If I doubt the Truth of the Holy Bible, whose truth am I believing?
The Lord Jesus Christ was arrested and taken to the Roman Governor, Pilate. Jesus told Pilate that He had come into the world to demonstrate and teach the Truth. Pilate responded, “What is Truth?” If you have read the Gospel of John, you will recall that Jesus told His disciples, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me.” John 14:6 NKJV
I do not want to get bogged down with arguments about Truth. Pilate’s question is still being asked. Christ’s answer is still being ignored. Often statements made that claim to be true are no more than opinions based on inadequate facts or evidence. Truth itself is like a cut diamond with many facets. Truth can be seen in honesty, integrity, faithfulness, sincerity, beauty, and love. Truth can be seen in the amazing reliability of Mathematics and Physics. There is no room for “Your physics and my physics”. Sadly, in the realm of morality and ethics there is less clarity. It has become accepted to say, “This is my truth”.
My purpose is to help the reader examine the answer Jesus gives about Truth.
Are you interested in the history of the Christian Faith? Have you ever read a history about the Church? There is a pattern of ups and downs that can be traced wherever you look, whatever the nation or language. This pattern is similar to the one in the Book of the Judges. In Judges chapter two you can read a summary of how the people of Israel “did evil in the sight of God”, how God turned them back through a ‘judge’, and then the same thing happened again. Similarly, Christians have slipped away from serving God in the way He has commanded. Then, remarkably, God intervenes and turns His people around and there is a ‘revival’. God’s people are brought back to life! God’s ways in Christ are honoured once again. This has happened locally and nationally throughout Church history.
GOD IN ACTION
There are lots of Bible words that describe how God intervenes in our lives: CONVERSION, SALVATION, JUSTIFICATION, REDEMPTION, RESCUE, DELIVERANCE.
All of these are things that God does. We are not able to convert or rescue or redeem ourselves! However, there are things we can do that accompany God’s action. These involve submission to what God is doing. So, we repent, confess our sins, and exercise faith.
God is gracious. He is willing to convert a sinner into a saint. The Holy Spirit of God is at work seeking out even the smallest response to the light He shines into every life.
Ezekiel 11:19 NIV I will give them an undivided heart and put a new spirit in them; I will remove from them their heart of stone and give them a heart of flesh.
There is no way that Israel could achieve this by their own efforts. However, they did need to submit to God’s command to return to their own land. Obedience out of faith in God’s promise resulted in the conversion of their hearts.
The Bible uses various words to describe God’s intervention and our response.
New Testament – EPISTROPHE = TURNED ROUND, CONVERTED
Acts 15:3 NIV The church sent them on their way, and as they travelled through Phoenicia and Samaria, they told how the Gentiles had been converted. This news made all the brothers very glad.
Matthew 18:3 NKJV and said, “Assuredly, I say to you, unless you are converted and become as little children, you will by no means enter the kingdom of heaven.
Luke 22:32 KJV But I have prayed for thee, that thy faith fail not: and when thou art converted, strengthen thy brethren.
Old Testament – STROOB = TURNED AROUND
Psalms 51:13 NIV Then I will teach transgressors your ways, and sinners will turn back to you.
Is there truly a Creator God Who intervenes in personal and national life? Can I trust the Bible as the source of truth? Can I trust Christians to be truthful?
NOTHING BUT THE TRUTH
In an English Court of Law, a witness is asked to swear this:
“I swear by ………. (according to religious belief) that the evidence I shall give shall be the truth the whole truth and nothing but the truth.”
This is a very serious thing. It is called ‘an oath’. An oath is a solemn promise. If a witness deliberately avoids the truth, they commit perjury and face punishment. Jesus advised us to avoid making oaths:
Matthew 5:34-37 NKJV But I say to you, do not swear at all: neither by heaven, for it is God’s throne; (35) nor by the earth, for it is His footstool; nor by Jerusalem, for it is the city of the great King. (36) Nor shall you swear by your head, because you cannot make one hair white or black. (37) But let your ‘Yes’ be ‘Yes,’ and your ‘No,’ ‘No.’ For whatever is more than these is from the evil one.
We humans seem to feel the need to swear by something. I have heard people swear an oath ‘on their mother’s grave’ and worse! Such oaths cannot make what you say truer. Either you are telling the truth, or you are lying. In court you are asked to make your oath on the Bible before God.
When I was called to Jury Service, I decided to affirm rather than swear. So, I said, I solemnly, sincerely and truly declare and affirm that I will faithfully try the defendant and give a true verdict according to the evidence. As I read the words from the card provided the defence counsel asked me to stand down! Apparently, the way I had spoken gave the impression (rightly) that I would hold to the truth. That was not, it seems, quite what the defence wanted! During that Jury Service I was stood down twice (but accepted twice too)! That is the legal system. I was in a group of 15 people. The prosecution and defence could refuse three of these thus leaving 12 to sit as a jury for the trial.
There you are our legal system and its need for truth. I chose to affirm rather than swear on a Bible (with its superstitious idea of bad consequences if I lied). I was stood down because a barrister thought I would be too truthful!