There is only one truth.
(John 14:6 AMP) “Jesus said to him, I am the Way and the Truth and the Life; no one comes to the Father except by (through) Me.”
Jesus Christ IS the Truth and there is only one of Him. He is also the Word of God. Both the Truth and the Word are a person: not a philosophy, an intelligence, a concept or an idea. Jesus Christ is not divided into factions either. If there are opposing opinions of the meaning of the Word of God, then either one or both of them are wrong.
When a person says, “Here is what this scripture means to me.” then they are not approaching the Word as the absolute Truth. Even among humans, when a person speaks, that person has something specific to communicate and it is not subjective to the hearer. When God spoke His Word, He had something very specific that He was communicating.
Truth must be revealed to humans.
(1 Corinthians 2:14 ESV) “The natural person does not accept the things of the Spirit of God, for they are folly to him, and he is not able to understand them because they are spiritually discerned.”
The natural human is not able to understand Truth. Truth is spiritually discerned and the human reasoning process cannot arrive at Truth. In this case the saying is true — “the harder you try, the worse it gets.” God will not allow any human being to claim that they figured out Truth (1Corinthians 1:26-29).
(1 Corinthians 2:12 ESV) “Now we have received not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit who is from God, that we might understand the things freely given us by God.”
God gave believers His Spirit that they might understand the things of God. That understanding is spiritually discerned. The human spirit is referred to as the heart of man. Spiritual understanding comes into the heart of man and is then related to the mind, or thinking, of man. Paul said it this way to the Ephesians:
(Ephesians 1:17–18 AMP) “[For I always pray to] the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, that He may grant you a spirit of wisdom and revelation [of insight into mysteries and secrets] in the [deep and intimate] knowledge of Him, By having the eyes of your heart flooded with light, so that you can know and understand the hope to which He has called you, and how rich is His glorious inheritance in the saints (His set-apart ones),”
Paul knew that the heart of man was where God’s Spirit would reveal the things of God to human beings. He also knew it required prayer for people. If you have to pray for it, then it doesn’t just happen on its own.
A process and not an event.
(John 16:12–13 ESV) “I still have many things to say to you, but you cannot bear them now. When the Spirit of truth comes, he will guide you into all the truth, for he will not speak on his own authority, but whatever he hears he will speak, and he will declare to you the things that are to come.”
Jesus was speaking to His disciples who were not born again as yet and not filled with the Spirit. He flatly said that they could not “bear” the Truth as yet. No human can understand the Truth without the Holy Spirit.
If you need a guide to get somewhere, then directions alone are not sufficient. A guide is someone you follow because they know the way and you don’t. Getting there is a trip that you take and not a place where you just hang out. You don’t need a guide to sit in a room! Truth is a journey much like getting to know a person over years of friendship.
Staying on track.
Because Truth is spiritually discerned, interpretation becomes critical. The differences among religious groups are due to different interpretations of the Word. Each group is convinced that their interpretation is the correct one. The problem is that if differences occur then someone has not accurately discerned the Truth and has gotten off track. Some differences are minor and some are major.
An example of a major difference would be the viewpoint of the Catholic Church that states that they are the only true church of the Lord Jesus Christ. That viewpoint is not held by the Protestant churches, yet they all claim to be Christians. You would think that after almost 2,000 years at least most of the Christians would come to a common understanding, but it has not happened. It is certain that the Holy Spirit of God is not revealing different truths concerning the same scriptures.
Strongholds and humans.
The greatest threat to understanding Truth comes from human being’s natural tendencies. Yes, the devil takes advantage of human weakness. But, it is humans that end up working against themselves.
(Matthew 16:18 ESV) “And I tell you, you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church, and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.”
Jesus said that the gates of hell would not prevail against the church. However, the church can destroy the church. For the devil to destroy the church he must use the weakness of humans and persuade them to cooperate with him.
Paul warned the church concerning strongholds.
(2 Corinthians 10:3–6 ESV) “For though we walk in the flesh, we are not waging war according to the flesh. For the weapons of our warfare are not of the flesh but have divine power to destroy strongholds. We destroy arguments and every lofty opinion raised against the knowledge of God, and take every thought captive to obey Christ, being ready to punish every disobedience, when your obedience is complete.”
Strongholds are arguments, opinions and reasonings of human beings. They are strongly held thoughts that are contrary to the Truth. Often, the devil is promoting the thoughts, but humans perpetuate them. If a demon has influenced the thinking of a human, if you cast that demon out, the person does not change their thinking as a result. Wrong thinking is displaced with right thinking.
Paul said that changing the thinking of people can be warfare and that it takes divine power to do so. The battle for humans is for their minds. A “lofty opinion” must be torn down and then replaced with the Word of God. God told Jeremiah something very similar:
(Jeremiah 1:9–10 ESV) “Then the LORD put out his hand and touched my mouth. And the LORD said to me, “Behold, I have put my words in your mouth. See, I have set you this day over nations and over kingdoms, to pluck up and to break down, to destroy and to overthrow, to build and to plant.”
Before you can build and plant what is right you have to break down and destroy what is wrong. Every Christian, and every person, has been conformed to this world to some degree. The Lord told Jeremiah that He would put His words in his mouth to change their thinking. Humans were created by God to believe, and they do not change beliefs easily. All believing begins with thinking. That’s why Paul told us that we are changed by renewing our minds.
(Romans 12:2 ESV) “Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.”
Why do we hold onto our thinking?
It is well known that humans do not like to change their thinking. Here are some things that scientists have found.
“In a beautiful revelation of what many of us have suspected to be true, scientists have found that once people reach a conclusion, they are unlikely to change their opinion even when new information prove their initial beliefs wrong.”
Amazing! Most people, will not change their opinion even when they are proven wrong. Our opinions seem to be of extreme importance to us. Notice that it is the person that is hanging onto the opinion.
It is also proven that people seek out confirmation of their thinking rather than information that might challenge their thinking. The following is a comment made by a prominent business person.
“Thanks to Google, we can instantly seek out support for the most bizarre idea imaginable. If our initial search fails to turn up the results we want, we don’t give it a second thought, rather we just try out a different query and search again.”
I have done this myself. I’m pretty sure you can Google just about anything and get that thought confirmed. Christians do that with the Bible constantly. They want to prove a doctrine so they phrase their Google search to bring up results that affirm what they believe. It’s human nature.
The problem is so vast that the business world has created terminology to describe it. They call it “confirmation bias.” I call it a stronghold. The following is a quote from the business world.
Your opinions are the result of years of paying attention to information which confirmed what you believed while ignoring information which challenged your preconceived notions.
The problem is — what if your beliefs are wrong? Humans will spend their entire lives affirming what they want to believe — whether it is right or wrong.
In Christianity, we gravitate towards other people and groups that think like we do. We call it “like fellowship.” Then, when we come together, we strengthen those beliefs with ministry that confirms what we believe to be true. This is a good thing — if the belief is Truth. It’s the only way to make true disciples.
In life, we continuously strengthen our strongholds whether they are right or wrong. This is one reason why it often takes generations for God to bring something different into the Body of Christ. It seems that the old guard has to die in the wilderness before the younger can go into the promised land.
Careful, but open to change.
I see a lot of fear among Christians, particularly ministers, when it comes to discussing the Word of God. Often, even a mention of something different than what is accepted within a group brings an immediate knee jerk reaction. Certainly, we should be more secure in what we believe than that.
Also, people tend to believe doctrines based upon WHO taught them rather than what they know the Bible says. At present, there are several notable Bible teachers that are, for the most part, considered infallible. Whether they admit it or not, they are following other men rather than the Lord. Paul had the same problem in his day, it’s nothing new.
(1 Corinthians 3:4–5 ESV) “For when one says, “I follow Paul,” and another, “I follow Apollos,” are you not being merely human? What then is Apollos? What is Paul? Servants through whom you believed, as the Lord assigned to each.”
Paul said that putting this kind of pre-eminence upon a minister is “being merely human.” Human nature finds security in following teachers like this. I know Christians that can quote what their favorite Bible teacher says but cannot quote the Bible. I know ministers that will quietly disfellowship with you if you even question their favorite Bible teacher.
At the end of the day, you can only truly live in what the Holy Spirit has taught you.
(1 John 2:27 ESV) “But the anointing that you received from him abides in you, and you have no need that anyone should teach you. But as his anointing teaches you about everything, and is true, and is no lie—just as it has taught you, abide in him.”
First, this is not saying you don’t need to be taught. Jesus gave the Body the five ministry gifts to bring us into the unity of the faith. This is telling us that we cannot truly live in anything other than what the anointing has taught us.
The Holy Spirit is the Spirit of Truth and will guide us into all Truth. He is the One that will take what we hear in teaching and either approve or disapprove it to us — if we will allow it. We need to learn to listen to our spirit above all else as the Holy Spirit will teach us — nothing but the truth.