"Jesus answered, ... To this end was I born, and for this cause came I into the world, that I should bear witness unto the truth. Every one that is of the truth heareth my voice.

Pilate saith unto him, What is truth?" John 18:37, 38

For further consideration

  by  Rev. Thomas Miersma

What is your answer to the question posed above, "What is Truth?"  Pilate ask this question retorically of Jesus in his unbelief, he did not know the answer. By it Pilate declared that he did not know Christ.

The answer is an important one since it shapes and determines the very foundation of our lives.  The fact is, that the question isn't stated quite correctly which is the first point that needs to be seen.

The common answer to this question which dominates our society is that there really is no specific answer, but that everyone must determine individually for themselves what is true or truth, right and meaningful, in life.  We are told that each person must determine his or her own values, clarify for himself the answers to what is good and evil.  This position is not only the common answer but is imposed upon and taught in most of the schools in North America.  It is called "values clarification."  Its answer to the question "What is truth?" is really that there is no truth, no moral right or wrong, good or evil on the individual level.  Each one must determine for himself the answer to this question.  When it comes to the life of society and civic order the same answer is given.  The people, the society, determine what is good and true and right.  That is democracy.  The only question which remains is the balance between personal freedom and the needs of society.  In fact the only "truth" is that there is no abiding truth.  Everything is relative.  To assert that a conduct, lifestyle or activity is wrong to be regarded, according to this view, as prejudice and bigotry.  The very word "lifestyle" itself implies that each is free to choose his or her own values.  This philosophy, for such it is, is the philosophy of our age.

What about it?  Is it yours?  What can be said about it?  There are many things one could say.  One could point out for example that democracy is a political system of government and maintaining public order, not a system for determining moral values or truth.  One could demonstrate historically that this philosophy is basically the thought of the German philosopher Nietzsche, which came to North America about the time of World War II. This was the philosophy which undergirded and gave rise to Adolf Hitler.  It is the philosophy of the superman who is his own god.
For the answer which is given to the question, "What is truth?" is that "I am truth, you are truth, man is truth."  It is the philosophy which underlies modern child rearing, that the child is truth for himself and therefore is not to be corrected or disciplined.  It is the philosophy of the so called "New Age movement," and underlies the return to the occult superstition of our post-Christian society.  Woman also is to be her own truth, yea even to choose life or death for her unborn child. It is the basis for the clamor for "rights" for homosexuals and for the charge of homophobic leveled against those who oppose them in their sin.

At the heart of the matter however is this, that the question, "What is truth?" is the wrong question.  The question is rather, "Who is truth?"  The answer which is givenby men is Man, either collectively or individually.  It is this answer which we must be clear about.  This is fundamentally the position that man is his own god or her own goddess, his own lawgiver, his own standard of right and wrong, good and evil, of morality, of determining the meaning of life itself.  It is the confession of human "godness" or divinity, that you are a god, and I am a god, and we are all parts or sparks of some diving human "godness."  As a self-made god, man is truth.  Man seeks to control and order the universe by science, and when that fails him he turns to occult science.  It is too a denial of any true and living God above us, a functional atheism.

Against this, the revelation of the true and living God set down in the Christian Bible, is very clear.  This philosophy of self-truth and human "godness" is the root lie of sin and of all wickedness.  It is the lie of Satan, the adversary of the living God, the Devil: "...ye shall be as gods, knowing good and evil," Genesis 3:5.  This lie man believed, rejecting the God, Who is truth, and turned in pride of heart to walk after the imagination of his own heart.  Of that lie God commands men to repent!  For over against it the living God declares, "I am the first, and I am the last; beside me there is no God," Isaiah 44:6.  He is the Holy One, the God of absolute perfection and righteousness.  God is truth.  He is the Almighty Lord Who stands infinitely exalted above the whole of the universe, the creation He has made.  He will not give His glory to another. "Woe unto him that striveth with his maker!  let the potsherd strive with the potsherds of the earth.  Shall the clay say to him that fashioned it, What makest thou?" Isaiah 45:9.  Because He is truth in Himself, He is a God of judgment.  To maintain His truth in His sovereign power, He will consume in judgment all that exalts itself against Him in arrogance and pride.  The proud boast of man that he is his own god brings down upon him the infinite and eternal wrath of God who hates sin and the lie.  He alone is the lawgiver, the standard of right and wrong, good and evil.  His will alone is right and all that is contrary to it sins against His most high majesty. 

Therefore Scripture reveals that man lies under the curse of God's anger and the sentence of death.  For the wages of sin, in time and eternity, is death, under God's wrath.  And that death is separation from the living God, the only fountain of all good. Between the truth of the holy living God, the Almighty, and the lie of man's superhuman "godness?" there is no compromise.  Not even when men take up His revealed Word and set themselves to sit in judgment, in their human "godness" as to what they will receive and accept as truth and what they will not.  For this same lie pervades also much that calls itself the Christian church today.  Over against every word of man stands the testimony of the Word of God, the Christian Bible, that it is the revelation of the living God.  Jesus Christ, the Savior, Himself said of that Word of God, "thy word is truth," John 17:17.

The wonder is that the holy God, the God of truth Who judges sin and the lie of man in righteousness, has revealed Himself as the God of grace and mercy in truth.  For God Himself in the person of His own Son Jesus Christ, came into the world, God becoming man, the Word made flesh, and assumed our human nature.  Jesus Christ, the Son of God, came to bear the curse of God's wrath and satisfy the justice of God in our flesh and blood.  He did so to save and deliver from sin a people given Him of the Father from all eternity, who should believe on His Name.  In the
person Jesus Christ truth is to be found, God's truth.  Thus it is written of him, "And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth," John 1:14.  Jesus declares "I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father but by me," John 14:6.  In Him God declares, "I, even I, am the Lord: and beside me there is no Savior," Isaiah 43:11.  Therefore Jesus is the truth, as savior from sin

It is unbelief which stands before Jesus as Pontius Pilate, who condemned him to death, and in His presence asks, "What is truth?" John 18:38.  To know Jesus Christ as Savior and Lord is to have genuine truth.  It is to have God as the God of our salvation.  It is to be born by the power of God's grace in Christ, by the power of the truth, and therefore to be of the truth.  Thus Jesus said, "every one that is of the truth heareth my voice," John 18:37.  This truth God commands men to believe!  This truth saves and delivers for it is to have eternal life in fellowship with God.  Therein is the wonder.  Not that man becomes his own god which is the lie, but that God became man in Jesus Christ.  He, that by the power of God, is born of that truth in Christ and believes shall be saved.

For a basic explanation of the work of grace in salvation go to:

The Wonder of Grace