“And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.” (John 8:32) The truth is relative to the world today, it is what it has always been, what it says it is for each individual or for those that are under subjection to those in assumed power. We will leave them to it, for we are not of this world, and though of course we should warn them of the consequences of their actions against the truths of the Word of God, let us concentrate in this letter to you on our responsibility, the responsibility of the Christian towards the truth.
Everything that we study in the Word of God must be kept in context, for we must “receive the word with all readiness of mind, searching the Scriptures daily.” (Acts 17:11) This readiness of mind means that we must be willing to accept truth, whether we agree with it or not, regardless of its intentions as compared to ours, that it cannot be changed. In the world, there is no context, as we have stated, for this conversation, for can the color blind man see a blue sky, is the morality of man the morality of God, can you explain to the lost those things that are spiritually discerned, of course not. The truth of the world is the lie of Satan, and this discussion must be part of our conversation here, for the opposite of truth is that which is false.
Have you ever given any pause to contemplate the words of Pilate to our Lord when he said “What is truth,” (John 18:38) and why Jesus did not answer him. Our Lord spent His entire ministry on this earth informing nearly all of those that He met of the truth, the truth that He is the only way, truth and life, but to this man on this subject He was silent. We must take into account that our Lord was aware of all of the prophecies concerning Him, for He wrote them, “Jesus answered them, is it not written in your law, I said, ye are gods?” (John 10:34) but why not expound on what truth is to this man also, only our Lord knows.
Look back one verse from where we began, if you will, to John 8:31, and we will find at least part of the answer to our question, “If ye continue in my word, then are ye my disciples indeed;” Pilate, the lost, those who profess Christ only in word but not in their heart, are not disciples, and so therefore have no knowledge of the truth that our Lord spoke of, nor would they have the capacity to understand it if it was explained to them, so they will never know this freedom that He spoke of. So then, what of us, what of those who have truly given our lives in every area to the sovereign direction and guidance of the Risen Savior, what is this truth that He spoke of and exactly what has it set us free from. We know that we have been saved from the wrath of God, for Christ has borne this great penalty for us, we know that there is “Therefore no more condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus” (Rom. 8:1) that because He lives, we also will live, (John 14:19) so what is this truth.
Those that Christ was speaking to believed that He was talking about bondage to men, but our Lord was quick to inform them that it was sin that they were in slavery to, and that only the Son could free them from the consequences of sin. And herein lies the topic of our conversation, not the fact that as long as we are in our mortal bodies that we, whether by our own free will, or simply by the fact that we have yet to be glorified, will always in one way or another be in bondage, bound as it were, to a life of sin, but that this is where most of the Christians that you meet live their lives, continually trying to leave that which cannot be left, and forgetting what the purpose of their lives is to be, disciples of our Lord.
Many Christians spend their entire lives confessing, trying to be better, seeking only their own before the Lord, and not of their brothers and sisters in Christ. Their lives, as it were, are concerned with only that, their lives, their walk with Christ is a concern, as it should be for all of us who call Jesus Lord, but it goes no further, its reach rarely extends beyond their own perception of how they see themselves in Gods eyes, and either vanity or gloom becomes their master. They are either always good enough or never in Gods good graces, and the fluctuation of these emotional states only serves to drive them deeper into themselves, and not towards the Lord and His truths. Fear, in the form of embarrassment or shame, or vanity, in the form of self-righteousness hinders their true growth in the Lord, and a life spent as the waves of the sea driven with the wind and tossed (James 1:6) becomes the pattern, the only condition they know. The main reason for these individuals, and any who will not, or cannot, accept the truth is found where we began, in John 8:31+32. “If ye continue in my word.”
If the only truth is the Word of God, from Genesis to Revelation, and if we do not search the Scriptures daily, as we saw those in Acts 17 did, just where else were you planning on finding truth? If the lies of Satan are fulfilled in the world, you did not think you would find them there, did you, are the laws of man those of God, is His morality the worlds, where else were you planning on finding truth.
“If ye continue in my word,” (John 8:31) “If thou continue in His goodness,” (Rom. 11:22) “If ye continue in the faith,” (Col. 1:23) “If that which ye have heard from the beginning shall remain in you,” (1st John 2:24) The word ‘if’ here is the operative word, and it is not for the lost, it is for those who have a personal relationship with the Lord Jesus Christ, and for each of them they revolve back to John 8:31, if you continue, then, you will know the truth, and of course the inverse of that would be, if you do not continue, then you will not know the truth. Can you be saved and not know, at least in its entirety as much as He allows us to see in our current walk with Him the truth that our Lord spoke of here, yes, but your ministry will be less profitable than it could be, for many find the path of truth too difficult at times, and cease their pursuit of it. It is one thing to know truth and quite another to apply it.
Without knowing you will confuse the “truth” of the world with the unmitigated truths of the Scripture, the deceiving plans of Satan will not be seen clearly for what they are, his attempts to keep the truth from our minds, to see lies that seem to be truth. The Scriptures are true, if the blind lead the blind, they will both fall into the ditch, (Matt. 15:14) but I am sorry to say that in todays world there seems to be not just a few Christians that may not be blind, but that could use a stronger pair of glasses, or at least a new examination of the Word of God. How do we know what a lie is if it is not directly mentioned in the Word of God, we listen to the prompting of the Holy Spirit, our conscience will convict us through His leading, if we will but listen, how do we release ourselves from the continuing pattern of being only concerned with our own walk with the Lord, we seek out those that are doing the same, and in love correct them with the Word of His truth, that we are to fulfill our obligations that He has graciously placed upon us, not only to reach the lost, but to make sure that the wounds we inflict on our brothers and sisters in Christ are done so faithfully, (Prov. 27:6) and with great compassion. Those who are willing to submit in obedience to the Word of God must do just that, submit, for there are many of our brothers and sisters who will not, and to them in this matter of the truth of Scriptures we are to go.
We are not speaking here of the lost, for until they know Christ as Lord in their lives, they cannot know the truth, we speak instead of ourselves and our fellow believers who are still being deceived by the world and the one who still resides as prince over it. (John 14:30) He is so subtle my friends, and he is well versed in his craft, for he is the father of lies and there is no truth in him, (John 8:44) and he is not concerned with the lost, save to keep them from Christ, but he is very well aware of us, if you are being obedient, if you know the truth, if it has set you free. You cannot put blatant sin directly in front of a man of God and expect him to accept it, his tricks become more and more subtle the longer you search the Scriptures, the more your desire to be an obedient servant of Christ grows within you, and he knows your weaknesses. The truth does not need to be repositioned very much to be compromised, in fact, if it is moved at all, it is no longer truth.
If we do not continue in our diligent, continuous study of the Scriptures, our continued knowledge and growth in the truth will cease, and that which we have already learned will become over time hazy, we will have not continued, we will become as a ship with no rudder, still floating, but no longer in control of the direction we are going. You can find wisdom from godly men who have been blessed by our Lord with wisdom, knowledge can be found in the hearts and minds of those who have submitted themselves to the leading of the Holy Spirit, but you can find no truth outside of the Word of God. If you continue in the Word of God, that truth shall make you free.