“If you hold to my teaching, you are really my disciples. Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.” (John 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 worshipped 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 worshippers will worship the Father in spirit and truth, for they are the kind of worshippers the Father seeks.
24 God is spirit, and his worshippers 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 Saviour, 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;
5 guide me in your truth and teach me, for you are God my Saviour, 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 revealed 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!