“Buy the truth and sell it not; also wisdom, and instruction, and understanding.” Proverbs 23:23
“This is America, and there has to be room for everybody.” We hear this every day. Pluralism, diversity, tolerance—everyone talks about them, but many who talk “pluralism” don’t really mean it.
For example, in a public gathering a rabbi or a Muslim may be asked to pray, and all is well. But if a Christian is scheduled pray, the same pluralists may say, “Don’t pray in Jesus’ name.” Why not? That would be pluralism, wouldn’t it?
A rabbi ought to pray as a rabbi prays. A Catholic priest ought to pray as a Catholic priest prays. A Muslim ought to pray as a Muslim prays. And a Christian ought to pray as a Christian prays. That’s true pluralism.
Pluralism is not syncretism.
None of us is going to agree with everybody else, but in pluralism we say, “This is who we are. This is what we believe.” Today, however, we have a world that doesn’t really believe in pluralism. It insists upon syncretism—the combining of beliefs into one mish-mash that leaves people wondering, “Where does truth reside?”
“Values” are not necessarily virtues.
We hear so much today about values. Everyone has values—even the Mafia has values! It’s not “values” we need, it is virtues. There’s a difference. You see, in some groups “values” can be any belief—a person just decides what they want to believe, and that’s their value.
In some groups, when they speak of a woman’s right to kill her baby, everybody applauds because it’s their value. Friend, it may be a value, but it is not a virtue. But virtues are connected to godly principles.
“Facts” do not necessarily equal “the truth.”
We have moved from truth to facts. Today’s generation doesn’t know how to differentiate between truth and facts. Facts deal with knowledge. Facts alone are not truth. Facts are like a recipe; truth is the meal. In a generation devouring facts and crucifying truth, we see more crime, more suicide, more mental illness, more broken homes, and more drug abuse than ever before.
When you digest a truth, it will change your life. Knowledge may double over time, but truth never. Truth is settled in eternity.
We must prize the truth.
Today truth is often sacrificed on the altar of pragmatism. Politicians will ask, “Are you better off than you were eight years ago?” Friend, that’s not the question. Here’s the question: “Are you better than you were eight years ago?” Have we moved from “One Nation Under God” to “One Nation Under Greed”? “Buy the truth and sell it not.”
Three things to treasure about truth:
Truth is indispensable.
The Bible calls itself “The Word of Truth.” The Holy Spirit is called “The Spirit of Truth.” What does our Lord call Himself? “I am the way, the truth, and the life” (John 14:6). What is the church called? “The pillar and the ground of truth” (1 Timothy 3:15). What did the apostle John say as he wrote his epistle? “I have no greater joy than to know that my children walk in the truth” (3 John 1:4).
Truth is absolute.
Today the idea of absolute truth is being jettisoned. When our students enter college, they’re told in the average university that there are no moral absolutes. Years ago modernists were arguing, “What is truth?” Today post-modernists say, “Forget truth. What’s true for you may not be true for me. You have your truth; I have mine. ” We just create our own truth. You make up the rules as you play the game.
Plato once wrote about some sailors who lost their compass, so they set a lantern on the bow and steered by that! But there is an old proverb which states: “He who is slave to the compass is the master of the seas. The rest must sail close to the shore.”
Truth is the compass. Truth is freeing. Truth is liberating. Truth will steer your life off the rocks, away from the shoals, and out to sail the seas.
Truth is attainable.
How? Through God’s Word, through a relationship with the Lord Jesus Christ, and through God’s indwelling Holy Spirit.
If you take the Bible— the Word of Truth—which presents Jesus, the Man of Truth, and let the Holy Spirit, the Spirit of Truth, open your understanding, then truth is attainable.
We must purchase the truth.
Salvation is free, but you pay a price for truth. Truth is costly. People say, “You shall know the truth and the truth shall make you free” (John 8:32). But that’s not the whole quote. Just before that (v. 31) Jesus said, “…if ye continue in My word, then are ye My disciples indeed.” Truth alone does not make you free!
First you must believe the truth.
Then you must “Continue in My Word.”
Then become a disciple, not in name only, but a “disciple indeed.”
When you believe in Jesus, when you continue in the Word, when you become a disciple indeed, only then will you “know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.”
Many today believe in the Lord Jesus Christ and are going to Heaven, but they’re not “made free” because they’ve never really taken time to purchase the truth.
How do you buy the truth? It will cost you…
1. Precious time. Time is precious, but not as precious as truth. That’s one of the costs. You’re not going to get it by osmosis. Most of us don’t want to pay the simple price of time. But hurry is the death knell of prayer and Bible study.
2. Discipline. People don’t like discipline. They see it as restricting. Discipleship is costly, but ignorance is far more costly. The Hebrew word “instruction” (v. 23) literally means “self-discipline.” You can pray for wisdom, but you have to study for instruction. Many of us are not serious in our Bible study. No wonder we’re so easily led astray.
3. Obedience. It’s dangerous not to obey the truth. Jesus said, “The one who hears these sayings of Mine and does them not, is like a foolish man.”
We must preserve the truth.
“Buy the truth, and sell it not.” Sell anything else before you would sell the truth, “holding fast the faithful Word” (Titus 1:9). “Earnestly contend for the faith that is once for all delivered to the saints” (Jude 1:3).
When the child of God looks into the Word of God and sees the Son of God and is changed by the Spirit of God into the image of God for the glory of God, he is learning the truth of God.