Jesus said I am the Way, the Truth, and the Life and no man comes to the Father but by me. He also said you shall know the Truth and the Truth shall set you free. John told us that the Law came by Moses but Grace and Truth came by Christ. In all these passages we see the emphasis on the Truth which was inherent in the message of Jesus. Jesus is even called the Word in the first Chapter of John. Men debate about the significance of that designation, but it seems no stretch to conclude that Jesus was the Word in the sense that He was the bearer of Truth. What was the Truth which Jesus brought to mankind during His earthly ministry? Was it simply the instructions on how to escape God’s wrath as many want to assume? Was it a new set of requirements to be met in order to be one of God’s chosen people, similar to the Law of Moses, but more powerful in its potential?
The conventional religious wisdom makes the Truth of Jesus a series of historical facts which must be believed and certain commandments which must be obeyed. If this was the Truth as noted in John1:17, one must wonder how it was really different from the Law which came by Moses. Merely exchanging a Jewish only law for a universal one is differently only in extent. Additionally, a new law denies the element of grace as noted by Paul in Galatians. No, the general notion that the Truth was a new commandment cannot be. Commandments demand compliance and engender failure, just like the Law of Moses did. The mission of Jesus had to contrast sharply with that of Moses.
In Orthodox theology, the Truth of Jesus has been necessarily twisted and misconstrued. Within Orthodoxy, with its emphasis on the Church as God’s institution on earth, the message of Jesus about what is real and how that should affect our lives has to be ignored or even subverted. The ideas of universal brotherhood, the forsaking of judgment, love for everyone, even our enemies, and the practice of meekness and humility as the path to fulfillment have no place in church theology of constant conflict and essential conformity. For this reason, the Truth of Jesus must equated to certain requirements which support the existence of the church and uphold its authority.
So what do we make of the idea that the route to the Father necessitates the Truth of Jesus? Does this mean, as the church so often contends, that we are rejected by the Father until we submit to Him? No, that is merely an assumption. Coming to the Father might mean many things. Arriving at a true understanding of God and the magnitude of His Love might be the same as coming to the Father. The Truth that allows one to come to the Father is simply the realization that God is not angry with us and that we are not rejected miscreants. This is coming to the Father, in the sense that we come to know Him as He truly is.
It is so easy to imagine a much more glorious interpretation of the church’s favorite Bible passages, than the divisive and unreasonable one which Orthodoxy teaches. Simply opening one’s mind to the possibility of a different understanding makes all the difference. The results are emphatically the fruits of the spirit.