TRUTH AND LIGHT
By Larry White
Jno.18:37-38 Jesus had been delivered up to Pilate, a Roman official, by the Jews and here Pilate is questioning Jesus about himself.
37 Pilate therefore said to him, “Are you a king then?” Jesus answered, “You say rightly that I am a king. For this cause I was born, and for this cause I have come into the world, that I should bear witness to the truth. Everyone who is of the truth hears my voice.”
38 Pilate said to him, “What is truth?” And when he had said this, he went out again to the Jews, and said to them, “I find no fault in him at all.
This question of Pilate's is one of the most asked questions in all of human history. And it is not surprising that the question of what truth is should come up at the trial of the Son of God.
There are two criteria that anything, claiming to be the truth, must meet.
1. Coherence and 2. Correspondence.
Coherence is what any jury or lawyer looks for when judging a case. If the witnesses do not agree, if their testimony is not consistent - then someone is not telling the truth. The world's intellectual infidels understand this about truth and have always tried to find contradictions in the Bible. If it claims to be the truth, it must be coherent. But no contradiction has ever been found. If there ever was one, there would not be anyone in the world who has not already heard about it by now.
The Bible took about 40 different men over the space of 1500 years to write, the majority of which did not know each other. But they all had one thing in common, the same God, who told them what to write.
9 Remember the former things of old,
For I am God, and there is no other;
I am God, and there is none like me,
10 Declaring the end from the beginning,
And from ancient times things that are not yet done,
Saying, "My counsel shall stand,
And I will do all my pleasure,'
The God of the Bible is the one that lives above and beyond history. Men and their lifetimes come and go, but the one God does not change nor does his awareness cease. The Bible is coherent because the one God wrote it over several millennia and it is the Truth.
The other criteria for truth is Correspondence.
That is the idea of jiving with the facts. If a criminal lawyer finds your testimony does not correspond with the evidence or facts of the case, then he will suspect you of lying.
Truth has to correspond with the reality of what is. If you say that Ketchum is 200 miles away when in reality it is only 125 miles away, then you haven't told the truth. When the Russians used to say that they were freedom fighters and that they were going to save the world from American aggression, what they were saying did not have anything to do with reality. Their "truth", their "Pravda" did not correspond to the facts. However later we have found that the facts were being withheld from the American people by the the international banking cartel of the Jews and we were the ones being lied to and the aggression that was mentioned was not reported to us. The Russians were actually telling the truth.
So, given these criteria for truth, I have come up with a working definition of it.
Truth is an accurate description of reality. And according to the Greek words alhqhV and alhqinoV, the word truth can also be the reality itself.
The problem with that however, is that truth cannot always be verified with the reality. Reality cannot always be seen. Jesus said in Jno.17:17, "Sanctify them through your truth, your word is truth."
The Bible is an accurate description of who God is, the reality of his existence. But you cannot see God. You cannot see this reality. That is why God requires faith in his word. Faith gives you the eyes to see.
If I were to go over to Cuba and tell the average man what is really going on in the world - I would have to get him to believe me, because he doesn't have any contact with the outside world to confirm what I say.
The Bible tells us what is really going on in the world. It tells about the fall of Man and his alienation from God. It tells about the reconciliation that God has provided in his Son. It tells of the ultimate purpose God has prepared for us. However the reality of God's existence cannot be seen, it cannot be verified. But the other part of the truth can; the part about man's condition. We can see sin. We are painfully aware of our own condition and ignorance.
The Bible talks about the sin and the guilt of Man. It talks about his weakness, his pride, his greed and lust, and his base immorality. It also talks about his pitiful helplessness, the sting of his guilty conscience and his yearning to be free and clean.
There is not any other book that gives you the truth about man, and we can recognize that, and see that it is true. There is not any other religion that deals with our guilt and gives us answers and hope. There is not any other religion that answers to Man, that answers who we are inside. I know. I have looked. And I tell my own brother and sister that their Eastern religions are not enough, they do not even address our real problems.
This is the beginning point of seeing the truth, when we recognize our own condition. Like they say, 90% of solving a problem is seeing what the problem is. The thing that allows us to see the truth of our condition is called light in the Bible.
And have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, but rather reprove them. For it is shameful even to speak of those things which are done by them in secret. But all things that are reproved are made manifest by the light, for whatever makes manifest is light.
Therefore he says:
“Awake, you who sleep,
Arise from the dead,
And Christ will give you light.”
The word Manifest here, means to uncover, lay bare, to make visible, to make clear. It is the idea of light coming into a dark room and exposing what is in it. When we are rebuked or reproved by the scriptures for some sin in our life - that makes clear to us our true condition. It makes us see reality.
So the light of God's truth reveals and exposes to us our real condition before God, and that is when we begin seeing the truth.
At this point the truth can either be accepted or rejected. And that depends on what kind of heart you have. It does not depend of whether you are a sinner or not. We are all sinners. But there are sinners with good and honest hearts and there are sinners with bad and deceitful hearts.
For God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have everlasting life. For God did not send his son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through him might be saved.
First of all we have God's motive in sending his Son - pure, undeserved love. It was not so that man would be condemned, he was already condemned - God sent Jesus to save man. (See Eze.18:32)
“He who believes in him is not condemned; but he who does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only begotten son of God.
And this is the condemnation, that the light has come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil. For everyone practicing evil hates the light and does not come to the light, lest his deeds should be exposed. But he who does the truth comes to the light, that his deeds may be clearly seen, that they have been done in God.”
Since there is only light, and like truth, it can be only one thing, we can say that people fall into two categories. Those that do the truth and those who do evil. Here, Jesus is the light. (Jno.12:46), He says, "I have come as a light into the world, that whoever believes in me should not remain in darkness." (Jno. 8:12), “I am the light of the world. He who follows me shall not walk in darkness, but have the light of life.”
To illustrate; it is like having every type of flying animal in a forest at night - then the sun comes up and all the birds who love the light come out and sing and spread their wings. But the bats and owls who cannot stand the light run into caves and burrows and hide from it.
Remember what Jesus said to Pilate, "Everyone who is of the truth hears my voice." Those who are of the truth are like the truth, they resemble it. They have a good and honest heart and they come to the light. What they have been yearning and laboring for all their lives is to do what is right and to be pleasing to God. Yet they are not self-righteous - they know they are condemned. They do not deceive themselves. But they know God forgives and cleanses. They come to the light, they want to do what is right. They love what is right and they are willing to change - they come to God for light and help.
Those in 2Thess.2:10, were deceived because they "did not receive the love of the truth so that they might be saved." The good and honest heart comes to the light because it loves the truth.
Now, those who do evil, will not come to the light. That is because they love what is evil, darkness is where they can keep doing what they like. They do not want to hear that they are wrong - so they hate the light and get as far away from it as they possibly can. These do not have good and honest hearts - instead they are blind and self-deceived.
This I say, therefore, and testify in the Lord, that you should no longer walk as the rest of the Gentiles walk, in the futility of their mind, having their understanding darkened, being alienated from the life of God, because of the ignorance that is in them, because of the blindness of their heart; who, being past feeling, have given themselves over to lewdness, to work all uncleanness with greediness.
But you have not so learned Christ,
Their blindness comes from being in the dark too long - just like a cave dweller will eventually lose its eyes altogether. Living in the dark.
16 Do not be afraid when one becomes rich,
When the glory of his house is increased;
17 For when he dies he shall carry nothing away;
His glory shall not descend after him.
18 Though while he lives he blesses himself
(For men will praise you when you do well for yourself),
19 He shall go to the generation of his fathers;
They shall never see light.
20 A man who is in honor, yet does not understand,
Is like the beasts that perish.
In order to keep this life-style going they have to become proud to survive. They are proud and puffed-up and will not admit that they are sinners, so they hate the truth. In Rev.22:15, those that are outside the city of God are "those who love and make a lie." This is why God can condemn man for not believing - to believe or not believe is a moral decision. It has nothing to do with whether of not the scriptures are believable.
There is more about light in the Bible than I could possibly get into one sermon.
Let us look at just a few more points.
Paul describes the dawn of faith as seeing the light.
But even if our gospel is veiled, it is veiled to those who are perishing, whose minds the god of this age has blinded, who do not believe, lest the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine on them. For we do not preach ourselves, but Christ Jesus the Lord, and ourselves your bondservants for Jesus’ sake.
For it is the God who commanded light to shine out of darkness, who has shone in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ.
As God began the physical creation with the entrance of light, (Gen.1) he also started the New Creation with the shining of light to overcome the darkness of unbelief in the world. But there seems to be more about this light. Truth, we said, is an accurate description of reality and can be viewed as the essence of reality itself.
Light seems to be the power and the effulgence or the effective influence and emanation of reality. The good news of Christ's glory, who is the image of God, is light and can shine in our hearts. God's glory can be known, and the apprehension of His glory in the mind of man is light by which he perceives Him and which emanates from the face of Jesus Christ. His countenance and aspect is the sight of his very being. God's face is the face of Jesus.
When the Godhead expresses itself, what we hear and see is Jesus Christ. When you see Jesus you have seen the Father. (Jno.14:9; also Heb.1:3)
If we consider God as the foundation of reality, that which can be known and perceived about reality is light within our minds. The revelation of God (Jesus Christ) gives man a clear perception of, and even a realization of God's holiness which then is the light by which he can perceive reality. I believe that this is the enlightenment through the agency of the Holy Spirit for which Paul prayed, and is the effective result of the power of Christ's resurrection that works in us, (Eph. 1:15-23). Life works in us, (2Cor. 4:11-12). This is how we obtain a spiritual mind, the mind of Christ; the Spirit communicates to us the light of Life.
Godhead à Jesus à Light à Reality
(the divine holiness of God realized in the conscience of man)
This light from the face of Jesus is what we are being transformed into, day by day, through the Spirit (2Cor.3:13-18), which is the realization in principle of the restoration of all things in Jesus Christ, (Acts 3:21). We reflect his glory to its perfection just as man was intended to, and thus we are brought again to our normal position and state before our creator which was lost in the garden. We cry Abba, Father.
God is: The Christian Walks in: Light 1Jno.1:5 Light 1Jno.1:6-7 Love 1Jno.4:16 Love Eph.5:1-2 Spirit Jno.4:24 Spirit Gal.5:16, 25 Truth 1Jno.5:6 Truth 3Jno.4
Our mirroring the excellent attributes of God is through the spiritual life that God gives us in his Son. Again:
Then Jesus spoke to them again, saying, “I am the light of the world. He who follows me shall not walk in darkness, but have the light of life.”
We have to take very seriously this unique expression, "the light of life". Love is our goal - but you cannot have love in yourself without light, and you cannot have light without truth and life. Jesus said in Jno.14:6, “I am the way, the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me." Therefore we must remain in Jesus to have truth and by so remaining in him we continue to have life. Jesus then tells us how to remain in him.
“If you love me, keep my commandments. And I will pray the Father, and he will give you another helper, that he may remain with you forever – the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it neither sees him nor knows him; but you know him, because he remains with you and will be in you. I will not leave you orphans; I am coming to you.
“A little while longer and the world will see me no more, but you will see me. Because I live, you will live also. At that day you will know that I am in my father, and you in me, and I in you. He who has my commandments and keeps them, it is he who loves me. And he who loves me will be loved by my father, and I will love him and manifest myself to him.”
Judas (not Iscariot) said to him, “Lord, how is it that you will manifest yourself to us, and not to the world?”
Jesus answered and said to him, “If anyone loves me, he will keep my word; and my father will love him, and we will come to him and make our dwelling with him. He who does not love me does not keep my words; and the word which you hear is not mine but the Father’s who sent me.
The person who loves God is the person who has Jesus' word and keeps it. When you keep his word, the Father and Jesus will love you and come and live with you - which is to have life, having God abiding in you. He that has the Son has life. (1Jno.5:11-12).
(Isa.8:20) "To the law and to the testimony: if they speak not according to this word, it is because there is no light in them."
The light is the truth of God. To have light in yourself is to have that truth kept and obeyed in your heart. It is to be honestly not thinking your own thoughts or speaking your own words or following your own way.
Therefore, since we have this ministry, as we have received mercy, we do not lose heart. But we have renounced the hidden things of shame, not walking in craftiness nor handling the word of God deceitfully, but by manifestation of the truth commending ourselves to every man’s conscience in the sight of God.
"But by manifestation of the truth," i.e. a bringing to light of the truth. To do this we have to be honest, (have truth in ourselves) and we have to love God's word, (loving God and caring about what he says - keeping his word, not only obeying it but guarding it and holding it inviolate).
For we are not, as so many, peddling the word of God; but as of sincerity, but as from God, in the sight of God we speak in Christ.
"As of sincerity" - "in the sight of God". We must not let our own will get in the way. We have to crucify our own will, our own think-so's.
But light is a positive thing.
Eccl.11:7, "Truly the light is sweet and a pleasant thing it is for the eyes to behold the sun."
When we search for light and truth and contemplate it in our hearts, or when we devote ourselves to walking in the light, it should not be a negative thing - it should not result in guilt or fear - but rather, joy and confidence.
Let me urge you to be honest with yourself and be honest with God's word. Let your eye be single and true, and your whole body will be full of light - but if the light that is in you be darkness - how great is that darkness.
Brethren, we are children of the day and not of the night or darkness.
For you were once darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Walk as children of light
If you haven't obeyed the gospel and have not come to the light of Jesus Christ, we want to urge you to do just that. If you trust in Christ and repent of your sins and wash them away by an immersion in water in Jesus name, God will receive you as his child of light. This is what you can expect.
For this reason we also, since the day we heard it, do not cease to pray for you, and to ask that you may be filled with the knowledge of his will in all wisdom and spiritual understanding; that you may walk worthy of the Lord, fully pleasing him, being fruitful in every good work and increasing in the knowledge of God; strengthened with all might, according to his glorious power, for all patience and longsuffering with joy; giving thanks to the Father who has qualified us to be partakers of the inheritance of the saints in the light. He has delivered us from the power of darkness and conveyed us into the kingdom of the Son of his love, in whom we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins.
(Originally delivered as a sermon in Eagle Point, OR. July 1, 1984)