Standing in the Truth
John 8:38-47
I speak that which I have seen with my Father: and you do that which you have seen with your father.…

1. This chapter shows Jesus' power of bringing men out of their fictions of life, and of discovering the essential thing in life. Here He discloses the condition under which it is possible for a created being to stand in the truth. It is no little thing to stand in the truth. You may have stood on some rare evening upon a mountain top. The mists had been lifted from the valleys, the villages, etc., were etched on the map before you; on the far horizon sea and sky met, the few lingering clouds showed their upper edges turned to gold, while the whole air seemed to have become some clear crystal to let the sun shine through. So it is to stand in the truth, and to do so were worth the effort of a lifetime. So without long climbing Jesus stood.

2. Thus more is meant than is suggested to us by "stand fast in the truth." Men may only mean by that — Be obstinate on our side, standing steadfastly in some limited conception of truth; or merely to stand where we are without inquiring how the mind is to find its place, sure, serene, and sunny in the truth; or when men are debating it may be some battle call to fight for some truth at the expense of abiding in all truth.

3. Jesus shows the real thing to be desired in our anxiety to stand in the truth — the truth must be in us. Having no truthfulness within the Evil One lost his standing in the truth of God's universe without. This extremest case illustrates the whole process of descent of some from truth.

I. THIS UNIVERSE IS A MORAL UNIVERSE AND A MAN TO STAND IN IT MUST BE MORALLY SOUND. An immoral man can have no permanent standing in a moral universe.

1. There is no untruthfulness, dishonesty, or vice in the constitution of things. Nature invariably gives the same answer. The creation made in truth continues in truth. The ocean tides keep true time and measure; the sun is steadfast; Nature throughout is one piece of honest work, and its veracity lies at the foundation of our industries. Every rail. road is built upon it, and every man works in faith that earth and sky will keep their primal covenant.

2. Now when a man born to stand here takes up some lie into his soul, what happens? That fate which befell the father of lies. He cannot stand. Suppose a man conceives a fraudulent thought and says I will succeed in my business with that fraud in my mind, what is the end? Defaulters behind prison bars might answer. Defalcations always begin in a man himself, sometimes years, before they begin at the office. The fall began when he let some falsehood come into his life; when he sought to keep up an appearance that was not true. At last men were shocked to discover that he stood not in the truth because the truth was not in him.

3. Perhaps the end has not come yet, and men who are not truthful within seem to stand as though the universe were in their favour. Nevertheless, sooner or later, the end of inward untruthfulness is as certain as the law of gravitation. The moral universe can be relied upon to throw out eventually every immoral man. "Without is everyone that loveth and maketh a lie." And we do not have to wait till the last day.

(1) A man cannot stand long in the world's credit if the truth of personal integrity is not in him.

(2) A rich or popular man cannot stand always in good society if his heart is becoming rotten — in the end it must cast him out.

(3) Even in polities many a leader has not stood in the truth of the people's final judgment because the truth was not in him.

(4) The same condition pertains to the realm of science. Nature wants character in her pupil even when teaching her laws of numbers. Clerk Maxwell's character was part of his fitness for high scientific work.

(5) And certainly this same law has been confirmed over and over again in the history of literature. What a poet for the coming years Byron might have been, had there been in him higher and holier truth!

II. THE UNIVERSE IS A DIVINE UNIVERSE AND NO MAN CAN STAND IN ITS TRUTH WHO WISHES TO SAY IN HIS HEART, "THERE IS NO GOD." There is some Divine reality behind all these shifting appearances of things. There is an expression of Divine intelligence playing over the face of Nature. And what is seen and touched is not half of the glory of the kingdom of God. Faith is standing in this Diviner glory. We would all like to stand in this truth, but John says, "If a man says, 'I love God,' and hateth his brother, he is a liar." When a man is thinking a hateful thought, he does not then believe in God, though he be making an argument to prove one, and saying, "Lord, Lord!" And it is no avail for any of us to try and believe in God or the unseen universe simply by thinking about them or discussing their natural probabilities, unless we are first eager to have some truth of God in ourselves, and so by the truth within us find that we stand in the Divine truth of the world. Live like a brute, and believe like a son of God? Never. Does any man want to prove the existence of God? Let bin search the book of his life, and if he finds that he did some truth of God, then find God and worship Him.

III. THIS UNIVERSE IS A CHRISTIAN UNIVERSE, AND IF A MAN HAS NOT THE SPIRIT OF CHRIST, HE CANNOT STAND IN ITS FULL, FINAL CHRISTIANITY. All things were made by Christ, and in Him all things consist. The universe is Christian because created for Christ, and reaching its consummation in Him; because God has shown Himself to be Christian in His eternal thought and purpose towards the world, and because its last great day shall be the Christian judgment. Hence if we would stand in this full and final truth, we must have some Christian truth in us which shall answer to the Christian character of the universe. If we should fail of this, how could we hope to stand when whatever is not Christian must eventually be cast out, for Christ must reign until all enemies be put under His feet. Sin must go, and death, and all uncharitableness, and all deceit, to make room for a new heaven and a new earth.

(Newman Smyth, D. D.)

Parallel Verses
KJV: I speak that which I have seen with my Father: and ye do that which ye have seen with your father.

WEB: I say the things which I have seen with my Father; and you also do the things which you have seen with your father."

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