The Pursuit of Truth
We are told in Scripture that the truth is in Jesus (Yeshua). Let's examine in depth, just what that might mean? Undoubtedly it had to do with the truth in the way He lived His life; the truth in what He taught, in what He did. It most surely had to do with the truth which was in the Sermon on the Mount, at the Last Supper, even in His response to His temptations in the wilderness.
But even beyond that, of what profit is this truth to us? Of what point is it for us to learn this truth, to read and hear and study His life and His words? We shall no doubt come to conclude that the profit for us is incalculable, perhaps even beyond our comprehension.
His words are life, the very words of life. No only real life in the here and now but also eternal life afterwards, after our death and resurrection. GOD has placed us on this planet for a purpose, and only when we pursue the truth that is in Yeshua can we ever hope to find and fulfill that purpose.
Here are a few passages which touch upon just what the value is of those words which He spake, those words which we are instructed to hear and then believe and obey.
JOHN 5:24 Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that heareth my word, and believeth on him that sent me, hath everlasting life, and shall not come into condemnation; but is passed from death unto life.
JOHN 6:63 It is the spirit that quickeneth; the flesh profiteth nothing: the words that I speak unto you, they are spirit, and they are life.
JOHN 6:68 Then Simon Peter answered him, Lord, to whom shall we go? thou hast the words of eternal life.
ACTS 5:20 Go, stand and speak in the temple to the people all the words of this life.
ACTS 13:46 Then Paul and Barnabas waxed bold, and said, It was necessary that the word of God should first have been spoken to you: but seeing ye put it from you, and judge yourselves unworthy of everlasting life, lo, we turn to the Gentiles.
PHILIPPIANS 2:16 Holding forth the word of life; that I may rejoice in the day of Christ, that I have not run in vain, neither laboured in vain.
This rejoicing in the day of Christ, of which Paul wrote in his letter to the Philippians, is speaking of rejoicing when he was resurrected and gathered into GOD's heavenly kingdom. That Day is what Paul lived for; that Day is even what Yeshua lived for; and that Day is what we too should live for.
That Day when we find ourselves before His eternal throne, of what worth then shall all of these trivial earthly pursuits be? How will we then be measured? Surely not by the business or athletic skills which we have mastered; nor by our good looks or impressive fortunes. Evidently we shall be measured by how much truth we have built our lives upon.
If that is indeed the case, then it behooves us to find this truth. It is left to us to discipline our routines around this word. There is much more to life than simply getting saved at some revival meeting and then afterwards going back home to our daily grind. We have been given a few short years for some important reason and that reason is to learn and live His word, for in the after-life, after our resurrection, we will need there what we should have learned here.
Yeshua endeavored to make this as plain as possible when after He delivered His astonishing sermon on the mount, He spoke of two houses, the first one being built upon a solid rock and the second one being built upon nothing but sand (MATTHEW 7:24-27). As a carpenter He knew full well the result of building a structure upon a shifting foundation. It may look fine when first finished, but when the mighty storm comes, when the fierce winds blow with fury and the rains fall in torrents, that house is bound to break apart and collapse.
Yeshua was explaining that those who heard and heeded His teachings were like those who were building their houses upon the rock, but those others in His audience who had also heard but were not heeding His teachings were building their houses upon the sand. If we expect our lives to be built upon a solid foundation, then we must center our lives around His word. His word must be that which our lives revolve around.
If an individual is willing to expend the necessary effort to change his ways so as to live his life in accordance to what Yeshua taught, then he is well on the way to cultivating in his life the fruit of the spirit. If he is willing to put off his former ways and begin to develop into a new kind of person, a new man, a new creation, then he will gradually and eventually find himself clothed with righteousness.
This is of paramount importance, because when we are resurrected and find ourselves before the throne of Christ, at our eternal judgment, that heavenly Judge will no doubt be looking to see if we have developed these fruit of the spirit in our lives (MATTHEW 7:20). The presence or absence of these fruit reveals whether or not we have become righteous and godly.
If so, if we have spent our lives heeding His words and learning His truth, then we will be welcomed into His heavenly kingdom. But if not, if we have instead spent up the precious time given us in pursuit of the pleasures and treasures of this present life, building our house upon the sand, then we stand in jeopardy of being cast out of His kingdom, where according to Yeshua's own words, there is weeping and gnashing of teeth.
It was the apostle Paul in his letter to the faithful believers at Ephesus who penned this phrase, "the truth is in Yeshua". Around the immediate context of the phrase we learn why, and then how this statement is so vital to our lives. Paul gets a running start with verse 17.
EPHESIANS 4:17-18 This I say therefore, and testify in the Lord, that ye henceforth walk not as other Gentiles walk, in the vanity of their mind, having the understanding darkened, being alienated from the life of God through the ignorance that is in them, because of the blindness [hardness] of their heart.
He cautions them to not just wonder along with the herd, being driven aimlessly in useless worn out circles, all the time alienated from life's true purpose. And how does Paul say that these others were thus separated from the life of GOD? By ignorance, by nothing else but a lack of knowledge. They were simply ignorant of the truth and therefore separated from true life. They failed to hear these words, or else upon hearing they failed to heed them.
19 Who being past feeling have given themselves over unto lasciviousness, to work all uncleanness with greediness.
Being tossed to and fro, and carried about with every wind of doctrine (verse 14), these others simply gave themselves over to the pleasures and treasures which the course of this world offered. They were as the seed sown upon rocky soil, or else that other seed which was choked by thorns and thistles (MATTHEW 13:20-22).
20-22 But ye have not so learned Christ; if so be that ye have heard him, and have been taught by him, as the truth is in Jesus: that ye put off concerning the former conversation [behavior,] the old man, which is corrupt according to the deceitful lusts;
Many of Paul's readers were no longer just blindly following along with the crowd, but each had hopefully decided to stand firm upon the truth which they had learned. They had allowed the faithless herd to pass them by while they themselves then moved in another direction, a less-trodden path, faithfully guided by the truth. As such, they were beginning to lose the traits and desires of their old man, that old nature.
What then was the treasure which they were beginning to find? What was that pearl of great price which they were discovering? It was a new nature, a new man, a new creation. That was indeed their true purpose in life. Paul continued.
23-24 And be renewed in the spirit of your mind; and that ye put on the new man, which after God is created in righteousness and true holiness.
How then was this new creation becoming their new self, their new man? By them renewing, by them renovating, by them remodeling their minds to the truth which was in Yeshua. When they were willing to demolish and gut their old thinking patterns and then to begin building their minds anew with Yeshua's truth, then this new creation began to take shape within them.
Paul then went on to specifically spell out for them some of the old man's thinking which they were to demolish and what then to rebuild with.
25-31 Wherefore putting away lying, speak every man truth with his neighbour....
Let him that stole steal no more: but rather let him labour, working with his hands the thing which is good, that he may have to give to him that needeth.
Let no corrupt communication proceed out of your mouth, but that which is good to the use of edifying, that it may minister grace unto the hearers....
Let all bitterness, and wrath, and anger, and clamour, and evil speaking, be put away from you, with all malice:
And be ye kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ's sake hath forgiven you.
Thus, this is how they were to now think and act. They were to drive from their thoughts any inclination to act unkind to one another, and from henceforth, they were to act in accordance with that which Yeshua had taught and lived. If they were thus faithful in this renewing process, then they would begin to see a new person being created within them, along with the desired fruit of the spirit.
This is exactly what is involved in renovating an old run down property which has been neglected or abandoned. It is not brought back to life in an instant but it is remodeled one piece, one board, one tile at a time, over perhaps a span of many months.
But prior to any of this becoming possible, they had to first learn what Yeshua had taught. They had to read and hear for themselves what exactly the truth was. They could no longer be ignorant, if they wanted to see this new creation grow within them. Only after that were they then going to be able to change, to be transformed. Otherwise they were destined to return to the herd and blindly follow along with the crowd, aimlessly wandering without purpose or cause.
Of course Yeshua Himself often encouraged His followers to continue in His word and then to discipline themselves with that which He was teaching. Only in this way were they going to be able to break free from the bondage of sin.
JOHN 8:31-34 Then said Jesus to those Jews which believed on him, If ye continue in my word, then are ye my disciples indeed; and ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free....whosoever committeth sin is the servant of sin.
We have been told and taught that we cannot be free from our sin because sin is just in our nature; that we are sinful creatures, continually under its thumb. But that is not what Yeshua taught. He expected His followers to live free from sin, to go and sin no more (JOHN 5:14; 8:11). His life and teachings exemplified victory over sin.
And contrary to what many think, this is also what the apostle Paul taught.
ROMANS 6:16-18 Know ye not, that to whom ye yield yourselves servants to obey, his servants ye are to whom ye obey; whether of sin unto death, or of obedience unto righteousness? But God be thanked, that ye were the servants of sin, but ye have obeyed from the heart that form of doctrine which was delivered you. Being then made free from sin, ye became the servants of righteousness.
In order to be free from sin we must obey that which Yeshua taught. Therefore, thereafter we are free to become righteous, to be a new man, a new creation. Howbeit, if we are to be free and find that peace of GOD, that rest to our souls, then we must find and enter into that truth which Yeshua taught.
MATTHEW 11:29 Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls.
This suggests that there is work involved in finding rest. We must learn and get to know Him. We must think the thoughts He thought. We must pursue the dreams He pursued and hope the hope which He hoped. We must learn to see life from His perspective. He realized that all of life's purposes, pursuits and pastimes meant nothing at all if they weren't contributing to that next life, that eternal life. Yeshua's every step was ordered according to His eternal purpose.
PHILIPPIANS 2:5 Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus.
We must come to have His mind. And what was that mind? He humbled Himself and was obedient (verse 8). He learned obedience (HEBREWS 5:8) and thus we must likewise. This is the purpose of this life, to learn obedience. Life is not intended as some sort of pleasure cruise but rather it is to be a classroom for learning, a field trip if you will. The purpose of this present life is for us to learn the truth which is in Yeshua, and then to learn to obey that truth, developing the fruit of the spirit in our lives.
COLOSSIANS 2:6-7 As ye have therefore received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk ye in him: rooted and built up in him, and stablished in the faith, as ye have been taught, abounding therein with thanksgiving.
To receive Christ Jesus the Lord is to hear and learn His words, as Paul wrote, as ye have been taught. Only then can we be truly rooted and then built up. This is pretty much the same thing as being built upon a good foundation, a solid rock.
What does Paul then write that his readers shall then find? What shall then be the outcome of their lives? They shall abound with thanksgiving. We won't end up at the end of our days with regret and disappointment over a wasted life, but we shall see the purpose of it all. We shall have fulfilled our own purpose and being clothed in righteousness, having the fruit of the spirit we shall eagerly anticipate our own resurrection.
JOHN 14:6 Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.
Yeshua does not say that His way is the only way unto the Father, but rather that He is the only way. Evidently, each man and woman, after their resurrection, will need to pass before Yeshua's judgment throne before they can enter into GOD's heavenly kingdom. He is the only way. Thus it would be in our best interest to get to know Him. Even our own justice system acknowledges that ignorance of the law is no excuse.
Paul often wrote in his epistles that an individual should live his life so as to be accounted worthy of his calling (EPHESIANS 4:1 PHILIPPIANS 1:27 COLOSSIANS 1:10 2 THESSALONIANS 1:5, 11). This can only mean that we shall someday, somehow, be weighed in the balances so as to have our value measured. Today's Christianity doesn't think of us becoming worthy of entrance into heaven, but that is evidently what the scriptures declare.
Beyond hearing the truth, even beyond understanding and obeying the truth, Paul writes that one must learn to love the truth.
2 THESSALONIANS 2:10 And with all deceivableness of unrighteousness in them that perish; because they received not the love of the truth, that they might be saved.
And indeed, once we come to know all that the truth is to us, all that it will accomplish in our lives, we can't help but love and appreciate it. This truth in Yeshua should become the driving force in our lives, propelling us on to develop the fruit of the spirit. Understanding it should motivate us each and every day. This is what should consume our thoughts and where we should long to spend our leisure time. Learning the truth we can have confidence that we are in the heart of GOD's will for our lives.
1 TIMOTHY 2:4 Who will have all men to be saved, and to come unto the knowledge of the truth.
This is GOD's desire for all, that they first get saved and then for them to acquire a knowledge of the truth. HIS desire for us is not that we work our fingers to the bone so as to retire to some water front property. Nor does HE desire that we become master golfers or fishers, or that we know the strengths and weaknesses of each and every NFL player. Our Creator's desire for our lives is that we come to know the truth. That is our purpose.
As Christians, knowing the truth should be our primary goal, our first priority. We need no longer waste our precious time with those who are driven by the desires for pleasures and treasures. Paul has some rather harsh words concerning these in this same letter to Timothy.
1 TIMOTHY 6:5 Perverse disputings of men of corrupt minds, and destitute of the truth, supposing that gain is godliness: from such withdraw thyself.
We no longer have anything in common with them. What moves them has little attraction for us, anymore. Now we look to that which lies beyond the grave, our new life in the new heaven and earth. We search for a different treasure, an eternal treasure laid up for us in GOD's kingdom. Our rewards are heavenly, not earthly. We rejoice in every tidbit of truth which we uncover and could care little for what they live for or aspire to. Our hopes and dreams they cannot even grasp, for these are beyond the scope of their comprehension. We now seek for righteousness and godliness and work to develop the fruit of the spirit in our lives.
They of course could change, as we did. They could wake up to the true reality of life, its true purpose. As such, we can, when the opportunity presents itself, offer to them truth to consider and ponder. But if they are determined to remain ignorant, if they are adamant to continue wasting away their lives, so be it.
2 TIMOTHY 2:25 In meekness instructing those that oppose themselves; if God peradventure will give them repentance to the acknowledging of the truth.
Of course the choice is always theirs. They can either ask for more, or reject that which we have offered. Their choice is just that, theirs. Our choice has already been made and we joy and rejoice in it. Each day brings new discoveries as well as new questions for us to search out. We have now a fruitful quest before us, until that day of our death and eventual resurrection.