Truth, The Biblical Notion of

Truth, The Biblical Notion of

by Rubel Shelly

Published in LoveLines (Oct. 26, 1993)

Truth to Tell


The Christian faith is objective, historical truth that offers itself for testing in the public marketplace of ideas.

For people who accept Jesus Christ as Lord and subscribe to the perspective on human life and reality that comes of such a commitment, it will not do to say that these are "my personal and private beliefs" that have no implication for my views on education, politics, or morality. If the Christian message is true, all other modes of thought, philosophies of life, and ethical norms have to be evaluated in light of it.

The foundational notion of truth inherent within Christianity combines two ideas: (1) that which is real, authentic, and genuine and (2) the actual facts in the case as opposed to a lie or inaccurate misrepresentation.

In order to find the truth, we turn to Jesus. For one thing, he is truth. That is, he is the real, authentic, and genuine article. He is not simply a witness to God or a teacher of righteousness, he is the genuine divine reality come to dwell among us and the one who exhibits righteousness in his every action. "For the law was given through Moses; grace and truth came through Jesus Christ" (John 1:17); Moses and the Law bore witness to the reality of divine grace and revelation, but their actuality is encountered in Jesus Christ. If humans are to see God's reality, holiness, and redeeming love anywhere, it is in him.

"I am the way and the truth and the life," said Jesus. "No man comes to the Father except through me. If you really knew me, you would know my Father as well" (John 14:6-7a). Mankind has been seeking the way that leads to God and life ever since the Fall, when the divine presence was withdrawn from intimate communion with his creatures and the sentence of death passed to all. The resolution of this problem of the ages has come in Christ.

Jesus Christ does not simply point to the way and say that new life is possible. He is himself the truth the fully revealed presence of God who does not merely state the truth but who is the truth. To come to him is to find the way to heaven and to receive life eternal; to know him is to know the Father as well, for he and the Father are one (John 10:30).

In a cynical and insecure world, truth is both a lost cause and an abandoned-as-pointless pursuit. To Christians, the concept has form and substance. In the Word and words of God, we know the truth that sets us free.

To walk by faith is not to take blind leaps into one's doubts. Instead, it is to follow truth wherever it leads and to make whatever sacrifices it requires.

With truth to tell, why are so many Christians so absurdly silent?




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