The Last Dance, a recent ESPN documentary about Michael Jordan, has been captivating the quarantined in recent weeks. Following the story of Jordan’s superhuman drive to success, we have been reminded why every kid on a court since 1984 has wanted to “be like Mike.” While our enchantment with champions...
Everybody makes truth claims. The rise of a mode of thinking called relativism has saturated our Western culture. People who hold to this ideology believe specifically or subconsciously that they are their own determiner of truth—that truth is not absolute. This is truly arrogant thinking, because it makes a subjective individual’s feelings superior to external objective moral laws. But, in our culture, if you don’t accept someone else’s “truth,” you’re labeled as arrogant and intolerant.
The secular world tries to make falsehood palatable by making a creed to tolerate all beliefs. Think on the absurdity of this statement: We are now morally obligated to accept the moral obligations of everyone. How is that even possible?
We as Christians have to clearly understand the truth. Our Western culture has found a way to skirt around Christian truth claims by calling Christians “arrogant.”
Are Christians arrogant for claiming to have the truth? In a short answer, I would say “No.” It is possible to say you have the truth and not be arrogant.
Nancy Pearcy warns believers about the understanding of truth in her book Total Truth:
The danger is that if Christians do not consciously develop a biblical approach to a subject, then we will unconsciously absorb some other philosophical approach.
Christians need to be very clear about our approach to understanding truth.
We have a good and gracious God—an external reality—who revealed himself as truth because we would not know what truth is unless the Truth himself told us and showed us. Is it of utmost importance to understand that the most significant and practical revelation of truth is found in God’s Word—written and incarnate.
Jesus prays to God the Father, “Sanctify them in the truth; your word is truth” (John 17:17, emphasis added). God gave us truth in the Bible so we would not have to grasp for it in the dark.
Jesus declared with his own words that he was “the way, the truth, and the life” (John 14:6). Jesus claimed to be truth. Truth is a person who gave us the right ways to live, believe, and understand. Truth is not just the written words in a book or the right words spoken from a platform; truth is the person of Jesus. John 1:14 tells us “the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we have seen his glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth.” When we know Jesus, we know the truth.
And it is not arrogant for Christians to claim to have the truth. Here are three reasons why.
Three Reasons It’s Not Arrogant for Christians to Say They Know the Truth
In the first letter to the Corinthians Paul addresses a people who regularly had truth battles with one another. Everybody was trying to sell their wisdom on their corner of the philosophical market. If you could out-reason someone, you could thrive in Corinth. Paul’s address to the church helps us respond to people who say we are arrogant.
1. Truth comes from God, not us.
Consider the following two passages of God’s Word in Paul’s first letter to the Corinthians.
For the word of the cross is folly to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God…For Jews demand signs and Greeks seek wisdom, but we preach Christ crucified, a stumbling block to Jews and folly to Gentiles, but to those who are called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God. For the foolishness of God is wiser than men, and the weakness of God is stronger than men. (1 Corinthians 1:18, 22-25)
These things God has revealed to us through the Spirit. For the Spirit searches everything, even the depths of God. For who knows a person’s thoughts except the spirit of that person, which is in him? So also no one comprehends the thoughts of God except the Spirit of God. Now we have received not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit who is from God, that we might understand the things freely given us by God. And we impart this in words not taught by human wisdom but taught by the Spirit, interpreting spiritual truths to those who are spiritual. (1 Corinthians 2:10-13)
All Christians were at some point hopeless and helpless to see the truth. By God’s grace, he revealed to us the truth. Praise be to God who did not leave us alone to think it up, for truth bears infinite implications. Christians are not arrogant for claiming to have the truth because it’s not our truth—it was revealed to us by the Spirit of God himself.
2. Truth is necessary for salvation.
And I, when I came to you, brothers, did not come proclaiming to you the testimony of God with lofty speech or wisdom. For I decided to know nothing among you except Jesus Christ and him crucified. (1 Corinthians 2:1-2)
The simple message of the truth is this: The infinite God created you with value (Genesis 1:26-27). He desired a relationship with his creation, but we rejected his Lordship for a lie (Romans 1:25). This rejection resigned mankind to sin and suffer spiritual consequences leading to death. But God did not stop pursuing us, though we trusted in the lies of the enemy.
[Tweet “You can trust in your own truth that you created, or in the Truth that created you.”]
For I delivered to you as of first importance what I also received: that Christ died for our sins in accordance with the Scriptures, that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day in accordance with the Scriptures. (1 Corinthians 15:2-4)
Whoever believes in Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior—trusting him in repentance and faith—will be saved! We must share this truth in a way that helps other people see Jesus as better and more necessary than anything this life has to offer.
You can trust in your own truth that you created, or in the Truth that created you. To whose care do you want to entrust your soul? You can trust in him who is true—Jesus Christ—for your eternity. If embraced, this Truth is life-changing and eternity-altering.
3. Truth points us to our need, not our sufficiency.
Paul claims in verse three to have proclaimed the truth about Jesus in “weakness, fear, and much trembling” (1 Corinthians 2:3). Those don’t sound like words to describe an arrogant person.
Arrogant people are strong, confident, and secure; they have lost sight of their need in life. Humble people know their need for deliverance from sin, and they remember what life was like before they met the Savior.
We live in a world that is hungry for truth. But we often fill that hunger with false food that won’t satisfy. Always remember, Christian, that God came to you when you needed it most and offered you life in Jesus. A beggar knows when someone offers them food. And, like the great reformer Martin Luther said, “We are just beggars showing other beggars where to find food.”
Christians are not arrogant for claiming to have the truth, because we do not speak from a place of sufficiency, but of humble need for the truth we have received.