What is Truth? Truth is that which is true absolutely. Truth is reality in the ultimate sense. For Christians, truth is a person through whom we may know the truth of all things revealed(John 14:17,26); through whom we may come to a saving knowledge of truth(1 Tim. 2:4); through whom we may become "partakers of the divine nature"(2 Peter 1:4). This person is the true and living God, creator of heaven and earth, risen Lord and Savior of the world, Jesus of Nazareth, the Messiah.
Jesus said. "I am the way, the truth, and the life, no man comes to the Father but by me".(John14:6). The author of the Gospel according to St John revealed that Jesus is the Word, and that the Word(Jesus) was with God(the Father) in the beginning; that the Word(Jesus) is God; that all things were created by the Word(Jesus); In Him, the Word(Jesus) was life and the life is the light of men; that the Word became flesh, a fully human being while remaining fully God; that the Word(Jesus) is full of grace and truth; and that all who would receive the Word(Jesus) would be given the power to become the children of God.(John 1:1-18).
Jesus said, "I am the light of the world...my judgment is true: for I am not alone, but the Father that sent me...the testimony of two men is true. I am one that bears witness of myself, and the Father that sent me bears witness of me...I am from above...When you have lifted up the Son of Man, then shall you know that I am...Verily, verily, I say unto you, Before Abraham was, I am"(John 8:12-59). In the midst of this ongoing conversation that Jesus was having with the Pharisees, many believed on him(v. 30) and Jesus said to those Jews which believed on him, "If you continue in my word, then are you my disciples indeed; And you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free"(v. 31,32). Jesus was speaking of becoming free from sin and its power(v.36). This freedom from sin was found in the Son of the Father(God). The Son is revealed in the words of Jesus which corresponded with the scriptures of the Jews(Old Testament), This is "the truth" that they would know as they "continued in (Jesus) word". The "Truth" is a person, the Son of the Father. Because the scriptures of the Old Testament had no place in these Jews they could not understand Jesus's teachings. The Jews had developed a parallel religion to the religion that had been handed down to them in Moses and the Prophets. Jesus called these false teachings "your tradition...the commandments of men"(Mt 15:1-9). And Jesus reveals the source of these false teachings, and the deceptions(lies) that they produce, and that source is their father, the devil, who is a liar and a murderer from the beginning(v. 43-47). Jesus is revealing that these Jews were followers of "the liar", that is, followers of Satan himself, and that they were abiding in "the lies" of the devil.
Jesus is revealed as the true God, equal to the Father, who is also the "true God"(John 17:1-5). We, who believe, have been given an understanding(an enlightened nous/intellect/mind/an unction/an anointing) that we may "know Him who is true", "and we are in Him that is true, even in His Son Jesus Christ. This is the true God, and eternal life"(1 John 5:20). Titus reveals that we are "looking for that blessed hope, and glorious appearing of the great God and our Saviour Jesus Christ"(Titus 2:11-14). Jesus is the "ultimate reality", He is that which is "true absolutely"(Eph. 4:21).
I would like to introduce ideas of St. Nektarios of Aegina here that Jesus is the fulfilment of what is known as "THE EXPECTATION OF THE NATIONS". The idea that from the beginning, from the time of the "fall of Adam and Eve", all nations were awaiting the arrival of a "Redeemer God" coming in human form Who would teach the whole truth in order to obliterate evil, bring peace, make brothers of all nations, and bring the kingdom of heaven to the earth. This promise was an anchor of hope throughout the centuries. Greeks, Romans, Egyptians, Jews, Chinese, Indians, Persians, Arabs, even the inhabitants of the New World; all had stories, myths, prophecies foreshadowing a God-Man appearing to deliver the world from evil, from the great serpent. Confucius, Plutarch, Zoroaster, Socrates, Maurikios, Pascal, and many wise people spoke of this tradition of the nations.
The Holy Scriptures declare, "When the fulness of time had come, God sent forth His Son, born of a woman, born under the law, to redeem those who were under the law, that we might receive the adoption as sons. And because you are sons, God has sent forth the Spirit of His Son into your hearts, crying, "Abba, Father!" Therefore you are no longer a slave but a son, and if a son, then an heir of God through Christ"(Gal. 4:4-7). God's Son, the Light of Light, broke into the darkness of this fallen world at the very perfect moment in human history. Jesus is this very "Truth" that all the nations were expecting.
Therefore, "THE CHRISTIAN FAITH is not a "religion" (except in the conventional everyday use of the word). It is the fulfillment of all religions in their search for divine truth and human meaning as inspired by God's law written on human hearts. In this understanding, God's Gospel in Jesus is the end of all religions as human constructions, however good and inevitable they are in their desire to deal with life's mysteries and to comprehend the ways of God (or the gods) and creatures in a demon-riddled, death-bound world."(Fr Thomas Hopko).
The Truth is found in "the gospel of Jesus Christ, the Son of God"(Mark 1:1). The "four Gospels" (aka the"four Evangelists"), Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John; and the gospel according to St Paul(Romans 16:25,26) reveal the truth of God, of all things that pertain to our salvation(Gal. 2:5; Col. 1:5,6; Eph. 1:13; 1 Tim. 2:4-7). Note the continued connection of "truth" and "gospel" made in these scriptures. Jesus said, "Search the scriptures(Old Testament)(John 5:39), for in them you will discover who Jesus is, and therefore acquire "life"(v. 40). And at the Second Coming of Jesus you will experience "the resurrection of life"(John 5:29).
The "Truth" taught by Jesus, and the preaching of the Apostles, was handed down to the churches of God and is known as "Holy Tradition". "Holy Tradition" is defined as "the life of the Holy Spirit in the Church". (Eph. 2:20-22; 1 Thes. 2:13,14; 2 Thes. 2: 15; 3:6; 1 Cor.11:2). From these verses we know that the "truth" was passed down both orally and in written form(Epistles). The Church became the repository of the "truth of Christ", aka "the Faith". 1 Timothy 3:15 reveals that "the Church" is "the pillar and ground of the truth". The foundation of Christian Faith is the Church, the Scriptures tell us this. (Interesting note here is that the very next verse(v. 16), St Paul quotes an ancient Christian creed or hymn. This shows us that the "Truth of the Church" was embodied in liturgical hymns as well as the oral teachings of the Apostles and the written Epistles of the Apostles. In 1 Thessalonians 2:13,14 we can see that the believers in Thessalonica "became followers of the churches of God which in Judea are in Christ Jesus". The believers at the beginning did not have copies of the New Testament as we do now. The churches were teaching from both, the Old Testament, and from what the Apostles were teaching about Jesus, both orally and in epistles. The church communities were Spirit-filled worshiping communities, praying the Psalms, singing hymns about Jesus, and spiritual songs that conveyed credal truth, and celebrating the Lord's Supper, sharing and having all things in common(Acts 2:42-47; 4:32; Col. 3:16; Eph. 5:17,18).
Three things we know about Truth; 1) Truth is a person - Jesus the Messiah; 2) The Church is the "pillar and ground of the Truth" where the "life of the Holy Spirit" animates the believing community; and 3) The Holy Scriptures(OT and NT) are truly inspired by the Holy Spirit and speak the Truth about Jesus the Messiah.
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