After Jesus’ first encounter with Pilate, the title words were uttered by the Roman military governor. He didn’t wait for an answer, but instead he told the Jews that he found no fault in Jesus.
Pilate had just previously asked Jesus if He was a king, specifically the King of the Jews.
“Jesus answered, ‘You say rightly that I am a king. For this cause I was born, and for this cause I have come into the world, that I should bear witness to the truth…’” John 18:37
The definition of truth in the New Testament is profoundly simple while at the same time profoundly complex.
The very basic definition of ‘truth’ is ‘reality.’ Similar meanings include substance and confirmation. A more complex definition is that truth is the reality of substance which agrees with its appearance. It is the essence of matter, i.e. the substance of which a physical object is composed. As such, matter occupies space and has weight. The observable universe is the supreme example.
Paul explained that the invisible God was confirmed by His physical creation. Therefore, God’s wrath would befall those who would ‘suppress the truth in unrighteousness.’
“For since the creation of the world, His invisible attributes are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even His eternal power and Godhead, so that they (the unrighteous) are without excuse…” Romans 1:20
Let’s go back to the Old Testament and examine several applications of ‘truth’ as related to man’s relationship to his God.
“He is the Rock, His work is perfect; for all His ways are justice, a God of truth and without injustice; righteous and upright is He.” Deuteronomy 32:4
The Hebrew word for ‘truth’ in this verse has several illustrative synonyms including ‘trust,’ ‘honesty,’ ‘certainty,’ and ‘divine attribute.’
King David confessed his sins before the LORD and acknowledged that he had been conceived and born in sin. But he also acknowledged that God could change his heart to embrace truth and possess wisdom.
“Behold, You desire truth in the inward parts, and in the hidden part You will make me to know wisdom. Purge me with hyssop, and I shall be clean; wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow.” Psalm 51:6-7
David acknowledged he was not born in ‘truth’ but rather to possess truth was the result of a sovereign act of God. David pleaded with God for that redemptive action.
The Psalmist subsequently proclaimed that God’s truth is everlasting.
“For the LORD is good; His mercy is everlasting, and His truth endures forever.” Psalm 100:5
Goodness, mercy, and truth are among God’s eternal attributes.
Consider the following where Isaiah is describing the future Messiah and King.
“Righteousness shall be the belt of His loins, and faithfulness the belt of His waist.” Isaiah 11:5
In the Hebrew, both righteousness and faithfulness are synonyms for ‘truth.’
The 33rd Psalm describes ‘truth’ relative to God’s creation activities.
“For the word of the LORD is right, and all His work is done in truth. He loves righteousness and justice; the earth is full of the goodness of the LORD. By the word of the LORD the heavens were made…” Psalm 33:4-6a
In another Psalm, the writer desires to abandon lying and replace it with truth.
“Remove from me the way of lying, and grant me Your law graciously. I have chosen the way of truth…” Psalm 119:29-30
Likewise the wisest man in the world equated truth with wisdom and admonished men to acquire and treasure truth.
“Buy the truth, and do not sell it, also wisdom and instruction and understanding.” Proverbs 23:23
Thus it is seen that mankind is innately born to lie, but such unrighteousness can be replaced with the truth by pleading for a sovereign act of God.
Progressing to the New Testament, the Apostle John presents truth as being embodied in the person of God’s son.
“And the Word (Human expression of God) became 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
The reality of God and His attribute of truth walked among men.
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