“Behold, I am laying in Zion a stone of stumbling, and a rock of offense; and whoever believes in him will not be put to shame.”
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In my last post, I talked about truth and the importance of standing for it. I hope we all see the value in standing for what we believe in. Everyone stands for something, and everyone has truth standards, even if they don’t think you can know truth. Probably the most absurd thing I have heard anyone say in regard to this is…
“There is no such thing as absolute truth.”
…because they never follow it up with…
“Well, except for what I just said.”
The statement “There is no such thing as absolute truth” is itself an absolute truth claim – a claim, by the way, which is self contradictory. But that is the world in which we live – people don’t care about being consistent. Being consistent takes work and guess what else…yup…consistency. And in this day and age, people seem to care more about what others think is true than what is actually true. You need look no further than Indiana’s plight right now to see that.
Proverbs 12:15 ESV (15) The way of a fool is right in his own eyes, but a wise man listens to advice.
It seems that we’d rather believe we are right than actually be right. I suppose it’s because in order to be right, there must be truth, otherwise, it’s all opinion. And we do so love opinion…
But contrary to popular belief, that knife cuts both ways. If someone says to you …
“You can’t tell me what’s right – what’s right for you might not be right for me”
… all you need to reply with is something like …
“Well, according to you, I certainly can. You just told me what I can and can’t do, what’s right and wrong. So, why can’t I tell you what’s right and wrong? Did you really mean to say ‘I can tell you what to do because I’m right and you are wrong?'”
… because what that person did was give you a moral truth claim: “you can’t” followed by what you can’t do: “tell me what’s right“. The unstated reason: “because I don’t agree with you.” Chances are very good that, if this person was talking with an ally, they would be more than happy to give all sorts of moral imperatives. They are proving what they scream to deny – that there is a truth out there somewhere – and in fact, that they are closer to it than you.
But they’ll never admit that. That would be arrogant. And God forbid anybody speak as if they really believe what they are saying!
But that’s really beating around the issue. Moral relativism (at it’s core is an illogical fear of calling anything right or wrong) is a symptom of a deeper, much more serious problem, denial. Not just denying that we can know truth, but the denial of truth altogether. A couple thousand years ago, there was a very important discussion about truth. It went like this…
John 18:33-37 ESV (33) So Pilate entered his headquarters again and called Jesus and said to him, “Are you the King of the Jews?” (34) Jesus answered, “Do you say this of your own accord, or did others say it to you about me?” (35) Pilate answered, “Am I a Jew? Your own nation and the chief priests have delivered you over to me. What have you done?” (36) Jesus answered, “My kingdom is not of this world. If my kingdom were of this world, my servants would have been fighting, that I might not be delivered over to the Jews. But my kingdom is not from the world.” (37) Then Pilate said to him, “So you are a king?” Jesus answered, “You say that I am a king. For this purpose I was born and for this purpose I have come into the world—to bear witness to the truth. Everyone who is of the truth listens to my voice.”
… and Pilate responded to this assertion with a question…
John 18:33-37 ESV (38) Pilate said to him, “What is truth?”
And given what we know about Pilate, there is a good chance that his words conveyed this sentiment: “Whatever. As if there is such a thing as truth.”
But what riled Pilate so much? What was Pilate responding to? Listen to the words of Jesus: “For this purpose I was born and for this purpose I have come into the world—to bear witness to the truth.”
According to Jesus, there is such a thing as truth! Imagine that. And it’s not simply that there is such a thing, it’s that you can know this truth because Jesus testifies to it!
Now, it gets really serious, far more serious than your belief that 1+1=2. It’s serious because Jesus believes and teaches that there is such a thing as truth, and He came to testify to that truth. So, if you want to know truth about Jesus, where should you go?
Joel Osteen? Oprah Winfrey? Hollywood?
Sadly, that’s where a great number of people go, and they come out with all sorts of crazy, wrong ideas about Jesus. Ideas like:
- Jesus was simply a good teacher
- Jesus never really existed
- Jesus is love, and Jesus wins, so Love Wins! Hell isn’t forever!
- Jesus and Satan are spirit brothers born from a father god and mother goddess
- Jesus is merely a god, not the God
- Jesus existed, but he didn’t really die
- Jesus existed, and died, but didn’t resurrect
- Jesus existed, died, and resurrected spiritually, not physically
- Jesus wants you to live Your Best Life Now
- and on … and on … and on
But, if you really cared about truth, I mean really cared, you’d go to the source of truth, wouldn’t you? But, that would require you to not only accept truth as a concept, it also requires you to accept truth as a person.
Jesus, the way, the truth, the life.
And if Jesus is actually the Truth, then what Isaiah said is actually true…
Isaiah 45:19 ESV (19) I did not speak in secret, in a land of darkness; I did not say to the offspring of Jacob, ‘Seek me in vain.’ I the LORD speak the truth; I declare what is right.
God’s truth is not spoken in secret. God speaks the truth. God declares what is right. And since Jesus is God, He speaks the truth and declares what is right.
So, what does that mean for you? It means that if Jesus calls something true, right, or good, it is absolutely true, right or good no matter what you believe about that something. It also means that if Jesus calls something false, wrong, or evil, it is absolutely false, wrong, or evil no matter what you believe about that something.
And here is probably the biggest and most controversial thing I’ll say all post: this also means that Jesus is the Lord of the entire universe, even of your life, even of your circumstances, whether you believe it or not.
But why did Jesus come to testify to the truth?
John 8:31–32 (ESV) (31) So Jesus said to the Jews who had believed him, “If you abide in my word, you are truly my disciples, (32) and you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.”
Are you ready to believe that? Will you submit to your Lord and abide in him and be set free by knowing Him…the Truth?
John 8:33–35 (ESV) (33) They answered him, “We are offspring of Abraham and have never been enslaved to anyone. How is it that you say, ‘You will become free’?” (34) Jesus answered them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, everyone who practices sin is a slave to sin. (35) The slave does not remain in the house forever; the son remains forever.
Or will you continue to rationalize why you don’t believe what He says and remain a slave forever?
I heard a sermon today that was really good – the passage was Galatians 5 and the topic was about freedom in Christ. The pastor spent a good amount of time defining freedom and how we as a society have completely gotten the definition wrong.
Society wants to define freedom as “being able to do whatever I want, whenever I want.”
But that’s not freedom, that’s slavery. He used the analogy of the “what happens in Vegas stays in Vegas” and said that when we think that freedom is being able to do whatever, whenever, we are basically saying “true freedom is freedom to sin and have no repercussion”. But that kind of “freedom” results in further bondage to sin so it’s not really freedom, it’s slavery!
He then paraphrased John Piper who said
“You are fully free when you have the desire, the ability, and the opportunity to do what will leave you no regrets forever.” (http://www.desiringgod.org/sermons/you-will-know-the-truth-and-the-truth-will-set-you-free)
and defined freedom as : “the desire to do what you should do.”
That leads to two pretty interesting results:
1) The desire to do the wrong thing – this is bondage to sin, and if unforgiven, will lead to eternal damnation.
2) Doing the right thing but not desiring it – this is bondage to legalism or religion in that thinking that just by doing it, you will be OK, regardless of your motivation. If this is your heart, you are either being led astray like the Christians in Galatia, you are not a mature Christian and need to grow, or you are not really a Christian.
But when we truly desire to do the right thing, and actually do it, with the fervor and attitude of one who understands that “for freedom Christ has set s free” (Galatians 5:1), then, and only then, are we truly free.
Are you truly free? What are you doing with your freedom?