The Witness of Christ

“Mercy and truth have met together. Righteousness and peace have kissed…”1

This prophecy in the Psalms speaks of Christ who is Himself the faithful and true witness2 of God the Holy Trinity. In him there is no opposition between the loving mercy of God and the truth of God or between what is right and what brings peace. He is the truth,3 and in him there is no truth apart from love.4 He is righteous, and in his righteousness, He is the Gospel of peace.5 If our testimony to the truth of the Orthodox Faith is to be faithful, it will declare the fullness of who He is and reflect the manner in which He Himself witnessed to his Father.

Seeing the true Light, finding the true Faith, and being catechized in a way that enables us to discern truth from error is a wonderful blessing bestowed on us by Christ and His Church. Our Lord’s Apostles and our God-bearing Fathers struggled, suffered, and often gave their lives to defend the Faith from error. They were willing to do so not merely because errors are ‘wrong’, and they wanted to be ‘right.’ Rather, they did it out of love for God “who desires all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth.”6 They understood that the truth of Christ is the Way for all to be saved. Heresies are not merely incorrect ‘facts’ about God. Heresies have very deadly consequences because they divert people from the only Way they can be delivered from death and share in the eternal life of the Holy Trinity. Our motivation for witnessing to the truth of Christ is likewise love for God and our neighbor. The truth—if indeed it is the fullness of the Truth that is the Orthodox Faith—can never be reduced to an argument over who is ‘right’ or who is ‘wrong.’ We are called to witness to Christ out of loving compassion for our neighbor. If, however, we go about wielding the truth of the Orthodox Faith as a weapon to prove how ‘right’ we are or how wrong our neighbor is, it is no longer the truth of our Lord Jesus Christ that we proclaim but ourselves and our own righteousness.7

The good news of the righteousness of Christ to whom we witness is his “peace on earth and goodwill to men.”8 Although our Lord said, “Do not think that I came to bring peace on earth. I did not come to bring peace but a sword. For I have come to set a man against his father, a daughter against her mother, and a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law; and a man’s enemies will be those of his own household,”9 He is not speaking of our witness to him,10 but of the conflict that will arise from those who respond to his love with hatred or to his peace with envy or fear out of the sense of condemnation that comes of exposure to the Light that is Christ.11

Every word the True and Faithful Witness spoke in bearing witness to the Truth was that of his Father. And though He was a man in appearance12 who spoke with a human voice like that of any other man, his word was (and is) the word of God which “is living and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, …a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart. And there is no creature hidden from his sight, but all things are naked and open to the eyes of him to whom we must give account."13 The words of a faithful witness, then, will always be those of God and not his or her own. Though quoting ‘chapter and verse’ directly carries little weight in a culture that no longer accepts the Scriptures as authoritative, the words of God that faithfully testify to the Word of God have an authority and power that penetrates into the heart.14 The truth can be resisted,15 but it nevertheless resonates deeply in all who hear it (and not only in those who immediately respond with faith) because Christ is the light of every person who lives.16

May our witness to Christ always be in the fullness of him who is the Truth, free of hypocrisy, overflowing with his love in meekness, gentleness, and patience. May our words and our deeds be sown in peace for the sake our neighbor’s peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ in accordance with his will and to the praise of the glory of his grace.

Now to Him who is able to do exceedingly abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that works in us, to Him be glory in the church by Christ Jesus to all generations, forever and ever. Amen.17


  1. Psalm 85:10

  2. Revelation 3:14

  3. John 14:16

  4. Neither in him is there love apart from truth.

  5. Ephesians 2:14

  6. 1 Timothy 2:4

  7. 2 Corinthians 4:5

  8. Luke 2:14

  9. Matthew 10:34–36

  10. “Behold, I send you out as sheep in the midst of wolves. Therefore, be wise as serpents and harmless as doves.” Matthew 10:16.

  11. “And this is the condemnation, that the light has come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil. For everyone practicing evil hates the light and does not come to the light, lest his deeds should be exposed.” John 3:19–20.

  12. Philippians 2:8

  13. Hebrews 4:12–13

  14. Matthew 7:28–29

  15. Romans 1:18; Acts 7:51

  16. John 1:9

  17. Ephesians 3:20–21