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Him Who is True

What is truth?

“we are in Him who is true” (1 John 5:20, NKJV) 

Before making a purchase, an art buyer will call in an expert to authenticate a painting. He wants to make sure he is not buying a counterfeit. 

John assumes that role in his writings. In both his Gospel and epistles John frequently refers to truth. His use of terms like witness and testimony has to do with authentication of the truth. When Jesus stood before Pilate saying that He bore witness to the truth and that everyone of the truth hears Him (John 18:36-37), Pilate replied, “What is truth?” (John 18:38). The answer to the governor’s question could be found in the entirety of John’s Gospel account. 

In his first epistle, we have seen John’s continuing concern for truth and its authentication. The impetus for his concern is what to believe. What will we bank on? In what will we invest and trust for dividends now and the life to come. He has cautioned us to be discriminating. “Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits, whether they are of God; because many false prophets have gone out into the world” (1 John 4:1). 

Now as John winds down his letter he again brings it home to truth. “And we know that the Son of God has come and has given us an understanding, that we may know Him who is true; and we are in Him who is true, in His Son Jesus Christ. This is the true God and eternal life” (1 John 5:20). 

John’s statement acts as an authenticating appraisal. Jesus really is the eternal Son of God. He really came in actual flesh. He is the true one sent from the Father, full of grace and truth. He came into this world of darkness and death and overcame the world, defeating the devil and delivering from him the sheep the Father had given Him. Jesus is the Christ of God. To believe in Him is to have life in His name. 

John is assuring us that if our hope and trust are in Jesus, we can have confidence before the judgment seat of God that we will escape the sentence of eternal death we deserve and instead be granted the blessing of eternal life. The love of God for us will see its goal. 

John buttresses his pronouncement with two truths. One, we have come to this understanding and appreciation of who Jesus is and what He did through the work of God who has come to us and opened our minds and hearts by the regenerating work of the Holy Spirit. Two, by God’s grace we have not merely come to know about Jesus but to know Him and to enter into an eternal fellowship with Him and the Father (1 John 1:3). 

Beyond doubt, we know that Jesus is true God and eternal life. Rest, assured. 

How can you be certain that you have eternal life?

Stan Gale

Stanley D. Gale (MDiv Westminster, DMin Covenant) has pastored churches in Maryland and Pennsylvania for over 30 years. He is the author of several books, including A Vine-Ripened Life: Spiritual Fruitfulness through Abiding in Christ and The Christian’s Creed: Embracing the Apostolic Faith. He has been married to his wife, Linda, since 1975. They have four children and ten grandchildren. He lives in West Chester, Pa.
Books by Stan Gale

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