Sjolander Road Fellowship

Declaring the God of Unconditional Love

truth versus law


Typical religious thought seems to equate “Truth” with laws or commandments. By “Truth” I mean that eternal, universal wisdom or insight which rightfully guides our lives.

Supposedly the “Truth” comprises all the rules that the religious system says are essential if one is to be associated with that faith and attain divine acceptance thereby. The religious rule book is inherently lengthy with a great deal of emphasis on religious authority and its responsibility to manage rule keeping.

In the Christian faith many believe that rule keeping is the very essence of their religion. Some think that the Old Testament Ten Commandments are a big part of the “Truth”. Others think that the “law of Christ” is either the new rules or just an addition to the old ones. The most basic tenet of Christianity is summed up in the word “obedience” which necessarily implies rules.

In reality, though, Christ was not about old rules or new ones either as the mark of acceptance. Jesus was not a good rule keeper. That is what got him in trouble in the first place. Some undoubtedly dwell on John 14:15- “If ye love me keep my commandments” and then insist that Jesus demanded adherence to rules. That may be one way of reading Jesus, but his teaching was always counter intuitive, stressing a general love principle directed simultaneous to God and mankind.

Jesus also famously said, “Ye shall know the truth and the truth shall set you free” John 8:32. This “Truth” is presented as a promise, not as something contingent on human effort. Does anyone really believe that Jesus came to promise a revealing of the “truth” that keeping the rules properly is the answer to evil and the route to God? That would be a preposterous recycle of the Old Covenant thinking. Salvation by rules and defined procedures cannot logically be a part of anything new in Christ.

The counter intuitive love stressed by Jesus is the real mysterious Truth, previously hidden from men and now revealed in Christ. That love cannot be reconciled with the OT, Tree of Knowledge based, good versus evil, law keeping religious paradigm. You can love like Jesus or you can legislate like Moses. If you try to do both within human agency, it’s a lost cause.

Truth is not “thou shalt and thou shalt not”. Truth is not defined by commandments. Truth is separate from judicial laws- rules with associated judgment and punishment. Truth is self evident, eternal, and self sufficient. It requires no judge or enforcer. It just is. It can be ignored or denied but its validity and effect remains sure without enforcement.

The law came by Moses who was descended from Adam and from the Tree of Knowledge, but grace and truth came by Jesus. Truth and Grace are intertwined, not truth and law. In fact, law, as in judicial commandments, points away from both grace and truth.

Legal requirements and Truth are anathema to each other. The one demands judgment, condemnation, and rejection. The other leads to love, forbearance, and acceptance. One springs from the Tree of Knowledge. The other from the Tree of Life.