By Edward Thal /
In a quest for Truth it is not enough to identify the universality of some aspect of truth that will validate it as a “higher” truth. (For example, the idea that we should do good to others, or “love thy neighbor”, is accepted almost everywhere). Truth, by definition, is universal and aspects of it will emerge and be recognized wherever honest men seek the answers to the big questions of life. The essential question, however, is whether we can know all Truth.
On its face this appears impossible to achieve in a single lifetime, until we are confronted by the Gospel and come to the liberating realization that Truth is not the sum of all knowledge and is not contained in finite things. It will not be found to any satisfying degree in the doctrines and dogmas of mere religion. Truth is not a thing: it is a person!
“I am the Truth…” said Jesus Christ (John 14:6).
If you know Him, you know the Truth, and you are set free from doubt and speculation about the meaning of this, or that, or the relevance of this, or that, or the authenticity of this, or that (John 8:32).
We only know with conviction what we have seen and heard (I John 1:1-4) and the transformational wonder of the essential Bible message is that honest seekers through the ages have been able—still are able—to both see and hear Jesus Christ, the embodiment of all Truth, when they experience Him not as a religious icon but as a real, indwelling, living presence. The treasure in the earthen vessel is much, much more than a concept or a universal consciousness or a “force” or “power” – the treasure is Jesus Christ.
This fact immediately sets Biblical Christianity apart from all religions (including, perhaps especially, religious Christianity), since the essential requirement of every religion is acceptance of and conformity to a set of dogmas or principles or rules or beliefs that hopefully move us along a path towards reconciliation with God and ultimate unity with God. Yet the glaringly obvious flaw in religion (or any belief system not in conformity with Christ) is that it takes the focus off God the Creator (what He has done) and places the focus on man (what he must do).
The blessedly simple alternative is to accept what God has done for me through Jesus Christ and to experience Him not as a virtue earned but as a gift received, and thence to enjoy instant reconciliation and unity with God. Once He is in me (and I in Him) I begin to grow in the grace and knowledge of Him, rather like a child growing up in a family after the child is born. This is a spiritual birth, and since it follows our physical birth, Jesus referred to it as being “born again” (John 3:3).
The only question remaining as we submit to the logic of this wonderful truth is why God would offer something so precious, as a gift? The answer of course is that it must be a gift since we could never do enough to earn it!