What Is Truth

“For this purpose I was born and for this purpose I have come into the world—to bear witness to the truth. Everyone who is of the truth listens to my voice.”
John 18:37

“What is truth?” This was Pontius Pilate’s response to Jesus’ statement recorded in John 18:37.

Pilate may have meant it as a rhetorical question – especially since Jesus’ doesn’t answer it.

But it is a great question that needs an answer.

Thankfully, Jesus does provide an answer.

Jesus is the answer.

He tells Thomas that he is “the way, the truth, and the life” (John 14:6).

The truth is that Jesus is the promised Savior from sin, death, and the power of the devil.

First promised in the Garden of Eden as the one who would bruise the head of the serpent (the devil) (Genesis 3:15), Jesus was promised as the one through whom all nations would be blessed (Genesis 12:3); would be the one who was a king (Genesis 49:10); would be a prophet (Deuteronomy 18:15-19); and the prophecies keep piling up in the Old Testament.

Jesus Christ fulfilled them all. He is the truth!

Pilate wasn’t really interested in the truth. But we certainly are!

We want to know the truth – the truth of our existence, the truth of our purpose, the truth of love, life, and happiness.

But we live in strange times. The devil, while defeated, is not giving up in taking down as many of us as he can before Jesus Christ comes back to end his reign of sin once and for all.

And one of the most insidious attacks Satan has successfully pulled off was to cause the doubt of truth.

This is summed up in the song lyric from a progressive rock band named Rush:

Truth is after all a moving target
Hairs to split
And pieces that don’t fit
How can anybody be enlightened?
Truth is after all so poorly lit
(lyrics by Neil Peart, © 1987 Mercury Records © 1987 Anthem Entertainment)

This is accepted as fact by so many people – that truth is relative, a “moving target,” and “poorly lit.”

But it isn’t, not really. Jesus Christ is only poorly lit if we do not proclaim him and share him, and love others!

Jesus is the truth. He has come to forgive all the sin of all people of all time. The One Holy Christian and Apostolic Church (3rd Article of the Apostles’ Creed) is given the task by Jesus Christ to tell other people this Good News!

Jesus Christ is the truth. And the truth is love! The truth is not found in the media – the news reporters and channels. The truth is not found in the government – the White House, Congress, or Governor’s Mansion. The truth is not found in the sun, moon, or stars.

The truth is found only in God – Father, Son and Holy Spirit.

The truth is lived in love, not in hate, not in disagreement, debate, or dissension.

“What is truth?”

It is Jesus. It is in us. It is our life and our love.

©2017 True Men Ministries

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Consequences

“…yet you did not return to me,” declares the LORD.”
Amos 4:6, 8, 9, 10, 11

Actions have consequences.

If a person smokes 3 packs of cigarettes a day for 30 years, it would be no surprise that he gets emphysema and/or lung cancer.

If a person eats an entire pizza and drinks a 2-liter of soda pop every day for lunch, it should be no surprise that he gains weight and feels sluggish and weak.

Sickness and obesity are not punishments for this behavior so much as they are consequences of it!

If a person rejects God’s love and provision, there are also consequences to this rejection. There is no spite or “I’ll get you for this” kind of attitude on the part of God.

Famine, drought, pestilence, foreign invaders – all of these are in the control of God but not spiteful punishments from God.

They are consequences of Israel’s behavior.

But God, in his great mercy, is using these consequences to constantly call his people back to himself.

“Return to me” is a call to repentance. It is a call and an action of the Holy Spirit in the hearts of God’s people to turn away from sin and turn to God.

It is a call to turn away from death – a consequence of sin – and turn to life.

Even in all these consequences laid out in Amos 4, God is calling his people back to himself.

These consequences are intended to get the attention of the people.

It is like a person who is angry, in despair, and ranting and raving loudly all at the same time. A person who they love and who loves them dearly sometimes must literally slap them in the face to get them to stop and pay attention.

That’s what is describe in Amos 4.

When God has his people’s attention, they will turn to him. Turn to God who is the creator of “mountains and … wind.”

The last Old Testament-type of calling God’s people to turn to him would be in the words of John the Baptist, “Repent! For the kingdom of heaven is at hand!” (Matthew 3:2)

Three years after John’s message, there would be all the consequences of turning away from God poured out on one person – Jesus Christ.

He would take all the sins and the consequences on himself and suffer and die on the cross.

The ultimate consequence of sin – eternal death – would be paid in full by Jesus Christ.

And now the Holy Spirit – using the Means of Grace – calls each one of us back to God.

His mercy and grace are now ours for the sake of Jesus Christ.

His power and love give us the power to return to the Lord!

©2017 True Men Ministries

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Live the Truth

And Pilate asked him, “Are you the King of the Jews?”
Mark 15:2

Image result for Jesus and PilateWhen Pilate asked Jesus, “Are you the King of the Jews?” he was basically asking him, “Who are you?”

Jesus has an answer for that question.

“I am.”

But when the chief priests accuse Jesus of many things, Jesus as no answer.

That’s because there is nothing to answer.

Pilate spoke the truth to Jesus.

The chief priests spoke lies.

Here’s our lesson.

When people ask us who we are, we should speak the truth to them.

“I am a sinner redeemed by Christ.”

When people accuse us falsely, we should give no answer that will strengthen their false statements.

Just live the truth.

©2017 True Men Ministries

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Read past devotions at the True Man Blog here.

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Character Building: Honesty

I talked about integrity as my favorite characteristic last time. Another characteristic that goes hand-in-hand with integrity is “honesty.”

To my humiliation, honesty was the hardest of the characteristics for me to muster when I was younger. I didn’t have to lie about myself and what I did or didn’t do, but I did.

I think it was because I was not happy with who I was. I was a somewhat overweight, shy, kid. I found it hard to make a lot of friends. But there I go again, not being completely honest! I have been blessed with a number of great, close, committed friends in my life. A handful of those I still count as my dearest friends. They had the insight to see through the tales I told of myself and love me anyway! Truly, they imitated God in this way.

So, to be honest, I felt like I couldn’t make friends unless I became someone I wasn’t. So I would invite stories about myself, thinking my real life was boring or ordinary. As I pause to look back over my life, it really has been anything but ordinary! But I couldn’t see the truth of that at the time.

As I strive to be a man of integrity, I know that honesty is going to have to be a huge part of this goal.

No more lies. No more dishonesty. I know (now) that lies catch up with you eventually. No matter how vociferous the denial, the truth always comes out in the end. Sometimes it is a relief. Because it is true that it is easier on the brain to tell the truth – because you don’t have to remember anything when you tell the truth! But sometimes when the truth comes to light, it is devastating. “I’m not hurting anyone but myself” is rarely – if ever – true, especially when being dishonest.

Now, having said “no more lies” I think something needs to be said about prudence and “speaking the truth in love.”

Can I be honest when my wife asks me “do these pants make my butt look fat?” (And for the record, she never asks me this question – it’s just a hypothetical here.) What if they really do? It wouldn’t be prudent to tell her that. For one reason, it would hurt her feelings. Another reason, she would probably hurt me!

While honesty is always the best policy, it is also important to remember that God’s Word tells that should speak the truth “in love” (Ephesians 4:15). I realize my hypothetical situation is wrought with danger. I realize that it would just be easier to “tell a white lie” in this situation. It will also spare my wife’s feelings (and my head). But remember “integrity”? It can be defined as “doing the right thing even when doing the wrong thing is easier.”

In situations like my hypothetical, it is going to take some effort to avoid hurting someone’s feelings while, at the same time, speaking the truth. Love has so much to do with it. How I talk to my wife – to anyone, really – should be deeply rooted in my relationship with them and with God. When I overlook that particular truth, then it will be very hard to speak the truth in love.

Being honest and living honestly will develop a person in a true man or woman of character as well as a true man or woman of God. It will almost never be easy. But it will be possible, by the power of the Holy Spirit working in us through God’s Word. The more we immerse ourselves in the truth of God’s Word, the more we’ll be able to speak the language of truth and live a life of truth.

It will also take courage, but that’s a whole new topic – one we’ll explore next time.