The Spirit of Truth
‘But when he, the Spirit of truth, comes, he will guide you into all truth.’ (John 16:13)
‘What is truth?’ (John 18:38) Pilate asked Jesus at his trial. Did he mean, ‘What does truth matter?’ or ‘How can any of us know what truth is?’ or ‘What truth are you talking about?’ We will never know. But whatever he exactly meant, it was the sort of attitude that we often meet in our post-modern, western world, where the greatest ‘wrong’ is to dare to suggest that there is ‘a’ truth – absolute truth – truth that has a legitimate call upon everyone.
In stark contrast to this, Jesus came into this world, not simply bringing the truth, but being the truth. ‘I am the way and the truth and the life,’ he boldly declared – and as God, he had every right to! And so it should not surprise us to find him describing the Holy Spirit, whom he promised to send to be everything to his disciples that he himself had been, as ‘the Spirit of truth’.
This truth is not just about right doctrine, however - important as that is; it is also truth in terms of right living. Truth is not a concept but a person; and so our living in truth is about our living out our life with this person of the Holy Spirit. There is little that rings ‘true’, therefore, if we ‘stand up for truth’ – perhaps defending some doctrine or action or position - but are arrogant and ungracious in the way we do so; there is little that rings ‘true’ if we condemn the sins of others, but then live in secret sin ourselves.
Do I want to stand up for truth in the world? Then I will look to the Spirit of truth to lead me. Do I want to live out the truth? Then I will obey the Scriptures that the Spirit of truth inspired. Do I want to grow in the truth? Then I will respond to the way the Spirit of truth leads me. For truth is for living, not just for learning.
Today, ask the Holy Spirit to lead you into truth, just as Jesus promised he would – and then do whatever he tells you.
… the Spirit is the truth. (1 John 5:6)
Copyright © 2017 Martin Manser and Mike Beaumont
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