Yes, we can absolutely know the Truth. The Bible tells us so.
The often cited verse is John 8:32 “And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.” Clear enough. Time and again Christ talked of telling the truth. He spoke about the way of God being truth.
Truth can be defined as that which is in accordance with fact or reality. Truth opposes myth or fiction or imaginations.
2Tim. 2:15 “Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.”
John 17:17 “Sanctify them through thy truth: thy word is truth.”
Relativism is the doctrine that knowledge, truth and morality exist in relation to culture, society or historical context and are not absolute. For example, some argue that the teaching of 1st Corinthians 11 on headship are not binding today because they are relative. The culture of that day must be considered to put that teaching into historical perspective, they claim.
It’s easy to see the draw of such a doctrine. We can easily explain away any doctrine or command that puts restrictions on us. Such a doctrine has become the spiritual equivalent of diplomatic immunity. God’s Law doesn’t apply, or it really doesn’t mean what it says.
Others embrace portions of relativism, but won’t go so far as to declare there is no truth. For them, it’s more comfortable to acknowledge some truth while rejecting other truth. It’s the best of both worlds. It makes no more sense than relativism. In fact it’s far less consistent than relativism, but equally destructive to God’s commands.
Something may be truth for you, but not for me. And sometimes one thing is true, while at other times it’s not. It certainly leads to contentions and needful debate. Yet, we read in 1 Cor. 14:33 “For God is not the author of confusion, but of peace, as in all churches of the saints.”
Now how is that possible? If there is relative truth then there must necessarily be debate and contentions. People must discuss and argue about what is true and what isn’t. And the object of that debate isn’t what God has to say about it, but rather what men have to say about it. Times change. Cultures change. So the debate must be continual if we’re to determine truth for us at any specific moment in time. Even then, it’s not for sure because we can never really know what is true. This describes a high risk proposition – not what God has architected to save us!
And history can’t really help because if we buy into this false doctrine – what was true yesterday may not be true for us today. Truth is ever changing as it’s influenced by both mankind and time.
Nevermind that the Hebrew writer was inspired to write in Heb. 13:8 “Jesus Christ the same yesterday, and to day, and for ever.” That’s either true or false. If it’s true then God’s message given through Christ and inspiration of the Holy Spirit is still true – just as it’s always been true. Or it’s never been true and it never will be true. And if the later is so, then God is a liar.
Rom. 3:3, 4 “For what if some did not believe? shall their unbelief make the faith of God without effect? God forbid: yea, let God be true, but every man a liar; as it is written, That thou mightest be justified in thy sayings, and mightest overcome when thou art judged.”
God gave us Truth when He sent His Son to earth to be the sacrifice necessary so mankind could be saved. He gave us Truth when Christ preached what God gave Him. He gave us Truth when He sent the Holy Spirit to give His words to the men who wrote the Scriptures. God breathed it. And God did not breathe lies. He breathed Truth.
It can be known because the Scriptures teach edification, understanding and discernment. What God gave can be preached, understood and obeyed. That means the Truth can and must be known.
1Cor. 1:18 “For the preaching of the cross is to them that perish foolishness; but unto us which are saved it is the power of God.”
1Cor. 1:21 “For after that in the wisdom of God the world by wisdom knew not God, it pleased God by the foolishness of preaching to save them that believe.”
If the foolishness of preaching saves them that believe, then it is logical that men are able to understand that preaching.
2Tim. 4:17 “Notwithstanding the Lord stood with me, and strengthened me; that by me the preaching might be fully known, and that all the Gentiles might hear: and I was delivered out of the mouth of the lion.”
The Gentiles were able to know the Truth by Paul’s preaching of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Today, we can all know the Truth by the same preaching of the Gospel. We obey it by first knowing it or understanding it.
Consider the preaching at Pentecost. Peter preached the Gospel to the people who crucified the Lord. They understood what he preached. Many of them obeyed it and became disciples, Christians. From then to now – and until the end of time – that is how Christians are made. They’re made by understanding and obeying the Gospel of Christ.
Rom. 10:17 “So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.”
Faith isn’t possible without the Word of God. We hear the Word of God when we listen to it preached or when we read it. We learn or know Truth when we hear the Gospel. That establishes our faith.
Faith isn’t blind. Faith is reasonable, logical and makes complete sense once a person knows God’s Word. God’s Truth is His Word.
Rev. 20:12, 13 “And I saw the dead, small and great, stand before God; and the books were opened: and another book was opened, which is the book of life: and the dead were judged out of those things which were written in the books, according to their works. And the sea gave up the dead which were in it; and death and hell delivered up the dead which were in them: and they were judged every man according to their works.”
Judged by our works means what? Who’s going to determine if our works are worthy of eternal damnation or eternal bliss? By what standard is our behavior going to be judged?
Am I going to stand in judgment condemned for something that in my culture, society and time was wrong, but somebody else is justified because it was true (or righteous) in their culture, society and time? If so, God is a respector of persons.
Acts 10:34 “Then Peter opened his mouth, and said, Of a truth I perceive that God is no respecter of persons:” Of a truth, Peter? God isn’t a respecter of persons? You mean God will judge us all by the same standard? That’s exactly what the Scriptures teach.
To know God is to obey Him. To obey Him is to follow His Word. To obey Him is to love Him.
John 14:15 “If ye love me, keep my commandments.”
John 8:32 “And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.” Knowing the Truth frees us from sin and the threat of the second death – a devil’s hell.
Not only can we know the Truth – we must! Our souls depend on it. Our eternal destiny will be determined by our knowledge and obedience to the Truth.