What Is Truth?
March 1, 2004 - People have all kinds of ideas about truth. Whatever your view is, you would be wise to consider what Jesus Christ taught about truth. He taught not only that there is truth, but also that He is the Truth.
A Message by Billy Graham
Pontius Pilate asked that question of Jesus when He was brought before Pilate for judgment. And many people still ask that question today.
What do you think about truth? Some people think there is no absolute truth. "Truth" for them is simply what they think. But what is truth for one person might not be truth for anyone else, they think. Everything is relative.
Yet how disillusioned with life many become because they don't recognize the existence of truth. In the absence of solid, basic truth, we are adrift on a churning sea of ideas with no compass to tell us which way to go.
Jesus taught that there is truth. Not only that, He made the bold claim, "I am the way and the truth and the life" (John 14:6, NIV). Jesus also taught about lies. He said that Satan is a liar and the father of lies.
Satan's lies started in the Garden of Eden. When God created man and woman, He placed them in a beautiful and perfect environment. God said, "All this is for you. You can eat of every tree in the garden except one. If you eat of that tree, you will die" (Cf. Genesis 2:16-17).
Then Satan came along in the form of a serpent and said, "That is not true. You will not die. God didn't really say that" (Cf. Genesis 3:1-5). Satan phrased it in such a way as to question, "Did God really say that?"
In our generation, people question whether the Bible is really the Word of God. They put doubt in people's minds, asking, "Did God really say that?" I want to affirm that from beginning to end, the Bible is God's Word, inspired by the Holy Spirit. When I turn to the Bible, I know I am reading truth. And I turn to it every day.
"Did God really say that?" The devil wanted Adam and Eve to doubt God's Word. The devil said, "God doesn't love you. God is trying to keep something good from you." Then the devil said, "Don't believe God! You are not going to die. God says you will die if you eat of it, but you won't really die" (Cf. Genesis 3:4).
Adam and Eve had to make a choice between God's truth and the devil's lie. They chose the devil's lie. And today our sinful nature also sides with the lie instead of with the truth.
Jesus said, "This is the verdict: Light has come into the world, but men loved darkness instead of light because their deeds were evil. Everyone who does evil hates the light, and will not come into the light for fear that his deeds will be exposed" (John 3:19-20, NIV).
From the moment we are born, we have a tendency to sin. Our moral universe is out of focus, and we won't get it back into focus until we come to Christ. We accept lies as truth and truth as lies. We don't know what is right and what is wrong.
It is as if we are driving down the highway of life with our eyes shut. We act as though we have no soul, as though we are not accountable to anyone. We will pay for this; in fact, we are paying for it.
We are a violent society. We are a wicked society. We are a society that will be under the judgment of God unless we repent of our sins and turn to Him.
Christ is the Truth. The devil is the lie. We see the conflict between the world of Jesus Christ and the devil's world, and we have to make a choice: In which world will we live? To whom will we give allegiance?
You see, we don't have to be taught to sin; we inherit the disease of sin. The question is, what will we do about it? We find deception and delusion on every hand. Everywhere we look, we find people who are unethical, people who are sinful.
What is the answer to this human dilemma? Can we get out of the pit? Yes. Jesus said, "You will know the truth, and the truth will set you free" (John 8:32, NIV). We can be free. Jesus said, "I am the ... truth." He is the Truth, the embodiment of all truth.
If you don't have Jesus Christ as your Savior and Lord, you will likely follow some other messiah, because all kinds of messiahs and false christs are crying out, "Here is truth! I've got it." The Bible says many antichrists will come, but there is only one true Christ: "For God was pleased to have all his fullness dwell in him" (Colossians 1:19, NIV). And Jesus said, "If you do not believe that I am the one I claim to be, you will indeed die in your sins" (John 8:24, NIV). Jesus Christ is ultimate Truth in every realm.
Jesus told the truth about sin. He said, "From within, out of men's hearts, come evil thoughts, sexual immorality, theft, murder, adultery" (Mark 7:21, NIV). Sin comes from the heart.
Jesus told the truth about love. He said, "God so loved the world" (John 3:16, NIV). And He said that those who follow Him must love each other.
Jesus told the truth about judgment. He warned people to flee the wrath to come. If you believe a warning and act on it, it can save your life.
A few years ago a tornado struck Colorado. The tornado-warning siren sounded, and the tornado struck 10 minutes later, but no one was killed. Why? Because, in large part, the people believed the warning.
Now I am warning you from the Bible, from the Word of God, that judgment is coming to you personally, to your family, to our country and to the world. God has always warned about judgment, yet many do not believe the warning. Scripture teaches us that there will be a "day when God will judge men's secrets through Jesus Christ" (Romans 2:16, NIV).
On Judgment Day you will see your sins revealed to the whole world, and you will have to face them personally. We see tapes played in courtrooms to prove that people are guilty of things they deny. God also has a recording. He is not only recording all your acts; He is recording your thoughts, your intents. Jesus said, "Men will have to give account on the day of judgment for every careless word they have spoken" (Matthew 12:36, NIV).
On the outside you are smiling, and everyone says you are a wonderful person. On the inside it is a totally different story. You need to repent of your sins and to receive Jesus Christ as your Savior. Let Him change your heart. Let Him change your life. Let the Truth come in.
Jesus told the truth about repentance. He said, "Unless you repent, you too will all perish" (Luke 13:3, NIV). In other words, we will suffer judgment unless we repent. The word "repentance" means change—to change our minds, to change our way of living. But we can't do that on our own. Only God can help us to do it. He gives us new strength and new power to live lives that we did not think we could live. You may say, "I can't give up this thing that I know is wrong; I can't do that." But with Christ in your heart you can.
Jesus told the truth about salvation. We cannot be born a Christian. Jesus said that we have to be born again, born from above. And He said, "Except ye be converted, and become as little children, ye shall not enter into the kingdom of heaven" (Matthew 18:3, KJV).
Have you been converted? To be converted means to be changed, to let Christ come into your heart and satisfy that longing you have. You have an empty place in your life, and you don't know what is causing it. You have troubles in your family. You have troubles in your community. You have troubles at work. And you don't know how to get out of these troubles. You are caught in some sort of trap. Maybe it is a drug habit you can't throw off, or maybe it is some other habit. Would you like to be free? You need Christ, and He can help you.
Jesus said, "You will know the truth"—He is the Truth—"and the truth will set you free" (John 8:32, NIV). Jesus Christ can come into your heart and forgive your sins, cleanse you and change you. Christ stands ready to give hope to everyone. Christ's truth can make you free.
There is power in sin: "Everyone who sins is a slave to sin" (John 8:34, NIV). You are obedient to what the devil wants you to do. You need to change and get a new master, and that new Master must be Christ. He can take away the sin that has dominion over you now and free you so that you are no longer a slave to sin.
Jesus Christ will free you from the presence of sin. When you live according to the lie, you are not free. When you are slaves to your passions and your lust and your ego, you are not free. But you can be free. Anyone the Son has set free is free indeed!
Regardless of what people say they believe about truth, the fact is that every day we live our lives on the basis of things we believe are true. We step into airplanes that we believe will fly. We press buttons and flip switches that we believe will bring desired results.
Yet in Jesus Christ we have the most profound truth. He is the only One who can bring peace and joy and the total satisfaction you have been searching for but haven't found. You haven't found it in sex. You haven't found it in accumulating money. You haven't found it in having power. But you can find it in Jesus. He is the Truth. "And the truth will set you free" (John 8:32, NIV).
Do you have doubts in your heart about your relationship to Christ? Are you unsure that you are ready to go to heaven? Are you unsure that your sins are forgiven? Do you want to settle it? Jesus Christ wants to enter your life. He wants to save you. He wants you to know the truth that will make you free. Turn to Him today.
Are you ready to embrace the truth and let Jesus set you free? No matter what you've done, He is willing to forgive your sins and make your life new. You can begin a relationship with Christ right now.