Contrary to common belief, Truth is never a gray area. Truth is not inherently subjective and, as presumed, dependent on circumstances, conventions, traditions or prevailing conditions. The Truth had been established even before there were humans or there was even anything to see in the Universe. What we think is truth today is generally what we have been led to believe by those who have never fully understood the meaning, the source and the purpose of Truth. Truth exists because it is inter-dependent with the Essence of Life and the Maker of Life.
Truth is the manifestation or the evidence of Life itself. There is Truth because there is Life. There is Life because there is Truth. And all of that, Life or Truth — and everything connected to either the two – could not have come into existence if not for the organic and ultimate origin of all things: God.
It follows, therefore, that the germ or the seed of Truth is a given – a gift! For if it were not given, we would have no conception of it at all or access to it. We do not promote fundamentalism but merely desire to prove a fact or reality. It may not even be the final and fundamental thing for humans to discover; so, it is not right to call it fundamentalism, which is a politically-charged word. One plus one equals two (1 + 1 = 2) may appear to be the ultimate foundation of all other additions of any two or more values; but how do we explain the Truth that the Father and the Son and the Spirit are One? We may see and know one “truth” in one aspect; but there could be a deeper Truth we still have not seen or known.
When Newton found the laws of Physics, he believed it was the whole truth or essence of the Universe, until Einstein came up with a way – his own way, at least — of explaining those laws in a higher or deeper sense. Newton was not wrong; yet, Einstein neither had the complete truth nor knew enough to explain some unknown things. Then Maxwell came up with Quantum Mechanics, explaining what Einstein could not explain. Now String Theory comes along, among other theories. Where does it end?
But the Truth of the Spirit is perfect and sufficient to explain what we need to know of life as we have it on Earth. It even explains things above Earth, making it hard for us to accept them because we do not see them or we do not see evidences of their existence. Or do we, except that we do not believe or do not even know how to decipher the evidences? We feel the wind but do not see it. Do we doubt its existence? Same with Physics: We either believe or disbelieve the theories based on things we do not see but only feel, observe or conceive indirectly through the many tools of science.
Faith is the essential key to any knowledge in any field of study. For a truth is always truth, whether it is incomplete, complete, imperfect, perfect, non-essential or essential. Reading the Old Testament is reading truth, so with the New Testament. Studying Nature is studying truth as well, so with heavenly things. There may arise conflicts in our formulation of what truth is because the process of truth-seeking comes in many levels or steps. An elementary student knows certain truths; so does a college graduate or a retired university professor. At a certain age, those three persons may not agree on many things or arrive at the same conclusions; nonetheless, the Truth they seek or do not seek still exists and is free for anyone to access. For as we said: Truth existed before humans ever did.
Hence, to remain in only one level of Truth while disregarding the other higher or parallel levels would amount to believing Newton only and not Einstein and Maxwell as well – or some other source who holds the Truth. It would also be like living by the Old Testament alone and rejecting New Testament principles, as Jews do. For though Truth is organic, it also encompasses all possible applications or ways of seeing and applying it and still achieving the same results or benefits, although in varying modes or forms. When the telephone was invented, it allowed people to communicate from afar using telephone lines. Today, we still get the same function but using wireless instruments. Would you rather use the old mode or the new? Today, many of us no longer have a choice as to the mode. And how does prayer work? If we can communicate with God, did we invent the means to do so? Or was it given to us?
These basic issues on Truth can bring about much argument. People will always believe what they want to believe. Humans often disagree. Truth – or the search for it — is a complex matter. It is not entirely because of the raw information itself but the way it is framed or presented. And traditions often contain part of the Truth; that is why many practice it. Some traditions may be entirely false or invented, but they do endure and even last as long as those which contain some of the Truth. Difficult though the search for Truth is, every person needs to confront that challenge or be lost in the multitude of lies and falsehood that abound even more than Truth does in this world. How?
The only certain thing that determines Truth is life. Anything that destroys or limits the enjoyment of life is contrary to Truth. God’s Truth then is all about producing, preserving, enhancing and perpetuating life. For apart from God, there is no life.
We need Someone then who not only understands Truth but has the power to harness it in order to create, teach, transform, heal, feed hundreds with pieces of bread and fish, produce wine from water, walk on water, calm a storm, and raise the dead and rise from the dead; yes, to give life or give back life. One who can cause floods, earthquakes and write on tablets of stone with His fingers. These may seem to be loaded statements; however, One Who has claimed to hold the Truth and even calls Himself as The Truth must either be so arrogant or so deceitful to claim so or He really tells the Truth. Only a Being who cannot lie must be the only One Who knows the Truth; hence, He deserves our attention, trust and belief. (Titus 1:2, 2 Tim. 2:13) His words and His works must be consistent with all the evidences to earn our faith. Without this essential condition, we would never find the Truth and our life would be a total lie.
At this stage in our study, we can now even use quantum physics or its idea of “quantum weirdness” as a spiritual word to describe the ever present ability of the Spirit, Who moves like the wind but is unseen. For His acts have purpose and accomplish His work in the same way that the photon that strikes the leaf or our skin can empower plants to photosynthesize and our cells to do a parallel function of producing proteins and using them to sustain the body. The light may seem inanimate or inorganic but it is alive and gives life. The tree has life also; otherwise, we will not eat fruits to keep alive. The Spirit feeds us Truth in order to give us Life as well. Science may explain some aspects of Nature; but the Spirit from God has control over our whole life. (Acts 17:28)
Hence, to keep reading or understanding scriptures as dead letters or words that are unchanging or un-dynamic is to make the Spirit also dead and ineffective. Spiritual-Word/Spiritual-Truth combinations are Living-Spiritual-Word/Living-Spiritual-Truth combinations that produce and sustain life because the Spirit is the life of the believer’s body and spirit. Romans 8:16 says that the “Spirit bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God”. He feeds us with proofs of our faith by His Perfect Truth in order to keep us spiritually alive and strong. Organic Faith works this way because the Spirit holds and grants the Key of Truth to those who believe in order for us to share in God’s life and glory.
So, the question that needs to be asked is: If there is Perfect Truth, how can we attain it in our lifetime? Here and now, not later or after we leave this world?
Christ left His Truth to His apostles through the enabling power of the Holy Spirit, a process that we explained in Part 2. The same Truth was the message those apostles received from Christ and the Spirit and which they preached and proclaimed throughout the world. Four primary principles applied then and still apply today:
- Christ taught and bequeathed the Truth to His apostles through His bodily or physical presence.
- Next, the Spirit, likewise, taught, explained and bequeathed the same Truth to the apostles through His spiritual utterances (His words) or invisible presence (His works in their lives) with miraculous signs or manifestations.
- Next, the apostles taught, explained and bequeathed the same Truth to multitudes, particularly those individuals who accepted and believed the message, often with miraculous signs.
- Hence, the Truth that Christ came to preach and deliver exists in its basic and perfect form through the written words of the apostles, as inspired or testified by the miraculous and spiritual work of the Holy Spirit.
- Ultimately, the Truth – or the seed of the Truth planted by Christ – exists and is available to any person who desires to know it in its original or organic form (as delivered physically in written form by the apostles and as delivered spiritually and continually by the Spirit for all times).
Based on the above simple facts, we can conclude the following:
- What Christ has preached is a finished and completed body of teachings – i.e., the Gospel. No new teaching is necessary or required then. Hence, we have the Perfect Truth available to us today! (1 Cor. 13:10-12; 1 John 4:17,18)
- What the Spirit took and delivered from Christ is also a finished and completed body of teachings which the apostles believed and practiced in their lives. No new teaching is necessary or required likewise.
- What the apostles delivered to others through the Spirit is a finished and completed body of teachings which faithful believers also practiced in their lives. No new teaching is necessary or required either.
- After the apostles had died, faithful individual believers (not organized or denominated sects) delivered the same Truth from the Spirit to others to produce the same fruits that the Spirit obtained among the Pentecost firstfruits. Yes, the Spirit reaped on His work and planted His Truth through those individual believers. Hence, reading and knowing how the Spirit worked are what the scriptures are for. No new teaching, therefore, is necessary or required as before. In fact, as we keep saying, we need no new or no other teacher. (1 John 2:20-27)
Today, this simple process allows any person to acquire the Truth directly from Christ through the Spirit Who alone has care over the message through the Key of Truth handed down to us by the apostles. We have traced the whole process of the Spirit’s work in the past discussions. Hence, if we will look at the people or groups who appropriated the Truth in their own peculiar and self-oriented motives, whether with good intentions or not, we will see where they departed from the Way. Christ’s ultimate purpose, as well as the Spirit’s and the apostles’, is to preserve the Truth in its pure and perfect form. In short, what Peter, John or James learned, taught and practiced must be the same Truth you and I must learn, teach and practice. Anything else is not from Christ. The enemy, in fact, wants nothing more than to distort the Gospel Truth. And how distorted it is today!
And so, Satan and his demons have been constantly at work replicating the message in various unorganic and unoriginal forms through individuals who, out of goodwill or evil intent, revise the established principles or patterns of teachings once delivered by the apostles 2,000 years ago. Many sects, if not all of them, use the Bible as their doctrinal source, while some also include their traditions and their unique interpretations of the original message as the unifying doctrine within their denomination. Historically then, we can trace all these sects back to the time when the apostasy or departure from the Truth occurred, that is, during the time of the apostles. Peter and Paul had anticipated it; John documented it. (2 Pet. 2:1; Acts 20:29; Rev. 2:8-9, 13-15, 20-21)
Anything, therefore, that does not pass the test of the Spirit’s Key of Truth we must deem as unorganic and, it follows, not of the Truth. Yes, some may claim that certain teachings or opinions of Paul or another apostle carry the weight of Truth as well, for he was guided by the Spirit as well. If so, only the Spirit can pass judgment on such issues. And many of the issues those apostles dealt with pertained to matters related to culture or social conventions, not necessarily spiritual principles that can be applied in any context or environment.
Take the case of the eating of sacrificed meat. For Paul, everything was allowed; but he subjected his right to the greater call of love for a fellow believer. (1 Cor. 10:23-33) The issue is not one of law, tradition, culture or convention but of kindness and love for others, values only an individual, living in and guided by the Spirit, has freedom to express. To impose one’s stance or belief upon others is the mark of “lording over others”, which is often done by leaders within churches or sects. One who submits to such a leader, surrenders his or her freedom to that person and that sect, not to the Spirit who liberates us all from compliance to laws and ordinances. The Spirit is already sufficient to guide one’s conscience to make the right choice in spiritual matters. Do not let anyone tell you otherwise.
As we have said before, the Holy Spirit will convict us of truth, of sin and of judgment. He delivered — and still delivers — the Truth, no one else. Those who reject that Truth will be convicted of sin. Finally, He will convict us all of judgment (we will know that we will be judged, not just by our conscience but more so by His word) before Christ will impose the punishment in the end. God does not deliver Truth and pronounce arbitrary judgment and punishment in the end without us understanding beforehand why we deserve the punishment. In the same way, He does not grant a reward without our prior knowledge, experience and anticipation of the joy even before we receive the reward. That is the purpose of faith and hope in this world. Yet, many also place their faith and hope in unorganic truth and shall find themselves lacking of the required weight at the final judgment. Thus, the importance of testing our faith now and then. (2 Cor. 13:5)
There is value in reviewing the actual historical development of those sects or churches that came after the apostles. Two major, self-proclaimed inheritors of the apostles took part in the global apostasy that brought about the continuing descent to chaos and confusion in the preaching of Christ’s Gospel. We began this series with a discussion on Theology and what it has brought about (Part 6). We will refer the reader to a detailed historical account of how these two major sects fought for prominence and how the Gospel message suffered damage in the process. Here is the link to the book The Agape: A Celebration of Love (The New and Living Way of Pure, Simple and Joyful Christianity), a free ebook available for download in this blog. Chapter 4 (“The Story of the Greeks”) chronicles the history of those two major sects from which most, if not all, denominations today owe their existence, in one way or another.
Applying our basic understanding of the Spirit’s Key of Truth or Knowledge, we can clearly determine how the various denominations, including that of your own, have come about. (1 Cor. 2:10-16; Luke 11:52) That is, every doctrine or tradition we adhere to today has its roots in the experiences of the ancient followers. Deciphering which is organic or not, which is original or invented, and which is of the Truth or not will require diligently sitting at the feet of the Spirit and carefully listening to His words and His inspiration. By the Spirit, therefore, you can judge what humans teach and do. So, beware! Watching a televangelist or listening to another teacher other than the Holy Spirit can lead you astray. (1 John 2:20-27).
Know your roots! Most of all, know what you continue imbibing into your life-system today. Your soul’s destiny depends on it.