TRUTH SYMPOSIUM - PART 1
WHAT IS TRUTH?
May 4, 2013
Truth is often mistaken as mere facts leading people to believe that if they know certain facts, they know the truth. Truth is also frequently mistaken as the creed of a particular religion leading people to believe that if they are in association with a certain religion, they are “in the truth.” But truth is much more than facts and far more than a religious creed.
Notice what Jesus said about what truth is. He said:
“‘In the house of my Father there are many abodes. Otherwise, I would have told you, because I am going my way to prepare a place for you. Also if I go my way and prepare a place for you, I am coming again and will receive you home to myself, that where I am you also may be. And where I am going you know the way.’ Thomas said to him: ‘Lord, we do not know where you are going. How do we know the way?’ Jesus said to him: ‘I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.’”
– John 14:2-6
Do we really understand the import of these words? Jesus says that he is the way and the truth and the life. Therefore, when man is searching for life, he is searching for Jesus; when man is searching for the way to God, he is searching for Jesus; and when man is searching for truth, he is, in reality, searching for Jesus. Yes, Jesus himself is the personification of truth.
Ponder that thought for a moment: whenever man is searching for truth, he is searching for Jesus. No matter whether they are atheists, agnostics, Christians or non-Christians, whenever someone is looking for truth, they are knowingly or unknowingly seeking Jesus Christ, Son of God/Son of Man. This explains why so many people have not found truth. They have not found truth because they have not found the authentic Jesus.
When we understand that Jesus is the truth, we can see the error and arrogance in claiming that one’s religion is the exclusive domain of ‘the truth.’ Really, truth is to be found wherever the ideal of Jesus is expressed and experienced. Christianity does not have the copyright on Jesus! Many religions have ideas that are based on the ideal of Jesus. And the extent to which a religion teaches these ideas is the extent to which that religion has truth.
“At this Peter opened his mouth and said: ‘For a certainty I perceive that God is not partial, but in every nation the man that fears him and works righteousness is acceptable to him.”
– Acts 10:34-35
This may be a difficult concept to accept, especially for Christians. But all people must come to know that Jesus is not just a prophet of one branch of religion. He is the person God created for the purpose of creating our world and everything and everyone in it.
"All things came into existence through him, and apart from him not even one thing came into existence.”
– John 1:3
“He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation; because by means of him all [other] things were created in the heavens and upon the earth, the things visible and the things invisible, no matter whether they are thrones or lordships or governments or authorities. All [other] things have been created through him and for him.”
– Colossians 1:15-16
Though God, as the First Father, is the originator of all things, Jesus Christ is mankind’s immediate creator, father, and brother, who incarnated on our planet as Jesus of Nazareth. The prophet Isaiah described the incarnated Jesus this way:
“For there has been a child born to us, there has been a son given to us; and the princely rule will come to be upon his shoulder. And his name will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Eternal Father, Prince of Peace.”
– Isaiah 9:6
When we understand that Jesus as the creator of our world and all things in our world, including all people of all religions, we can better understand why he refers to himself as “the truth.” He is the truth because he is the origin of everything that can be known. Every thing, every idea, every fact can be traced back to its creator, Christ Jesus, the Son of God.
And Jesus is the only one who has seen and can explain the First Father:
“No man has seen God at any time; the only-begotten god who is in the bosom [position] with the Father is the one that has explained him.”
– John 1:18
“Not that any man has seen the Father, except he who is from God; this one has seen the Father.”
– John 6:46
Surely Jesus knows the whole truth and how to find it. He is the one that links heaven and earth. He is the only ‘way’ to the Father.
In the beginning, it was the First Father’s purpose that His son create a universe, bring it to perfection, and then present the perfected universe to the Father.
“Next, the end, when he hands over the kingdom to his God and Father, when he has brought to nothing all government and all authority and power. For he must rule as king until [God] has put all enemies under his feet. As the last enemy, death is to be brought to nothing. For [God] “subjected all things under his feet.” But when he says that ‘all things have been subjected,’ it is evident that it is with the exception of the one who subjected all things to him. But when all things will have been subjected to him, then the Son himself will also subject himself to the One who subjected all things to him, that God may be all things to everyone.”
– 1 Corinthians 15:24-28
It was always the First Father’s purpose that earthling man become ‘perfect as our heavenly father is perfect’ (Matthew 5:48) and be adopted as His spirit sons and daughters to be with Him in the heavens.
“Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, for he has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in union with Christ, just as he chose us in union with him before the founding of the world, that we should be holy and without blemish before him in love. For he foreordained us to the adoption through Jesus Christ as sons to himself, according to the good pleasure of his will, in praise of his glorious undeserved kindness which he kindly conferred upon us by means of [his] loved one.”
– Ephesians 1:3-6
But early in man’s history, we lost our way. The Bible describes this tragedy in the simplified tale of Adam and Eve in the book of Genesis. In spite of the failure of Adam and Eve, man continued his pursuit of the Father in the best way he knew how. In the process, man went from one idea to another, from one philosophy to another, from one religious concept to another until our planet was in total confusion. The only solution was for our creator to incarnate as a man and show us the way, introduce the truth, and awaken us to the real life. This he did as Jesus of Nazareth.
During his earthly sojourn, Jesus demonstrated how a man can find God and reach his potential as a spirit son of God. He lived among man and subjected himself to the realities of life as a man. He did not use his divine power and authority to lessen his load or to escape the consequences of earthly life. He bravely faced every challenge, even going so far as to submit to an ignominious death at the hands of his own creation. As creator, he could have called upon legions of angels to protect him from harm. (Matthew 26:52-53) Or he could have abandoned his physical body at any time and avoided such a painful and shameful death. But he does not demand more from us than he himself was willing to undergo. He did not go around the tribulation, he went through it. And he was victorious.
Though Jesus was put to death, God resurrected him. (Acts 2:32) In this way, he was a further example to mankind as the ‘firstborn from the dead.’ (Colossians 1:18) His death served many purposes, among them was the assurance that if we die faithful, we, too, will be resurrected like Jesus to continue our pursuit of the First Father in the ‘real life.’ (1 Timothy 6:19)
“For if we have become united with him in the likeness of his death, we shall certainly also be [united with him in the likeness] of his resurrection.”
– Romans 6:5
For all of these reasons, Jesus could say that he is ‘the way, the truth and the life.’ (John 14:6) Thus, it does not matter what religion we belong to. All mankind, no matter where situated, no matter their race, nationality, creed or gender, can find truth in the person of Jesus of Nazareth.
The so-called truth of men is near worthless and has no power to lead men to their divine destiny. No doctrines or creeds outside of the truth in Christ Jesus can develop in us the kind of faith that will help us find the Father. More than likely, man’s so-called truth will stifle creativity, imprison imagination, unfairly limit personal freedom, and lead us to more confusion. The Apostle Paul showed this in his counsel to young Timothy:
“Just as I encouraged you to stay in Ephesus when I was about to go my way into Macedonia, so I do now, that you might command certain ones not to teach different doctrine, nor to pay attention to false stories and to genealogies, which end up in nothing, but which furnish questions for research rather than a dispensing of anything by God in connection with faith.”
– 1 Timothy 1:3-4
Here, Paul shows us the weakness of religious creeds. He says that theological doctrines are a distraction. Unless the knowledge is “in connection with faith,” it will serve no meaningful purpose. Paul continued:
“Really the objective of this mandate is love out of a clean heart and out of a good conscience and out of faith without hypocrisy. By deviating from these things certain ones have been turned aside into idle talk,wanting to be teachers of law, but not perceiving either the things they are saying or the things about which they are making strong assertions.”
– 1 Timothy 1:5-7
The objective of all true teachings is to develop in the disciple ‘love out of a clean heart and a good conscience, and faith without hypocrisy.’ Being caught up in various doctrines and interpretations will cause us to get off track, and we will become nothing more than teachers of law rather than living examples of truth in emulation of Christ Jesus. If we focus on knowledge ‘in connection with faith,’ we can find Jesus and therefore, we can find truth.
Remember, Jesus said:
“Come to me, all you who are toiling and loaded down, and I will refresh you. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am mild-tempered and lowly in heart, and you will find refreshment for your souls. For my yoke is kindly and my load is light.”
– Matthew 11:28-30
His message was not a burdensome collection of do’s and don’ts. In fact, he gave only two commandments:
“[O]ne of them, versed in the Law, asked, testing him: ‘Teacher, which is the greatest commandment in the Law?’ He said to him: ‘You must love Jehovah your God with your whole heart and with your whole soul and with your whole mind.’ This is the greatest and first commandment. The second, like it, is this, ‘You must love your neighbor as yourself.’ On these two commandments the whole Law hangs, and the Prophets.”
– Matthew 22:35-40
Commandments and creeds in excess of what Jesus taught are not truth. Jesus is truth, and when we come to know the authentic Jesus, then we will have found truth.
But, in order to be free, more is needed than merely identifying what truth is. We must bring truth into our lives. We must have ‘faith in the truth’ (2 Thessalonians 2:13), ‘bear witness to the truth’ (3 John 3), ‘go on walking in the truth’ (3 John 4), and ‘speak the truth’ (Ephesians 4:25). To the person who does not live the truth, truth is nothing more than spiritual trivia.
Our next article in this symposium, Preparing Ourselves For Truth, will take us one step farther in our quest for truth and show us how to prepare ourselves to receive the truth that is Christ Jesus.
We welcome your comments.