There are questions, and then there are questions. Some of our questions in Christianity deal with personal assurance of salvation, an interpretation of a certain passage of Scripture, or how to better live out God’s Word in some area of our life. These are all good questions! But there are other questions, questions of a more foundational level. How do you know that Jesus speaks the truth? How do you know what the Bible gives as the words of Jesus are really the words of Jesus? How do you know that you can trust the Bible? How do you know that Christianity is true?
The good news is we are told how we can know these things for certain.
In John chapter 7 the Jews were asking how Jesus became learned even though He never was educated like others. Jesus said that His teaching was from the one who sent Him and that it was not His own. Then Jesus says, “If anyone is willing to do His will, he will know of the teaching, whether it is of God or whether I speak from Myself” (v. 17)i.
This is how anyone can know whether Jesus’ teaching was truly from God or not, or if the Bible and Christianity are true. Jesus says the way to know is to truly be willing to do what God’s will is, and if a person is willing to do God’s will, then they will know the truth.
Why does wanting to know God’s will allow us to know the truth? Let me give you four reasons.
First, people by nature already know God (not in a saving way) and have rejected Him. This is exactly what Romans 1:18-20 says
For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men who suppress the truth in unrighteousness, because that which is known about God is evident within them; for God made it evident to them. For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes, His eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly seen, being understood through what has been made, so that they are without excuse.
Our main problem is not a lack of knowledge. Our main problem is rebellion. Our primary problem is not a lack of knowledge. It is not obeying the knowledge we already have. So when we think of Jesus’ words again, “If anyone is willing to do His will, he will know of the teaching, whether it is of God or whether I speak from Myself” (v. 17), it is a matter of our hearts. Our hearts, in a real way, must be changed from hating the will of God and God Himself, to wanting to do God’s will, and then we will know the truth. When we desire to do God’s will we will stop suppressing the truth that we already know.
This also can be very offensive. Why are there so many people who aren’t Christians? Why are there so many religions? It is because people do not want the one true God and do not want to obey Him.
Second, we know our Creator’s voice. When we unstop our ears we will hear our Creator’s voice and we will know the truth. Though we are by nature sinners and rebels, we are also made in the image of God and know His voice.
Third, the Bible is self-attesting. When someone comes to the Bible wanting to know the truth, they will find it, because the Bible speaks to us with the voice of our Creator. It answers the questions of life. It shows us the truth of man. It makes known to us the character of God and who our Lord Jesus Christ is.
Fourth, God wants us to know Him. The Bible says, “…having determined their appointed times and the boundaries of their habitation, that they would seek God, if perhaps they might grope for Him and find Him, though He is not far from each one of us” (Acts 17:26-27). God is near to everyone and has put us in the place we are so we would seek Him. If we want to know the truth about Jesus and His teaching it will be made clear to us.
Now, there are many people who would say that they are truly wanting to know the truth. And yet, their not. How do I know? By what they do. The Bible speaks to this in John 7:19-24. If one really wants to know if Jesus’ teaching is true, they will look at the Bible carefully and judge with righteous judgment, as these verses speak to.
Before I close this blog post, let me address three categories of people.
First, the one who rejects Christianity and is not interested in seeking if it is true. The reason you reject Christianity is not because you’re too smart, but because you love your sin too much. Know that your problem (and I don’t say “problem” in a hateful kind of way) is in your heart, not your head. Humble yourself under God’s hand and let Him lift you up.
Second, to the seeker. You have an open invitation before you. Seek God’s truth and you will find it. Find a good Bible church and Christian friends who can help you. But know this, until you become a Christian you are not one. You are not made right with God until you become His child (Galatians 3:26).
Third, to the Christian. We are Christians only because of grace. Do not become proud. When you see this evil world reject Jesus and the Bible, know that they do it not because their too smart but because they do not want the truth. When you interact with people remember that these people are not dealing honestly with God in some way. They may to some degree deal honestly with you, but not with their Creator. Hold on to God’s truth and do not let it go. Humbly, yet boldly, speak His Word to others and trust that souls will be saved through the truth of His Word.