In Matthew 27, this interview with Pontius Pilate is recounted: 37 Therefore Pilate said to Him, “So You are a king?” Jesus answered, “You say correctly that I am a king. For this I have been born, and for this I have come into the world, to testify to the truth. Everyone who is of the truth hears My voice.” 38 Pilate said to Him, “What is truth?”
This question from Pilate is, of course, very ironic. Knowing what we know, that Jesus Himself IS Truth Embodied (John 14:6), so the Truth that Pilate was asking about was, as they say, “staring him right in the face,” we might, therefore, laugh at the irony when Pilate poses this question. I’m sure he is being guided by Satan in this question, because he intended the question to be a rhetorical and satirical one, as if truth is elusive and unstable. I’ve heard unsaved people before try to tell me that there is no real truth. They would say that truth is relative because of such moral conundrums as the hypothetical lie to a Nazi soldier during World War 2 about whether you are hiding any Jews in your house. Lies are normally wrong, but they would be right in this situation because you are protecting life, in particular, a Jewish life, the apple of God's eye, the people whom God has a special affection for and whom He has chosen to bless all of humanity in His Ultimate Plan. In addition, you are opposing evil. So the principles of protecting life, protecting His Chosen People, and opposing evil are all higher moral principles than the prohibition against lying, deceiving your fellow human. This does not mean that the rule against lying is unstable and only true sometimes. To the legalist, who lives by arbitrary sets of rules, then truth would appear to be relative, unfixed, not moored to anything sound or stable. But we all know that Truth is a Fixed Point, as Truth Is Jesus, Himself. Additionally, just because you have to apply moral reasoning, recognizing a hierarchy of moral principles, does not mean that there is no Ultimate Truth.
Perhaps the best way to illustrate this would be to pose a hypothetical car accident in an intersection of two streets. You have four witnesses standing on each of the four different corners of the intersection. Due to their different perspectives, they would each have a different explanation of what happened. Moreover, if they are of different ages, maybe one or two of them having more experience and more education, they might be able to render a more accurate description of the accident. To the moral relativist, they would conclude, because all four people have a different rendition of the accident, that there was, therefore, no accident. But that would make no sense. Just because there were different versions of the accident does not mean that there was no accident. In the same way, just because people have different perspectives of the truth does not mean that there is no real, stable truth. One of our problems in understanding truth in this world is that we are flawed vessels, having sin in us. So our understanding is darkened to perception of the truth from our very conception.
The only way that we grow in understanding of truth is when we draw closer to God and gain more experience of Him, THE Truth. As we are saved by Jesus, and God then works on us over a lifetime in the process of sanctification, we gain a clearer picture of what Truth is over time because we have more of His Truth in us and can, therefore, see Him (THE Truth) more clearly over time. But to those who remain with a darkened understanding, lost in their sin, there is no perception of truth since there is no Truth in them. So, Truth appears to be elusive and unstable, just as it did to Pilate. All those who do not have the Truth within them, such as Pilate, can be excused somewhat for their ignorance since we are all ignorant in our natural state. We don’t even understand His offer of salvation until His Holy Spirit awakens something in us and gives us understanding.
Unfortunately, many resist the Truth tooth and nail. They are willingly ignorant of the Truth (2 Pet. 3:5), resisting the Holy Spirit’s touch their entire lives, wanting to wallow in their sin and wickedness (Rom 1:28-32). I believe that God strives with every man and woman most of their lives (Gen. 6:3), trying to get them to join His fold, but at a certain point, when certain people have seared their consciences shut (1 Tim. 4:2) and have committed themselves to wickedness, God will stop striving with them because He knows the future and can look ahead in their lives to see that they will never yield to His Call.
I pray today and every day that He will shine His Light of Truth in your heart and build in you, ever greater over time, His Truth and His Wisdom.