True. True.

Jesus said in John 4 that the Father is seeking “true worshipers” who worship in spirit and in truth. What did He mean?

For years I was led to believe these two characteristics were separate items: “spirit” and “truth,” and that the truth was a set of specific doctrines. Truth was defined as the correct way to understand finer points of theology and prophesy. Therefore, one could only acquire the spirit as a result of having the truth, or correct doctrines. Which meant we cannot have spirit without “the truth”. Of course, that position concludes all worship disassociated with this perception of “the truth” must also contain a false spirit, and is now the most current enemy of “the truth”. So does that mean a person who does not have 100% accuracy in all things biblical is unable to engage in authentic worship? Are those people in the dark? Are they lost?

Is this what Jesus was really trying to say?

Is it possible for you to possess the truth? Or does the truth possess you?

Several years ago someone suggested I replace the word “truth” in John 4 with the word “honesty.”

Upon considering the original language, I saw that the Greek word for truth, aletheia, meant:  “truth, truthfulness; corresponding to reality.” Certainly those descriptors harmonize with a worshiper being “honest.”

Since then I have come to understand that these are worshipers who are “spiritually honest” about who they are (sinners) and who Christ is (Savior). After all, those are the two lies that keep us from worshiping God. It makes sense to me – that the Father is seeking spiritually honest worshipers who will not deny who they are, nor who His Son is, but will accept the Truth of Jesus (and what His atonement means for depraved humanity) as the Gospel truth. I mean, what do humans have to be spiritually dishonest about anyway, right? 1) That we can save ourselves, that our righteousness is good enough, (result being = we are not sinners); and 2) that we can earn God’s favor/merit with our behavior or intellect, or that we even need to do so (result being = Jesus is no Savior).

The context of the passage is the woman at the well telling Jesus that when Messiah comes he will tell them all things (how to earn salvation by worshiping at the right place – by doing the right things) so he goes ahead and tells her everything about her and demonstrates that He still accepts and loves her. He even reveals that He is the Messiah, that He is the truth of real worship. So she drops her water bucket and runs into town and tells everyone, “Come meet a man who told me everything about me (and He still loves me).” Her response is to worship Him because as her Savior, to be known is to be loved and to be loved is to be known – it is vulnerable authenticity – it is spiritual transparency and heart felt honesty. God knows everything about me, and I know that, so I’m honest with Him about it all. And yet, He still loves me and accepts me through the atoning sacrifice of Jesus the Christ. How can we not love this God and worship Him with all that we have and all that we are?

Yes, I am a true worshiper . . . and that’s part of my theology about it.

Posted on by Chris Bullock in Articles
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About Chris Bullock

wretch saved by grace & husband, father, speaker, blogger, dream releaser, church planter, pastor of FUSION Church Atlanta, friend of God

One Response to True. True.

  1. Billy

    Wow, I’ve never even considered looking at this teaching of Jesus in light of those insights. I think we often try to figure out all that’s happening in the story and we miss the story itself and the plain teaching that is contained within it.

    Thanks for making it clear, and simple.

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