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*Due to popular demand, this week I will repost this 2-part series. I pray that you are blessed by these thoughts.

”After this, the word of the LORD came to Abram in a vision: “Do not be afraid,Abram. I am your shield, your very great reward. “But Abram said, “O Sovereign LORD, what can you give me…” (Genesis 15:1-2, NIV).

“…so that in Christ Jesus the blessing of Abraham might come to the Gentiles [us], so that we might receive the promised Spirit through faith” (Galatians 3:14, ESV).

Last time we saw that Abraham’s life had been radically transformed by the understanding that God Himself, not His promises or provisions, was his greatest reward. He so treasured God above all other things that he was willing to sacrifice God’s gift of Isaac, the very thing that would allow God’s promise of Abraham being the father of a great nation to become a reality. As we mentioned, God intervened, spared Isaac’s life, and set into motion the beginning of that great nation and the eventual habitation of the land by Abraham’s descendants (Genesis 22:15-18). God did so by providing another sacrifice (in God’s economy there must always be a sacrifice to restore relationship with Him and the inheritance of covenant blessing). This provision was a ram (Genesis 22:13).

But this was no ordinary ram; for it prefigured Jesus. Notice in Genesis 22:13 that the ram was caught by its horns in a thicket (the thicket always reminds me of the crown of thorns that was placed on Jesus brow as he was being mocked just before His crucifixion). Because of the way he was trapped, this ram was unmarred or unblemished, which made him an appropriate sacrifice. If his body had been cut or injured he would not have been the “spotless” sacrifice that God required. Here we see the picture of Jesus, the spotless Lamb of God, the perfect sacrifice for our sins (see John 1:29). Just as Abraham believed, “God Himself will provide the lamb” (Genesis 22:8) we see this sacrifice taking the place of Isaac – the ram was offered so that Isaac would live. Likewise, Jesus died in our place so that we might have eternal life.

So this is why we are to love God as the greatest thing, our ultimate reward. We are to admire, cherish, value, and adore Him above all else. Again, why? Because He is infinitely worthy: He has provided the sacrifice that extends to us eternal life (John 3:16) and life more abundant (John 10:10). And for this reason Jesus, our sacrificed Savior, calls us to, “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the first and greatest commandment” (Matthew 22:37-38). But, again, what does seeing God as our great reward (to love Him with all that we are) have to do with Jesus? Well, we can’t know God apart from knowing Jesus. And we can’t love God without loving Jesus. We can’t experience God as our great reward and treasure without knowing Jesus in that same way. So, in a very real sense, we love God by adoring Jesus as our greatest reward and treasure.

Why is this? Because the person of Jesus is the promise and provision of God that makes even knowing Him a reality. Actually, in a most amazing passage, we see Paul write to the Galatian church that really Jesus, the Seed, is Himself the promise made to Abraham (see Galatians 3:15-25)! This is because Christ is the fullest revelation of God (John 14:9). He is the one who interprets, or “exegetes,” God to and for us (John 1:17). Jesus is the only way to come to God (John 14:6). This is why He says, “But I know that you do not have the love of God within you. I have come in my Father’s name, and you do not receive me” (John 5:42-43) and, “the one who rejects me rejects him who sent me” (Luke 10:16). Therefore, if Jesus is not worshipped and adored as our ultimate treasure then God is not our great reward. And when Jesus is cherished, valued, and admired above all else then God is our great reward.

I can think of no better way to tie all of this together than to ponder and model the priority of Paul, a man who discovered the rich reward of knowing Jesus (and therefore God) as His greatest treasure:

“But whatever gain I had, I counted as loss for the sake of Christ. Indeed, I count everything as loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. For his sake I have suffered the loss of all things and count them as rubbish, in order that I may gain Christ and be found in him, not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but that which comes through faith in Christ, the righteousness from God that depends on faith– that I may know him and the power of his resurrection, and may share his sufferings, becoming like him in his death” (Philippians 3:7-10).

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“For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should   but have eternal life” (John 3:16).

*This is a continuation of a earlier post entitled, John 3:16: What Does “Believe” Mean?

In our Life Group we were studying this verse – probably the best known in all of Scripture. The study breaks down this verse by its critical components: God loved, God gave, we believe, and we live. If this sounds familiar, it is based upon Max Lucado’s 3:16: Numbers of Hope guide. Although admittedly not a huge Lucado fan, the lessons have stimulated some lively discussion. And rightly so: this verse is pregnant with meaning often overlooked because we are so familiar with it. The 4th session turned to the word “believe” found in this powerful text.

Earlier we had defined “believe in Him” as a surrendered trust in Jesus as our only hope for salvation (eternal life) and a “faith” that suggests following after Christ with a transformed life that includes the desire to be obedient to Him as Lord. In our time together the question was raised: “This verse says that we have everlasting life if we “believe in Him. If so, does it make any difference what we believe as long as who we believe in Jesus?” In other words, is believing in Jesus all there is to saving faith or does what we believe about Him really matter? Or, for clarification: is the most important thing “who” or “what” we believe in? Good question! What do you think?

Karolyn spoke first and quickly said, “You can’t separate the two.” Exactly! History has been filled with those who claim to trust in Christ for salvation (or a form of it) but denied the essence of who He is. Early in the church, the Gnostics come to mind. Today, there many cults, sects, and religions which suggest that faith in Jesus can be central to redemption but cast Him in a lesser light than Scripture itself does. Pluralism does this by saying, Jesus is one way to heaven, but not the only way.” This, of course, discounts Christ’s own claim that He was the only way, truth, and life by which one can know God (John 14:6).

What about believing in a Jesus who wasn’t sinless, really didn’t perform miracles, or was never physically raised from the dead? The latter of these was the constant drumbeat of the early church’s preaching and foundational to true faith. What about a Jesus that wasn’t really God and isn’t the only hope for fallen humanity? Or what about a Messiah who never will return again to rule and reign as He promised?

The core Christian belief is that through the death and resurrection of Jesus, sinful humans can be reconciled to God and thereby are offered salvation and the
promise of eternal life. Essential beliefs held by Christ-followers include his divinity, humanity, and earthly life as depicted in Scripture. Adhering to authentic Christian faith requires a belief that Jesus is the Son of God and the Messiah. As one theologian has said, “The whole of Christian teaching would fall to the ground if it were the case that the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus were not events in real history, but stories told to illustrate truths which are valid apart from these happenings.” Also, true disciples of Christ believe that Jesus was both human and the Son of God: God in human form—sharing human frailties and temptations but never acting on them, only seeking to do the will of His father in heaven, never once seeking to make Himself happy in any way but willfully submitting to God as a man, never doing what He wanted to do but what He saw His Father in heaven doing.

Beyond this, believing in Jesus means that He, as God, spoke for God. He was both the message and messenger of the way God expects us to live. The Sermon on the Mount is but one example that Jesus claimed His teachings had the very authority of God. What we believe is that His words are truth and life: “…If you abide in my word, you are truly my disciples, and you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free” (John 8:31-32).

So, just as Karolyn said (and the group concurred), the answer to the question, “who or what?” is, “Yes!” To “believe in Him” is part and parcel of trusting in what the Word of God reveals about Him. “Who” we believe in and “what” we believe about Him are two sides of the same coin. To believe the “what” of Jesus to be something other than what Scripture reveals and He claimed to be is, in essence, a failure to “believe in Him” with the kind of faith that, as Jesus said, allows us to “not perish but have eternal life.”


“I count myself one of the number of those who write as they learn and learn as they write.” – John Calvin

When I wrote the post below a little over a year ago only about 1,000 people had hit the Captivated by Christ blog. Less than a year and a half ago God encouraged me to get serious and consistent in blogging, committing to at least 2 posts per week. This practice has become my personal electronic journal. I never imagined that the counter would role over 10,000 so quickly (actually it is significantly higher; the counter doesn’t include email subscribers but only those who actually visit the site). I have only 3 things to say about this: glory to God alone, thanks for reading (I hope my ramblings have been used of God to challenge and bless you), and what I wrote in the post below, I believe, is still true today.

One of the coolest things about blogging and the nature of internet media is that I don’t really know who reads my ruminations. And I don’t know how God may be using what He compels me to write. That excites me because I believe that one day I will find out; that glorious day when I fully and permanently experience His presence. I can’t wait to hear what he has done with this little ministry! So today I celebrate Him and the 10,000 hits that He has produced on this site. He is truly good and worthy of all of our adoration and praise!

And now, on to the aforementioned post…

The Power is in the Word – 15 January 2010
“I hope you will put up with a little of my foolishness; but you are already doing that” (2 Corinthians 11:1). 

Paul had a sense of humor. God’s greatest fully human theologian and missionary essentially says, “thanks for putting up with me and, by the way, you have already read 10 chapters of this foolishness” (now I know that Paul’s letters weren’t written in chapters but please indulge me). I can laugh along with Paul – you are reading this so I thank you for putting up with me and my blog. I read and write blogs (some would prefer me to focus just on reading them). Many folks call blogging a narcissistic exercise and I heartily agree that it can be (but not so much as the hyper self-absorbed, cyber abyss called Twitter – by the way, I’m @captivatedanew). But I guess it is all about motives, attitudes, goals, and methods. 

Although many blogs communicate the truth of Jesus, some “Christian” blogs have little to do with Christ or His Word. Often they are personal ramblings and man-centered opinions. I pray this is not the case with CaptivatedbyChrist.org. And this is because, like Paul, I don’t think I, in and of myself, have much to offer. In this same letter to the church at Corinth he humbly states that his speaking abilities are less than stellar (2 Corinthians 10:10; 11:6) and that he is accused of hiding behind his writing as opposed to a face-to-face consultation with the church (2 Corinthians 10:1:10). But he makes it clear that he doesn’t do business like the world (10:2) and his methods are not carnal but spiritual (10:4-5). 

So how does Paul wage this war? With the truth of Christ and His Word. He says, “For if someone comes to you and preaches a Jesus other than the Jesus we preached, or if you receive a different spirit from the one you received, or a different gospel from the one you accepted, you put up with it easily enough. But I do not think I am in the least inferior to those “super-apostles.”  I may not be a trained speaker, but I do have knowledge. We have made this perfectly clear to you in every way” (11:4-6). These weapons are a constant in Paul’s teaching – the power of the gospel (the Cross) and a distinct emphasis on God’s Word and its truth. 

My point is this: if I ever venture too far from Jesus, Him crucified, and the use of Scripture (yes, I know that the references can be overdone and make the reading more tedious but…) then stop reading the Captivated by Christ blog. Why? Because that is where the power is – God knows we don’t need any more of man’s philosophy. Any potency in this blog will not be found in me or my opinions but the transforming power (the Greek term dunamis, meaning power, is where we get our English term “dynamite”) of the Word (logos – see John 1) and His Word. The writer of Hebrews says it this way: “For the word of God is living and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart” (Hebrews 4:12). 

I know my grammar (Or is that grammer?  I forget.) is poor and my sentence structure and syntax is imprecise and cumbersome (that’s why I have a talented and godly editor for my books – stand up and take a bow, Bethany). Please, overlook all of that. Skip over all my verbiage if you’d like. Just take your Bible and read along with the passages and turn to every scripture reference and let God teach you through the real difference-making medium; His Word as it is enlightened by His Holy Spirit (see 1 Corinthians 2:12-14). Saturate yourself in His truth because if I have anything of value to share it must be Him, about Him, from Him, and for Him (John 14:6). 

So there it is – my foolishness for this blog. By the way, thanks for putting up with it – you have already read 650 words! I hope that you had your Bible with you on this little journey and that you turned to and digested every passage and reference. For I know with certainty its power far exceeds any frail attempt of mine to demonstrate the wisdom of God. For it truly is His Word! David sums this up perfectly when he says, “The law of the LORD is perfect, reviving the soul. The statutes of the LORD are trustworthy, making wise the simple” (Psalm 19:7).


 “After this, the word of the LORD came to Abram in a vision: “Do not be afraid, Abram. I am your shield, your very great reward. “But Abram said, “O Sovereign LORD, what can you give me…” (Genesis 15:1-2, NIV). 

“…so that in Christ Jesus the blessing of Abraham might come to the Gentiles [us], so that we might receive the promised Spirit through faith” (Galatians 3:14, ESV).

Last time we saw that Abraham’s life had been radically transformed by the understanding that God Himself, not His promises or provisions, was his greatest reward. He so treasured God above all other things that he was willing to sacrifice God’s gift of Isaac, the very thing that would allow God’s promise of Abraham being the father of a great nation to become a reality. As we mentioned, God intervened, spared Isaac’s life, and set into motion the beginning of that great nation and the eventual habitation of the land by Abraham’s descendants (Genesis 22:15-18). God did so by providing another sacrifice (in God’s economy there must always be a sacrifice to restore relationship with God and the inheritance of covenant blessing). This provision was a ram (Genesis 22:13). 

But this was no ordinary ram; for it prefigured Jesus. Notice in Genesis 22:13 that the ram was caught by its horns in a thicket (the thicket always reminds me of the crown of thorns that was placed on Jesus brow as he was being mocked just before His crucifixion). Because of the way he was trapped, this ram was unmarred or unblemished, which made him an appropriate sacrifice. If his body had been cut or injured he would not have been the “spotless” sacrifice that God required. Here we see the picture of Jesus, the spotless Lamb of God, the perfect sacrifice for our sins (see John 1:29). Just as Abraham believed “God Himself will provide the lamb” (Genesis 22:8) we see this sacrifice taking the place of Isaac – the ram was offered so that Isaac would live. Likewise, Jesus died in our place so that we might have eternal life. 

So this is why we are to love God as the greatest thing, our ultimate reward. We are to admire, cherish, value, and adore Him above all else. Why? Because He is infinitely worthy: He has provided the sacrifice that extends to us eternal life (John 3:16) and life more abundant (John 10:10). And for this reason Jesus, our sacrificed Savior, calls us to “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the first and greatest commandment” (Matthew 22:37-38). But, again, what does seeing God as our great reward (to love Him with all that we are) have to do with Jesus? Well, we can’t know God apart from knowing Jesus. And we can’t love God without loving Jesus. We can’t experience God as our greatest reward and treasure without knowing Jesus in that same way. So, in a very real sense, we love God by adoring Jesus as our greatest reward and treasure. 

Why is this? Because the person of Jesus is the promise and provision of God that makes even knowing God a reality. Actually, in a most amazing passage, we see Paul write to the Galatians that really Jesus, the Seed, is Himself the promise made to Abraham (see Galatians 3:15-25)! This is because Christ is the fullest revelation of God (John 14:9). He is the one who interprets, or “exegetes,” God to and for us (John 1:17). Jesus is the only way to come to God (John 14:6). This is why He says, “But I know that you do not have the love of God within you. I have come in my Father’s name, and you do not receive me” (John 5:42-43) and “the one who rejects me rejects him who sent me” (Luke 10:16). Therefore, if Jesus is not worshipped and adored as our ultimate treasure then God is not our great reward. And when Jesus is cherished, valued, and admired above all else then God is our great reward. 

I can think of no better way to tie all of this together than to ponder and model the priority of Paul, a man who discovered the rich reward of knowing Jesus (and therefore God) as His greatest treasure: 

“But whatever gain I had, I counted as loss for the sake of Christ. Indeed, I count everything as loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. For his sake I have suffered the loss of all things and count them as rubbish, in order that I may gain Christ and be found in him, not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but that which comes through faith in Christ, the righteousness from God that depends on faith– that I may know him and the power of his resurrection, and may share his sufferings, becoming like him in his death” (Philippians 3:7-10).


“I say this in order that no one may delude you with plausible arguments.  For though I am absent in body, yet I am with you in spirit, rejoicing to see your good order and the firmness of your faith in Christ” (Colossians 2:4-5). 

Paul has just explained that he willingly suffers, preaches, encourages, and struggles in prayer that everyone might be mature in Christ and treasure Him above all things (see Colossians 1:28-2:3). Now he continues these thoughts with another reason for his teaching, tribulation, and toils; that they may not be deceived by false philosophies but remain firm in their faith in Christ. Here again we see that all-important phrase “in Christ” but this time it refers not to what we receive or have “in Him” but the means by which it is obtained – faith. Paul’s concern here, and the reason for his earlier discourse of the preeminence of Christ and His calling to proclaim Him as such, is that the church at Colossae (and us, for that matter), “…may no longer be children, tossed to and fro by the waves and carried about by every wind of doctrine, by human cunning, by craftiness in deceitful schemes” (Ephesians 4:14). 

Much of the world’s philosophies sound plausible and even logical. What makes false teaching inherently dangerous is its direct appeal to our fleshly, carnal, and self-centered natures. In other words, not only do they sound good but the feel good, too! These man-contrived and man-centered philosophies are spoken of later in this chapter with the description of, “empty deceit, according to human tradition, according to the elemental spirits of the world, and not according to Christ” (2:8). It is no wonder that Paul warns us against their delusion (the NIV renders this word “deceive”) and their potential to “take [us] captive”. Therefore, we must be discerning. These messages come from every possible angle in our world. The launching pad may be the godless professor, the liberalized media, secular psychology, the subliminal message of materialism, the the vocal and vitriolic atheists, agnostics, and humanists, and even the unbiblical persuasions of “American Dream” culture. Some come at us with a frontal assault but most are subtle and insidious: before we know it our worldview is not a paradigm filtered through the lens of the truth of Jesus and His Word. 

Paul desires for the church at Colossae to stay firm in their faith, not led astray, and, take note, be well-ordered. This refers to a well-constructed, well-organized way of thinking and living. Following Jesus has a certain logical routine to it, a routine based upon the sound, Biblical principles of the truth of Christ. God is not the author of confusion or chaos (see 1 Corinthians 14:33 and contrast it with Isaiah 45:16) – not of our mind (thinking) nor of our lifestyle (the former always leading to the latter). Christ’s disciples are called to have a mind centered on Jesus and His truth (Hebrews 12:2) and thus a life that is ordered by that truth (Hebrews 12:1) , firm in the faith (Hebrews 12:3), and not deceived by the arguments of the ungodly and worldly. 

Based upon Paul’s soaring description of Christ’s supremacy in Colossians 1 – “He is the image of the invisible God…For by him all things were created, in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities–all things were created through him and for him.  And he is before all things, and in him all things hold together…that in everything he might be preeminent. For in him all the fullness of God was pleased to dwell” (Colossians 1:15-17, 19) – we see the basis of our steadfast belief. We are not persuaded or deceived by “logic” or “reasoning” from a lost world that is dead in its sin (Ephesians 2:1), blind to God’s truth (Matthew 15:14), without hope (Ephesians 2:12), and condemned already (John 3:18; 2 Thessalonians 2:12) because our faith is in the all-sufficient, preeminent Jesus. 

This is why Paul commends “the firmness of [our] faith in Christ” (2:5). What man-made model of truth and life can compare to the One who is the truth (John 14:6) and whose truth we can be assured of (John 8:32)? What earthly philosopher can stand next to Jesus’ life and wisdom without us quickly dismissing the former and clinging to the latter? Why do we steadfastly believe, unmoved by arrogant human “wisdom”, living an ordered life that images forth the glory of God? Jesus! This is who we believe because every other argument or philosopher pales in comparison to His truth and His beauty. This is why we are to remain in the Truth, undeceived, in good order, and steadfast by our faith in Him and by no other means. 

So who or what are you trusting? What philosophy has captivated you? If it is not Jesus and His Word, I challenge you to honestly compare them and see if that philosopher or his argument is worthy of the same faith and trust that Jesus is due; Jesus, the all-sufficient, eternal,  preeminent embodiment of truth!


We always thank God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, when we pray for you, since we heard of your faith in Christ Jesus and of the love that you have for all the saints, because of the hope laid up for you in heaven. Of this you have heard before in the word of the truth, the gospel, which has come to you, as indeed in the whole world it is bearing fruit and growing–as it also does among you, since the day you heard it and understood the grace of God in truth, just as you learned it from Epaphras our beloved fellow servant. He is a faithful minister of Christ on your behalf  and has made known to us your love in the Spirit.” (Colossians 1:3-8). 

Paul gives thanks to God who, through Christ, is the only source of our faith. Then he makes us aware of the character of this faith. Saving faith necessitates love motivated by hope. This hope is rooted in and propelled by the “word of truth”, the good news of Jesus. Holy Spirit driven love for Jesus, who is the truth (John 14:6), manifests itself in the fruit-bearing that such passion characterizes. There is no such thing as loving Jesus without faith in Him, loving others, and bearing fruit. Our hope (Jesus as our eternal reward – see Colossians 1:27) is the instigator of such internal devotion and external deeds. 

Faith and love are virtues that are visible and verbal. When one is placed in Christ there is no such thing as private faith and love – these are publically displayed as evidence of the transforming power of Jesus that is empowered by His Spirit. Although Paul had never met the Colossian disciples, he had heard of their faith and love. It was no secret – the word spreads when we are radically transformed by a crazy love for Christ. And the scope of this love was not narrow or limited. Their love affair with Jesus and faith in Him caused them to have love for all the saints. I believe we all understand just how incredible this is. We often find it most difficult to love other believers. This same sentiment is echoed in Paul’s letter to the Ephesian church: 

“For this reason I bow my knees before the Father, from whom every family in heaven and on earth is named, that according to the riches of his glory he may grant you to be strengthened with power through his Spirit in your inner being, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith–that you, being rooted and grounded in love, may have strength to comprehend with all the saints what is the breadth and length and height and depth, and to know the love of Christ that surpasses knowledge, that you may be filled with all the fullness of God” (Ephesians 3:14-19). 

Indeed, this is the good news, the gospel. Jesus, through life-altering, soul-absorbing faith in Him, drastically revolutionizes us from the inside out. He becomes our reality. Beyond that, He becomes our future hope (assurance) of an even greater experience of His reality – heaven. And what a motivator it is! He has laid up this hope by having our sins laid on Him. Its full consummation will be in glory but, with our hearts melted into Him and our eyes fixed on our future with Him, faith and love come pouring out of our spiritual pores as we are compelled by His Spirit. This is the character of those “in Christ”. This is why I don’t buy into the misapplied axiom that “you can be so heavenly minded that you are of no earthly good”. And I believe Paul would agree: “If then you have been raised with Christ, seek the things that are above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. Set your minds on things that are above, not on things that are on earth. For you have died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God. When Christ who is your life appears, then you also will appear with him in glory” (Colossians 3:1-4). 

In looking at Paul’s body or work, clearly faith, hope and love are interconnected. Paul often refereed to this trinity of virtues in the Christ-follower: 

  • “So now faith, hope, and love abide, these three; but the greatest of these is love” (1 Corinthians 13:13). 
  • “remembering before our God and Father your work of faith and labor of love and steadfastness of hope in our Lord Jesus Christ” (1 Thessalonians 1:3). 
  • “But since we belong to the day, let us be sober, having put on the breastplate of faith and love, and for a helmet the hope of salvation” (1 Thessalonians 5:8). 

Just as significant and breathtaking is this Word of Truth that is the well-spring of this kind of faith, love, and hope can be known. It is objective and, despite the outcries and reasoning of the relativists, can be experienced. Jesus is that Truth and He is that Word. And from intimacy with Him pours these attributes that testify that we are faithful saints in Him. 


**** This is an excerpt from Captivated by Christ: Focusing on Him published in 2008:

In this age of relativism and situational ethics we are easily confused by the concept of truth. The thought leaders of our day―the humanists, the atheists, and the modernists— are not easily identified, but they all buy into the notion that truth is a relative concept. The phrase that best captures their foundational principle is, “There is no absolute truth.” Ironically, if they truly believe that then they must also feel that their own philosophy is not absolutely true. It is intrinsically contradictory and of no value.

 As Christ-followers we believe that truth is absolute. Moreover, that belief gives us hope in something bigger than ourselves and our finite intellects. What we must understand is the radical difference between a truth and the truth. You see, Christians do not have a monopoly on truth in general because we are limited by our human natures and are simply incapable of grasping all things that are correct. What we do have, however, is access to the absolute truth through God’s revelation. God’s Word says that we can have a relationship with the truth itself: we can have fellowship with Jesus Christ.

Jesus said, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me” (John 14:6). When we know Jesus, we know God. Now that is a radical reality we can put our hope and trust in.

Pontius Pilate, a man who was far from being a believer, recognized that truth was tangible, but he had no idea how to grasp it. In a dialogue that is heart-breaking when we recognize just how close Pilate stood to truth, Pilate examined Jesus:

“You are a king, then!” said Pilate. Jesus answered, “You are right in saying I am a king. In fact, for this reason I was born, and for this I came into the world, to testify to the truth. Everyone on the side of truth listens to me.” “What is truth?” Pilate asked. (John 18:37-38). Pilate wanted to know the truth—notice that he didn’t say a truth but referred to truth in general. The irony here is that Pilate had seen the truth right in front of Him. The Roman leader was enraptured with Christ’s perfection and briefly caught up in its vortex. Pilate did not, however, move past intellectual assent to life-transforming faith in lieu of this discovery.

So what does this mean for us? Jesus’ words explain. He said that everyone on the side of truth listens to Him (See John 16:13-15). The problem is that we have to really want to know the truth: we have to really want to know Him. We must choose between false man-made philosophies or the truth that is Jesus. Unfortunately some refuse to accept His truth. Jesus said, “Yet because I tell the truth, you do not believe me” ( John 8:45). When this is the case “they have exchange the truth of God for a lie” (Romans 1:25) and are without hope. Without experiential knowledge of the truth of who He is we remain in our sin. Unless we believe His truth we do not have access to God (John 14:6).

Every human faces two paths: one leads to bondage and death, the other to life and freedom. When we flee from our self-induced quagmire of doubts and our desire to believe that all truth is relative we can find a prize: freedom (See John 8:32). This freedom gives us liberty from death and sin. It also allows us to be freed from the bondage of self-effort and its futility. This freedom points others the One who came to set us free. Jesus Christ came to testify to the truth that God the Creator seeks reconciliation and relationship with His people. Let’s pursue it. Let’s embrace the reward of relationship with Him and the glorious freedom of knowing that He is truth.

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