Sunday, May 1, 2016

That's Your Opinion!

This phrase is often encountered as one gives an apologetic for the Good News of Jesus Christ. We all have opinions about many matters, but this phrase is instead thrown out as a quick defense against unnerving statements of fact. They do not like your “truth”, so they seek to disengage from thinking further about it by implying that what is “true” for one does not necessarily mean it is “true” for all. This is called Relativism:
“The idea that no ideas or beliefs are universally true but that all are, instead, ‘relative’, that is, their validity depends on the time, persons, & circumstances in which they are applied.”

Relativism is not new, but dates back to the “sophist” line of Greek philosophy (c. 500 B.C.).

Apparently, Pilate was a devotee…

John 18:37-38a 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. (John 14:6) Everyone who is of the truth listens to my voice."
Pilate said to him, "What is truth?"

Pilate’s response reflects the attitude of many academics, who expend great energy gaining knowledge either in a vain attempt to find meaning outside of submission to a supreme God; or (worse yet) to simply lord their intellect over others. This irony is supreme, for such are “always learning but never able to arrive at a knowledge of the truth” (2 Tim. 3:7).

“Pilate's exclamation is neither the expression of an ardent thirst for truth, nor that of the despair of a soul which has long sought it in vain; it is the profession of a frivolous skepticism, such as is frequently seen in the overly philosophical man of the world.” Frédéric Louis Godet (1886)

But Christ instead relates truth that is universal to all…

John 8:31-32 So Jesus said to the Jews who had believed him, "If you abide in my word, you are truly my disciples, and you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free."

Many Bible cherry-pickers will often stop here to teach “truth” which is often utterly out of context with
Christ’s teaching, with the implication that Jesus promises that believing such will cause you to be “set free”.

But, as with any good textual analysis, context is king.

Reading on, we see God’s Son precisely defining His emancipating truth…

8:33-36,45 They answered him, "We are offspring of Abraham and have never been enslaved to anyone.

How is it that you say, 'You will become free'?"

Jesus answered them, "Truly, truly, I say to you, everyone who practices sin is a slave to sin.

The slave does not remain in the house forever; the Son remains forever.

So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed… But because I tell the truth, you do not believe me.

So the ugly truth that Jesus desires to free us from is clearly revealed as the universal sinful nature.

This beast enslaves all who push away their only Savior, Advocate, & Friend Jesus Christ.

John 1:14,17 And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we have seen his glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth… For the law was given through Moses; grace and truth came through Jesus Christ.

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