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Seeds of the Kingdom

What is Truth?

by John Berry

“What is truth?” Pilate asked.
John 18:38, NIV

Recently my wife and I were blessed to be able to share a lovely experience with some friends in someone’s indoor swimming pool. The day was grey and a bit cool, but the water was warm – about 30o C. It felt lovely and we had a great time together. Then on another day we had a further opportunity to go in the same pool. The water temperature was the same, but the weather was very warm - the air temperature was about 40O. The strange thing was that the water then felt quite cool.

This was an illustration to me of how often things are relatively true, depending on how we view them. Another example would be a journey which seems a long journey on foot, but only a short journey by car – even though the distance is the same.

We can view things in the Bible in similar ways. Does God mean for instance that we must always give away our second coat to the poor, or does it depend on the circumstances? Is it an absolute truth, or a relative truth? When Paul tells us that Christ died once for all, is that an absolute truth or is it something that changes according to circumstances? When Jesus told Pilate that he had come to testify to the truth, Pilate asked “what is truth?” He was asking whether Jesus was talking about absolute truth or His version of truth.

As Christians we believe that the Word of God is truth, and that it contains absolute truth and principles for life. But there are times when we may question how a particular verse is relevant for us today, and then we need the input of the Holy Spirit to help us understand.

There are, however, truths which are absolute and not relative. We are sinners, born in iniquity and sin. We are under the penalty of eternal death for our guilt. Jesus has died to bring forgiveness for everyone. The love of Father God has made it possible for everyone who calls on the name of the Lord to be saved, following confession of sin and repentance, and a declaration of faith in Jesus Christ as Saviour and Lord. The risen Jesus has sent His Spirit into our hearts to empower us in obedient, loving service and worship.

It’s these absolute truths that Jesus brings into our lives which form the foundation for our freedom. As Jesus declares in John 8:32 (a verse much quoted in Ellel Ministries) ‘you shall know the truth, and the truth will set you free’. That’s an absolute truth worth knowing!

Prayer: Father thank You for revealing Your truth to us in Jesus. In a world of questions and relative truths which seem to vary all the time, we praise You that we can rely on Your truth as unchanging. Amen.

John Berry entered the Baptist Ministry more than 40 years ago, and joined the Team at Ellel Glyndley Manor in 2007 with his wife Jennie. They have both now retired from the team but remain as part of the Teaching and Associate Ministry Teams at Glyndley. John and Jennie have seven Grandchildren.


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