What is Truth?
This question has echoed through the ages since Pilate asked it of Jesus the Christ. This is a good question today for some who, sadly, are “ever learning, but never coming to a knowledge of the truth.” We can only hope that at some point their prejudices may give way before the truth. Those seeking truth in the spacious towers of moral relativism will search in vain, because truth abides forever and ever, not subject to popular opinion, not based on trendy fads. Truth is absolute.
Why Are We Here?
Without truth, many wonders, “What is the purpose of life?” These are the ones who sincerely seek the truth, only to be kept from it, for they do not know where to find it.
So How Do We Find the Truth?
One ancient prophet said of his Creator: “He is a God of truth, and cannot lie.” Therefore, a logical place to start looking for truth is in the word of God. Saint John said, “it is the Spirit that beareth witness because the Spirit [of Christ] is truth.”
So, if we ask what is true, with a sincere heart, having faith in Christ, He will manifest the truth to us, by the power of the Holy Spirit. And by the power of the Holy Spirit, we may know the truth of all things.
But Why Does Truth Matter?
Not too long ago, Sean McDowell, Ph.D., a professor of Christian Apologetics, was speaking at a youth event. Afterwards, a student came up to him and said, “You talked about truth a lot. What’s the big deal? Why is truth even important?”
Why Does Truth Matter?
Why does truth matter? I would suggest to this young man: “At some point in time, in some real crisis, not an imagined one, perhaps you will even be faced with death. In that defining moment, real truth will be important.”
Dr. Peter Marshall, a beloved chaplain in the United States Senate in the 1940s, was invited to speak at the Naval Academy. He was prepared to address his concern about the loose morals of the young people at that time. But the Spirit gave him a different message. He felt strongly impressed to speak to them about death. He said:
“But what is death? Is it to be blown out, like a candle in the wind? Is it a shivering void in which there is nothing that lives? Is is a cold space into which we are launched to be evaporated, or to disappear? Are we to believe that a half-mad eternal humorist tossed the worlds aloft and left their destiny to chance? That a man’s life is the development of a nameless vagrancy? That a hole in the ground six feet deep is his final heritage? There are a thousand insane things easier to believe than these! How can we believe that human personality will not survive when One who went into the grave and beyond came back to say, “Whosoever believeth in me shalt not perish, but have eternal life.”
He also told them about a young boy with a fatal illness. The boy asked his mother what it was like to die. She reminded him of those days when he had come in from play, so exhausted that he had fallen asleep on his mother’s bed, without even changing his clothes. When he awoke in the morning, he was in his own bed. Daddy had lovingly lifted him up in his strong arms and carried him to the comfort of his own bed, where he belonged.
That is what death is like, his mother continued. You fall asleep and when you wake up in the morning, you find that the Heavenly Father has lifted you up and brought you home to the comfort of His loving arms, where you belong because the Lord Jesus has loved us and the little boy no longer feared death.
So the Spirit prompted Dr. Marshall to tell the truth about death to hundreds of bright young sailors at the Naval Academy. Shortly thereafter, Pearl Harbor was bombed, and many of those sailors faced death in the devastating war that followed.
Yes, truth matters. We need it to give meaning to our lives.
Saint John reminds us that the Spirit “will guide you into all truth.” And Jesus Christ is that way, that truth, and life eternal. At the end of the day, through Him, we can return home, where we belong.
I have no greater joy than to hear that my children walk in truth. ~ 3 John 1:4
Dr. Peter Marshall was Chaplain to the United States Senate from 1947, until his sudden death in 1949. He served as pastor of the New York Avenue Presbyterian Church in Washington, D.C. Born in Scotland, he traveled to New York in 1927 to follow his call to Christian ministry and attend Columbia Theological Seminary where he graduated with his doctorate in 1931. He accepted an invitation to preach a morning sermon in the chapel of the United States Naval Academy, December 7, 1941. Neither he, nor anyone in attendance at the chapel service that day was aware that the Imperial Navy of Japan was attacking the U.S. military bases at Pearl Harbor. Many of the young sailors in the chapel that morning were hearing their last sermon and would give their lives in defense of our nation in World War II.