The Fact of the Matter

This week, Jurie took us on a journey of understanding the nature of truth. As humans, we have this amazing ability to explore, investigate, and understand aspects of reality. Some believe that we have the capacity to one day understand everything about our physical universe. Yet some believe that it’s difficult to know anything for sure.

The idea that we can’t really know anything, or that there is no “fact of the matter,” has been growing for over a century, and many believe that this idea is at the core of our culture today. You may have heard, “Well, that may be true for you, but that’s not my truth.” This tenet is intrinsically difficult to defend, as it destroys the ability to take a stand on anything. Yet it is also held out as the kinder, gentler way of being – if there is no absolute truth, then there’s no cause for argument, and everybody can coexist without trying to persuade one another of (a.k.a., oppress one another with) anything.

Let’s consider John 8 for a moment. This chapter is a sermon Jesus delivered from the Mount of Olives, and it includes His famous statement, “and you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free” (verse 32, ESV). Later in this discussion:
Jesus said to them, “If God were your Father, you would love me, for I came from God and I am here. I came not of my own accord, but he sent me. Why do you not understand what I say? It is because you cannot bear to hear my word. You are of your father the devil, and your will is to do your father's desires. He was a murderer from the beginning, and does not stand in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he lies, he speaks out of his own character, for he is a liar and the father of lies. But because I tell the truth, you do not believe me. Which one of you convicts me of sin? If I tell the truth, why do you not believe me? Whoever is of God hears the words of God. The reason why you do not hear them is that you are not of God. (John 8:42-47, ESV)

Notice that the devil is described as the “father of lies.” Throughout the Bible, Satan is described as the deceiver, the liar, and the schemer. We are warned of those who would follow in his footsteps; for example, see Matthew 7:15, “Beware of the false prophets, who come to you in sheep's clothing, but inwardly are ravenous wolves.”

Jesus was adamant that there is truth, that it is knowable, and that Satan wants us to believe the opposite of truth. For a moment, consider the mind of Satan. What better way to convince people of a lie, than to deny them the possibility of absolute truth?

Now consider the mind of Christ. Everything he did was focused on loving us well. He was kind and gentle, yet He was firm in his stand on truth. People are often fearful of truth because it has been used aggressively, not lovingly. Yet this behavior was not exemplified in Jesus. May we adopt His stance by loving one another well, holding fast to the truth but not using it as a weapon. One of the best ways to love people toward truth is to ask them careful questions, just as Jesus did. "Who do the crowds say that I am?... Who do you say that I am?" (Luke 9:18b, 20a, ESV)

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