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Holy Spirit Reveals the Truth

Kevin Moll | The Voice of Zion February 2022 --

Sanctify them through thy truth: thy word is truth. – John 17:17

What is truth? Since the beginning, humans have sought the truth. Ideas and beliefs once considered to be true have been shown to be otherwise; they were based on the thoughts and reason of humans. That which is held to be true changes over time. But God’s Word is an unchanging and sure foundation of truth.

Jesus prayed to God on behalf of His own: Sanctify them through thy truth; thy word is truth. Sanctify means to set one apart and make him or her holy. Jesus prayed that we would be made holy by truth. He then adds that God’s Word is truth. Jesus is God’s Word made flesh, full of grace and truth (John 1:14).

We are made holy by the work done by Jesus, our Savior. The Holy Spirit of God teaches us and helps us remember the teachings of Jesus (John 14:26). God’s living, holy Word – and thus Jesus – is found only in God’s kingdom. Both the written Word and spoken Word are opened by the Holy Spirit.

The Third Article of the Apostles’ Creed speaks of the Holy Spirit. Luther says it could be titled “Sanctification.” How does sanctifying occur? The Holy Spirit effects it through the communion of saints, the forgiveness of sins, the resurrection of the body and life everlasting. Jesus fulfilled God’s promise in His suffering, death and resurrection. God caused His written Word to be published and proclaimed and the Holy Spirit offers and applies to us this treasure of salvation (Luther’s Large Catechism).

Great thinkers and philosophers have used the carnal mind in answering the question, “What is truth?” When Jesus was brought before Pilate and asked if He was a king, Jesus answered that He came into the world to bear witness unto the truth. Then He said, “Every one that is of the truth heareth my voice” (John 18:37). Pilate then asked, “What is truth?” (v. 38). He was in a position to hear many opinions and perspectives. Perhaps he realized each person believed their own experience and perspective to be the “truth.” Why wouldn’t they? If you are convinced something it true, how could you believe anything else?

The carnal mind is prone to ally with the flesh. Paul said that the “carnal mind is enmity against God” (Rom. 8:7). The enemy of souls deceived Eve in the garden of Eden by asking, “Hath God said, Ye shall not eat of every tree of the garden?” (Gen. 3:1). Because Eve saw it was good for food and could make one wise, she disobeyed God.

The carnal mind can be quick to justify or understand a matter in a way that would appeal to our flesh. It is important that our understandings are in harmony with the Holy Spirit. If our carnal mind holds a wrong understanding, it can be corrected if we are given ears to hear the Holy Spirit (Rev. 3:22).

When we are children in God’s congregation, we walk in the light (1 John 1:7). How fortunate we are that the Holy Spirit guides us in grace and truth! We have a sure and unchanging foundation in God’s Word.

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