a failure to address this issue at its root, will undermine the strength of the church for at least another generation, and perhaps longer. —(Barna Research Group, February 12, 2002, Submitted by Jim Sandell)
Pluralism, relativism, tolerance, and diversity are today of more important consideration than truth, in many persons’ minds. In some instances, telling the truth is a crime.
God’s Word has much to say to us, regarding truth. From Scriptures, believers know that Truth is a person--not an abstract concept. That Person is Jesus Christ (John 14:6), and opposition to the Truth has existed for many centuries--not just today. Jesus Himself confronted opposition, as He said, “But because I tell the truth, you do not believe me. Which one of you convicts me of sin? If I tell the truth, why do you not believe me? Whoever is of God hears the words of God. The reason why you do not hear them is that you are not of God.” (John 8:45-47) Further, for those not of God, God’s wrath is shown: ...the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who by their unrighteousness suppress the truth. (Romans 1:18) Truth matters little to those with an earthly agenda; it seems to be of little interest or value to those speaking the loudest. In today’s world, truth has seemingly become a rare commodity. As scarce as truth is, the supply has always been in excess of the demand. - (Josh Billings)
Christianity, increasingly marginalized throughout the world, is beset with detractors, some of whom, according to Robert Burton, believe that one religion is as true as another. (in “The Anatomy of Melancholy”, pt. III, sec. 4, member 2, subsec. 5). In this fallen society and world, how can we believers remain committed to the Truth so obvious to us, yet denied by the pagan culture surrounding us? The apostle Paul wrote to this concern, in his letter to the church in Ephesus, saying that, they have become callous and have given themselves up to sensuality, greedy to practice every kind of impurity. But that is not the way you learned Christ!—assuming that you have heard about him and were taught in him, as the truth is in Jesus, to put off your old self, which belongs to your former manner of life and is corrupt through deceitful desires, and to be renewed in the spirit of your minds, and to put on the new self, created after the likeness of God in true righteousness and holiness. (Ephesians 4:19-24) Paul recognized the importance of honoring and loving Christ--knowing that we believers have been taught the Truth. Jesus said, “If you love me, you will keep my commandments. And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Helper, to be with you forever, even the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it neither sees him nor knows him. You know him, for he dwells with you and will be in you. (John 14:15-17) We know the Spirit of Truth, for we obey Christ and keep His commandments; and the Spirit of God dwells within us to teach us (Psalm 25:4-5; John 14:26), to guide us (Isaiah 30:21; Psalm 32:8) and to help us tread the narrow path (John 15:26; Matthew 7:13-14).
Truth is that which separates Christianity from other religions such as humanism, Marxism, socialism, Islam, Taoism, Buddhism, Hinduism, etc. Only in Christianity and in our lives is Truth divinely embodied and empowered. Truth will free us from the twisted messages and lifestyles that vociferously shout their vitriolic hate and of disparagement toward those committed to order, to Truth, to structure and peace. Truth is not to be kept shuttered, hidden, or prized only within us. As stated by H. H. Hobbs in 1990,
“Truth is not to be shut up in a closed Bible safely hidden within the walls of a church. Truth is to be loosed in the arena of life where falsehood seeks to hold sway. All the blatant attacks of atheists and infidels cannot render helpless the truth so much as do its friends who seek to shield it or to shackle it by failing to proclaim it.
Persons often speak of defending truth. Well and good, but truth is not so weak that it cannot defend itself. What is needed most is to declare the truth in love. If let loose in the arena of ideas, truth will defend itself. Truth is of God; falsehood is of Satan.”
Let us, then, attest to the Truth; speak the Truth, believe in the Truth, and abide in Him. “Jesus said to the Jews who had believed 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) If we abide in Him, and in His love, we will desire to keep [obey] His commandments. (John 15:9-11) Let us not take the Word of Truth carelessly or with little thought; as Winston Churchill said, “Men occasionally stumble over the truth, but most pick themselves up and hurry off as if nothing had happened.” (“Leadership”, Vol. 19, no. 2.) May this not be said of us. May we be impacted by the Truth, and immovably anchored in Him. We owe our past, present and future to the Savior Who bought us through His sacrifice, and lays claim to our lives, our loyalty and our love.
Let us take the Truth to our world who, in denying Him are consigning themselves to a wide and damning road to perdition. Consider the message of Steve Brown, as he recounts a meeting with a friend:
Fred Smith and I were having lunch with a well-known personality. Fred kept contradicting this man, correcting him several times. After lunch, I asked Fred what he was doing.
“Steve,” he replied, “I may be the only friend he has. He has a lot of admirers, a lot of worshipers, and a lot of solicitors, but he doesn’t have anybody who’ll tell him the truth. He knows that I don’t want anything from him, and he knows that I’m his friend. I have a gift very few can give him. I can give him the gift of truth.”
Did you ever think that you owed your friends the truth? That’s what friends do: They love each other enough to tell each other the truth. That’s sometimes painful, sometimes it causes heartbreak; but it must be done anyway. If you ever lose a friend because you wouldn’t hold back the truth, you made a mistake about it being a friendship in the first place. So go. Tell the truth. Do it with love, compassion and gentleness, but do it. Your friend will come to appreciate you more for it. —(Jumping Hurdles [Baker, 1992], quoted in Men of Integrity, Vol. 2, no. 4.)
The Truth is best communicated and shared. It is best kept from covering by a “bushel basket.” (Matthew 5:14-16) With Christ’s own love, may the Truth that is Christ be shared with friends, with neighbors, with communities and with our world. For Christ embodies compassion for many and for a few (Matthew 14:14; Luke 7:13) and gentleness (Matthew 11:29). His message is True (John 3:31-33) and is timely (Revelation 12:12); may God’s Truth reign in us and through us, esteemed greatly and shared with all. The time is ripe, the darkness deepens, and we should be about our Father’s business (John 9:4) while the opportunity yet avails us. May we People of the Book--the truth about the Truth--testify to our belief, and tell the wondrous story of Jesus Christ. Let’s abide with Him.