Coptic Orthodox Diocese of the Southern United States

I Tell The Truth In Christ

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Keraza Magazine issue 43-44 November 3, 2017

"I tell the truth in Christ, I am not lying, my conscience also bearing me witness in the Holy Spirit" (Romans 9:1) is a very strong statement written by St. Paul to the Romans. It amazingly clarifies that the Trinity is not just a mere theoretical dogma proved by many evidences and taught in theological seminaries, but is a practical live faith enmeshed with all the details of daily life. He tells the truth in Christ, in the presence of God the Father, and witnessed by the Holy Spirit. Here virtue is turned from being a mere moral ethic that even atheists and unbelievers acquire, to become a Christian virtue that finds to itself a deep dimension rooted in the dogma of the Trinity. This does not apply to the virtue of telling the truth alone but also to all other types of virtues. Every virtue practiced outside the fellowship of the Trinity is nothing but one of the moral ethics which are like straw that is burned when revealed by fire.

No one can enter God's presence and see Him unless he puts on the wedding garment (Matthew 22:12). And "when the king will come in to see the guests" (Matthew 22:11), he will look first for the wedding garment. This wedding garment is nothing but Christ himself, "Put on the Lord Jesus Christ" (Romans 13:14). Therefore, unless the Father finds us, "conformed to the image of His Son" (Romans 8:9), we will never taste His kingdom, neither here on earth nor there in eternity. This means that whoever carries in himself something different from God's nature can neither dwell in His presence nor see Him, "but we know that when He is revealed, we shall be like Him, for we shall see Him as He is. And everyone who has this hope in Him purifies himself, just as He is pure" (1 John 3:2-3).

God's truth is not a mere virtue outside his nature but is the nature of God himself who is the absolute Truth, "I am the way, the truth, and the life" (John 14:6). May be this is the reason Jesus Christ did not answer Pilate when he asked Him: What is the truth? instead of asking Him: Who is the truth? The difference between them is huge as the former concerns a virtue while the later concerns God's own essence. It was said about the devil that he "does not stand in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he speaks a lie, he speaks from his own resources, for he is a liar and the father of it" (John 8:44). Thus, God speaks the truth from His own resources, while the devil speaks lies from his own resources. Therefore, the devil is the father of every liar, while whoever tells the truth in Christ, like St. Paul, is a true son of God.

There are many types of lying. Manipulation is lying; half-truth is lying; hypocrisy is lying; fake compliment is lying; self-deceitfulness is lying; inconsistency is lying; breaking promises is lying; exaggeration is lying; claimed knowledge is lying; procrastination is lying; false testimony is lying; and loving the world and worldly things is lying. In short, whatever is not from God is lying as long as with Him "there is no variation or shadow of turning" (James 1:17).

Bishop Youssef
Bishop, Coptic Orthodox Diocese of the Southern United States

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