Know Your Bible
September 2005

The Truth Shall Make You Free

"If you abide in My word, you are My disciples indeed. And you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free." (Jn. 8:31-32) The need for truth in one's life is as important now as when Jesus first spoke it. The consequences of rejecting truth has eternal consequences. Even if one has been able to possess all the world offers - possessions, pleasure, power - and yet neglects the words of Christ, he stands in a miserable condition before God.

In our time, truth has been "watered down" by the efforts of some and redefined to cater to man's whimsical notions and for his convenience. We are told, "There are no absolute truths" in religion, but such absurdities are never uttered as it relates to other areas of knowledge. For example, imagine someone in the field of mathematics stating there are no absolutes, that 2 + 2 doesn't always equal 4. They would be quickly labeled as unqualified.

To those who honestly seek the favor of God, all such efforts to minimize and nullify truth are clearly seen as efforts to justify themselves in unlawful practices (Matt. 7:21-23). Let's see the truth about "truth".


Jesus identified the source of "truth" as His word (Jn. 8:31). In Christ "...are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge" (Col. 2:3), and He declares, "I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me." (Jn. 14:6) The truth of God, in Jesus Christ, is accessible to man through the revelation He has given, the Bible. (Jn. 17:17)

Man's spiritual misdirection can be traced to the fact that he looks for truth in all the wrong places: human traditions, doctrines of men, one's feelings, family beliefs, popular opinion, etc. The Bible warns us concerning these things (Col. 2:8). Therefore, for the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth, we must go back to the Bible: (1) It is the authoritative standard by which truth is determined, religious unity achieved, and our eternity judged (Jn. 12:48; Rev. 22:18-19). (2) It is the "seed" of God's kingdom, containing the "power unto salvation" (Lk. 8:11-15; Rom. 1:16-17). (3) It cannot be changed by the presumptuous efforts of man (Gal. 1:6-9). (4) It is eternal, as God who gave it (1 Pet. 1:23-25).


The scriptures reveal the nature of truth: 1) Truth is "light" (Psa. 119:105), guiding us in the ways of righteousness and, at the same time, exposing the evil that will cause us to stumble and fall. Just as we would use a lamp to direct us safely through the night, we should use God's word to show us the way in a world darkened by sin. 2) Truth is a "sword", our divine weapon to "fight the good fight of the faith" (1 Tim. 6:12; Eph. 6:17; Heb. 4:12). As a good soldier, armored up and fully prepared to do battle, the Christian recognizes who the enemy is, and is not ignorant of the devices he uses against us (2 Cor. 2:11). Truth is for "...casting down arguments and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God, bringing every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ" (2 Cor 10:5). With such, we will be victorious in our personal battles with temptation and, likewise, in helping others to be "complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work" (2 Tim. 3:16-17; Titus 1:9-13). 3) Truth is a "mirror" (Jas. 1:22-25), for our personal examination. Just as we regularly use our mirror to check out our personal appearance, so we recognize the necessity of using "truth" that we may see what improvements need to be made in our character and actions before God. Though some prefer to use God's word more as binoculars, always looking with scrutiny for the faults of others and never considering themselves, the emphasis in scripture is that of personal application. Only then can one be prepared to help others toward a better understanding of God's will in their lives.


Truth is available to all, but not all will profit by it. Why? First, one must look where truth may be found. God's prophet, Hosea, exposed the sin of Israel when he declared, "My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge..." (Hos. 4:6) Instead of holding faithfully to the law of God, they chose to rely on the instruction of priests who had "forgotten the law of your God" and seek council in their idols. What a lesson for our time.

Second, one must look for truth while it may be found. Many, who give little thought of their accountability to God, only deceive themselves by refusing truth in their lives; it will not change their accountability to God, nor the demands of His truth in their lives. All will reap what they sow (Gal. 6:7). Our opportunities to obey God are limited. No one has a perpetual lease on life. Life is short: "It is even a vapor that appears for a little time and then vanishes away." (Jas. 4:14) So, with an understanding of our limited opportunities, as well as the extreme importance of Christ in our lives, with urgency we should respond to truth: "Seek ye Jehovah while he may be found; call ye upon him while he is near" (Isa. 55:6). Again, "Behold, now is the accepted time; behold, now is the day of salvation." (2 Cor. 6:2)

Third, one must look for truth in the way or manner that leads one to truth. The Bible places a great premium on the character of he who is confronted by God's truth. Open-mindedness and honesty in dealing with the word of God are essential if he is to genuinely obey. Paul thanked God for such as response to truth by the Romans: "But thanks be to God, that whereas ye were servants of sin, ye became obedient from the heart to that form of teaching whereunto ye were delivered" (Rom. 6:17). Power of man's choice is likewise revealed in Jesus' words, as He lamented the unbelief of the Jews of His day: "O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, the one who kills the prophets and stones those who are sent to her! How often I wanted to gather your children together, as a hen gathers her chicks under her wings, but you were not willing!" (Matt. 23:37)

Are you willing to obey Jesus? The truth will give you freedom from the bondage of sin. Your eternity depends on your choice.

---Dan Richardson

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