A common Old Testament word expressing truth, emeth, speaks of a dependable reality that’s solid and binding. Truth is the bedrock of human relationships (Exodus 20:16), involving an integrity of thoughts, speech, or actions.
Over half the New Testament uses of truth, the Greek word aletheia, are in John’s Gospel. Truth is reality. What seems to be and what really is are often not the same. As I develop in my novel Deception, “Things are not as they appear.” To know the truth is to see accurately.
God has written his truth on human hearts, in the conscience (Romans 2:15). If truth is spoken graciously, many are drawn to it, instinctively knowing it will fill the moral vacuum they feel. Every heart longs for truth—even the heart that rejects it.
As followers of Christ, we’re to walk in the truth (3 John 3), love the truth, and believe the truth (2 Thessalonians 2:9-12). We’re to speak the truth, in contrast to “the cunning and craftiness of people in their deceitful scheming” (Ephesians 4:14). We’re to be “speaking the truth in love” (Ephesians 4:15).
Truth is far more than a moral guide, it’s inseparable from God’s own person. Jesus declared, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No man comes to the Father except through me” (John 14:6). He didn’t say He would show the truth or teach the truth or model the truth. He is the truth. Truth personified.
That Jesus is the God-man, the second member of the Trinity come in human flesh, is central to our faith. To deny this is to be a “liar” (1 John 2:22). If we get it wrong about Christ, it doesn’t matter what else we get right.
The Holy Spirit leads people into truth (John 16:13). We’re commanded to know the truth (1 Timothy 4:3), handle the truth accurately (2 Timothy 2:15), and avoid doctrinal untruths (2Timothy 2:18). Christ’s disciples do the truth (John 3:21) and abide in the truth (John 8:31-32). The “belt of truth” holds together our spiritual armor (Ephesians 6:14). God “does not lie” (Titus 1:2). He is “the God of truth” (Isaiah 65:16 ESV). “God is not human, that he should lie, not a human being, that he should change his mind. Does he speak and then not act? Does he promise and not fulfill?” (Numbers 23:19).
Christ, as the Living Word of God, is inseparable from truth. He not only is the Truth, He is the source of all truth, the embodiment of truth, and therefore the reference point for evaluating all truth-claims.
Those in countries where democratic ideals are embraced might have the illusion they should have a voice when it comes to truth. But the universe is not a democracy.
Truth is not a ballot measure. God does not consult us to determine right and wrong. It’s we who must go to revealed Scripture to find out what we should believe. Our culture appeals to whatever now is; God appeals to His intentions and design, to what ought to be.
When we wonder what’s right, we’re to turn to God’s Word: “For the word of the Lord is right and true” (Psalm 33:4). As Psalm 119 depicts in every one of its 176 verses, God’s truth is at the heart of the spiritual life.
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