TITLE: The cycle of Faith.
By Michael Walter
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Jesus is the way, the Truth, and the Life. That is what John 14:6 say and that is what is quoted in most Christian communities. We use this scripture to show the exclusivity of the way into heaven, yet rarely explain much more of that verse. This verse contains the three most attacked issues/foundations of every believer. The attack is on the “different” ways to God, and in our own body of believers we even often argue on that. Then the attack on Truth; what it is, how to know it, if it is even real, and that it doesn’t even really matter because it is all relative anyway. And last but not least, the Life; the life we are called to live but don’t really want to. I think the attack against the life is the hardest to defend for many reasons; first we can barley grasp the first two which lead to the third (I will explain later), we the body don’t agree on what the life looks like let alone demonstrate it to the community who does not yet even know the King of Kings. In our politically correct society and the “don’t judge me” mantra has steam rolled any standard that was once set as acceptable living. Americans believe that their life is their life and no one should tell them how to live, how to govern their morality or dictate what is right. This is an “inoffensive” attack on the Life, and everything it stands for.
My desire is not to add commentary on the verse but to open it up and look into how this verse applies to our lives in more areas than one. It may even set us free from some of the things that have held us back. I will examine each one separately than I will tie them together, as the process we are to manifest.
Jesus claimed to be the Way, the only way to the Father and that no one can get to Him except through Him. This claim is attacked often in our culture, they say it is arrogant, narrow minded, and down right foolish. They disagree because that claim makes them “incorrect” in a politically correct society. It is easier to believe that all religions lead to God, and that whatever I chose to believe is the right way. The say “who are you to tell me, my way is not the right way” and “there are many paths to one destination”. Say whatever they want, call us arrogant, it doesn’t change the fact that Jesus is the way. But other than just leaving it at that, that Jesus is the way and that’s that, I do want to qualify the statement by showing how the statement is correct with their own statement. The statement that there are many ways to one destination, the only problem is that doesn’t hold up when examined, it just sounds good. When you look at all the religions, they all “lead” to different final destinations, with different “ways” or standards of getting there. There is paradise, for some, reincarnation for others, some no afterlife, and then heaven. Some also promise different things when you get to this “afterlife” if the religion holds to a belief of an after life. Then there is the way to get there, ranging anywhere from good works, karma, martyrdom, and enlightenment. There is only one belief system that is based on grace and the merit of another person to enter into heaven, and that is Christianity. So to say that they all lead to the same place is in fact true arrogance.
For the Christian who as acknowledged Jesus as their Lord has acknowledged Him as the way, and in fact the guide of their journey toward the Truth and Life. We deem the way as solely to get to heaven when in fact Jesus is the way to everything that is of the Father, He is the way to peace to fulfillment, to love, mercy, grace, and Truth. There is no path outside of Him, He is the journey and the tour guide or shall I say leader. It comes as no surprise to me that we are called to follow Him and be his disciples, to follow Him in every aspect of life. So that’s what we do, we follow the way of the leader the leader who is Truth. And as we follow Him He shows us the Truth, what it is, how to live according to it, and how it sets us free. Which leads us to the topic of the Truth….
Jesus said this in John 18 “for this reason I was born and for this reason I came into the earth, to testify to the Truth and all who are on the side of Truth listen to me.” Now this is a staggering state by Jesus, it should cause s to pause and think about this. Jesus who is on trial before Pilate, He has already been condemned by the Jews as fit for death and now they are seeking crucifixion. So He stands before Pilate and there is a large crowd yelling in the background, a mob of unhappy people who are crying out for blood to be shed. And Pilate is apprehensive, he wants to please the people but his wife has warned him that this Jesus is no ordinary man. So he is speaking to Jesus about kingship, and asks if He is a king, and Jesus asks if someone told Pilate about Him. And Pilate retorts am I a Jew? Your people want you dead, and then the conversation turns from being king to who He is the king of, the Jews or some other people. So Pilate says “you are a king then” and Jesus acknowledges the fact He is a king but of whom He is king of is profound. He does not say He is king of the Jews but of a kingdom not seen by man, a higher reality than Pilate even knows of. Then Jesus makes the statement found above, He tells Pilate why He is here; to testify to the Truth and all who are on the side of Truth know my voice. To testify is to say that the Truth is itself is on trial that Truth is being accused and being sentenced. So Jesus (who is the Truth, who is full of Truth, and testifies on truth’s behalf) stands on trial not just for His life but everything He represents, the Truth of God verse the lies of Satan himself. Then comes the response of Pilate, “what is Truth?” and he walks away. Pilate turned his back on the very question we have turned our back on. The truth is still on trial to this very day, we are still asking the same question “what is truth?” and turning our back on the very thing Jesus is. And for all the Christians who define Truth as Jesus have no true comprehension of what the Truth really is. To say Jesus is Truth is almost a copout, it is in fact a true statement but with little depth. I only say that because that is an unfair statement to say to someone who does not know Jesus, who defines truth as relative, and the there are no absolutes. They say there is no truth and we say with a scoff that Jesus IS the Truth. But to them that statement has no depth and we then viewed to have no mind and no understanding of what the truth is, it is as if we have a default response because we don’t even know the real answer. We must know what the Truth is, what it is that Jesus came in this world to testify to.
Let’s begin with Webster’s dictionary; truth: 1) sincerity in action, character, and utterance 2a) the state of being the case or fact. 2b) a transcendent fundamental or spiritual reality. 3) The property (as of a statement) of being in accord with factor reality. Dictionary.com put it like this; the truth or actual state of a matter: conformity with fact or reality: a verified or indisputable fact, proposition, principle, or the like: the state or character of being true: actuality or actual existence: ideal or fundamental reality apart from and transcending perceived experience. Wikipedia.org went as far as to say “The term (truth) has no single definition about which the majority of professional philosophers and scholars agree. Various theories of truth continue to be debated. There are differing claims on such questions as what constitutes truth; how to define and identify truth; the roles that revealed and acquired knowledge play; and whether truth is subjective, relative, objective, or absolute.” It sounds to me like humanity and our society is right back where Pilate was, where the Romans and Greeks left off in there philosophical understanding. Without bring god into the equation we cannot define or agree on what truth is, if it is absolute, or even knowable. Each person in history who has attempted to define truth out side of a god has failed, so it is easier to say it is not knowable and relative than to confess that truth is only knowable through God. There is one thing that I did notice from the definitions that all, including Wikipedia (later on in the article) did refer to; and that is reality and transcending. Basically a transcending reality or shall I dare to say “ultimate reality”? This is where we find the true meaning of truth. Os Guinness said it like this “Truth is ultimate reality as seen by God”. This is why we have such a hard time not only defining it but understanding it outside of the Creator of it. This is what Jesus was testifying to, that the reality of His kingdom of His Father, of His Way, of His life is beyond what we see and hear now. That is why we are washed by the truth, sanctified by the truth, his Spirit is Truth, and we are to grow in the truth, obey the truth, and love the truth. This is also how we are set free, set free from the lies of Satan. Just look at the very first sin, it was really deception. God said “do not eat of the tree or you will die” this is the Truth God spoke. Then we see Satan speaking to Eve and said “you surely will not die” a truth claim or lie. She believed a lie to be true, and acted on the lie rather than the Truth (ultimate reality as seen or dictated by God who is Truth). This has been the battle throughout eternity, the truth of God or the truth claim (lies) of Satan. Jesus even went as far to say that the Devil is the father of all lies and that all he speaks is lies it is his native language. This battle is the one we as believers face as well as those who do not Jesus as Lord, the things that hold us back from freedom, love, and peace is that we are living according to lies not the truth. That is why we are to be in the Word of God his truth, so as we understand how His ultimate reality works and we start living in it and become free. That is why Truth is absolute, because it is based on an unchanging God whose reality, understanding, and ways transcend our understanding and reality. We are called to live according to His reality by faith that is why faith is the currency in His Kingdom. We operate in his reality, not ours based on what we know of Him. So in order to say that Truth is unknowable and relative does not work in any reality. Take this statement into consideration: “There is no absolute truth” is in fact an absolute statement thus nullifying itself, and truth is knowable the question is will you accept it.
Let’s review; Jesus is the Way which leads to the Truth, and as we walk on this path and follow the guide we come to know the truth of how things really are. As we walk in this truth we begin to be set free from the lies we have believed for so long. The lies about fear, failure, my life, and who God is, and what our life is to look like. Along this path we see the light, we see clearly, and are no longer blind and held captive to the chains of anxiety and lies. When we look around our life looks different, it doesn’t look like it once did, actually it starting to look a lot like the guide. Our life is starting to look like the one who is The Life.
Our life should look like the one who is the Life but this can only be done if we are on the right path and walking in the truth. Our life will be les and less ours and more and more His, which is opposite to the culture. But the lies of Satan have found there way into our lives, yes even the lives of those who know Jesus as Lord. Many will tell you your life is you own, you are to do with it as you please, they say don’t judge and who are you to tell me how to live. We think life is what you make it, that we are to do whatever “feels good” or “feels right” which is contrary to the truth. In some tribes of Christianity we say once you know about Jesus you are “free” to do whatever you want, live it up just make sure you read your bible, come on Sunday, and give me your money. There is little talk of sin, holiness, love, obedience, fear of the Lord, and self-control. We here a lot about freedom but not true freedom found in purity and holiness. The gospel of Jesus is one of surrender and sacrifice, He even tells us to count the cost before making the choice. He tells us whoever lays His life down (sacrifice of the will or desire) will gain it and he who tries to keep or save his own life will lose. Jesus shows us the truth in His kingdom, giving up your way of life for His is where true freedom is found. As we walk in His ways and become less and less self-sufficient and more Christ-sufficient and focused on others rather than ourselves we begin to look like Jesus, who is the Life and the light of the world. We become reflections of the one who is light, and others who are in darkness see this light and begin to inquire of this Life we live. We point them to the Way, and tell them of the journey we have made and how much we have been changed, and set free, from the depression, and pain of our lives. We tell them about the Truth and how all they need to do is follow the tour guide on this path, and everything will change. There out look on reality and they way the view life. They will live a new life, a life of light.
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