What comes to mind when you hear the word “Truth”? Are you like the Roman governor Pontius Pilate who asked Jesus rhetorically, “What is Truth”?
In God’s word, the Bible, Truth is an eternal absolute, but it’s much more than just statistical, hard facts. Actually, Truth is most often coupled with God’s lovingkindness, His “grace, mercy and peace”. As God defines it, Truth embodies specific characteristics that are meant to lead “an honest and good heart” to recognize the voice of “the only true God” when he hears it. It causes him to perceive and distinguish “all goodness, righteousness and truth” and to produce godliness in that person who obeys God’s word. So let’s see if we can arrive at a good understanding of what it really means to Love Truth and to be “of the Truth,” as Jesus says in John 18:37.
“Lovingkindness and Truth have met together…”
Starting with the Old Testament, the main Hebrew word for truth is “emeth”. It means “firmness, faithfulness and fidelity – in which anyone is consistent, performs promises, sureness, reliability, stability, continuance.” It’s from the Hebrew word “aman” meaning “to support, confirm, be faithful, to sustain.” And so, we can perhaps understand a little better what God is telling us about His divine and perfect character in Exodus 34:5-7: “The LORD, the LORD GOD, compassionate and gracious, slow to anger, and abounding in lovingkindness and truth; who keeps lovingkindness for thousands, who forgives iniquity, transgression and sin; yet He will by no means leave the guilty unpunished…”
Lovingkindness and Truth work together, they are not opposites. While man by nature does not truly practice this characteristic, it is God’s purpose to fully form and complete this trait in each one of His children:“Behold, You desire truth in the innermost being, And in the hidden part You will make me know wisdom“ (Psalm 51:6). Truth and wisdom are related, and both come from God.
Truth in the New Testament
“…for the faith of those chosen of God and the knowledge of the Truth which is according to godliness…” (Titus 1:1). Here the word “knowledge”is the Greek “epignosis” which means the “precise and correct knowledge”. The word for “Truth” is the Greek “aletheia” which means “what is true in any matter under consideration…also the sincerity of mind which is free from pretence, hypocrisy, falsehood, deceit.” Being “of the Truth” always implies a personal participation in the faithful, stable teachings of God that lead to moral excellence and godliness.
“Sanctify them in the Truth; Your Word is Truth.”
Jesus Christ, John 17:17
Moral excellence and godliness are always the expected offspring of truth – see Ephesians 4:17-25; 2 Peter 1:4-11 and 1 John 2:4-6 for relevant scriptures. But no man or woman by nature has truth perfectly formed in them already. As Jesus himself makes clear, man in his natural state is evil and in great need of redemption, to be renewed in mind and heart (John 7:7; Mark 7:20-23; Matthew 7:11 and many others). It is God who works in a fatihful believer to bring about this divine character based on “faith working through love”(Galatians 5:6).
During the process of being transformed from our natural, lustful way of thinking, God is merciful towards His children’s mistakes and sins as He sees us “strive to enter through the narrow door” through faith in His son, Jesus Christ, “by a new and living way” (Luke 13:24; Hebrews 10:15-25). God has great compassion on those who are His, and by definition, “His” are those who by faith obey God’s word, His Truth, as Jesus teaches many times:
- “If you continue in my word you are truly disciples of mine; and you will know the Truth (Greek “aletheia” – “what is true in any matter under consideration; the sincerity of mind which is free from pretence, hypocrisy, falsehood, deceit”) and the Truth will make you free.” John 8
- “But he who practices the Truth comes to the Light, so that his deeds may be manifested as having been wrought in God.” John 3
- “But an hour is coming and now is, when the true worshippers will worship the Father in Spirit and Truth; for such people the Father seeks to be His worshipers. God is spirit and those who worship Him must worship in Spirit and Truth.” John 4
- “And the sheep hear his voice, and he calls his own sheep by name and leads them out. When he puts forth all his own, he goes ahead of them and the sheep follow himbecause they know (perceive) his voice.” John 10
- “Blessed are those who hear the word of God and observe it.” Luke 11:28
What is Truth?
Truth is the spirit and the word and the way of “the only true God”, the God of the Bible (John 14:6; 17:3, 17). Truth in God’s children is that which is faithful, morally excellent and spiritually complete, and produces righteousness. And so the forgiveness of sins, “grace and truth” in Jesus Christ, faithfulness, light and godliness all go hand in hand.
“So love truth and peace.”
And the objective of TRUTH: to arrive at an intimate understanding of God and the purpose of His calling, and how Jesus Christ’s true disciples can and must participate in that purpose, “and the outcome, eternal life” (Romans 6:22, 23; John 17:3).
And so…do you love Truth?
“And we know that the Son of God has come, and has given us understanding so that we may know Him who is TRUE; and we are in Him who is TRUE, in His Son Jesus Christ. This is the TRUE GOD and eternal life.” 1 John 5:20, 21