Sunday, August 10, 2008

A Kingdom of Truth and Love

“Pilate therefore said to Him, ‘So You are a king?’ Jesus answered, ‘You say correctly that I am a king. For this I have been born, and for this I have come into the world, to bear witness to the truth. Every one who is of the truth hears My voice.’ Pilate said to Him, ‘what is truth?’”

(John 18:37-38)

In a sense Pilate was asking Jesus, do you admit the charge in any way that the Jews have brought against you, or do you lay claim to a kingdom of any kind?

Jesus answered in a form of expression denoting affirmation. It is equivalent to yes.

This does not mean simply that Pilate affirmed that he was a king; it does not appear that he had done this; but it means, “You affirm the truth; you declare what is correct, for I am a king.” I am a king and do not deny it.

Jesus continues to state that He was born into the world that He might set up and maintain a kingdom “not of this world” but a spiritual government. By this He showed what was the nature of His kingdom; this government is established in and by love and truth. It was not to assert power; not to collect armies and not to subdue nations in battle. It was simply to present truth to men; and He would close the establishing of His kingdom of truth with the greatest expression of love ever made toward man. Thus He writes His laws upon the hearts of men and exercises dominion only by the power of love and truth. Hence, the only power put forth in the kingdom of our Lord to restrain the wicked is in convicting the sinner, in converting the heart, in guiding and leading those who come to Him, cleansing and sanctifying them, by applying truth to the heart and mind through love. All that love truth, hears His voice and attends to the spiritual doctrines He teaches.

Therefore it is by truth and love that our Lord influences the minds and governs the people of His kingdom. Men are not forced to enter His kingdom. Through the hearing of truth they are made to see that they are sinners; and that God is loving and merciful, that they need a Redeemer, and that He is the One who loved them enough to pay the price for their redemption, and yield wholly to be governed by Him---the Living Word of God.

During the time our Lord walked the earth there were many opinions concerning truth; and some had even supposed that it was a thing utterly out of the reach of men. Pilate perhaps might have asked the question, “what is truth” in a mocking way; and in not staying to get an answer he indicated that he either despaired of getting a satisfactory one, or that he was indifferent about it. Nevertheless all truth in heaven and on earth was standing before him and he did not know Him.

To know Christ, the living Word of God, is to know truth, for Christ is the embodiment of all truth (John 1:14). Like Pilate, most of mankind had lost sight of truth and Jesus came that He might restore truth and righteousness in the earth. Apart from truth man cannot be in right standing with God, therefore man must seek to know God’s truth.

The word truth is defined as a statement or an act that conforms to fact or actuality. Fact is exact and cannot be altered; thus fact has no variation; and truth conforms to fact, and it too, to remain truth, cannot be in part, vary or be altered. Fact and/or truth are the standard by which all else is measured. To make a statement or to do an act that adds to, takes from or omits the facts is a distortion, a variation and a misstatement that does not represent and uphold the facts; thus it is not truth.

Truth establishes trust. Trust is defined as confidence in the honesty, integrity, reliability and justice of a person or institution. If a person or institution is to be trusted they must be known for speaking and abiding in the truth. It is the element of trust in truth that has the power to transform the lives of men.

The Apostle Paul writes,

“I write so that you may know how one ought to conduct himself in the household of God, which is the church of the living God, the pillar and support of the truth.”

(1st Timothy 3:15ff)

God’s word---His truth, is His expressed power and authority; therefore the power and authority of the Church is God’s truth. His truth has the power to deliver the souls of men from the prison of darkness---the dungeon of death, and to bring them into the kingdom of light and eternal life. I fear that in the these modern times ungodly men have crept in preaching a different “Jesus” than the One who suffered and died to redeem the souls of men---a different One than the Apostle Paul preached; and as the serpent deceived Eve they have led God’s children astray (2nd Corinthians 11:3-4). Myths, fantasy, fiction, fables, lies, the practice of observing pagan holidays, rituals, idolatry, immorality, traditions of men and things like these---these have NO saving power---they are the opposite---they are of the kingdom of darkness. These have no place in the church of the living God; for the true Church is Christ body in the earth today, the embodiment of truth.

“These things I have written to you concerning those who are trying to deceive you. And as for you, the anointing which you received from Him abides in you, and you have no need for anyone to teach you, but as His anointing teaches you about all things, and is true and is not a lie, and just as it has taught you, you abide in Him.”

(1st John 2:26-27 NASU)

If indeed you have come to know the Son of the Living God stir up the gift of the Spirit that is within you. You are without excuse for you have the power within you to know, understand and walk in love and truth. To be a member of the body of Christ, the Church, one must be faithful to seek to know and be obedient to---and faithfully speak the truth. Keeping God’s truth is a key element of divine love. One who knows God’s love has and is obedient to His truth.

“And by this we know that we have come to know Him, if we keep His commandments. The one who says, ‘I have come to know Him,’ and does not keep His commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in him; but whoever keeps His word, in him the love of God has truly been perfected. By this we know that we are in Him; the one who says he abides in Him ought himself walk in the same manner as He walked.”

(1st John 2:3-6)

When trials or tribulations come to the true believers, they stand because their foundation is laid by the word of their Lord. They know the truth and do not profane or pollute the name of their Lord with the lies of paganism.

“‘As for you, O house of Israel’ thus says the Lord God, 'Go serve everyone his idols, but later, you will surely listen to Me, and My holy name you will profane (pollute) no longer with your gifts and with your idols’.”

(Ezekiel 20:39 NASU)

God’s people of faith are members of the true Church that will endure (James 1:2-4).

  • They refuse to bow to heathen gods even though they may go to the fiery furnace (Daniel chapter 3) or to the lions den (Daniel chapter 6).

  • They will not take the “mark of the beast” (Revelation 13:14-18; 14:9-12) because they love not their life “even unto death” (Revelation 12:11).

  • They bear the fruit of righteousness (Philippians 3:8-9) and present their bodies a living and holy sacrifice (1st Peter 1:13-21) acceptable to the service of God, not being conformed to the world (Romans 12:1-2), but being transformed to the image of their Lord (Galatians 2:20; 5:22-23)

  • When the “tares” (the children of lies) are removed, the “wheat” (the children of truth) will be gathered into the barn” (Matthew 13:24-30,36-43).

“O send out Your light and Your truth, let them lead me; let them bring me to Your holy hill, and to Your dwelling places. Selah.”

(Psalm 43:3)

James C Sanford

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