Saturday, September 21, 2013

Let's Talk about .... BIBLE TRUTH

From  the  "Bible Advocate" - a publication of the Church of God, Seventh Day, 
Denver, Co. USA
'Jesus on truth'

To the truth, 0 church of God, to the
truth, Lest we die. by Calvin Burreih     

Truth is a favorite word in CoG7 and in the BA. It's been like that most of our magazine's one hundred fifty years. No problem. Jesus and John loved that word, too.

Not all the truth about God, people, sin, and salvation is as plain as we'd like. Some of it is plainer. The simple gospel about Jesus, recorded by John, is among the plainest of Bible truths.
In the Gospel According to John, the words true and truth occur fifty times — far more than in any other New Testament book. John, in fact, uses those words more than twice as often as Matthew, Mark, and Luke combined!

The Bible word truth carries rich meaning and implications, calling for Christians to understand it better than we do. Truth be told, we often obscure the truth about truth by often using that word to mean something Jesus and John never meant by it.

And what is truth? This classic query is a philosopher's dream and a scoffer's "gotcha." Pilate turned the question toward Jesus, after our Lord said, "For this cause I was born, and for this cause I have come into the world, that I should bear witness to the truth" (John 18:37, 38a).

Jesus answered Pilate, not in the next verse but in the fifty uses of true and truth in John's Gospel. 

Here, we'll look at five of those uses and five texts in which Christ matches truth with another great Bible word. Each of these pairings provides a revealing glimpse, a delightful taste, a helpful feel for what He meant by this superb and imposing word, truth.

Truth and grace (John 1:14, 17)

In this perfectly balanced duo, truth is the super-structure of the skyscraper of life. It is the cold, hard stainless steel, rivets and welds necessary for building — but insufficient for residing and abiding.
Grace is the warm, soft, and comfy purple velvet needed to soften and complete a life of steel. Truth makes it sturdy, strong, and stable; grace makes it lovable and livable.
In the church, truth rightly says, "This is right. This is what the Bible truly teaches." And grace rightly adds, "No one is saved by true doctrine, lest any church should boast."
In Jesus Christ, eternal truth is always present — and it is always paired with eternal grace. Either without the other is incomplete.
Truth and spirit (John 4:23, 24)
For those who would be true worshippers, Jesus writes a short prescription here, one that is not easy to decipher.
The common explanation of "worship in spirit and truth" uses a head-and-heart model, like this: Worship in truth means "in agreement with Bible teachings," and worship in spirit means "with gusto and much feeling." This appears to match Christ's great command to love God with all our minds and all our hearts.
On the other hand, the truth component required by Jesus in worship may mean nothing more than that our devotion to God is to be lived out in the reality of life. Worship is best seen in the daily truth of our walk and work!
Likewise, the spirit element of worship may be understood as a reference to the Holy Spirit, announced in John 14-16 as the "Spirit of truth." From this vantage, true worship exhibits the fruits of the Spirit (love, joy, peace — as stressed in those three chapters), along with spiritual gifts and talents.
From this perspective, the truth and the Spirit become the energizing, inspiring pair that join the human to the divine. We may distinguish between, but not separate, them. More elusive than the first pair, this second word pair nevertheless adds to our comprehension of truth.
Truth and freedom (John 8:31,32)

Jesus' familiar words here link our third pair as cause and effect — the first leading to the other. Truth, he says, always marches toward authentic freedom.
In the same way that untruth. (the Devil's lies) leads to bondage (in sin), so does God's truth lead inevitably — if not immediately — to life-freedom. Better it is to follow truth and be forever free from sin's guilt and increasingly free of its practice than to take the path more traveled.
In the Bible, the truth that sets us free is no mere set of statements with which we agree. Rather, it is the full complement of eternal principles once embodied in Hebrew law-wisdom-prophets, now known more perfectly through one Way, one Person, one Life. Read on.
Truth and Jesus (John 14:6)

The essential nature of God's truth — could it be described as abstract and philosophical? Or academic and propositional? Or absolute and spiritual? All of the above, we may suppose; and above all, it is more than their sum.
In John 14:6 Jesus says the truth is personal and relational: "I am the way, the truth, and the life." All the truth that can be known about God, this text suggests, has now been personified in the divine-human Christ. In this way, Jesus himself becomes the only true link and route to God's heaven because "No one comes to the Father except through Me."

To know Christ is to know the Father — the fountain of all truth.

Truth and God's Word (John 17:17)

If the fourth pair leads us to think of truth as subjective reality with Jesus as the subject, this final pair provides an objective balance: "Your word [written] is truth." Both the living Word (Christ) and the written Word (Scripture) share the quality of being true. Truth is their stock-in-trade. Bible truth without the person and work of Jesus easily becomes dry dogma. The attraction of Christ without its anchor and verbal description in God's Word written easily deteriorates into sentimentality. In the balance of the living and written Word, as in the first pair of grace and truth, is great wisdom and safety.

Truth project

May God deliver us from labeling our own views of Scripture as "the truth" with little respect to the profound biblical scope and force of this wonderful word. May this introduction from John's Gospel inspire each of us to our own "truth project" — a lifelong search for the best and most valuable answers to the question "What is truth?" 











Keith  Hunt

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