One of the ironies of human language is that the word truth cannot be truly defined or found in any dictionary.
God won’t allow it. This is not simply because the One who is Truth cannot be fully fathomed, though that would be correct, but rather because what God means within his word by truth remains dependent upon something else before it will be allowed to be revealed.
As the third post in this series, we will explore the hinge point of truth.
Academics are impotent in identifying truth. Scholars of philosophy, linguistics, and even of Scripture itself are completely incapable of pointing out truth through any of their lofty resources, unless they shift along this hinge point. This is not my word, but Jesus, the Son of God, who points this out:
“In that same hour he rejoiced in the Holy Spirit and said, “I thank you, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, that you have hidden these things from the wise and understanding and revealed them to little children; yes, Father, for such was your gracious will.”
Ironic isn’t it that truth cannot be understood by those with understanding.
In context, Jesus was stating this in contrast to the religious leaders in particular, although it would also apply to all those well educated, believing and unbelieving. As a result of the will of God, Phd’s, Master’s of Divinity, seminary graduates, or any of those we might otherwise recognize as brilliant professors of theology have all had truth hidden from them (again, I add, if they miss this hinge point; something implied in what little children are more naturally disposed toward).
Of them, the word applies: “ever learning, but never able to acknowledge the truth”.
It is only logical to assume that understanding truth ought to be a matter of the mind, but it is not. The mind is an integral part to be sure, but mental prowess, deep thinking, or specialized learning tends to cloud judgment of truth rather than reveal it. As the Bible states, “learning puffs up”. Truth does not hinge on the mind. [For clarification, I am a big advocate of education, but of itself, it is not what helps a person grasp truth].
For those more spiritual in their devotions, they might suggest that truth is a matter of the spirit. And, there is no doubt that without the Spirit of God, man is incapable of understanding the things of God. Truth can only be understood by someone with the Holy Spirit, for it is by that Spirit that we are told believers will be “guided into all truth”. However, simply having the indwelling of the Holy Spirit is not sufficient to understand truth. Truth comes through the Holy Spirit, but God attaches that point of illumination to something specific.
Truth exists whether man exists or not, but man can only recognize truth if he engages himself in the discovery. With so many references to love, it would be certainly reasonable to feel that truth must be a matter of the heart. And when the Bible commends those who hunger and thirst for the truth, that must surely involve heartfelt desire. And yet, the word of God doesn’t identify the longings of our heart as that critical hinge point in being able to know truth.
As odd as it might sound, truth is a matter of the hand.
We are called to love the Lord our God with every fiber of our being—heart, mind, soul, and strength—but it is that physical contribution of strength where God puts the primary hinge of revelation and truth.
Through the prophets, God calls to his people to “test me in this and see if I won’t open the food gates of heaven and pour out such a blessing that you won’t have room enough to contain it.” That testing is not by disobedience, but quite the opposite—by doing what he commands. And then they would “see” and receive; that is when they would “get it”.
To those who already believed in Jesus, he said:
“If you hold to my teachings, you are really my disciples. Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.”
Jesus put a condition on knowing truth. Those who he acknowledged actually believed in him, he said they would have to also obey his words before they would be allowed to either know the truth or even to be accepted by him as legitimate Christians. In contrast to those who didn’t like what Jesus stated here, he reaffirms his meaning by saying that if they were truly Abraham’s children, then they would “do the things Abraham did”.
The revelating hinge point of truth is a matter of the hand.
And so the Lord repeats himself for those willing to hear and accept his words: “I tell you the truth, if anyone keeps my word, he will never see death.”
Because truth, as it is presented in Scripture, points toward that which rightly represents God, even Jesus himself tells us how to discover if what he spoke is really truth or just words of a wise man:
“My teaching is not my own. It comes from him who sent me. If anyone chooses to do God’s will, he will find out whether my teaching comes from God or whether I speak on my own.”
That key to discovery of truth, according to the Lord himself, hinges on your choice to implement God’s will. Truth is never something we can discover by our own efforts, but God hides the truth from anyone not willing to obey–to put into practice in their daily life and relationships–what he commands.
Satan is identified as having no truth in him, not because there are no correct things that could be identified about him, but as the Bible states, because from the beginning he did not hold to the truth.
“Holding” references the hand—that act of doing what we are told within the word of God, whether that be in bodily participation, or mental control, or choice of our desire. As the Psalmist states: “He who walks blamelessly and does what is right and speaks truth in his heart”.
But to those fence-walkers who assume they can get away with thinking rather than doing, the Spirit says:
“The man who says, ‘I know him,’ but does not do what he commands is a liar, and the truth is not in him. But if anyone obeys his word, God’s love is truly made complete in him. This is how we know we are in him: Whoever claims to live in him must walk as Jesus did.”
It should be noted that this same reality applies to those who partially obey: who keep most of what the Bible states, but cut corners on a few of those more disagreeable passages.
In short, truth can only be humanly recognized through the process of implementation. We become like the wise person who builds his house upon the rock rather than unstable sand when we put the words of Jesus into practice. Again, “let us not love in word or talk but in deed and in truth. By this we shall know that we are of the truth and reassure our heart before him.”
By analogy, those who find themselves repeatedly struggling with sin are taught to “cut off the hand that offends you”. In contrast, those who desire to seek first the Truth of the Kingdom of God and His righteousness, are told to productively use their hands:
“Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved, a worker who has no need to be ashamed, rightly handling the word of truth.”