The Good, the Beautiful and the True

 One thing have I asked of the Lord that will I seek after; that I may dwell in the house of the Lord all the days of my life, to gaze upon the beauty of the Lord and to inquire in his temple.
Psalm 27:4

I believe that I shall look upon the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living!
Psalm 27:13

“I’m not saying that it is bad or evil, it’s just not the best choice for you.”

“Beauty is in the eye of the beholder.”

“Look, there is no such thing as absolute truth.”

“You have your truth and I have my truth.”

If one stops and thinks through the above statements it does not take long to realize that they are patently absurd! All three of these concepts dominate the way our culture thinks about goodness, beauty and truth. These three concepts have been placed before our minds and hearts this month and all three are undermined in our culture, most of the time perverted and at best are minimized. The way that this has been accomplished is very simple. We are preoccupied with ourselves and self-absorption, self-actualization and self-esteem have become the trinity of life where we give all of our affection and adoration. We have now become the abettors of goodness, beauty and truth. We all claim that there is no true truth only “our truth” which may or may not be “your truth” and I certainly should not expect “true truth.” There is no objective beauty but all simply a matter of personal taste. Appearance, behavior and conversation have no standard of beauty to which they seek to ascend. It is only a matter of one’s preferences and desires at the moment. Certainly nothing is intrinsically good…it may be permissible to assign goodness out of personal preferences but unless something is politically incorrect, it cannot be identified as good or bad. It can only declared as preferred.

The Word of God clearly challenges our attempt to relativize truth, beauty and goodness first by declaring the word itself true, beautiful and good. Then, by revealing them as attributes of the Triune God. Truth is a reality because God is Truth and cannot lie. Therefore, what God says and does not contain truth or become truth but it IS the truth. For instance in His Word (John 17:17), the Bible does not claim to be a compendium of truthful observations but a revelation of a singular phenomena – truth. Sanctify them in the truth. Thy Word is truth.

Beauty does not claim to be a product dependent upon the evaluation of an onlooker. In other words, beauty is not in the eye of the beholder, it is the Lord who is Beautiful. He is the God of Beauty. In Psalm 27:4, my favorite Psalm, David declares a single prayer – “that he might dwell in the house of the Lord forever” not simply to be in His presence but specifically “to behold the beauty of the Lord.” A beholder may or may not gaze upon beauty and may or may not have the ability to appreciate beauty but one thing is clear – the beholder does not make beauty, God is Beauty. It is one of His attributes and therefore what He says and does will be beautiful. The questions for us are simple yet profound in its implications. Do we have the God-given ability to see the beauty of the Lord, affirm that beauty and then use His beauty to rejoice in the Lord for His own glory?

Concerning goodness – Do we long to embrace the Goodness of the Lord? Not the flimsy imposter in our society which is determined by the collective assent of what is permissible behavior in a narcissistic society nor what is fashionably in vogue as a passing fad for the society. The Lord is Good. In the same Psalm, the hope of David is not only that his despair would flee in the “presence of the Lord” and that he would gaze upon the “beauty of the Lord” but also that he would yet “see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living.”

So here are two wonderful facts for every Christian. First, truth, beauty and goodness are living realities because they are the attributes of God thus they surround us because God does and says what He is. His Word reveals Himself and therefore what is True, what is Beautiful and what is Good. At the same time it warns as to the reality and perversity of the lie, of the ugly and the evil. He brings to us that which is True, Beautiful and Good. His warning includes the fact that what we bring from our unassisted hearts is the lie, the ugly and the evil as we suppress the glory of God and exalt ourselves.

Therefore, truth beauty and goodness are not in our eyes or in our hearts or manufactured by our efforts. Our sinful hearts have destroyed our ability to love truth, to appreciate beauty and to do good.  But, praise the Lord. The God of all grace can be called upon just as David does in Psalm 27. O how he loves to hear us when we come in the Name of our True, Beautiful and Good Savior asking…I want to know your truth, behold your beauty and embrace that which You call good.

There is a second fact which is the glorious blessing. The God in his grace and glory hears us when we call upon Him by faith and repentance in the Name of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. The One who is the true, who is our beautiful and who is good. Our Redeemer, who will deliver us from our sin so that we might not only  behold truth, beauty and goodness but that we will love truth, beauty and goodness because we love Him, the Lord of truth beauty and goodness.

David desired to continually abide “in the sanctuary of the Lord” so that he would be with the Lord, see His beauty and hear His truth while knowing His goodness. David of course is right. It is in the sanctuary that you meet the Lord who is true, beautiful and good. Praise the Lord that He is the Sanctuary. Now, amazingly, He makes us into His sanctuary. We are the temple of the Lord. We are His sanctuary. So, let’s expand our prayer. O Lord, would you allow me to not only behold the One who is true, beautiful and good but may I adorn the Gospel of my Savior the men and women of this world who look to me may gaze upon the Savior who is at work in me and see Him who is true, beautiful and good. O Lord, make me a sanctuary that others may see the Triune God in me who is true, beautiful and good. s good and by your spirit, through your son and for your glory may they see you for there is none like you. True are you O Lord. Beautiful are you O Savior. Good are you my Rock and my Redeemer.

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