The Present Truth

Answer to Correspondence—The present truth (2 Peter 1:12) is simply the truth of Christianity, in contrast with all that had previously been made known. There were bright gleams of light in the past dispensations, given through prophetic messages, which were used to exercise souls, guide them to God, and cause them to surrender the present world for that sphere of blessing which will be established by the power of the God of resurrection under the rule of Christ. Though they saw this but dimly and “afar off,” still, it was with sufficient clearness to make them embrace it with all their hearts. But these gleams were both fitful and feeble when compared with the true light which came into the world in the person of the Son of God. God in those bygone days was unrevealed: He dwelt in the thick darkness.

But now all that God is, in His attributes and nature, has been declared, along with all the purposes of His love. Nothing has been kept back; so that John can tell the babes that they “know all things” (1 John 2:20). The depths of God, the depths of man, the depths of Satan—all have been sounded, and the moral foundations of every work, human, devilish, or divine, have come to light. “The present truth” does not differ at all from the truth that “shall be with us for ever” (2 John 2). We know that Christ is in us (John 14:20), and ever with us (Heb. 13:5); the Spirit of truth is also in us, and abides with us for ever (John 14:16-17), and so it is with regard to the truth itself, it is “in us, and shall be with us for ever” (2 John 2). Christ is the truth, the Spirit is the power by which it takes effect in our souls, and the Scripture is the God-given record of it, the means by which it is made known to us in word and doctrine.

It is set before us in Christ: He is the Truth. In Him we see God in manifestation: “He that has seen Me has seen the Father” (John 14:9). Apart from Him nothing can be learned regarding the nature of God. “He is the true God and eternal life” (1 John 5:20). Marvellous and blessed revelation!

In Him, too, we see what man is in the thought of God: the Man God had ever before Him, with whom, from all eternity, His purposes were connected, and by whom He intended to displace the man after the flesh. And now that He has brought this to pass, the first man Adam sinks into his place as a “figure of Him that was to come” (Rom. 5:14).

In Christ we learn the place and relationship which now belong to all who are born of God. He is in the glory of God perfectly revealed. Not in innocence, a creature with his Creator, but Son in righteousness with the Father in the Father’s house. And in this place and in this relationship His love has set those that are the subjects of His eternal counsel.

In Him we learn also the disposition which becomes man, set in relationship with, and in accountability to, God. He took upon Himself the form of a servant and became in the likeness of men; and in His path of humiliation we see how man should conduct himself in every department of life. With Him there was no self-seeking, no attempt at self-exaltation, no assertion of rebellious will, no murmuring on account of the roughness of the path marked out for Him to travel, no complaining because of the apparent neglect of God, though made to suffer hunger, thirst, rejection, betrayal, persecution, and death, and that upon a tree as one accursed of God. His meat was to do the will of Him that sent Him, and whatever was good in the eyes of the Father was right in His. His language ever was, “Not My Will, but Thine be done.” What became of Him was of no importance in His eyes if the Father was glorified (John 12:27-28). What a contrast to all other men! But this mind is the only right one for man.

In Christ we see everything rightly adjusted. From Him God gets His due, men theirs. At the close of His course in the world He owed nothing to either God or man. He loved God with all His heart, and He loved His neighbour better than Himself.

He is the truth, the light of the world. All truth is found livingly in Him. To know Him is to know the whole mind of God. One might know Scripture by heart, and be as ignorant of the truth as the painted savage; but to know JESUS is to know “all things,” for all the truth of God is embodied in His glorious Person. This is the present truth, and this is the truth which dwelleth in us, and shall be with us for ever.