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By David A. DePra
If Jesus is the personification of the Truth, then all of a sudden, any thing we say is the Truth is a direct statement about HIM. We tend to think of Truth as a list of Christian doctrines. But ultimately, Truth is a Person.
In our thinking, we tend to compartmentalize God into a list of THINGS. We say God gives us a THING called eternal life, or that God gives us a THING called light, or that God gives us a THING called truth. We do this because we are looking more at the impact, manifestation, and application of God than we look at God Himself. But while this is understandable, and even necessary it is even done in scripture the danger is to be blinded to God Himself while focusing on the THINGS that come about because of God.
Doctrine is one example where this mistake is practiced continually in the Christian church. People dig into the Bible and create a statement of faith. We list out true doctrines and demand that any true Christian will believe them. For some reason, we think that Christ and real faith will emerge from believing true Bible DOCTRINES. But this is actually backwards. Doctrine is supposed to emerge from Christ. Doctrine is supposed to emerge from true faith.
Look at the early church. Jesus didnt hand them a statement of faith and tell them to memorize it and institutionalize it. Rather, once God sent the Spirit, Jesus was revealed to the disciples and revealed IN the disciples. From that revelation of Jesus, doctrine was formed. The problem since although it didnt need to be a problem is that we take the doctrine that was formed from a knowledge of the Person, and forget the Person. People learn doctrine and never learn Christ.
We are blessed to have doctrine. It tells us what we ought to believe it tells us what the revelation of Christ within is going to be. But doctrine is not that revelation. Doctrine is not a Person. It is because doctrine has replaced the Person that the doctrine has fragmented into all directions this is why there are so many disagreements over bible doctrine. We argue about this or that bible verse. But we dont know Christ Himself.
There are lots of people who know all the doctrines of the Bible but who dont know Jesus. In fact, it is possible to be a Bible expert and to have little or no faith at all in Christ. You can be a walking Bible encyclopedia and be on your way to hell. Your faith in doctrine AS true will not save you. You must believe and trust in the Person about whom your doctrine speaks.
And you have not his word abiding in you: for whom he has sent, him ye believe not. Search the scriptures; for in them ye think ye have eternal life: and they are they which testify of me. And ye will not come to me, that ye might have life. (John 5:38-40)
Coming to Jesus, or knowing Jesus, will never do away with, or contradict sound doctrine. It will actually agree with and affirm it completely it will prove it and show it to be essential for teaching. Because there is ONE Truth, knowing Jesus Christ will agree completely with the Bible.
If we used doctrine the way in which God intended, doctrine would be a teaching tool to help guide us into a personal knowledge of Jesus Christ. For example, when we hear that we must repent, it would help lead us into repentance it would not merely become part of our list of doctrines. Thus, doctrine is essential and God-given. But not as a replacement for the Living Person.
True and False Doctrine
What is true doctrine? What is false doctrine? Most people would say that a doctrine is defined as true or false by whether it represents the inspired Word of God. That is a fact. All true doctrine will agree with the Word of God. All false doctrine will not. But to get at the root of this, we have to go deeper. True doctrine is true because it agrees with, and represents the Truth Himself. False doctrine misrepresents God, and His plan and purpose through His Son.
Now, obviously, you cannot separate what the Bible says from the Person for there is only ONE Truth. If the Bible is the written Truth, and Jesus is the Living Truth, then they will absolutely agree: They are that ONE Truth. But it is because they agree that you have to take all doctrine back to the Person.
All Biblical doctrine, in one way or another, represents God, and represents His Son. Doctrine is a statement, in written form, of what we believe about God, His Son, and the plan and purpose that God has for each of us. Herein we see the real definition of true or false doctrine. True doctrine tells the Truth about the Truth Himself true doctrine tells the Truth about God, His Son, and His plan and purpose for us. False doctrine lies about the same. Thus, the true doctrine is essential because it tells us about the Person.
So if I get up in front of a church and begin to teach false doctrine, I am lying, not only about what the Bible teaches, but I am lying deliberate or not about God Himself. I am MISDIRECTING people as to how to walk with Him. But if I get up and teach the Truth, then I am telling the Truth. I am rightly representing Jesus Christ the Person. This alone will not save people. But it will tell them how to be saved, or tell them how to walk with God.
Doctrinal Truth tells the Truth about the Truth Himself, so that people can seek the Truth Himself and be MADE TRUE through the knowledge of the Truth Himself. Does that seem redundant? Well, it shows the essential of Truth from start to finish. It shows the essential of true doctrine.
Jesus Christ did not come to hand us a list of doctrines to constitute and institutionalize a true religion. No. He came to redeem us, and to dwell IN US. Doctrines need to represent that and show us the true path in it.
I Am the Truth
When Jesus said, "I am the Truth," He was not mincing words. No mere man could say this about Himself. John would later write, "God is light." Jesus is God Incarnate, and as a man, He represented all that God is in human form. Paul affirms by saying the in Christ dwells all the fullness of Godhood. Incredibly, today Christ dwells in US.
So if you and I want to know the Truth the Truth on any matter we are not asking God merely for INFORMATION. We are really asking God for REVELATION of His Son. Realizing this will clear up much confusion about why God is often silent to us. We want information. God wants to reveal HIMSELF to us.
In this day and age, there are many different kinds of heretical movements, churches, and teachers, springing up. Some of them are even teaching that God is now doing, "a new thing." This is a disguised effort to depart from scripture, and to make a place for almost anything in the Christian church. But Jesus Christ is the same today, yesterday, and forever. The point is, have we exhausted Christ? Such that we are ready to move on to a new thing?
Jesus Christ IS the Truth. And so anything that claims to be the Truth must agree completely with HIS PERSON it must tell the Truth about Him, and be backed up by the written Truth of scripture. Anything that does not is a lie.
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