“Speak concerning the truth to those who seek it and of knowledge to those who, in their error, have committed sin. Make sure-footed those who stumble and stretch forth your hands to the sick. Nourish the hungry and set at ease those who are troubled. Foster men who love. Raise up and awaken those who sleep. For you are this understanding which encourages. If the strong follow this course, they are even stronger. Turn your attention to yourselves. Do not be concerned with other things, namely, that which you have cast forth from yourselves, that which you have dismissed. Do not return to eat them. Do not be moth-eaten. Do not be worm-eaten, for you already have shaken it off. Do not be a place of the devil, for you have already destroyed him. Do not strengthen your last obstacles, because that is reprehensible. For the lawless one is nothing. He harms himself more than the law. For that one does his works because he is a lawless person. But this one, because his a righteous person, does his works among others. Do the will of the Father, then, for you are from him.”
The above is a paragraph from the Gospel of Truth, thought to be written by Valentinus in about 150 AD. The gist of this text is about committing errors in Truth as a result of ignorance, and of Christ being sent down from heaven to remove that ignorance. This particular paragraph is powerful in several ways:
First, Valentinus states that a follower of Jesus should speak of knowledge to those, “who in their error, have committed sin.” So for those in error about the truth, those whose actions are not right or true unintentionally (as the word “error” means), and are therefore ignorant of the truth and are sinning, a follower of Christ should share the Truth. One should also help those who stumble to stand upright, to stand in Truth. Additionally, one must raise up those who sleep (those who are ignorant of the Truth) for those who follow Christ are the, “understanding which encourages.”
Valentinus then writes for followers not to concern themselves with anything but themselves. This is not a directive to be selfish, but to understand that for one to understand Christ and to understand Truth, one must understand oneself. He then directs followers to forget about that which has been “cast forth from yourselves, that which you have dismissed.” This is a statement explains to followers to forget what has been done in the past, to move forward, and to not revisit (“return to eat them”) those things in the past.
He also reminds those following Christ to forget about death (“Do not be moth-eaten. Do not be worm-eaten.”) because in knowing the Truth , one is no longer dead. And the same holds true for the Devil – for lawlessness. In following Jesus one knows and follows the law – the loving of “God” and of one’s neighbors as oneself – and therefore have defeated the Devil.
Finally, Valentinus reminds followers of the most important fact – that they are of the Father, they are of “God” and therefore are to do what is right and what is True.
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