“But whoever lives by the truth comes into the light, so that it may be seen plainly that what they have done has been done in the sight of God.” – John 3:21
What does it mean to “live in truth?” As Christians, we are called to walk through the narrow gate (Matthew 7:13-14) and to live our lives to a higher standard. It is easy to distort these words into thoughts that lead to legalism, judgment of others, and even a belief that our actions will dictate our salvation. But the Bible also tells us that “we all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God” (Romans 3:23) and that “it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God-not by works, so that no one can boast” (Ephesians 2:8-9).
Living in truth is not about our salvation or about meeting a set of standards or obligations. Yet, the narrow gate is there and we are called to walk through it with dire consequences should we ignore the call.
“Enter through the narrow gate. For wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many enter through it. But small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life, and only a few find it.” – Matthew 7:13
The narrow gate represents our salvation through our belief in Christ and His death and resurrection. It is not about how we live but who we live for. This is what makes the gate and the path leading up to it so narrow. There is only one way to salvation and that is through Christ.
Since the beginning of time, man has tried to reject God and find their own salvation through lies that they call truth. We can look at the Fall of Man in Genesis where Adam and Eve thought they could become like God; we can look at Man’s worship of false gods and nature or the belief that there is no God. All these themes have played out in one form or another throughout history and they all lead to the “wide gate” and the “broad path” that Jesus refers to in Matthew 7:13.
So why do only a few find the narrow path that leads to the small gate of salvation? It is not that it is hard to find the path. No, it is clearly marked. The issue is that in order to walk it, we must reject all else. We must set aside our pride and put ourselves under the authority of God. Human nature does not make this easy. It has always been a struggle. In the past, it was a belief in multiple gods that made this idea of submitting to the One True God so hard. We wanted to cover all the bases. Plus, the cultural beliefs stated that you had to appease the gods in order to gain their favor. The idea of one God who would freely give you His favor was almost too much to fathom.
Today, it may be even harder. Most of us reject the idea and myths of the gods, but we have replaced it with an even more dangerous belief. A belief in ourselves. A belief that we have transcended the need for God. Today, our culture praises independence, grit and pure willpower. Perhaps even more dangerous is that today’s culture rebukes all thoughts of anything except the here and now. “Live for today, there are no consequences!” has become our motto. Even for those of us who do venture out to think about the hereafter, it becomes more about building a legacy or just simply being a good person that twists our thoughts away from the narrow path.
Remember, the narrow path is not about how we live, but who we live for. The path is clear and well-marked but it requires us to let go of our belief in ourselves and instead put our belief in Christ. Letting go of the belief in ourselves is terribly hard to do. Even as followers of Christ who have committed ourselves to Him, we still try to take back control by setting up false standards and expectations of what it means to walk the narrow path. But this negates the work of Christ. More importantly, it puts the focus of our lives on ourselves instead of on Christ. Inadvertently, it means that we are still living for ourselves and our own glory. The “who” becomes us instead of Christ. We stay at the center of our universe, even as we say that Christ is king. Our actions and belief in ourselves prove that we still think we wear the crown.
This brings us back to the original question. What does it mean to “live in Truth?” This is an important question with an important distinction. Living in truth is not about our salvation. That was already taken care of for us by Christ. Living in Truth is, however, about what we will do with our salvation and more importantly with the Truth. We understand where salvation comes from. Will we hold our salvation secret or will we live with it at the center of our lives? Will it become a moment in our past? Or will we allow it to dictate our future?
As Jesus reminds us, “But whoever lives by the truth comes into the light, so that it may be seen plainly that what they have done has been done in the sight of God.” – John 3:21. The Truth must come into the light and it must dictate how we live, act, and progress through life. It is no longer for our salvation but for the salvation of the world that we must live in truth.
Now that we have hopefully cleared a few things up, the next step is to examine exactly how we should live as followers of Christ and what that can look like in our culture, society, and everyday lives. We will dive deeper into these and other issues throughout this blog. But for now, the key takeaway is that we live for Christ in the Truth because of our salvation and not in order to receive salvation.