But for further explaining of this matter, we would see more particularly, in what respects it is, that he is called the truth; and this will make way to our use-making of him. So,
First, He is the Truth, in opposition to the shadows and types of him, under the law. Hence, as |the law,| the whole Levitical and typical dispensation, |came by Moses, so grace and truth came by Jesus Christ,| John i.17. They were all shadows of him, and he is the substance and body of them all, Col. ii.17; and this is true in these respects:
1. All these shadows and types pointed at him, and directed, as with a finger, the Israelites, who were under that dispensation, to look to Christ, the promised Messiah, and to rest, and to lay all their weight on him. So that the law was a shadow of good things to come, Heb. x.1. Col. ii.17.
2. They all terminate in him, he putting an end, by his coming and performing his work, to all those types which only related to him, and to what he was to do; the body being come, there is no more need of the shadow and the thing typified existing, there is no more need or use of the type.
3. They are all fulfilled in him; he answereth them all fully, so that whatever was shadowed forth by them is completely to be found in him. This the apostle, in his Epistle to the Hebrews, abundantly evinceth. And Paul to the Colossians, tells us, |we are complete in him,| and therefore need no more follow the shadows.
Secondly, He is the Truth in reference to the prophecies of old; all which did principally point at him and his concernments, his person, nature, offices, work, kingdom, &c.; and whatever was foretold in these prophecies is perfectly fulfilled in him, or done by him, or shall in due time be effectuated by him. He is that great prophet spoken of, Deut xviii.15, 18, 19. So said the Jews themselves, John vi.14. All the prophets from Samuel spoke of him and of his days, Acts iii.22-24. |And to him gave all the prophets witness,| Acts x.43. And whatever they prophesied or witnessed of him, was, or is in due time to be fulfilled in him. Hence, we find the evangelists and apostles frequently applying the sayings and prophecies of the Old Testament unto him. And Luke (chap. iv.18,) himself said the prophecy of Isaiah lxi.1, &c., was fulfilled in him. See 1 Pet. x.11, 12. And himself expounded to the two disciples going to Emmaus, in all the Scriptures, beginning at Moses and all the prophets, all the things concerning himself, Luke xxiv.27. And thus is he the Truth of all the prophecies.
Thirdly, He is the Truth, in reference to his undertaking with the Father in that glorious covenant of redemption; for whatever the Father laid on him to do, that he did fully and faithfully. |He was to bear our griefs, to carry our sorrows;| and that he did. |He was to be wounded for our transgressions, and bruised for our iniquities; the chastisement of our peace was upon him, and by his stripes we were to be healed,| Isa. liii.5; and so it was, Rom. iv.25.1 Cor. xv.3.1 Pet. ii.23. |His soul was to be made an offering for sin,| Isa. liii.10, and so it was; for he offered up himself a sacrifice for sin. Yea, all that he was to do, by virtue of that covenant, he did it perfectly, so as he cried out, while hanging on the cross, |It is finished,| John xix.30; and, in his prayer, John xvii., he told his Father, verse 4, that he had glorified him on earth, and had finished the work which he gave him to do; so that the Father was well pleased with him, Matt. iii.17; xii.18; and xvii.5. Mark i.11. Luke iii.22.
Fourthly, He is the Truth, in respect of his offices which he took upon him for our good; for all the duties of these offices which he was to do, and what remaineth to be done, he will perfect in due time. Did he take upon him the office of a prophet? He did fully execute the same, in revealing mediately and immediately the whole counsel of God, John i.18; and xv.15. Eph. iv.11, 12, 13. Acts xx.32.1 Pet.10, 11, 12. Heb. i.2. Did he take upon him the office of a priest? So did he fulfil the same, offering up himself an expiatory sacrifice to God, Heb. ix.28; and ii.17; and becoming a priest, and living for ever to make intercession for us, Heb. vii.25. And did he take on the office and function of a King? So doth he execute the same, calling a people to himself out of the world by his word and Spirit -- Acts xv.14, 15, 16. Isa. lv.4, 5. Psalm cx.3 -- erecting a visible church, a company of visible professors to profess and declare his name; which, as his kingdom, he ruleth with his own officers, laws and penalties, or censures; so that the government is on his shoulders, Isaiah ix.6, 7, who is the head of the body, the church, Eph. i.22, 23. Col. i.18; and this his kingdom he ruleth, in a visible manner, by his own officers, &c. Ephes. iv.11, 12.1 Cor. xii.28. Isaiah xxxiii.22. Matt. xviii.17, 18.1 Cor. v.4, 5; and further, he executes this office by effectually calling the elect, giving them grace, Acts v.3; rewarding the obedient, Rev. xxii.12; ii.10; chastising the disobedient, Rev. iii.19; bringing his own home at length, through all their temptations, afflictions, and overcoming all their enemies, 1 Cor. xv.25. Psalm cx.; and at length he shall do the part of a king, when he shall judge quick and dead at the last day, 2 Thess. i.8, 9. Acts xvii.31.2 Tim. iv.1.
Fifthly, He is the Truth in this regard, that he fully answers all the titles and names which he had got. As he was called Jesus, so did he save his people from their sins, Matt. i.21. As he was called Christ, so was he anointed with the Spirit without measure, John iii.34. Psalm xlv.7; and separated for his work, and endued with all power for that effect, Job vi.27. Matt. xxviii.18, 19, 20; and established to be a prophet, Acts iii.21, 22. Luke iv.18, 21; a priest, Heb. v.5, 6, 7; iv.14, 15; and a king, Psalm ii.6. Isaiah ix.6, 7. Matt. xxi.5. Phil. ii.8-11. Was he called |Immanuel,| Isaiah vii.14? So was he indeed God with us, being God and man in one person for ever. Was he called |Wonderful,| Isaiah ix.6? So was he indeed in his two distinct natures in one person; at which the angels may wonder, Eph. iii.10, 11.1 Pet. i.12.1 Tim. iii.16. Was he called |Counsellor?| So was he indeed, coming out from the Father's bosom, with the whole counsel of God concerning our salvation, John i.14, 18; iii.13; v.20, and xv.15. Was he called the |mighty God?| So was he indeed, Psalm cx.1. Matt. xxii.44. Heb. i.13. Psalm xlv.6. Heb. i.8. Jer. xxiii.6, and xxxiii.16. Mal. iii.1. Matt. xi.10. Psalm lxxxiii.18. Luke i.76. John i.1; xiv.1. John v.20. Tit. ii.13. Rom. ix.5. Was he called the |everlasting Father?| So is he the Father of eternity, being (as some interpret the word) the author of eternal life, which he giveth to all that believe in him, John vi.39, 40, 47, 51; viii.51; x.28; xi.25, 26. Heb. v.9, and vii.25. Was he called the |Prince of Peace?| So is he the Prince of Peace indeed, being our peace, Mic. v.5. Eph. ii.14; making up peace between God and us, Isaiah liii.5, and liii.19. Eph. ii.17. Col. i.20. Hence his gospel is the gospel of peace, and his ministers ambassadors of peace, Isaiah lii.7. Rom. x.15.2 Cor. v.19, 20. Eph. vi.15. And he giveth peace to all his, Zech. ix.10. John xiv.27; xvii.33. Rom. v.1; viii.16, and xiv.17.2 Thes. iii.17. Was he called the |Lord our Righteousness?| Jer. xxiii.6; so is he the same indeed, bringing in everlasting righteousness, Dan. ix.24; and |being made of God to us righteousness,| 1 Cor. i.30; and making us righteous, 2 Cor. v.21.
Sixthly, He is the Truth in reference to the promises, which,
1. Centre all in him, and lead to him as the great promise.
2. Are founded all upon him, who is the only Mediator of the covenant of promises.
3. Are confirmed all by him, and made yea and amen in him, 2 Cor. i.20. He confirmed the promises made to the fathers, Rev. xv.8.
4. Are all dispensed and given out by him, who is the executor of his own testament, and the great dispensator of all that we need; so that what we ask of the Father he giveth it himself, John xiv.13, 14.
Seventhly, He is the Truth, in that he fully answereth all the hopes and expectations of his people. He shall not be found a liar unto them, whatever Satan may suggest unto them, or a misbelieving heart may prompt them to conceive, and their jealousy may make them apprehend; and whatever his dispensations may now seem to say. In end they shall all find, that he is the truth, fully satisfying all their desires; and granting all that ever they could hope for, or expect from him. They shall at length be satisfied with his likeness, Psalm xvii.15; yea, abundantly satisfied with the fatness of his house, Psalm xxxvi.8; and with his goodness, Psalm lxv.4; and that as with marrow and fatness, Psalm lxiii.5. One sight of his glory will fully satisfy, and cause them to cry out, enough! Jeremiah is now saying, as once he did in the bitterness of his soul, through the power of corruption and temptation, (chap. xv.18.) |wilt thou be altogether unto me as a liar, and as waters that fail?|
Eighthly, He is the Truth, in opposition to all other ways of salvation: for,
1. There is no salvation now by the law of works, that covenant being once broken cannot any more save; the law cannot now do it, in that it is weak through the flesh, Rom. viii.3.
2. There is no salvation now by the law of Moses without Christ: hence Israel, which followed after the law of righteousness, did not attain to the law of righteousness, because they sought it not by faith, but as it were by the works of the law, Rom. ix.31, 32. They went about to establish their own righteousness, and did not submit themselves unto the righteousness of God, Rom. x.3.
3. There is no salvation by any thing mixed in with Christ, as the apostle fully cleareth in his epistle to the Galatians.
4. There is no salvation by any other way or medium, which mart can invent or fall upon, whereof there are not a few, as we shewed above: |for there is not another name given under heaven, by which we can be saved,| but the name of Jesus, Acts iv.12. No religion Will save but this.
So that he is the true salvation, and he only is the true salvation; and he is the sure and safe salvation: such as make use of him shall not be mistaken nor disappointed, Isaiah xxxv.8.
Ninthly, He is the Truth, in respect of his leading and guiding his people in the truth: hence he is called |a teacher from God,| John iii.2; and one that |teacheth the way of God in truth,| Matt. xxii.16. |A prophet mighty in deed and word,| Luke xxiv.19. And in this respect he is the truth upon several accounts.
1. Of his personal teaching, God spoke by him, Heb. i.2. He revealed the Father's mind, Matt. xi.27. John i.18.
2. Of his messengers sent by him, as prophets of old, apostles and ministers of late, whom he sendeth forth to make disciples, Matt, xxviii.18; and to open the eyes of the blind, Acts xxvi.18.
3. Of his word, which he hath left as our rule, and which is a sure, word of prophecy, more sure than a voice from heaven, 2 Pet. i.19.
4. Of his ordinances, which he hath established as means to guide us in the way of truth.
5. Of his Spirit, whereby he maketh the word clear, John xiv.26. This Spirit is sent to teach all truth, and to lead and guide us in all truth, John xvii.13.1 John ii.27; and sept by him, and by the Father in his name, John xiv.26; xv.16; xvi.14.
6. Of his dispensations of providence, within us and without us, by which likewise he instructeth in the way of truth.
Tenthly. He, is the Truth, in, respect of his bearing witness to, the truth; and this he doth,
1. By himself, who was given for a witness, Isaiah lv.4; and came to bear witness to the truth, John iii.11; xviii.37; and was a faithful witness, Rev. i.5; iii.14,
2. By his ministers, who witness the truth of the gospel by publishing and proclaiming the same.
3. By his martyrs, who seal the truth with their blood, and so bear witness to it, Rev. ii.13; xvii.6. Acts xxii.20.
4. By his Spirit, sealing the truth of grace in a believer, and his interest in God through Christ, and his right to all the benefits of the new covenant, |in whom also, after ye believed, ye were sealed with that Holy Spirit of promise, which is the earnest of our inheritance,| Eph. i.13, 14.
Eleventhly. He is the Truth, in respect that he carrieth towards poor sinners in all things, according to the tenor of the gospel, and the offers thereof; he offers himself to all freely, and promiseth to put none away that come to him; and this he doth in truth: for no man can say, that he had a sincere and true desire to come to Jesus, and that he rejected him and would not look upon him. He giveth encouragement to all sinners to come, that will be content to quit their sins; and promiseth to upbraid none that cometh. And is there any that in their own experience can witness the contrary? He offers all freely; and did he ever reject any upon the want of a price in their hand? Nay, hath not the cause of their getting no admittance been, that they thought to commend themselves to Christ by their worth; and would not take all freely, for the glory of his grace? Let believers and others speak here, out of their own experience, in truth and in uprightness; and it shall be found, that he was and is the truth.
Twelfthly. He is the Truth, in that, in all his dispensations in the gospel, and in all his works and actions in and about his own people, he is true and upright. All his offers, all his promises, all his dispensations, are done in truth and uprightness; yea, all are done out of truth and uprightness of love, true tenderness and affection to them, whatever the corruption of jealousy and misbelief think and say to the contrary. He is the truth; and so always the same, unchangeable in his love, whatever his dispensations seem to say; and the believer may rest assured hereof, that he being the truth, shall be to him whatever his word holdeth him forth to be, and that constantly and unchangeably.