The TRUTH will set us free
"If you hold to my teaching, you are really my disciples. Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free." (JN 8:31, 32)
Many know these familiar words from Jesus, but what is he really saying? Some have taken this to say if WE tell the TRUTH, we will be set free. This thinking is wrong. This is not what Jesus is saying. He says that knowing the TRUTH will set us free and not by simply telling the truth. Although speaking truthfully is good, we are not freed by abstaining from lying. We need to know the Truth which is Jesus Christ and His life hidden in us. Before knowing the TRUTH we must be His disciple that we may learn. That is- we must be learning from Jesus the Christ. He says IF we can GRASP, UNDERSTAND, HOLD on to my teaching, you are REALLY a disciple and THEN we will know the TRUTH and THEN we will be SET FREE! This is a process of cause and effect. God has a perfect plan of salvation and restoration. By coming from death and darkness, we will KNOW His Life and Light! All children must be taught.
In this study I would like to take a closer look at what is the Truth. Big subject, huh! I know that it can seem so relative in this world from one person to another, from one religion to another, or from one culture to another. The truth about the Truth is that it has NEVER changed, but our understanding does change so that little by little the Truth is being revealed to humanity. I would like to start this paper with an analogy about the Truth.
The Great Mountain
The Truth is like a Great Mountain in the middle of a woods. All are born in the woods around the Great Mountain not being able to see it at birth. Some are content living in the woods and in its darkness because they know no better. Others are unsatisfied and hear a Voice calling them out of the woods saying, "come unto me." They begin to follow and move closer to this Voice. They set off on a journey with only faith, hope and love. These "rations" are provided by Him who calls them- they lack nothing in their journey. This journey takes them to places where they begin to see the Great Mountain at a distance. It is wonderful and majestic, even so, many are still far, far away from arriving at it. Nevertheless, those who have seen it KNOW that the Great Mountain is the TRUTH. The Voice calls them to come closer to the Great Mountain. And so, those who are called walk through the woods seeking a path, a way to this Great Mountain. Sometimes they may stray from the path and get lost, but the Voice is their beacon. Only to hear the Voice, they must sometimes be silent which means stopping and resting. They must be still otherwise their traipsing through the thick ground cover will drown out the Voice.
The Great Mountain has been seen by many, but each from his own vantage point. No two are on the same path or in the same point at once, yet all are being drawn to the Great Mountain. So one may see the Great Mountain and describe it this way and another a different way, but is the same Mountain. Those who have caught a glimpse of the Great Mountain have only seen a part of it, but their excitement can not be squelched. Some of these take this image of what they have seen and describe it to others. Then instead of finding out for themselves, some will live by these visions of others and not make the trip themselves. But for some who keep searching they may be led around the Mountain and will see others sides of the Great Mountain that they never witnessed before. They will see different vantage points which will make them reconsider what the Great Mountain really looks like. Naturally as they draw closer to the Great Mountain, they are also ascending higher and higher though they may not even be aware of it at the time. At some moments during their journey, they seem to rise above the woods and behold a magnificent view of the Great Mountain, but then they venture down again into lower areas where the Great Mountain becomes harder to see.
At the top of this Great Mountain is their King! He is above ALL including the Truth. He is the Truth and lives on the Truth. The King's Voice will call all His people to the Great Mountain to live there with Him. His Voice will not be silent until each one in the woods is drawn out to live with Him on His Great Mountain. Then, when ALL have come to the Great Mountain, the woods will be burned away and its darkness will be destroyed. All were born in the darkness of the woods; all learned through pain and suffering that the woods is not their True Home; all have made the journey to Great Mountain; and ALL are Home! The children of the King rejoice in praise and worship for their King! They have returned home never to leave again!
It may certainly appear that the Truth about life remains intangible and relative within our human experience- Is there a God? Does He care about us? Why are we here? These questions and many more like them have been wrestled and anguished with throughout our existence.
There should be no question that many have sought the Truth in spite of any religion that may have been taught to them by men. God promised that if we seek, we will find. All throughout the ages and throughout the world, many have sought and have found. They have been given a "measure" of Truth from our Father who only gives good gifts.
As it turns out, many have been given very different visions, or versions of what the Truth is. That is why we have so many religions and ideas about God. Even so, no matter where we are born in the "woods," Truth-seekers hear the same Voice and have the same desire- know the Truth and be set FREE! They seek the Truth and are not left abandon or empty from our King. While on our journey to the Truth, we encounter others on the same journey yet they tell of different visions of the Truth. They are just as sincere and honest as Christians might be, yet they seem to speak of a different Truth. No, there is only ONE Truth from our ONE God, but many ways of looking at it. It would seem that no two people, even Truth-seekers, can agree on spiritual truths and God.
My explanation for this is that no one can see the whole Mountain at once except only Him who is above it. God, the Creator of only Truth, is the only one who sees the Truth in full view. We are moving about the Truth seeing parts of it as God wills. Some are raised to higher places where they see higher Truths. The higher we are taken by God the more we see of the Truth. So even those of other religions outside of Christianity have visions of the Truth and they are also real, but not complete. Even while reading the four different accounts of Jesus' ministry we may get different ideas about Jesus and God. Look at the way Jesus healed the sick and crippled. He seemed to do it in a different way each time and also gave different instructions to the ones he healed. All that received from Christ may tell a DIFFERENT story, but all are true. The Truth, like light, shines out into an infinite number of directions from its Source. We all catch some rays, but not the same ones.
To be sure, man creates religions around visions of the Truth and sometime upon a deception or an illusion of the Truth. Even if the vision that a particular religion is based on is TRUE, we still have an evil nature that builds on this Truth with our own traditions and carnal ideas that cover the Truth and its light. Even though Christianity has the Truth and the Cornerstone to build on, it too has strayed from the Spirit of Truth as was prophesied.
ACTS 20:29 I know that after I leave, savage wolves will come in among you and will not spare the flock. 30 Even from your own number men will arise and distort the truth in order to draw away disciples after them. 31 So be on your guard! Remember that for three years I never stopped warning each of you night and day with tears.
2 TIM 4:3 For the time will come when men will not put up with sound doctrine. Instead, to suit their own desires, they will gather around them a great number of teachers to say what their itching ears want to hear. 4 They will turn their ears away from the truth and turn aside to myths.
2 TIM 3:6 They are the kind who worm their way into homes and gain control over weak-willed women, who are loaded down with sins and are swayed by all kinds of evil desires, 7 always learning but never able to acknowledge the truth.
The natural mind can not understand the Truth nor come to it. So, instead, it creates a religion full of rules, traditions and doctrines that are not true. All religions may have good intentions initially, but are tainted by our carnal natures. The point is we need to be TRUTH SEEKERS and not RELIGION FOLLOWERS. Many are seeking and worshipping God in man-made religions and man-made churches, that is NOT what God desires.
JN 4:19 "Sir," the woman said, "I can see that you are a prophet. 20 Our fathers worshiped on this mountain, but you Jews claim that the place where we must worship is in Jerusalem."
JN 4:21 Jesus declared, "Believe me, woman, a time is coming when you will worship the Father neither on this mountain nor in Jerusalem. 22 You Samaritans worship what you do not know; we worship what we do know, for salvation is from the Jews. 23 Yet a time is coming and has now come when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth, for they are the kind of worshipers the Father seeks. 24 God is spirit, and his worshipers must worship in spirit and in truth."
If we hear His Voice calling us out, we know that we should begin our walk away from the darkness of the woods. Religions may have a vision, or picture from the Great Mountain, but that is not the fullness of Truth. It is knowing and coming in contact with the Truth that we are set free.
Some seem content with someone else's vision of the Truth, but their thirst and hunger for more will lead them to that Great Mountain. Each one must make the trip to overcome the darkness of the woods. Make no mistake- it is a journey that each of us has to make by the Grace of God. God will give us all that we need, but we need come to the Truth. Paul says it this way:
1 TIM 2:4 This is good, and pleases God our Savior, 4 who wants all men to be saved and to come to a knowledge of the truth. 5 For there is one God and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus, 6 who gave himself as a ransom for all men--the testimony given in its proper time.
We must COME TO THE KNOWLEDGE of the TRUTH as we are called by His Spirit. We must be freed from the UNtruth- the dark deceptions of our minds. Here is what the Psalmist said about the Truth:
PS 25:4 Show me your ways, O LORD, teach me your paths;
PS 25:5 guide me in your truth and teach me, for you are God my Savior, and my hope is in you all day long.
We must learn the Truth to be set free from the UNtruth which is the darkness and deceptions of our minds. This is what Life is all about! We are learning who we are! We have been separated from the Truth so that darkness has covered our minds and hearts. As was planned by God, we believed the lie in the garden and alienated ourselves from our true life in God. We looked outside the Perfection that God had placed us in and looked for our SELF, but in doing so, we turned from our ONLY Life (Christ) and found death. The Truth that we are returning to is that we were created in the image of God and were done so to glorify God. We are the Image of our invisible God! This is reveled for those in Christ because Christ IS the ONLY image of God. We, and all of creation, came from Christ and are returning in Him to our true image! This is the gospel unveiled- the GOOD NEWS!
2 COR 4:3 And even if our gospel is veiled, it is veiled to those who are perishing. 4 The god of this age has blinded the minds of unbelievers, so that they cannot see the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God. 5 For we do not preach ourselves, but Jesus Christ as Lord, and ourselves as your servants for Jesus' sake. 6 For God, who said, "Let light shine out of darkness," made his light shine in our hearts to give us the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Christ.
This Great News has been veiled from mankind in our deception, but is now being revealed! God brings light out of darkness! The darkness is the ignorance of WHO WE REALLY ARE- children of God!
PS 82:5 "They know nothing, they understand nothing. They walk about in darkness; all the foundations of the earth are shaken.
PS 82:6 "I said, `You are "gods"; you are all sons of the Most High.'
PS 82:7 But you will die like mere men; you will fall like every other ruler."
1 JN 3:2 Dear friends, now we are children of God, and what we will be has not yet been made known. But we know that when he appears, we shall be like him, for we shall see him as he is. 3 Everyone who has this hope in him purifies himself, just as he is pure.
JN 17:22 I have given them the glory that you gave me, that they may be one as we are one: 23 I in them and you in me. May they be brought to complete unity to let the world know that you sent me and have loved them even as you have loved me.
We are created to be ONE with God though Christ! We are created to be the Expression, or Image of the One and only God of the universe! When you look in the mirror you see yourself, right? What you see is the image of your body. If we move closer to our image, it moves closer to us. If we turn from our image it turns from us. In the same way, we have turned from God to darkness- nothingness. When we turn away from the One who we reflect, we lose our light, life and our being.
Understand that when we look in a physical mirror, we see our physical bodies made from dirt- that's it! Our bodies are wonderfully made, but they are simply dirt and are no more than containers, or jars of clay. Our bodies whither like blades of grass. However, if we could look into a spiritual mirror, we would see either an image of God or nothing. We would see an offspring of God which is light, or an offspring of deception which is darkness-nothing. We are everything in Him and are nothing apart from God. His Truth and Light must shine for us to see God in the mirror. Jesus said it this way:
JN 5:19 Jesus gave them this answer: "I tell you the truth, the Son can do nothing by himself; he can do only what he sees his Father doing, because whatever the Father does the Son also does. 20 For the Father loves the Son and shows him all he does. Yes, to your amazement he will show him even greater things than these. 21 For just as the Father raises the dead and gives them life, even so the Son gives life to whom he is pleased to give it.
Jesus the Christ being the perfect image of God does what the Father does and nothing else. He only exists because of the Father and can do nothing apart from the Father. We are called into this image as well though it may be hard to see sometimes as Paul says.
1 COR 13:12 but when perfection comes, the imperfect disappears. 11 When I was a child, I talked like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I put childish ways behind me. 12 Now we see but a poor reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I AM fully known.
We are being restored into His image! We are spiritual beings like our Father. God is NOT a man, but is Spirit. He is unseen, but His image IS SEEN. He has created an image that we may know ourselves. God and His image are drawing closer together by love. Love is everything! God's most powerful force and ONLY motivation is UNFAILING LOVE. I don't know if we can fathom the depth of His love. No, we cannot, but we all are learning though our lessons may be quite painful. Truly we bring on our own pain by resisting the Light of Truth. God is to be ALL in ALL and there is absolutely no way to fight His overpowering draw of love. God can not and will not deny His image of Himself.
2TI 2:12 if we endure, we will also reign with him. If we disown him, he will also disown us;
2TI 2:13 if we are faithless, he will remain faithful, for he cannot disown himself.
If we overcome the darkness, we will reign with Him! Like the mirror, if we turn our backs on God, He will turn away from us. Even if we disown Him, He will disown us for a time, but He remains faithful to Himself. He loves His image and will bring His image back with His love. God will unite with His image (the Body of Christ) so that He will be glorified as GOD! The God of our universe is expressing Himself in Christ. Jesus the Christ is the Lord of all humanity and we are to coheirs with Him!
ROM 8:14 because those who are led by the Spirit of God are sons of God. 15 For you did not receive a spirit that makes you a slave again to fear, but you received the Spirit of sonship. And by him we cry, "Abba, Father." 16 The Spirit himself testifies with our spirit that we are God's children. 17 Now if we are children, then we are heirs--heirs of God and co-heirs with Christ, if indeed we share in his sufferings in order that we may also share in his glory.
EPH 3:16 I pray that out of his glorious riches he may strengthen you with power through his Spirit in your inner being, 17 so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith. And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, 18 may have power, together with all the saints, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, 19 and to know this love that surpasses knowledge--that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God.
PHP 2:5 Your attitude should be the same as that of Christ Jesus:
PHP 2:6 Who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be grasped,
PHP 2:7 but made himself nothing, taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness.
We are on a mission to make our SELF nothing. We MUST lose our lives to find them hidden in Christ. The image of ourselves we are born with is a false image created by our deception. This is our darkness. We have no true light to make an image. We are the image by God's Light- Christ. When we look upon our SELF we see a sinful beast that is hopeless. When we turn to God, we see Glory, Hope and Love! We see ourselves as God's children! We must come out of the darkness of Adam and into the Light of Christ!
EPH 4:10 He who descended is the very one who ascended higher than all the heavens, in order to fill the whole universe. 11 It was he who gave some to be apostles, some to be prophets, some to be evangelists, and some to be pastors and teachers, 12 to prepare God's people for works of service, so that the body of Christ may be built up 13 until we all reach unity in the faith and in the knowledge of the Son of God and become mature, attaining to the whole measure of the fullness of Christ.
This is our LIFE GOAL and DESTINY! This is what life is about! God will conquer the darkness and evil with His faith and love in Christ. We will only know God by not knowing Him first! Do trees question why they are growing and reaching toward the sun? This is their nature, and so it is ours to reach for God and Perfection! Don't be discouraged or afraid that you are not perfect yet. God is raising us up in our Lord, Christ Jesus to be just that!
PHP 3:12 Not that I have already obtained all this, or have already been made perfect, but I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me. 13 Brothers, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, 14 I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.
Jesus the Christ- the Image of God is our true identity! Christ Jesus was the Firstborn from the dead- us! We died spiritually by turning from our True Life in God. Jesus has won the battle and has opened the Way back to God and our true Life!
1CO 15:20 But Christ has indeed been raised from the dead, the firstfruits of those who have fallen asleep. 21 For since death came through a man, the resurrection of the dead comes also through a man. 22 For as in Adam all die, so in Christ all will be made alive. 23 But each in his own turn:
All of those in Adam (the human race) are to be brought back to life in Christ- the image of God! And my friends, THIS IS THE TRUTH!
His peace and understanding be with you,