(8 of 11 in a series)
Jesus said, “You will know the truth and the truth will set you free.” It is a basic premise of this blog, as well as the message of Jesus, that truth exists and that it can be known.
When I leave my home in northwest Houston, I am faced with the concrete reality of a maze of roads that lead to my downtown office. These roads are literally a concrete reality. That is, if I want to travel safely from point A to point B, I must travel the roads where they are. If I decide the highway system is not “truth” for me and head off cross country, I have absolutely no hope of reaching my destination. Even with a four-wheel drive SUV, I will drive into a house, get stuck in a ditch, or hit a light pole if I drive off willy-nilly. It would be absurd to say the highway system is truth for you but not for me if I hope to reach my destination.
Concrete reality exists all around us. Two plus two equals four, you are looking at black print on a white page, and George Washington was the United States of America’s first president. Concrete reality can be verified by our senses, our experience, and eyewitness testimony. Abstract reality also exists just as surely as the concrete variety. Abstract reality is just as real but is not part of our sensory experience. Concepts such as you are created in God’s image and we all have a sin problem that affects our behavior are abstract, but I believe just as real as the square root of nine is three.
The first step of belief is this. Because truth exists and because it squares with the reality that we observe around us, we can know that the Christian message is true. Because we see the message verified in what we can observe, we can trust its truth beyond our senses. Or put another way, if what I observe about the world around me is adequately and reasonably explained by the Christian message, then can I trust it to explain the more abstract reality of how I can be set free from my sin problem? If so, what is the Christian solution?
The Christian message proclaims that the solution to our sin problem is wrapped up in the person and work of Jesus Christ. The person of Christ? Jesus of Nazareth who claimed to be divine, the Son of the Living God. The work of Christ? His death on a cross on a specific day in history paid the ransom to free us from our “sin” prison.
Jesus said in the gospel of John, “I am the way, the truth, and the life.” When we read the rest of John’s gospel, literally “good news”, we learn that Jesus is referring to Himself as the way, that is, the only path to God. He is calling Himself the truth, that is, the essence of all that is true. He is the embodiment of truth, truth that can be known, discovered, and understood by the human mind. He claims to be the life, the source of eternal life (freedom from the penalty of sin) and the abundant life (freedom from the power of sin) that can be ours today. If Christianity is the answer, how do we embrace its life-giving message?