The other day Michelle and I caught ourselves having a heated discussion about a few Christian “hot topics”- some of which we agreed on wholeheartedly, and some that we didn’t necessarily see eye to eye on. And you may already know where I’m going with this because as Christians we believe the Bible to be the truth, a guide book of life given to God’s people. It’s an instruction manual, isn’t it? And when you’re looking at “the truth”, it’s very black and white, there’s no gray area, there’s no compromise. It’s God’s word and it is the truth.
Or is it?
How many of us are living in the gray area? How many of us say “I know the Bible says this, but it can’t really mean that.”, or “The Bible is an outdated book, things have changed a lot since then!”. How many of us are afraid to read the truth because we’re just content knowing God loves us? How many of us avoid certain parts of the Bible because we’re afraid it may offend someone? So then why is the Bible, or otherwise stated “The Truth” important? It’s important because what you believe determines how you behave. What you believe to be true determines how you behave relationally. It determines how you behave materially or financially. It determines how you behave morally, and ultimately it determines how you live spiritually, which will then determine what happens to you after this life.
Jesus came to testify to the truth. Satan came as the Father of Lies. Satan is very cunning. He’s sly. He is the counterfeiter. He’s going to give you something that looks true, and feels true, because he knows that if he can take you just even the slightest bit off of truth over a lifetime as you’re traveling through life, one day you’re going to wake up very very far from truth- which is, I believe, what he’s doing today. Anybody agree with me? Satan’s work is on display in our world today, and it’s disgusting. Satan wants you to exchange the truth of God for a lie.
Look, I believe this is truly one of the greatest problems that our generation faces and I believe today we’re touching on one of the most dangerous and false belief systems of this generation. Our spiritual enemy, Satan, is the Father of Lies. He’s got two great weapons that he is using today, relativism and subjectivism.
Relativism is the assumption that there is no such thing as absolute truth. Truth is evolving. Truth is not constant. What used to be true then is now no longer true today. Let me put it this way, when I talk to older couples celebrating the anniversary of their marriages of 40 or 50 years they’ll admit divorce never crossed their minds. It wasn’t even an option for most of them because marriage was sacred. They took vows, and held it in high regard. But over the following generations the sanctity of marriage has been watered down and we’re seeing alarming rates of marriages ending in divorce. What was true 40 or 50 years ago, for some reason isn’t as true today. The vows haven’t changed, but our degree of reverence has.
Subjectivism is the belief that I, the subject, have the right to determine what is right and wrong without submitting my judgement to any authority outside myself. Since there is no absolute truth you can’t impose your beliefs on me. I am the source of truth. I’ll determine if my actions are right or wrong based on how I feel. Subjectivism leads me to these beliefs. Well if it feels good it must be true. As long as it makes me happy that’s all that matters. As long as I’m sincere it doesn’t matter what I believe. As long as it doesn’t hurt anyone it doesn’t matter what I do. Those statements and beliefs often feel right but if I start to believe those false beliefs, they will start to determine how I behave.
Now here’s the thing about truth: truth is not just a what but a who. It’s not just a what, it’s not just a philosophy, it’s not just a mindset, it’s not just an idea, it’s not just a statement, it’s not just something that you learn from a book, it’s not just something that someone teaches you in school, it’s not just a what but it’s a who. Truth is a person. Jesus said in John 14:6 I am the way and I am the truth and the life and no one comes to the father except through me. Jesus said I am the truth. I am God in the flesh, I represent truth. John 1:1 and 2 and verse 14, in the beginning was the word and the word was with God and the word was God and he was with God in the beginning. The word became flesh and made His dwelling among us. God was truth, truth became flesh in the person of Jesus dwelt among us. We have seen the glory of the one and only who came from the Father full of two things: grace and truth.
Why is it today that so many people reject the statement that Jesus is the truth? Have they looked at His life? It was a beautiful life! He was full of love, He was generous, and compassionate, He cared for the poor, accepted those otherwise rejected…He was brilliant! Even if you hate Christianity you have to at least admit Jesus led a special life. So why then reject Jesus as the truth? Because it’s less about rejecting Jesus than it is about rejecting those of us who have represented Jesus, and rightfully so! If you look at a typical Christian’s life and the life of Jesus, there’s no contest! We are embarrassingly hypocritical, and judgemental at times, aren’t we? We preach the truth, but we do so forcefully and with very little grace. If you don’t stop doing that…. If you look like that…. If you live like that…you’re going to hell. It’s truth without grace, and it leads to judgmentalism and legalism.
But then there’s the flip side and that’s the mindset of the world today and that’s relativism and subjectivism and that is all grace and no truth. “What’s cool with you, is cool with me.” “As long as you’re not hurting anyone…” “As long as you’re happy…” and in our minds we make God tolerant because it’s all grace and no truth. But Jesus, He’s both grace and truth, and when you seek Jesus you can experience both. It is life changing.
And I can’t convince you of that. Nothing I could say could ever teach you what he has done in my life- and just like with my wife, we were in an argument neither one of us could ever win. But my advice to us both is this: what we believe determines how we behave, and how we behave has direct ramifications to what happens after this life so we better be seeking the truth. Just open your Bible, read about Him. Read about the life of Jesus and ask yourself “do I believe Jesus is the truth?” and if you do this I absolutely believe that Jesus, the Truth, will set you free. Free from what? Free from any false belief that takes you away from honoring God with your life.
He will set you free from living for the things of this world. He will set you free from the pain that you feel trying to find meaning in a world that you just can’t seem to find meaning. He will set you free from the aching that you have. He will set you free from the consequences that your sin will bring before God. He will set you free and bring you into a relationship with God. Jesus, the truth, will set you free.