July 4, 2010
Light and Liberation
“And you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free” (John 8:32).
Truth is often compared to light, and just as light frees us to do many things that are impossible in the darkness, truth liberates us from the confines of untruth and makes many good things possible. It is a pity that we nowadays look upon truth with such skepticism. We may go so far as to doubt that there is any such thing as truth, but even when we acknowledge truth’s existence, we often do so with reluctance. Truth seems to be the spinach on our plates that has to be eaten and not the cookies and cream that we would rather partake of. According to Jesus, however, truth is a positive force that will make us free.
However much truth might seem to limit our options, it would be in our long‑term interests to concede this fact: it is not truth but untruth that confines us in the negative sense. Indeed, falsehood is so confining that “enslavement” is not too strong a word to describe what it does to us. And this applies not only to our thinking but also to the outward actions that result from our thinking. One definition of “sin” might be that it consists of actions that are based on untruth. All such actions ultimately entrap us and enslave us to the lie that they are based upon. So Jesus was not exaggerating when He said, “Most assuredly, I say to you, whoever commits sin is a slave of sin” (John 8:34).
Truth has always been the primary “tool” God has used to accomplish God’s work in the world. This makes sense when we stop to remember that the problem God is working to correct – the problem of sin – is a problem that resulted from lies that were told to our ancestors (Genesis 3:1-24; 2 Corinthians 11:3). Our adversary is described as “that serpent of old, called the Devil and Satan, who deceives the whole world” (Revelation 12:9). If untruth is the problem, then it should not surprise us that God works to undo the problem by restoring to us the truths that we let get away from us in the first place. Deception concerning God is ultimately to blame for the break in our fellowship with God. And if we are to seek reconciliation with God, it is foolish to think that we can do so by any other means than truth.
“Man finds God through truth” (Jewish Proverb).