The Truth That Leads
We need to understand that it is not our own strength
that gains the victory.
By Ramani Kurian
I was traveling to my hometown by train. Another female passenger, sitting quite far from me, gave me a broad smile, which I returned in the same measure. She was a stranger to me. I guessed the reason she showed such an interest in me. I wore no jewelry—neither did she. Most likely she took me for a Pentecostal, as only Pentecostals normally do not wear any kind of ornaments in my native state. When she found that the seat close to me was vacant, she came and sat with me. She started her conversation by asking me, “Are you a believer? Are you saved? Did you receive the baptism of the Holy Spirit and the tongue?” She kept asking question after question without giving me a chance to answer her. At the end of her “talk” I said, “Yes, I am a believer; I am a Seventh-day Adventist believer.” All her enthusiasm and excitement seemed to fade away.
I began to wonder, What would have been the first question she would have asked if she were a Seventh-day Advent-ist? I still remember the days after my conversion from Hinduism. Many of my Adventist friends would ask, “When did you accept the ‘truth’?” or “How long have you been in the ‘truth’?” Yes as Seventh-day Adventists we hold “truth” very dear, but I wonder what place “truth” has in our daily living and deliberations.
Truth That Justifies
Jesus says in John 14:6, “I am the way, the truth, and the life.” When we accept Jesus Christ as our personal Savior, we accept the truth and promise to live by the truth. We make a covenant with God that we will live in that truth for the rest of our lives. “You shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free” (John 8:32) is Jesus’ promise. In spite of our sinful nature, in spite of us, Jesus was willing to carry our iniquities and die for our sins on the cross. When we believe and accept His sacrifice for us, He justifies us. We are forgiven. We get a fresh start—but this does not mean that we won’t fall again. We can stray from the truth we accepted. So we need to understand that it is not our own strength that gains the victory. It is the power of the Holy Spirit that will keep us connected to the I Am of John 14:6 and will help us discern the difference between truth and lie.
Truth Versus Lie
God’s children love the Truth and will live in the truth. There will be no place for lies in our lives. Yes, we often deviate from the truth for selfish reasons. We lose sight of the Master and put our trust in something else. We become too self-assured and forget that the enemy is constantly at work to drive God’s children away from Him. Our selfish focus can cause us to tell lies, to be disconnected from the Truth. Jesus made some somber comments about truth and lies in John 8:44 when speaking to the Jewish leadership of His time: “You are of your father the devil, and the desires of your father you want to do. He was a murderer from the beginning, and does not stand in the truth, because there is no truth in him.… He is a liar and the father of it.” By telling lies, we shift our allegiance from Jesus to the devil. Living a lie will ultimately result in destruction and ruin, instead of the abundant life Jesus is willing to give us.
After we have been set free by the truth, Jesus doesn’t leave us to struggle on. He prays to His Father, “Sanctify them by Your truth. Your word is truth” (John 17:17). Sanctification is taking place when we continue in the truth. The close link between God’s Word and Jesus, the living truth, helps us understand that Bible study and prayer are not optional—they are the only ways to find refuge against Satan’s attacks. We should ask the Holy Spirit to guide us to learn from the Bible so that the truth will get established in our lives. Daily we get sanctified by its power. Peter reminds us that allegiance to the truth will fill our hearts with love for our fellow beings (1 Peter 1:22). This love is a key characteristic of sanctifying truth. Growth will take place, and we will become more and more like Jesus. Paul must have had this in mind when he encouraged the Ephesians: “Speaking the truth in love, … [we will] grow up in all things into Him who is the head—Christ” (Eph. 4:15).
Truth and Glorification
Psalm 15:1, 2 paints a wonderful canvas of the quality of those who are ready to live in God’s presence: “Lord, who may abide in Your tabernacle? Who may dwell in Your holy hill? He who walks uprightly, and works righteousness, and speaks the truth in his heart.” The commitment to truth (both the incarnate and the revealed) is the preparation to finally enjoy God’s presence forever. What a privilege to experience justification, sanctification, and one day also glorification, as we commit to the Truth! “Blessed is that man who makes the Lord his trust and does not respect the proud, nor such as turn aside to lies” (Ps. 40:4), exclaims the psalmist. Lies, hypocrisy, good connections—these are nothing in God’s sight. He looks for those who are faithful to His truth, or, as Ellen White put it, who are “as true to duty as the needle to the pole.”*
Ramani Kurian is an assistant director of the Communication Department at the Southern Asia Division in Hosur, India.