July 29, 2018 Veritas, Really!

Veritas, Really!

Economist Russ Roberts of the Hoover Institute at Stanford University hosts a weekly podcast titled, EconTalk. Normally an interviewer of noted authors, Dr. Roberts chose, this week, to monologize about the increasing tribalism in America. He attributes the cause to a proliferation of news media during the past, especially ten years, that solicit the same, limited audience. So, to gain their slice, each supplier of news frames events for the psychographics of their, mostly unique, audience; perhaps, embellishing the event (as in portraying the five-pound fish as a fifty-pound behemoth that put up a great fight) or, even, creating an event (otherwise called ‘fake news’) to spew out their agendas.

Consequently, perhaps, Pilate questioned correctly: “What is truth?” (Bible, John 18.38ESV). Note that John writes that Pilate “said” this question in reply to Jesus’ assertion, instead of asking for an answer. [And, to complete the EconTalk episode: Dr. Roberts’ point is that we should listen to others’ views for learning and civility. {Personally, I have found this to hone critical thinking skills for: identifying misinformation, disinformation, and ‘straw-man’ arguments.}]

Pilate’s statement responded to Jesus’ answer to his question in John 18.37. In His answer, Jesus restates what Gospel-writer John attributes as the purpose of the Word bringing “Light” into the world (John 1.17explaining John 1.9).
“Grace” and “Truth” ARE the “Light” in every Nature of Reality: Aesthetic, Epistemology, Ethic, and Metaphysic! Light, that is grace and truth, came into the world through the Anointed Word, “Jesus”. Grace and truth are “Jesus”, since the Word took upon Himself flesh (John 1.14) and had been so named by God through Angel Gabriel (Luke 1.31& Matthew 1.21).

Pilate’s statement, “What is truth?” (John 18.38), reveals the relativism of the standards for distinguishing accuracy in that day. He was a product of the power struggle within the Roman Empire that resulted in Gaius Octavius, Julius Caesar’s son, becoming Caesar (the title Augustus was also given him {Wikipedia, Roman Empire}; thus, Luke 2.1-7tells that Caesar Augustus {like despot} proclaimed a tax that brought Mary and Joseph to Bethlehem). Truth depended upon the opinion of the superior power who was speaking. Likewise, Apostle Paul points out that “Jews demand signs and Greeks seek wisdom” (1 Corinthians 1.22; Acts 17.21). So, three different philosophical cultures—force, tradition, reason—illustrate differently the interpretative nature of ‘truth’.

Into this relativistic context came the Word interjecting Truth. So, Truth IS the Word (John 1.1) Who brought a disruption to their cultures (Mark 3.1-6)! Perhaps, this understanding gives a clearer explanation of Jesus’ encouragement in John 8.31-32. Certain Jews had “received” the Word.

  • According to John 1.12, had they believed in Jesus’ Name or in His teachings and proofs?
  • In Jesus’ caution, “If you abide in my word…” (John 8.31), was He cautioning them to continue to believe in His Name? [How does Hebrews 6.4-6emphasize this answer? What about Revelation 12.11? What about 2 John 1-2? {was John being consistent}] Or, was He cautioning them just to remain in harmony with His teachings?
  • Which answer gives the broadest application of “truth” (John 8.32)? How does Matthew 28.18 explain that the letter understanding is application of the former?
  • Which answer reveals a mindset guiding thinking? Which reveals 
behaviors demonstrating thinking? [In your contemplation, consider Jesus’ sequence in His Model Prayer in Matthew 6.9-10: mindset in verse nine, thinking in verse 10a, behaviors in verse 10b.] Why is mindset a better approach to train thinking than is behavior?]
  • Which answer, above, does Apostle Paul intimate in Colossians 2.8-10(compare with John 1.14)?

Consider how Jesus emphasizes the importance of the Word in John 14.6: “‘No one comes to the Father except through me.’” The Word had taken on flesh and name (John 1.14; Hebrews 2.14-15; Luke 1.31) to pay the death penalty for the sins of all who would receive His Name (Hebrews 10.1-24;Isaiah 1.18). Thus, Jesus says He, Himself, is Life that gives Light (John 14.6; John 1.4)! 
How does capitalizing “I AM” and listing “way…truth…life” help to explain Jesus’ emphasis on the Word in John 1.1? How does Philippians 2.9-11agree with this?

Jesus, the Word, IS Truth (John 1.14, 16-17; John 17.17{are we sanctified by the words of Scripture or by the Name into which we are baptizoed; Matthew 28.19, then 20; 1 John 5.20?})! We grow into that Name and into more Truth over time, as Paul writes in 2 Corinthians 3.18and Ephesians 1.5 & 11. In John 14.16-17, Jesus states that the Holy Spirit (the Helper from God the Father) is the Spirit of Truth with the disciples in Himself and would be the Truth always with them in the Word “Jesus” that they had been given (John 16.23-24; Luke 10.17, 19; Mark 16.15especially 20; illustrated in Acts 3.6). God, Himself, IS Truth (Isaiah 65.16; Psalm 18.30; Deuteronomy 32.4)! So, the Trinity IS Truth, and John 17.17says that we grow spiritually by abiding in the Word, as Jesus said in John 8:31-32(above)! Our spiritual development will guide our mental focus to direct our physical behaviors; i.e., mindset, thinking, behavior, respectively. We must abide in Truth, for our contexts of this world need it!

“Pilate” speaks today in the voices of many subversives of truth. Consider the relativistic views in the following opinion pieces.

America’s ruling elites did not merely forget America’s heritage; they have deliberately suppressed it. They look enviously at Europe, whose abandonment of Christianity and acceptance of mass migration has brought that continent to the brink of a new authoritarianism. Try home schooling in Germany, for instance. Or speaking your mind in merry old England, which locks people up for failing to salute the rainbow flag or the crescent and star.

The same sort of mischief is percolating in America, held back only by the strength of American Christianity, which is why the left assaults it at every turn. Unchecked, the left’s revolutionaries will fundamentally transform America into a place where we must lie to survive.

As religion writer Lauren Markoe writes: “LGBT people of faith say there is much work to be done to extend the spirit of the law to the nation’s churches.” If that doesn’t chill you to the bone, you haven’t been paying attention to the fallout from the U.S. Supreme Court’s imposition of same- sex “marriage” or the court victories notched by transgender activists.

In the 1830s, French social critic Alexis de Tocqueville wrote that churches were the glue holding the new republic together. Many scholars now instead credit the secular Enlightenment and ignore the Great Revivals. “The Enlightenment is working,” writes Harvard University Professor Steven Pinker. “Our ancestors replaced dogma, tradition and authority with reason, debate and institutions of truth seeking.” Never mind the Man from Nazareth who proclaimed, “the truth shall make you free.” (Knight, 2018)

And, from former religion editor at The Tennessean, Ray Waddle:

Most Americans believe in God, heaven, hell, devil and angels, but conviction about them has declined since 2001, says one Gallup analysis. By now it’s a cliche that millennials care less about institutional church than older generations do.
A trend seems to have emerged over the past 300 years. Maybe the late philosopher Richard Rorty was right and the edifice of transcendence is fading, and belief is shifting away from a God of infinite power to a God of love and charity.
This very minute, other frenzied forces (political, technological, market- oriented) want to exploit or secularize the space. Religious tradition is struggling to thwart their violence. (Waddle, 2018)

Ravi Zacharias recently read the following writing from Nietzsche about truth:

“Haven’t you heard of that madman who in the bright
morning lit a lantern and ran around the marketplace crying incessantly, ‘I’m looking for God! l’m looking for God!’ Since many of those who
did not believe in God were standing around together just then, he caused great laughter. Has he been lost, then? asked one. Did he lose his way like a child? asked another. Or is he hiding? Is he afraid of us? Has he gone to sea? Emigrated? – Thus they shouted and laughed, one interrupting the other. The madman jumped into their midst and
pierced them with his eyes. ‘Where is God?’ he cried; ‘I’ll tell you! We have killed him – you and I! We are all his murderers. But how did we do this? How were we able to drink up the sea? Who gave us the spange to wipe away the entire horizon? What were we doing when we unchained this earth from its sun? Where is it moving to now? Where are we
moving to? Away from all suns? Are we not continually falling? And backwards, sidewards, forwards, in all directions? Is there still an up and a down? Aren’t we straying as though through an infinite nothing? Isn’t empty space breathing at us? Hasn’t it got colder? Isn’t night and more night coming again and again? Don’t lanterns have to be lit in the morning? Do we still hear nothing of the noise of the grave-diggers who are burying God? Do we still smell nothing of the divine decomposition?
- Gods, too, decompose! God is dead! God remains dead! And we
have killed him! How can we console ourselves, the murderers of all murderers. The holiest and the mightiest thing the world has ever possessed has bled to death under our knives: who will wipe this blood from us? With what water could we clean ourselves? What festivals of atonement, what holy games will we have to invent for ourselves? Is the magnitude of this deed not too great for us? Do we not ourselves have to become gods merely to appear worthy of it?” (Nietzsche, 1882.)

Jesus stirred the Pharisees into a fire storm about man’s ultimate freedom residing in His Name (John 8.31-47), the Word of God (Revelation 19.13). He said that they were sons of satan living out his lie (John 8.44; Genesis 3.5; Isaiah 14.12-15). King Solomon knew this centuries earlier when he wrote Proverbs 6.16-19. What are the countervailing truths to these seven “abominations”?

Truth reveals satan’s lies; even today! How does Hosea 14.9summarize this? Jesus said to expose the lie with truth, in John 3.19-21. And, we know that Grace and Truth wins (John 1.5; Matthew 16.16-18)!

References

Knight, Robert. July 17, 2018. Living in revolutionary times. onenewsnow.com.

The Holy Bible. English Standard Version, unless otherwise noted.

OliveTree.com.

wikipedia.com

Waddle, Ray. July 7, 2018. Seeking the God of love in ‘post-religious’ times.

The Tennessean. Nashville.

Veritas, Really! 180722
Praise God!!! Copyright © 2018 by Maurice L. Painter. www.sozoclass.com

July 15, 2018 Grace and Truth

Grace and Truth

I believe that these two words — grace and truth — are John’s summary of Jesus’ life on Earth. John chose them very carefully with the Holy Spirit to convey the essence of Jesus’ teachings illustrated with His seven, specific miracles. Remember that Jesus gives a similar summary when asked about the most important commandment. He gives two (Matthew 22.35-40; ESV) to summarize Moses’ Ten (Exodus 20.1-17) which became explained in the 27 chapters of Leviticus. John helps us to understand grace and truth as his summary in John 1.9-18.

John begins this passage with a bold declaration: the Word (John 1.1) Who has Life from which flows unquenchable (John 1.5) Light (John 1.4) “was coming into the world” (John 1.9)! Can you imagine? The Word Who had given Life and Light to the stars and their planets in the entire Solar System was, now, focusing His attention upon the one planet where we live (John 1.3)!

But, the Word was not welcomed with fanfare and dignitaries. Rather, planet Earth did not recognize Him (John 1.10). In fact, the small nation He esteemed by choosing them to facilitate His arrival did not even want to know Him (John 1.11). They were unwilling to “receive” His Life and Light, although they had been worshipping Him as “Name” for centuries and had, even, built a Temple in Jerusalem honoring His Name (Deuteronomy 12.11& 1 Kings 9.3). They had forgotten the meaning of His Name, just like they did with Nehushtan (Numbers 21.8-9; 2 Kings 18.4).

John continues to narrow the focus of his term “world” (John 1.10) from Earth to the Jews (John 1.11) to, now, focus upon a very select group: those who gladly “received” the Word into their minds, hearts, and spirits through their belief in the authority, power, and comprehensive benefits contained within His Name, which they knew as “Jesus” (John 1.12-14; Ephesians 2.8-9; Luke 1.31; Matthew 1.21, 28.18; illustrated in Acts 3.16& 4.12; Apostle Paul comments on “Jesus” in Philippians 4.19)!

So, the Word that was packed with power to create the Solar System collected that power within the confines of an earth-suit to live among those who, especially, did “receive” Him (Hebrews 2.14-15); that is, among those “who believed in his name” (John 1.12). He showed His authority and, even, distributed it as “gifts” to them (Luke 10.17, 19). He became their benchmark for understanding and separating fiction from fact; that is, Darkness from Light (John 1.16-17; Acts 26.16-18).

In John 1.17, the writer distinguishes grace from law (Easton’s Bible Dictionary, “grace”, definition number four). Paul writes the same in Romans 6:14. Note John’s contrast: the Law of God was “given” through His servant Moses (Exodus 20.1-17). BUT, “grace and truth came” when the Word visited His creation; that is, “grace and truth were realized through Jesus Christ” (New American Standard Bible, “literally [grace and truth] came to be [through Jesus Christ]”; John 1.14). Did you get that? Grace and truth had only existed within the Word, Who infused them into His created Adam (Genesis 2.7). But, sin corrupted them in the Fall (Genesis 3.1-13). This prompted God to “give” Moses the Decalogue for mankind (Exodus 20.1-17) until grace and truth could be renewed by their Author Who “came” to Earth (John 1.9, 14) for that purpose. Apostle Paul states the rightful relationship between Law and Grace in Galatians 3.24-29. Further, the Jewish priests were to recognize Jesus as their High Priest after the transfer of the priesthood at Jesus’ baptism (bapto in Leviticus 8.6became baptizo in John 1.31-34). In Hebrews 8.6-7, Paul differentiates the New from Old covenants, distinguishing further the Priesthood of Jesus from Aaron.

Easton’s fifth definition of “grace” helps us to understand the NASB version of John 1.17to be ‘gifts’, as follows: “Gifts freely bestowed by God; as miracles, prophecy, tongues (Romans 15:15; 1 Corinthians 15:10;Ephesians 3:8.)” So, “fullness” in John 1.16becomes observable and understood in all of Jesus’ teachings and actions {Matthew 10.7-8; Mark 16.15-(especially) 20; illustrated in Luke 10.1-19}. What are the six categories of Jesus’ fullness that come from a seventh which is listed first in Isaiah 11.2? You have received these “gifts”!

John writes that all who would, indeed, “have…received” grace from His fullness (John 1.16; 14.26, 16.14-15). “Grace upon grace” connotes a progression of our knowledge and understanding through sanctification (our becoming more like Jesus; Ephesians 4.13) and through the practice of each “grace” over time (Hebrews 5.14, 3.16-4.2). Remember the definition of grace as God’s word of  promise and His willingness to use His great power to bring it to your reality.

Each gift must be “received” (John 1.12) and used. Jesus describes the progression of our knowledge, understanding, and use of each “grace” in Matthew 13.51-52; that is, we treasure the practice of earlier gifts and receive and put into practice new gifts (including those listed by Paul in 1 Corinthians 12.1-11). Thus, we know and understand God better through the practice of His “gifts” in our various epistemologies (Jeremiah 9.23-24; Matthew 6.33). This is His “gift” to us in our work (Ecclesiastes 5.19)!

Perhaps, John’s declaration that the Word entered an earth-suit (1:14) to show us the fullness of grace and truth is the first part of the “mystery” that Paul discusses in 1 Timothy 3.16and Colossians 1.24-2.3. Indeed, the “hope of glory” (v. 27), that is the power in a Christian lifestyle (Matthew 10.7-8; Luke 10.17; Acts 11.26) rewarded in eternal life, is only possible when we “receive” grace and truth by believing in the Name of the Word; i.e., Jesus (John 1.12; John 3.16)! He became flesh and dwelled among us (John 1.14; Hebrews 2.14-15; John 1.29-34)!

The second part of the “mystery” (Colossians 1.27), is that the anointing (definition of “Christ”; Easton’s Bible Dictionary) is upon and within receivers! This explains why Jesus commanded to baptizo new converts “into” the Name (“Jesus”) of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit (Matthew 28.19Amplified Bible) and to teach them the power of His presence (verse 20; John 17.21; Mark 16.15-20; Romans 5.1-5; 2 Corinthians 12.9-10).

This is the message that Paul wanted to make “fully known” to believers (1.25). And, because you and I have been baptized into the anointing (Matthew 28.19;John 17.20-23; John 14.16-17), we have “all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge” (Colossians 2.3) available to mankind (1 Corinthians 12.1-11)! Consequently, Paul encourage us to not be deceived by accepting less than this anointing (Colossians 2.8-10) of “grace and truth” (John 1.14).

Perhaps, Paul was called “to make the word of God fully known “ (Colossians 1.25) as a means for unpacking what Jesus prayed in John 17.18: “As you sent me into the world, so I have sent them into the world.” Disciples must know that they have the same charge from God as the Son: 2 Corinthians 5.20; John 3.16-21; Matthew 10.7-8, illustrated in Luke 10.1-19; and as Paul states in Acts 26.16-18. Thus, disciples would also need the Holy Spirit to empower them, which Jesus initiates in John 20.21-22(Acts 2.1-4; Ephesians 1.13-14) and Whom Jesus emphasizes in verse 20 of Mark 16.15-20(John 14.12-14): we go, but He does the work! Indeed, this “mystery…in you” (Colossians 1.26 & 27) empowers Jesus’ statement of true freedom in John 8.31-32, which the Pharisees could not receive because they were thinking physically (verse 33; Romans 6.16) and not spiritually, wherein is the true power (John 20.21-22).

As John writes in 1.17, Jesus gave us “gifts” and is the life raft of “truth” in the sea of “darkness” (Genesis 1.2; Matthew 6.22-23). This is the “Light” (John 1.9) that came into the world (all three worlds: Solar System, Jewish nation, receivers of Him) when the Word took on flesh to dwell among us (John 1.14; Hebrews 2.14-15). Interestingly, the Light that had occasionally been experienced in the past (as in Elijah and Elisha) was now coming for all to enjoy (John 1.9, Philippians 2.9-11, Colossians 2.8-10).

Ever increasing Grace and Truth! [We will consider Truth next.]

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Praise God!!! Copyright © by Maurice L. Painter, 2018. www.sozoclass.com.