Tuesday, August 26, 2014

The God of Truth

God is described in Scripture both as being true (John 17:3; 1 Thessalonians 1:9; 1 John 5:20) and as speaking truth (John 3:33; Romans 3:4; Titus 1:2). This means that He genuinely exists and that He speaks with honesty. He is also wise (Romans 16:25-27; 11:33-36; Jeremiah 10:12). This is important, because it is not enough just to know things, but to know how to wisely use that knowledge.

This results in certain important questions. Is truth something above, to which God conforms, or is it something God creates? If it is the first, then there is something higher than God, and God is not really the one true God. If the second, then truth becomes arbitrary and has no real basis. The better alternative is seeing truth as God's nature, and that it is neither over Him nor below Him. This means that God is consistent; He makes sense. But it does not mean there are not things about God that are beyond our understanding (Isaiah 55:9; 1 Corinthians 3:18; 1:19-25). It is from knowing this that we must go into the difficult questions like why there is suffering in the world. These are, of course, not easy to answer, but they must be seen in this context.

It is also based on this that we are able to trust God (Proverbs 3:5,6; Psalms 37:3-6; Hebrews 11:6). Our faith rests in the fact that God is true and able to uphold His promises (Philippians 4:19; Romans 8:28; 1 Peter 5:6,7). This does not mean we will have a smooth life, with no problems. Scripture prepares us for exactly the opposite (Acts 14:22; John 16:33; 2 Corinthians 4:17,18). And in this context, we need faith to continue to follow Christ. As C. S. Lewis points out, the real enemy of faith is not reason (real intellectual objections need to be met and answered) but feeling and desire. The feeling we get when everything around us seems to be going wrong and we wonder where God is. Or when we find ourselves in a place where it would be easier to do the wrong thing and we need faith in God to avoid it. It is then we need faith in a God who is true and does not lie, even if we do not know what He is doing in our lives. And it is there that faith in God, not as a piece of information but as a person, comes in.

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