Sin, Truth and Freedom

Then Jesus said to those Jews who believed Him, “If you abide in My word, you are My disciples indeed.  And you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.” (John 8:31-32)

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Archdeacon John Chryssavgis notes that in the ancient world, knowledge and truth are not merely terms for abstract ideas but imply that we enter into communion with who we know.  They are experiential words that bring us into a union with the thing or person we have come to know.

“From Herakleitos [d. ca. 501BC] to the Neoplatonists, knowledge is an act of communion: ‘inasmuch as we are in communion we have truth; and to the degree that we are isolated, we lack truth.’ Knowledge is true only when it becomes common experience, only when in sharing it we are in communion with others, when we understand and are understood, when we are coordinated with the common experiential certainty.

So it is not individual understanding that constitutes the basis of truth, but only its communal experience. ”  (THE WAY OF THE FATHERS, p 183)

In the modern world we love our independence (not being reliant on others) and ever since the enlightenment we love our individualism.  Yet it is in communion that we come to know the truth.  Our experience of God in Jesus Christ is relational – we are united not just to God but also to all of those who are disciples of Christ.  Our freedom from sin requires us to be united to the Body of Christ.

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Jesus answered them, “Most assuredly, I say to you, whoever commits sin is a slave of sin.  (John 8:34)

St Theodoros the Great Ascetic reminds us:

Since by God’s grace we have renounced Satan and and his works and have sworn allegiance to Christ… at baptism … let us keep his commandments.  Not only does our double profession demand this of us, but it is also our natural duty, for since we were originally created by God as ‘very good‘ (Gen 1:31), we owe it to God to be such.  Although sin entered us through  our negligence and introduced into us what is contrary to nature, we have been reclaimed through God’s great mercy, and renewed by the passion of Him who is dispassionate.  We have been ‘bought with a price‘ (1 Cor 6:20), namely by the blood of Christ, and liberated from the ancient ancestral sin.  If, then, we become righteous , this is nothing great, but to fall from righteousness is pitiable and deserves condemnation.”  (THE PHILOKALIA  Vol 2, p 14)

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In Christ we have been liberated from the alienation, fragmentation and individualization resulting from sin.  We are reunited to our loving Creator and to our fellow human beings as is the will of God for our salvation.