Tuesday, March 16, 2010

"The Fruit of the Spirit is Truth"

Pilate asked the ultimate question in John 18:38: “What is truth?” He stood in the presence of the One who is Truth (John 14:6), and asked for an abstract concept.
Truth is, ultimately, the Man, Christ Jesus. This fact Pilate was not prepared to receive.

We may judge Pilate harshly for sending Jesus to the cross. But Pilate was under incredible pressure. His job and his life were at stake. It seemed that truthfulness would cost him everything. He chose the path which appeared to be in his own best interest, and, so doing, lost everything.

Left to my own devices, I will make the same mistake Pilate made. The pressures I face are the same as those he faced. Jesus says to me, today, “I am the way, the truth, and the life” (John 14:6). Like Pilate, I long for the peace and freedom that is inherent in truth (see John 8:32). Like Pilate, I stand in the very presence of the One who is Truth, for the Word tells me in Revelation 3:20 that He stands knocking at the very door of my heart. Like Pilate, I have a question to ask; a choice to make. Matthew 27:22 gives another question in Pilate’s voice, but it is, indeed, the question I must decide today: “Pilate saith unto them, What shall I do then with Jesus which is called Christ?”

Jesus is spoken of in John 1:1 as the Word. The scriptures, when approached with a prayerful, submissive spirit, are the very presence of Christ. Through the Spirit, the Word is the voice, the reproof, the comfort of God to me. Today, if I allow the pressures of life to keep me from the Word, I will make choices of the same quality as that which Pilate made. But if I allow the knocking Christ to come into my heart –if I give Him time, literally, to “sup” with me (Revelation 3:20) – if I refuse to let Him go until He blesses me (Genesis 32:26), then the world will not have the opportunity to squeeze me “into its mould” (see Romans 12:2, Phillips).

This week’s lesson deals with “Truth” as a part of the “fruit of the Spirit.” The command of God to Adam and Eve was that they should “be fruitful” (Genesis 1:28). Throughout the gospels we find God seeking the fruit of the Spirit in the lives of His people.

So long as I hold “the truth” as an external construct – a theory – I will find that it is powerless to bring life and freedom to my soul. When I allow God to define truth to me and in me, then Truth, in the person of Christ, brings forth the fruit for which He seeks. “This is life eternal, that they might know thee, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom thou hast sent” (John 17:3).

To “know” something is merely to have a mental acquaintance with, or cognizance of it. To “know” someone in the Biblical sense, is to have an intimate relationship with that person – so intimate, in fact, that new life is begotten. Keeping this in mind, compare the following passages prayerfully:

 Psalm 51:6 “Behold, thou desirest truth in the inward parts: and in the hidden part thou shalt make me to know wisdom.”

 John 17:23 “I in them, and thou in me, that they may be made perfect in one; and that the world may know that thou hast sent me, and hast loved them, as thou hast loved me.”

 Isaiah 54:5 “Thy Maker is thine husband; the LORD of hosts is his name; and thy Redeemer the Holy One of Israel.

 1 Corinthians 6:19 “What? know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost which is in you, which ye have of God, and ye are not your own?”

 Hebrews 8:10, 11 “For this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, saith the Lord; I will put my laws into their mind, and write them in their hearts: and I will be to them a God, and they shall be to me a people: and they shall not teach every man his neighbour…for all shall know me.”

Now the passage, “Ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free” (John 8:32) can be seen in its intended context. This “knowing” is not a mere cognizance of the wisest decisions to make, or the truthful response to a given question. To “know” truth in this sense is to be as fully surrendered to “the Man, Christ Jesus” as the wife must be to her husband in order for the marriage to be fruitful. Unless the life of Christ is implanted in our life, we remain forever barren. When we do allow Him to become “the Author and Finisher of our faith” (Hebrews 12:2), the change in us will be as real and apparent as the change that takes place in a woman who is with child.

Several times in the past few months, news reporters have told of demented women who sliced open the wombs of other women and tried to keep the child thus obtained as their own. We are amazed and disgusted at anyone so foolish as to think that a child gotten under such circumstances could ever be her own.

Yet, if we have ever sought to become righteous by attempting to do right things, the “fruit” thus produced is no more valid than a child stolen from another. Indeed, the Scriptures state such “righteousness” to be “filthy rags” (Isaiah 54:6).

The fruit of the Spirit is born by those who “yield to Him and follow Him. He will take care that we know the truth, and we trust Him for it” (A. T. Jones, General Conference Daily Bulletin, January 27, 1893). Those who choose to let Christ into their lives “are not simply counted righteous, but actually made righteous, by the obedience of Christ, who is as righteous as he ever was, and who lives today in those who yield to him.…What God did in the person of the Carpenter of Nazareth, he is willing and anxious to do for every man that believes. The free gift comes upon all, but all will not accept it, and therefore all are not made righteous by it. Nevertheless, "many" will be made righteous by his obedience. Who will be one of the many?” (E. J. Waggoner, Signs of the Times, March 12, 1896)



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