“Jesus said to him, ‘I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me’” (Jn. 14:6).
We conclude our brief study of God’s character today with a look at an attribute that receives a good deal of emphasis in John’s gospel. In John 14:6–7, Jesus identifies Himself with truth itself, and being that He is God incarnate, we see that truth is a fundamental attribute of deity.
The sanctity of truth is a theme that we find taught over and over again in the Bible. Jesus refers to Satan as a “liar and the father of lies” (8:44), which helps us understand that falsehood is unholy while truth-telling accords with the Lord’s character. Psalm 119:160 explains that the Word of God is truth, and Psalm 145:18 makes it plain that the Lord will come near and bless only those who call upon Him in truth. Christ identifies lawful oaths and vows as inviolable, making the case that it is better never to swear an oath than to swear an oath we have no intent of keeping (Matt. 5:33–37; see also Num. 30:2; James 5:12). Our Father Himself even made a vow to Abraham to confirm the truthfulness of His promise to the patriarch (Heb. 6:13–18; see Gen. 15).
Importantly, God’s swearing of an oath reveals that truth is both couched in propositions and it consists of deeds that are performed. We see that truth comes in a variety of genres in Scripture (for example, we see poetry in Ps. 119 and propositional exposition in 2 Tim. 3:16–17). Yet we do not know the truth if we make no attempt to live it out. Truth is something that we can practice (1 John 3:18), and faithfulness to the Lord means that we are concerned to walk in His true way (Ps. 86:11). Walking in His true way is not perfect obedience this side of heaven, but a life of repentance when we see how far short we fall of His standards (1 John 1:5–10).
As Christians committed to the Word of God, we define truth as that which conforms to reality. Thus, we emphatically resist any suggestion that objective truths do not exist. At times we may not accurately understand the real world, which hampers our ability to arrive at a knowledge of the truth, but God faces no such limitations. Therefore, truth is ultimately that which conforms to reality as the Lord understands it. We can trust anything He reveals in Scripture because He knows truth exhaustively and has promised to illumine His Word by His Spirit that we might know His ways. May we therefore learn not to define truth subjectively (1 Cor. 2:6–15).
Coram DeoLiving before the face of God
Standing for the truth can be difficult because it is often unpopular to stand for what the Word of God says when the culture around us is running as fast as it can away from the Lord’s timeless principles. That is why we need to pray continually for the courage to stand firm on the teaching of Scripture and search the Word of God that we might accurately know what it says. If we do not know what it teaches, we cannot stand for its truth.