How Can I Know the Truth? (Y1.T2.D17)
Unsplash; "Yoann Boyer"
There are three ways to test if something is true or not.
First: Logical Reasoning. You might remember if-then statements from a math or science class. When I worked as a computer programmer, these logic-based statements were the heartbeat of all code.
So let's use logical reasoning against the following statement: There is no such thing as absolute truth.
If I believe there is no such thing as absolute truth, then I believe no truth is absolute.
If no truth is absolute, then my belief in no absolute truth is untrue.
The website Intellectual Takeout, calls this the “self-defeating character of relativism.” Failing the first test should be enough, but let's walk through the other two.
Second: Personal Experience. I know, for example, that gravity is an absolute truth because I've experienced the earth's gravitational pull. However, be careful—in isolation we can fool ourselves into believing almost anything, which leads to the third test.
Third: Study. Research both sides of a debate. Even if you don't fully trust the source, there is value in considering what they've said. As an example, I've pulled the definition of absolute truth from Simple English Wikipedia— the least-trusted source on the internet:
Absolute truth is something that is true at all times and in all places. It is something that is always true no matter what the circumstances. It is a fact that cannot be changed. For example, there are no round squares. There are also no square circles. The angles of a triangle add up to 180 degrees. These are all true by definition. . . . Absolute truths are discovered, not invented. They exist in all cultures. . . .According to Martin Luther (the reformer), "I shall never be a heretic; I may err in dispute, but I do not wish to decide anything finally; on the other hand, I am not bound by the opinions of men." This means that if truth is not absolute it is not truth at all.
The combination of all three processes proves the existence of truth. This allows us to consider if what Jesus said about knowing truth is logical, experienceable, and researchable.
Jesus therefore said to those Jews who had believed him, “If you remain in my word, then you are truly my disciples. You will know the truth, and the truth will make you free (John 8:31–42).
First: Logical Reasoning:
If a person believes in Jesus, then his quote applies to her.
If this believer remains in his word, then she is truly his disciple.
If she is a true disciple, then she will know the truth.
If she knows the truth, then she will be made free.
We can see his logic isn’t self-defeating and meets the first criteria of identifying truth.
Second: Personal Experience: Congregations are full of people being made free through Christ. I’ve written a few posts with my testimony if you’d like to read them (overcoming shame, experiencing divorce, encountering trouble). My life is progressively more abundant and content when I live in the truth of his word.
My story will never be enough for you to believe Jesus is "the way, the truth, and the life." and that "No one comes to the Father, except through [him]" (John 14:6). You have to try him for yourself.
Third: Study. It's hard to be confident in Jesus if you don't read everything he said. Most people who criticize the Bible have never read all of it. And sadly, many who do claim to believe in God's Word don't read it often.
That's what this journey is about. If this is your first time on this blog, I encourage you to read the first post in The Mosaic Bible Experience series. You will discover the amazing benefits Scripture offers. It is the path to discipleship, which is the path to truth, which is the path to freedom.
And the Truth Is . . .
31 Jesus therefore said to those Jews who had believed him, “If you remain in my word, then you are truly my disciples. 32 You will know the truth, and the truth will make you free.”
33 They answered him, “We are Abraham’s offspring, and have never been in bondage to anyone. How do you say, ‘You will be made free’?”
34 Jesus answered them, “Most certainly I tell you, everyone who commits sin is the bondservant of sin. 35 A bondservant doesn’t live in the house forever. A son remains forever. 36 If therefore the Son makes you free, you will be free indeed. 37 I know that you are Abraham’s offspring, yet you seek to kill me, because my word finds no place in you. 38 I say the things which I have seen with my Father; and you also do the things which you have seen with your father.”
39 They answered him, “Our father is Abraham.”
Jesus said to them, “If you were Abraham’s children, you would do the works of Abraham. 40 But now you seek to kill me, a man who has told you the truth which I heard from God. Abraham didn’t do this. 41 You do the works of your father.”
They said to him, “We were not born of sexual immorality. We have one Father, God.”
42 Therefore Jesus said to them, “If God were your father, you would love me, for I came out and have come from God. For I haven’t come of myself, but he sent me. 43 Why don’t you understand my speech? Because you can’t hear my word." (John 8:31–43)
31 “If I testify about myself, my witness is not valid. 32 It is another who testifies about me. I know that the testimony which he testifies about me is true. 33 You have sent to John, and he has testified to the truth. 34 But the testimony which I receive is not from man. However, I say these things that you may be saved. 35 He was the burning and shining lamp, and you were willing to rejoice for a while in his light. 36 But the testimony which I have is greater than that of John, for the works which the Father gave me to accomplish, the very works that I do, testify about me, that the Father has sent me. 37 The Father himself, who sent me, has testified about me. You have neither heard his voice at any time, nor seen his form. 38 You don’t have his word living in you, because you don’t believe him whom he sent.
39 “You search the Scriptures, because you think that in them you have eternal life; and these are they which testify about me. 40 Yet you will not come to me, that you may have life. 41 I don’t receive glory from men. 42 But I know you, that you don’t have God’s love in yourselves. 43 I have come in my Father’s name, and you don’t receive me. If another comes in his own name, you will receive him. 44 How can you believe, who receive glory from one another, and you don’t seek the glory that comes from the only God?
45 “Don’t think that I will accuse you to the Father. There is one who accuses you, even Moses, on whom you have set your hope. 46 For if you believed Moses, you would believe me; for he wrote about me. 47 But if you don’t believe his writings, how will you believe my words?” (John 5:31–47)
44 "You are of your father, the devil, and you want to do the desires of your father. He was a murderer from the beginning, and doesn’t stand in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he speaks a lie, he speaks on his own; for he is a liar, and the father of lies. 45 But because I tell the truth, you don’t believe me. 46 Which of you convicts me of sin? If I tell the truth, why do you not believe me? 47 He who is of God hears the words of God. For this cause you don’t hear, because you are not of God.”
48 Then the Jews answered him, “Don’t we say well that you are a Samaritan, and have a demon?”
49 Jesus answered, “I don’t have a demon, but I honor my Father and you dishonor me. 50 But I don’t seek my own glory. There is one who seeks and judges. 51 Most certainly, I tell you, if a person keeps my word, he will never see death.”
52 Then the Jews said to him, “Now we know that you have a demon. Abraham died, as did the prophets; and you say, ‘If a man keeps my word, he will never taste of death.’ 53 Are you greater than our father, Abraham, who died? The prophets died. Who do you make yourself out to be?”
54 Jesus answered, “If I glorify myself, my glory is nothing. It is my Father who glorifies me, of whom you say that he is our God. 55 You have not known him, but I know him. If I said, ‘I don’t know him,’ I would be like you, a liar. But I know him and keep his word. 56 Your father Abraham rejoiced to see my day. He saw it, and was glad.”
57 The Jews therefore said to him, “You are not yet fifty years old! Have you seen Abraham?”
58 Jesus said to them, “Most certainly, I tell you, before Abraham came into existence, I AM.”
59 Therefore they took up stones to throw at him, but Jesus was hidden, and went out of the temple, having gone through the middle of them, and so passed by. (John 8:44–59)
Thank You that eternal life is knowing You, the only true God, and him whom you sent, Jesus Christ (John 17:3). I accept as absolute truth that Jesus is the way, the truth, and the life, and no one comes to the Father, except through him (John 14:6). Help me continue to grow in the grace and knowledge of my Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. To You be the glory both now and forever. Amen (2 Peter 3:18).
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