Shelby G. Floyd
Finally, I shall point out in plain language, that the Bible teaches us explicitly that we can know the truth. Therefore, truth is attainable.
WE CAN KNOW THE TRUTH EXPLICITLY!
We can know the truth—we may not attain to all of God’s truth revealed to us, but it is possible for us to know the plain truth of God revealed to us in his word. How do we know that? We return to the words of our text:
Then Jesus said to those Jews who believed Him, “If you abide in My word, you are My disciples indeed. And you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free” (John 8:31-32 NKJV).
Did Jesus teach explicitly that we can know the truth? Yes, Jesus declared very plainly that his disciples would be able to truly know the truth and be made free from sin. But that would be contingent upon continuing in his word. If every one of us will continue in the word of God, we will be a true disciple and we will know the truth. And the truth will set us free from the power, the stain, the burden, and the guilt of our sin. That is very plain and that is my favorite text on this subject. Do not ever forget it and stamp it indelibly in your hearts. The statement of Jesus is an explicit statement that man can know the truth.
But the apostle John has a statement that is almost as explicit as the words of Christ:
“I do not write to you because you do not know the truth, but because you do know it and because no lie comes from the truth” (1 John 2:21 NIV).
John, why are you writing to these people? Is it because they do not know the truth? No, it is because they do know the truth! Well, John, what else do they know? They also know that no lie is of the truth. Therefore, man can know the truth and man can know the difference between the truth and a lie. No lie is of the truth; no truth is of a lie. That is according to the law of contradiction. The truth cannot be truth and a lie; and a lie cannot be a lie and the truth. John, do these people know certain things? Yes, they know the truth. And they also know that no lie is of the truth.
While I do not have the time and space to refer to all of the explicit statements in the Bible that affirm that man can know the truth, I will only say that the apostle John uses the word know 24 times in his first letter (1 John). Why did John use the word know so many times? He did so because the Gnostics of his day claimed to know truth that others could not know. That is the reason John countered by using the same word to teach that Christian people can know the truth of God.
SOME THINGS ABOUT WHICH WE CAN KNOW THE TRUTH
Now let us present some explicit statements concerning things about which we can know the truth.
We Can Know That God is the One True God
Is it the case that we can know that God is the one true God? If it be the case that the Bible teaches that we can know the one true God, then it is the case that we can know there is one true God. That is the major premise. The minor premise is this: it is the case that the Bible teaches that we can know the one true God. Therefore, what is the conclusion? It is the case that we can know that there is one true God.
Is it the case that the Bible teaches that we can know the one true God? Yes, the Bible teaches this explicitly: “Now this is eternal life: that they may know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom you have sent” (John 17:2-3 NIV). Therefore, in view of this explicit statement from Jesus Christ himself, we can know that God is the one true God.
We Can Know That the Teaching of Christ is from God
In the next place, is it the case that we can know the truth that the teaching of Christ is from God and not just originating from himself? Yes it is the case that the Bible teaches that truth: “If anyone chooses to do God’s will, he will find out whether my teaching comes from God or whether I speak on my own” (John 7:17 NIV).
Therefore, it is the case that the Bible teaches explicitly that the teaching of Christ is from God, and not just from himself. Therefore, if I will use my willpower—“if any man chooses to do God’s will”—if I want to do God’s will, if I will do God’s will, then I can know the truth that the doctrine of Jesus Christ is of God.
We Can Know That Jesus Christ is the Holy One of God
Is it the case that the Bible teaches the truth that Jesus Christ is the Holy One of God? Yes, it is the case that the Bible teaches that Jesus Christ is the Holy One of God: “We believe and know that you are the Holy One of God” (John 6:69 NIV). Therefore, you and I can know the truth that Jesus Christ is the Holy One of God, because the Bible teaches that explicitly—plainly—in so many words—and there is plenty of evidence to back it up.
We Can Know That the Things in Divine Revelation are Certain!
Is it the case that the Bible teaches that we may know the truth that the things instructed to us through the apostles are certain? Yes, it is the case that the Bible teaches that the apostles instructed us in things that are certain. Luke began his letter on the life of Christ in these words: “Therefore, since I myself have carefully investigated everything from the beginning, it seemed good also to me to write an orderly account for you, most excellent Theophilus, so that you may know the certainty of the things you have been taught” (Luke 1:3-4). It is the case then, that I can know that the things instructed to us by the apostles are certain matters.
We Can Know That God Will Give us a Resurrection Body
Is it the case that the Bible teaches that when our earthly bodies are dissolved into the earth, that God will give us an eternal, heavenly body at the last day? Yes, it is the case that the Bible teaches that truth explicitly: “Now we know that if the earthly tent we live in is destroyed, we have a building from God, an eternal house in heaven, not built by human hands” (2 Corinthians 5:1).
The Bible teaches this great truth explicitly. Therefore, we may know the truth—that when our earthly house is dissolved—God will ultimately give us an eternal house not made with hands—a heavenly house, our resurrection body.
We Can Know That All Men are Sinners.
Does the Bible teach explicitly that all men that are accountable are sinners? Yes the Bible teaches this plainly: “As it is written: There is no one righteous, not even one” (Romans 3:10). Again, “For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God” (Romans 3:23 NIV).
Since the Bible teaches explicitly that “there is no man that doeth good and sinneth not,” then the explicit statements of Scripture prove abundantly that all men are sinners, lost and cannot save themselves without God’s help. We therefore can know this great truth.
We Can Know That Jesus Christ Died for Our Sins
Is it the case that the Bible teaches explicitly that Jesus Christ died for our sins? Yes, the Bible teaches that truth! The Bible says, “Christ tasted death for every man.” And we also have the classic statement from the pen of the apostle Paul written to the church at Rome: “But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us” (Romans 5:8).
We Can Know That He That Believeth and is Baptized Shall Be Saved
Is it the case that the Bible teaches explicitly, that he that believeth and is baptized shall be saved? Yes, the Bible does teach that truth explicitly! “Whoever believes and is baptized will be saved, but whoever does not believe will be condemned” (Mark 16:16).
But many of our religious friends come along and they say, “that he that believes and is not baptized shall be saved.” They change the truth of God into a lie. This demonstrates that just as man can know the truth, he also can pervert the truth—change the truth—add to the truth—take away from the truth.
I could take a pure glass of water and it would be healthful and refreshing if I were to drink it. But if I were to take that same glass of water and add some cyanide to it and then drink it—it would probably kill me—because I would have changed the chemistry of the water. Man can do the same thing with the truth. That is the reason the apostle Paul wrote to the churches of Galatia and said:
“I am astonished that you are so quickly deserting the one who called you by the grace of Christ and are turning to a different gospel—which is really no gospel at all. Evidently some people are throwing you into confusion and are trying to pervert the gospel of Christ. But even if we or an angel from heaven should preach a gospel other than the one we preached to you, let him be eternally condemned! As we have already said, so now I say again: If anybody is preaching to you a gospel other than what you accepted, let him be eternally condemned!” (Galatians 1:6-9 NIV).
Can man know the truth that will set him free? Yes! “You shall know the truth and the truth shall make you free” (John 8:33). Will you my dear sinner friend respond to the truth that you have been taught and know? Will you respond now? “Today is the day of salvation.” *
*Copyright © 1993, 2010, 2023 Shelby G. Floyd, All Rights Reserved
This is a portion of a sermon presented by Shelby G. Floyd, November 21, 1993, at the South Central Church of Christ, 265 East Southport Road, Indianapolis, Indiana 46227