By Femi Aribisala
Truth in the Bible is not abstract. It is real and tangible. Truth in the scriptures is a person. Jesus says: “I am the truth.” (John 14:6).
Jesus is truth personified. Only Jesus, who came down from heaven, truly represents God. He is also God’s ideal man. He is the word; the very expression of God. His Spirit is the Spirit of truth. Indeed, the primary function of the Holy Spirit is to guide us into all truth. (John 16:13).
We can do nothing against the truth but for the truth. (2 Corinthians 13:8). No matter what we say or do, the truth remains the truth. It is absolute. It refuses to go away. It cannot be silenced. It does not change. However, it can change us. Jesus says: “The truth shall make you free.” (John 8:32). It is the lie that shackles.
God is the God of truth. (Isaiah 65:16). Truth is his nature and personality. This makes him faithful and just. He is the same yesterday and today and forever. (Hebrews 13:8). He is the rock that endures to all generations. (Isaiah 26:4). He does not change like shifting shadows. (James 1:17).
The challenge then is how we respond to God’s truth. Do we fight the truth or succumb to it? If we decide to fight, it is going to be a losing battle because the truth is impregnable. Not even the gates of hell can prevail against the truth of God. (Matthew 16:18).
John the Baptist spoke the truth to Herodias: “You should not marry your husband’s brother.” Herodias had a problem dealing with this. She decided to fight it. John the Baptist must be killed. God’s truth must be silenced. But would the death of John the Baptist change the truth of her adultery? Would the death of John the Baptist make her adultery righteous? Certainly not!
Jesus told Pilate: “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). But Pilate is dismissive. He asks flippantly: “What is truth?” and walks away. (John 18:38). But the truth cannot be dismissed. The truth now confronts us perpetually in the person of Jesus. Can we honestly live with him? Or do we declare like Peter: “Depart from me, for I am a sinful man, O Lord!” (Luke 5:8).
Killing the Truth
In biblical Israel, prophets of God were killed because they dared to tell the truth. They told people what they did not want to hear. They convinced people of their sins. But rather than deal with their sins, the people decided to deal with the prophets.
Jesus told Pilate he who is of the truth hears his voice. This is powerful stuff. Truth is only acceptable to the truthful. Jesus provides a stark definition of two kinds of men. The one is of the truth: the other of the lie. The one is of God: the other of the devil. The one is able to hear to the word of God: the other only able to hear the voice of the devil. Opposites repel and likes attract. Only those who are of God can receive the gospel of the kingdom of God.
Jesus is like a magnet. His people are drawn to him, and they welcome his revelation. Although his light exposes their sins, they nevertheless respond to it in repentance and faith. They live by the truth. Those not of God will reject the gospel. Jesus says they will reject the truth because they are of the lie. Liars can only receive lies.
Accordingly, the pastors, bishops, popes and other members of the Jewish religious establishment decided the way out was to kill Jesus and silence the truth. But God raised him from the dead, never to die again.
Judgment of Truth
We hate the truth because the truth is bitter. We hate it because it exposes us and reveals who we really are. We hate it because we don’t like ourselves and prefer to walk in self-deception. We hate the truth because we are not who we want to be. We hate the truth because we are not who we claim to be.
In which case, we cannot expect to spend eternity with the truth. We must spend eternity with the lie. “No lie is of the truth.” (1 John 2:21). “All liars shall have their part in the lake which burns with fire and brimstone.” (Revelation 21:8).
On the last day, we will be judged by the truth we reject. (John 12:48). The same word of truth we despise will come back to interrogate us. It will say: “Did I not tell you so-and-so on such-and-such a date through such-and-such means. Why did you reject it?”
We reject the truth not because we believe it is false, but because we know it is the truth. We reject it because we are not of the truth. We reject it because we don’t like the truth. We reject it because we don’t think truth is profitable in this life. Our ministry might suffer. We might not be able to pay our bills. We might end up losing our job. As a result, truth has stumbled in our streets. (Isaiah 59:14).
Those who reject the truth of God will end up with what they believe. Jesus says: “According to your faith will it be done to you.” (Matthew 9:29). If we believe lies we shall spend eternity with lies. But if we believe Jesus, the Son of God, then we can look forward to spending eternity with him in the City of Truth. (Zechariah 8:3). Therefore Solomon counsels: “Buy the truth and do not sell it.” (Proverbs 23:23).
Salvation of Truth
Truth in man comes in response to God’s truth. It is God’s truth that gives light. It is his truth that opens the eyes of the blind. Truth comes by hearing and hearing by the word of God. It comes by way of the working of the Holy Spirit in the life of a believer. Jesus is the word of God.
The word of God is truth. (John 17:17). The more we allow the Holy Spirit to write Jesus’ word on the tables of our heart, the more we appropriate the mind of Christ.
God did not send the truth into the world to condemn us but to save us. The truth is the gospel. It is good news. It ensures we no longer have to fear our nakedness. The truth means although we have been sinful, we don’t have to remain in sin. When we obey the truth, we receive the ability to overcome lies and live godly lives.
Through the word of truth, God provides the means whereby the sinner is made righteous. By receiving the truth of Jesus, we receive new life. We are redeemed and born again. The slate is wiped clean. The past is forgiven and forgotten. The future is the promised glorious end.
This is the truth: God is merciful. His mercies endure forever. Once we repent, confess our sins and make a turnaround, he does not remember our sins anymore.