Truth can be an agent of healing. In John 8:31, Jesus said, “If you continue to obey my word, then you are truly my disciples and you will know the truth and the truth will set you free.” I would propose that the converse is true also; the truth will set you free, but lies will bring you into bondage. In John 8:44, Jesus also reminds us that Satan is the father of all lies. Lies originate from the enemy of our souls, but the truth springs from God. In fact, in John 14:6, Jesus is called “the Truth.” Jesus is the truth, and he reveals the truth of the Father. In John 16:13, the Holy Spirit is called “the Spirit of Truth.” The Holy Spirit is truth, and he reveals the truth of Jesus Christ. Truth is three persons, Father, Son and Holy Spirit. Our understanding of truth is a relationship with the Three-Person God.
One dynamic of this covenantal relationship with God is that he sets us free from sin and death and gives us new life. The truth is that Jesus Christ died for our sins, offering us forgiveness for our transgressions and deliverance from the power and presence of sin. The truth sets us free, and because of Christ, the truth is that we are new creations in Christ. The old or former things are gone, and behold all things have become new (2 Cor. 5:17). This truth is liberating and life-giving. Believers have a new identity in Christ. Our new identities are birthed and formed in Christ and experienced in the Spirit as we grow in his image from glory to glory.
This transformation in the image of Christ is our sanctification. It is a deliverance from the old and a manifestation of the new. John Wesley and others in the Wesleyan tradition have noted that this change is both instantaneous and a process. Convincing grace is a process by which we are convicted of our sins and our need of a Savior. Upon believing God, he justifies us in an instant. We then believe God for sanctification, which is often a process, resulting in a moment of deliverance and entire sanctification followed by a life of growth in grace (Wesley’s Scripture Way of Salvation).
One of the key agents of God’s grace in this process of deliverance is the Holy Spirit: the Spirit of Truth. The Holy Spirit sanctifies us through the truth and liberates us from the bondage of sin and death as well as past hurt and pain. Wesley, along with the Eastern Christian tradition, understood salvation as curative of the disease of sin. In salvation, God heals us of a sin-sick soul. He provides the cure for the spiritual sickness to the image of God within us, but when we believe the lies of the enemy, we remain in bondage and separated from the life that is in God. Not only are we devoid of the abundant life of the Spirit, but we are infected with sin and its destructive consequences. We do not function wholly as God created us. Our lives become inundated with fear, worry, anxiety, depression, rejection, hopelessness, and feelings of worthlessness.
This type of spiritual sickness impacts not only our mental and emotional well-being, but it can even impact our physical well-being. Many of these conditions manifest themselves in the body and in disease. Physical, emotional, and mental problems are not always a direct result of sin, but there can sometimes be a connection between sin and illness. Symptoms of sin, such as stress, guilt, anxiety and unforgiveness can have a toxic impact on our minds and bodies. When we worry or are controlled by anxiety and fear instead of trusting God, we may be guilty of unbelief. Our minds and our bodies can be so gripped with stress and depression that we cannot function as God desires. Lies can bind us. However, the truth that empowers us to trust in the Lord and not on our own understanding can liberate us and bring rest, peace and healing to our weary souls.
Just as one can be tormented by past sin, one can be tormented by pain or rejection from the sins of others. Satan often lies and tells people they are unlovable or unforgiveable. To the degree one believes these types of lies, to that same degree one is bound. Knowing the truth, however, will heal and deliver the bound soul. When the believers begin to yield to the truth about who they are in Christ, then truth can liberate the bound souls and restore them with new life in Christ. They become transformed by renewing their minds with the truth of God’s Word.
Friends, much of what I am sharing is not new, but is a new way of talking about something old. Repentance and forgiveness are ancient core practices of the Christian faith that need to be rekindled. Such core practices are vital spiritual disciplines that serve as means of God’s healing grace for the soul weighed down with sin or fears and anxieties. The truth who is God—Father, Son and Holy Spirit—then becomes healing to our hearts—hearts that long to be made whole in perfect, holy love and reflect the image of the Triune God.