What is Truth?

by Mike Ratliff

So Pilate entered his headquarters again and called Jesus and said to him, “Are you the King of the Jews?” Jesus answered, “Do you say this of your own accord, or did others say it to you about me?” Pilate answered, “Am I a Jew? Your own nation and the chief priests have delivered you over to me. What have you done?” Jesus answered, “My kingdom is not of this world. If my kingdom were of this world, my servants would have been fighting, that I might not be delivered over to the Jews. But my kingdom is not from the world.” Then Pilate said to him, “So you are a king?” Jesus answered, “You say that I am a king. For this purpose I was born and for this purpose I have come into the world–to bear witness to the truth. Everyone who is of the truth listens to my voice.” Pilate said to him, “What is truth?” After he had said this, he went back outside to the Jews and told them, “I find no guilt in him. (John 18:33-38 ESV)

There are times that I wonder why I continue to write these posts, to do the research, answer questions, and continue to contend with those who have their own idea about what “The Truth” is. It seems that I have become an open target for some people bound and determined to prove to the world that I don’t know what I’m talking about nor do I present the truth to their liking. Perhaps God has allowed this to happen so that I can exercise my faith and discernment and rely on Him even more. What I find very interesting in this is that this seems to have occurred after I decided to fast and pray with a friend on Monday the 16th of October. We will be fasting and praying for many things, but my primary purpose in this fast will be to pray for the “remnant” of the Church in the USA to repent and turn their hearts back to God. I think I made the mistake of making this fast public last week as the discussion was in the comment section of one of my posts.

Why would the enemy not want God’s people to learn to fast and pray? What happens in our hearts when we do this? What happens in the spiritual realm when we do this? I am still learning this as you are. However, I do know that when we draw near to God, He draws near to us. Is it important to God that His people know the truth?

In the passage I placed a the top of this post, we see where Jesus, as He was being questioned by Pilate, made the statement that He came into the world to bear witness to the truth. Then He made the following statement, “Everyone who is of the truth listens to my voice.” Of course Pilate made the following sarcastic response, “What is truth?”

What does this exchange mean? Is there anything we need to learn from this? Jesus made other statements about the purpose of His coming, such as, “I came to seek and save that which is lost.” Whatever other things Christ came into this world to accomplish, it is all wrapped up in His statement to Pilate. When Jesus said that He came to bear witness to the truth, what did He mean? The following statement is from the commentary of John Gill on this passage.

“The end of Christ’s being born, which was of a virgin, in a very miraculous manner, and of his coming into the world, which was by the assumption of human nature, among many other things, was to bear testimony to truth in general; to the whole Gospel, the word of truth, and every branch of it, which he brought with him, constantly preached in life, and confirmed by his death; and particularly to this truth, that he was a King, and had a kingdom in a spiritual sense” – John Gill

In other words, Christ’s coming, life, death, burial, resurrection and ascension accomplished the work of establishing His Kingdom, bought or redeemed His people from sin, defeated Satan and his kingdom, and set into motion all of the events that must take place for His Kingdom to be completed Unto eternal perfection. The Gospel contains all of this. The Gospel is the truth. God is the Gospel. Who hears this truth? Jesus said that everyone who is of truth hears His voice.

My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me. I give them eternal life, and they will never perish, and no one will snatch them out of my hand. My Father, who has given them to me, is greater than all, and no one is able to snatch them out of the Father’s hand. I and the Father are one.” (John 10:27-30 ESV)

God’s people, genuine Christians, are Christ’s sheep. They hear His voice. He knows them and they follow Him. He gives them eternal life and they will never perish nor can the enemy snatch them out of His hand. God the Father gave them to Christ and He is greater than all. In other words, all genuine believers are eternally saved and, knowing this truth, must never fear losing their salvation or ever being separated from God.

What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us? He who did not spare his own Son but gave him up for us all, how will he not also with him graciously give us all things? Who shall bring any charge against God’s elect? It is God who justifies. Who is to condemn? Christ Jesus is the one who died–more than that, who was raised–who is at the right hand of God, who indeed is interceding for us. Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or danger, or sword? As it is written, “For your sake we are being killed all the day long; we are regarded as sheep to be slaughtered.” No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord. (Romans 8:31-39 ESV)

Physical death or suffering is not excluded from the experience of genuine beleivers, but separation from God is. Ultimate victory over all these things is promised. No evil that the world or our enemy can cause will lessen God’s love and eternal protection of His sheep.

What is truth? God is sovereign. God is omnipotent. God is omniscient. God is omnipresent. God is immutable. God is Holy. God is Righteous. God is Just. God is Love. God is gracious. God loves His people. God sent His beloved Son to this Earth as the God-Man. He lived a perfect life, fulfilling the Law of God thereby becoming the perfect sacrifice that when carried out paid the price for the sin of all of God’s elect.

For those whom he foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, in order that he might be the firstborn among many brothers. And those whom he predestined he also called, and those whom he called he also justified, and those whom he justified he also glorified. (Romans 8:29-30 ESV) 

The calling of God’s people caused them to believe and repent. God then justifies them by faith and their glorification awaits in eternity.

I have been accused of not being able to hear God’s voice because I refuse to listen to heretical teachings about works righteousness. I have been accused of being full of pride because I won’t discuss the possibility that God is not sovereign over the will of Man.The attack was mind numbing. The attack was paralyzing for several days. However, many of my good friends prayed for me and for this situation. I heard a great deal of godly counsel full of wisdom and discernment. I prayed for this as well. In the end, my conviction to never give in, to stand and not be defeated by this through the power of God by His grace, overrode my desire to allow unlimited discussion in the post that was being zeroed in on by my accuser. I found it amazing that the post that was being used by him was the one about Jesus fulfilling the Law.

What is truth? Jesus Christ came to this world and was completely victorious over our enemy and the power of death. No matter how much our enemy wants us to remain in the dark about these truths, no matter how persuasive he is, no matter how bad we feel while being oppressed, no matter what names we are called, no matter how we are persecuted or killed, no matter what — Jesus Christ is Lord and our enemy is defeated with little time left. We must be vigilant. We must not give in to him and his people even if it makes us look like we are the unreasonable ones.

Dear Heavenly Father, hallowed by thy name. You are the living God. Your ways are not our ways. You allow your people to be persecuted so that your will will be done in their lives all for your glory. No matter how severe the fires of persecution are, You are still perfectly in control, holding each of your sheep in your hands, not losing one. Praise You my Lord, God and King. I pray for the soon completion and perfection of Your Kingdom to come to this world. All for Your Glory – Amen!

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15 thoughts on “What is Truth?

  1. Persecution is hard and we will continue to pray for you. God is shaping you into His image, my brother, as He is all of us…amen! His grace is sufficient for us because everything good that is done is done through Him. I just got through listening to “True Gospel part 5″. I won’t even tell you how it has fed me because I can’t explain it. Go there and feed upon God’s love for you! http://www.heartcrymissionary.com

  2. Mike,

    I will be praying for you tomorrow, as well. Be careful, though, with letting others know.

    “When you fast, do not look somber as the hypocrites do, for they disfigure their faces to show men they are fasting. I tell you the truth, they have received their reward in full. But when you fast, put oil on your head and wash your face, so that it will not be obvious to men that you are fasting, but only to your Father, who is unseen; and your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you. (Matthew 6:16-18)

    It is a difficult line to walk.

    Also, per your recent troubles, do not worry, the warning about pride should stand for all of us, lest we think we always have the right answers. It takes deep roots to hold onto what it essential, but yet be both discerning and open to the possibility of being wrong on some things…

    Whenever I have felt “persecuted” where I am, I just have to remember that it is nothing like what Christ endured, and it is also magnitudes less than what our brothers and sisters currently endure in many Asian and African nations today. When one part of the body hurts, we all hurt.

  3. “I thank God, whom I serve with a pure conscience, as my forefathers did, as without ceasing I remember you in my prayers night and day.” 1Timothy 1:3
    Paul isn’t telling Timothy this so that he can brag about his prayer time and how he prays but tells him this for Timothy’s edification and God’s glorification. Mike wasn’t bragging about his prayer and fasting time but was encouraging me, as his sister in Christ, to fast and pray and how to go about doing it. He showed himsef a true brother in the Lord by offering to support me during a time of prayer and fasting. I do apologize to everyone here if I sounded proudful in stating that I would pray and fast. I am sinful and everything I do is but dung and so will be my prayer and fasting time if I don’t turn it over to God for His glorification. “Nothing in my hands I bring simply to the cross I cling”.

  4. Hey Mike,

    Paul told us he was exceedingly joyful in all his tribulations. We have conqueured, through Him, all things, In Suffering, In Tribulation, and In Persecution They can all bring us joy, because we are in Him and this should produce abundant joy. When we battle against principalities or anything it will bring joy in the fact that we know, He is in us, with us and for us! We will battle persucution when we lay down the truth. It is definately a crime for a Christian to be weak in God’s strength and I know we are at times. I know I am, but I know as we grow closer to God through studying, through living our lives for Christ, In our walk, In fasting, In sharing the Gospel to a dying world, we will find more persecution because Satan does not want this and will do anything to stop it and use anyone to get to us. But we can find joy even in these times because we know that our God reigns, and we are His childern. When we except God’s Will we can find peace. In these times of persecution we need to ask God what His purpose is for this trial? We need pray for guidance and find what will bring ultimate Glory to Him. Our focus should be on HIm and Him alone and find joy in what we go through and what the outcome of it all because ultimately, He brought it into our lives to teach us and help us grow in Him. A lot of the times I will question God, “Why are you doing this or bringing this into my life?” Later down the road I see His purpose and wonder why I didn’t see it in the first place. I need to be more excepting in these times because I am thinking these are the times that I grow more so I need to trust in Him. The world is watching and wating for us to stumble….

  5. Chris L.

    Thanks for the prayer support and encouragement, my brother. You are right. I prefer to fast in total privacy with no one knowing, but this all just “happend.” However, God is sovereign and in complete control. I am nothing without Him and I certainly am not the source of all truth. That is God and God alone.

    In Christ

    Mike Ratliff

  6. Sarah,

    Thanks my sister for the prayers and encouragement. I pray that God will continue to draw you closer and closer to Him trasforming you unto the image of Christ.

    In Christ

    Mike Ratliff

  7. Cristina,

    Thank you for the encouragment. I believe God is preparing us for the persecution to come. However, we must joyously continue to do His will, no matter the cost. In 2 Peter 1 we have the steps to take so that we will never stumble. I think the “remnant” of the Church needs to take this to heart because the fires are coming.

    In Christ

    Mike Ratliff

  8. Mike,

    The question Pilate asked reveals the problem with knowing and understanding the truth. When truth is thought to be a “what” and not a “who” then anyone’s subjective opinion of what truth is will do but that will deceive their heart and lead them into darkness. “But they would not listen to and obey Me or bend their ear [to Me], but followed the counsels and the stubborn promptings of their own evil hearts and minds, and they turned their backs and went in reverse instead of forward.” (Jeremiah 7:24) Both truth and falsehood (the lie) must have a source of supply to be drawn upon. For the believer it is Christ, “I am the Way and the Truth and the Life.” He gives us the Spirit of Truth who will guide us into all the truth. (John 16:3) But the resource of those who reject Christ and will not receive His words is Satan even though they are unaware of it. “Why do you not understand My speech? Because you are not able to listen to My word. You are of your father the devil, and the desires of your father you want to do. He was a murderer from the beginning, and does not stand in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he speaks a lie, he speaks from his own resources, for he is a liar and the father of it.” (John 8:43,44) We are only as enlightened as by the resource we draw from. I think John states it clearly for the true believer in his first letter, “But as for you, the anointing (the sacred appointment, the unction) which you received from Him abides [permanently] in you; [so] then you have no need that anyone should instruct you. But just as His anointing teaches you concerning everything and is true and is no falsehood, so you must abide in (live in, never depart from) Him [being rooted in Him, knit to Him], just as [His anointing] has taught you [to do].” (1 John 2:27) I know the elect are all at different stages in their walk and maturity. A teachable heart is a valuable asset to the child of God and precious to the Holy Spirit. Back around 1983, when I had been saved for about 10 years, I was thinking about all the changes that had happen to me since I was born again and made this comment to our Heavenly Father, “Father, when you consider where I started with where I am at today, I sure have come a long ways.” To which Father replied in my spirit, “Loddie, when you consider where you are at today with where you have to go, you’re just getting started.” And have I ever found out the truth of that statement. And still a long ways to go. Mike, hang in there and be encouraged. Our heavenly Father has a work to do in all of us and will be faithful to complete that work in the way that is best for each of us. May the manifestations of Father and Jesus be strong upon your life, family and Christian walk.

    Loddie Resnick

  9. And from someone who receives persecution from the other side of the free will perspective, keep the faith, Mike. Some of God’s choicsest servants have been of your perspective, and vice versa. And while they argue about those “hard to understand” truths, they neglect to worship and bow before Him WHO IS TRUTH.

    One day we will know as we are known and Arminian and Calvinist and mixed, together will fall prostrate before the Risen Christ, the Reigning Embodiment of All Everlasting Truth, and with one voice will will confess that Jesus is Lord, to the glory of God the Father!!!

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