Post-truth is the 2016 word of the year, according to the Oxford English Dictionary. The acrimonious Brexit referendum result and the surprise Trump victory have both been attributed to post-truth debating tactics. Experts are surplus to requirements. Facts are secondary to emotions. Truth is relegated to backstage, if it makes an appearance at all.
The motto of the CIA is: "And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free". These are the words of Jesus, from John 8:32. If liberty is founded on truth, then can we be genuinely free in a post-truth world? Orwell's dystopian novels suggest not. Floundering post-truth politicians seem to reinforce Orwell's conclusion.
Christ promises freedom through truth. So how can we know the truth? Christ said, "I am the way, the truth and the life." [John 14:6] He is truth incarnate, quintessential truth. To know Him is to know the truth.
Therefore a post-truth society implies a post-Christ society. Indeed, many would recognise our culture as post-Christian. So how can we know Christ? How can we steer to the truth despite the prevailing winds of post-truth? I suppose the answer is the same as it ever was - by searching the scriptures. "Thy word is truth." [John 17:17]
Show me the truth concealed
Within Thy word;
And in Thy book revealed
I see Thee Lord.
Earnest Christ-seekers (and all Christians should be included in this company) must scrutinize the Bible to learn of Christ. What an excellent resolution for the new year!
Tuesday, May 10, 2016
Bigger than Brexit?
Colossians 1:13-14 - NASB
13 For He rescued us from the domain of darkness, and transferred us to the kingdom of His beloved Son, 14 in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins.
A new word has entered our vocabulary. ‘Brexit’ currently dominates newspaper headlines and personal conversations across the nation.The issue at stake is whether Britain should remain in the European Union, or leave it altogether. A referendum will be held in June to determine the outcome to this question. Depending on whether you listen to Barack Obama or Boris Johnson, you might be ‘in’ or ‘out’. There are elements of truth in the argument on both sides, which means it is difficult to reach a definitive decision.
In our Bible passage, we read about a more significant exit - a deliverance from the power of darkness. God is always linked with light in scripture: ‘God is light; in Him is no darkness at all’ (1 Jo 1.5). So darkness is anti-God. If God is good, then darkness is evil (Jo 3.19). If God is wise, then darkness is folly (Jo 1.5).
To remain in the domain of darkness is to be captivated by sin. We are addicted to wrong behaviour, and powerless to break free from it. Without deliverance, we are prisoners. We are slaves to sin, facing God’s judgment, which results in ‘blackness of darkness for ever’ (Jude 13). This describes an eternity separated from God and His grace.
The good news of the Bible is that we can be delivered from the darkness and gain membership of a different spiritual society - the kingdom of God’s own Son. How? Because a man died on a cross. He was no ordinary man. The officer in charge of Jesus’ crucifixion said this of him, ‘Truly this man was the Son of God.’ (Matt 27. 54). Christ suffered for sins (1 Pet 3. 18). He soaked up all the wrong of a rebellious, God-despising world, so we can be freed from our sins if we repent and trust in Him.
To belong to this kingdom is to be in the light. The darkness is filled with hatred. The kingdom is filled with love. The darkness culminates in death. The kingdom results in life. The darkness leads to hell. The kingdom leads to heaven. This requires a choice - we must opt-in. Like the Brexit referendum - we need to take a side. To know deliverance from the darkness, we must trust in the risen Christ. The Amplified Bible paraphrases trust in Christ as ‘rely on and have confidence in Christ’.
The arguments in the Brexit debate generally centre on Security, Prosperity and Sovereignty. These same subjects come up with the transfer into God’s Kingdom. Once we turn to Christ and trust in Him, we are eternally secure. He says of those who believe in Him: ‘They shall never perish’ (Jo 10. 28). He gives us all the blessings of heaven: freedom, forgiveness, reconciliation, ‘every spiritual blessing in heavenly places in Christ’ (Eph 1. 3). He frees us from slavery to sin and makes us God’s own children (Ro 8. 21). Which side are you on? Have you left the darkness? Have you come into the light?