by Mike Ratliff
33 Therefore Pilate entered again into the Praetorium, and summoned Jesus and said to Him, “Are You the King of the Jews?” 34 Jesus answered, “Are you saying this on your own initiative, or did others tell you about Me?” 35 Pilate answered, “I am not a Jew, am I? Your own nation and the chief priests delivered You to me; what have You done?” 36 Jesus answered, “My kingdom is not of this world. If My kingdom were of this world, then My servants would be fighting so that I would not be handed over to the Jews; but as it is, My kingdom is not of this realm.” 37 Therefore Pilate said to Him, “So You are a king?” Jesus answered, “You say correctly that I am a king. For this I have been born, and for this I have come into the world, to testify to the truth. Everyone who is of the truth hears My voice.” 38 Pilate *said to Him, “What is truth?”
And when he had said this, he went out again to the Jews and *said to them, “I find no guilt in Him. John 18:33-38 (NASB)
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 hears 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.
27 My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me; 28 and I give eternal life to them, and they will never perish; and no one will snatch them out of My hand. 29 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. 30 I and the Father are one.” John 10:27-30 (NASB)
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.
31 What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who is against us? 32 He who did not spare His own Son, but delivered Him over for us all, how will He not also with Him freely give us all things? 33 Who will bring a charge against God’s elect? God is the one who justifies; 34 who is the one who condemns? Christ Jesus is He who died, yes, rather who was raised, who is at the right hand of God, who also intercedes for us. 35 Who will separate us from the love of Christ? Will tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword? 36 Just as it is written,
“For Your sake we are being put to death all day long;
WE were considered as sheep to be slaughtered.”
37 But in all these things we overwhelmingly conquer through Him who loved us. 38 For I am convinced that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, 39 nor height, nor depth, nor any other created thing, will be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord. Romans 8:31-39 (NASB)
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.
29 For those whom He foreknew, He also predestined to become conformed to the image of His Son, so that He would be the firstborn among many brethren; 30 and these whom He predestined, He also called; and these whom He called, He also justified; and these whom He justified, He also glorified. Romans 8:29-30 (NASB)
The calling of God’s people caused them to believe and repent. God then justifies them by faith and their glorification awaits in eternity.
Several years ago I found myself being accused of not being able to hear God’s voice because I refused to listen to heretical teachings about works righteousness. I was accused of being full of pride because I would not discuss the possibility that God is not sovereign over the will of Man. The attack was mind numbing and was paralyzing for several days. However, many of my good friends prayed for me and for that 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. I found it amazing that once I listened to godly counsel and closed the comments on that post that the peace of the Lord was overwhelming and as I looked back on the ugliness of the discussion I was amazed at how our enemy was using just basic accusations in an attempt to defeat me. Once the light of truth was shown into that darkness it all appeared as nothing. Our enemy is very smart, but He has no authority beyond what our Lord allows.
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.
Soli Deo Gloria!