Thomas said to Him, “Lord, we do not know where You are going, and how can we know the way?” Jesus said to him, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me. John 14:5,6
In the previous blog I mentioned that meeting Jesus changed everything about my spiritual walk. Prior to meeting Him I had been focused, as a leader in my local church, on upholding the doctrines of my denomination. This focus created in me separatism and an attitude of "us vs. them" directed at anyone who did not see things according to my denominational doctrinal standards. The wrong thinking of others was seen as something to be defeated. I was sure I had the "truth" on so many topics, like day-of-worship, the second coming, baptism, gospel, hell, death, etc. This way of thinking created only self-righteousness in me. I could veil this self-righteous attitude behind many layers, the most deceptive of which was that I just wanted others to "know the truth" so they could be undeceived like me. After all, why would anyone want to be in the dark, right?
But, as I later learned from Jesus, truth is only clearly shown in the life and that truth must live in the heart. It cannot be an outward principle that one attempts to do. To approach the truth like a Pharisee only fosters self-righteous argument and ultimately murder may even blossom in the heart.
The effort to earn salvation by one's own works inevitably leads men to pile up human exactions as a barrier against sin. For, seeing that they fail to keep the law, they will devise rules and regulations of their own to force themselves to obey. All this turns the mind away from God to self. His love dies out of the heart, and with it perishes love for his fellow men. A system of human invention, with its multitudinous exactions, will lead its advocates to judge all who come short of the prescribed human standard. The atmosphere of selfish and narrow criticism stifles the noble and generous emotions, and causes men to become self-centered judges and petty spies. MB 123.1
Jesus did not come to merely preach the law, He came to magnify and make it honorable. He was the truth about the law, which is a transcript of His (God's) character. In Him the law (truth) was lived from the inner parts of His being outward for all to see. This is why He is known as the "Light that came into the world". He did not come to destroy law or truth, but to fulfill it....to, live it.
Merely having the information (the law, the truth), does not make one right.
“Ye are the light of the world.” The Jews thought to confine the benefits of salvation to their own nation; but Christ showed them that salvation is like the sunshine. It belongs to the whole world. The religion of the Bible is not to be confined between the covers of a book, nor within the walls of a church. It is not to be brought out occasionally for our own benefit, and then to be carefully laid aside again. It is to sanctify the daily life, to manifest itself in every business transaction and in all our social relations. DA 306.5
I realize now that the religion I had was one "confined between the covers of a book and the walls of a church". I didn't really know God yet, but He knew me and He led me into Truth with a capital "T".
This Truth doesn't leave me in my self-righteousness but instead reveals it and then says, "Do you want to be healed?" Jesus is the the Way to know God. Knowing God is something more than just information about Him. It is knowing with a deep intimacy, the same intimacy that Jesus had with His Father. Without Jesus, we would have no way of really knowing God. No one had ever manifest God fully until Jesus came and He offers a power outside of ourselves that can heal us.
Jesus is the Truth about God. He is the truth/law lived out fully for all of us to see, taste, and fall in love with. He is the One that can write the law in our inner man, on our hearts to be lived out in our daily lives.
Jesus is the life we find in knowing God. John 17:3 says...
And this is eternal life, that they may know You, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom You have sent.
Knowing Jesus, meeting Him, did not remove doctrines (truths) or the importance of knowing the truth, it instead gave me a whole new lense through which to see those doctrines. Doctrines, which is just a way of saying "something I hold to be true", are not bad in themselves, but they might be deadly if not viewed through the lense of Jesus. May Jesus be our only Teacher. May He be the only one we call Rabbi. May He be the only Father of our new life. May He be our only Master and Leader. This is my prayer for myself and others. Amen.