There is a reason why the Gospel is also referred to as the “truth.” It is not opinion or conjecture. It is not a series of tales that can be altered for the sake of proving one point today and an opposing point tomorrow. The Gospel of Jesus Christ, the good news, is concrete and set within immovable boundaries. It embodies the scriptural characteristics of truth, which are just as if they were set in stone that does not erode or break. These characteristics are what allow us to place our faith confidently in the truth.
Truthful lips will be established forever, but a lying tongue is credited only for a moment.
Lies can be tricky little things. If crafted in a certain way and presented with near-authentic sincerity and belief, they can deceive even the shrewdest of us. Sometimes the lies we believe are those which we hope are true. Other times the lies we believe are those which very closely resemble the truth except for the most minute detail(s). But as compelling as they are, lies can only last until the truth comes out. When that happens, the truth establishes its permanent place and removes the lie from its temporary place. It is this exchange that sets things right as it exposes all to the light to be seen.
This proverb is not speaking of a literal tongue but of the power of words. Lies only have power for a short time, if at all. When the truth exposes the lie, then the lie dies. It is shown for what it is and loses its power. The banner of deceit is taken down, and the flag of truth is set in its place. The truth simply is. It is true that Jesus Christ died to save us from the eternal consequences of our sin and reconcile us to the Father. No lie that attempts to refute this fact will survive. It cannot stand for more than a moment until the truth knocks it down and reveals it as false and powerless. That truth will last forever, and every lie that has tried to come against it will cease to exist.
Buy truth, and do not sell it; get wisdom and instruction and understanding.
Sometimes it is difficult to share the spiritual truths we know with others who have no spiritual context. Someone who has never attended any kind of religious ceremony or service, and who has never practiced any type of faith, may not be able to relate to some of the most basic biblical teachings. One thing to which everyone can relate is money. If we place things in the context of monetary value, they are much more relatable. For example, this proverb tells us to go spend our money on truth and not sell it. This means that truth is an investment, but it is not an investment we will one day turn over for a profit. We are to buy it and keep it.
What this is telling us figuratively is that searching for the truth is worth the cost. Sometimes that cost is financial, but most often what we spend in search of truth is more along the lines of time and effort. Regarding time, we may feel that there are other things on which we would like to spend the brief time that we have in this world. However, we must remember things in light of eternity. Truth is worth the work it takes to obtain it because it will never fade. We spend something temporary in order to buy something eternal. The truth that we are to buy and keep will last forever. It will not rust or succumb to decay. It is worth the cost because the return is perpetual and will never end.
Listen, for I will speak excellent and noble things; and the opening of my lips will reveal right things. For my mouth will utter truth, and wickedness is repulsive and loathsome to my lips.
It is easy for us to recognize the opposition between the truth and a lie. Although there is sometimes disagreement over what is true and what is a lie, we understand how these two are at odds with each other. This proverb, however, does not pit truth against something so narrow as a lie or deceit. It pits truth against a broader category of that which is evil. Here, we see that the mouth that utters truth is against not only lies but all wickedness. This gives us a core concept to our speaking the truth, which is that the intention behind our words must be good and pure.
It may often be the case that the gossip we hear about someone is true. This does not mean, however, that our lips should pass along that gossip. We cannot stand on our right to speak words simply because they are true. We must recognize that there are truths which will be spoken for the sake of bringing evil. When we speak words that are true for the sake of bringing others pain or shame, or for the sake of trying to elevate ourselves above them, we defy the power and purpose that God has placed in the truth. Truth must be spoken with integrity and proper motive or its life-giving power will be quenched.
By mercy and lovingkindness and truth wickedness is cleansed from the heart, and by the fear of the Lord one avoids evil.
If we focus on the other spiritual powers that work in conjunction with truth to battle wickedness, we will gain insight into how truth is to operate. Here, we see that truth combines with love and mercy to cleanse the heart. This means that speaking that which is truth must be accompanied by mercy and love. One can approach a brother or sister who has fallen short or strayed from God in a way that is merciful and loving or in a way that is judgmental and condemning. The first is the way we are to use truth, and the second is the way we often misuse it.
If a primary function of truth is to combat wickedness, then we cannot speak the truth for any evil purpose. The true words we speak must be for the purpose of combating wickedness as well. This means that we use the truth to build up instead of to tear down. We know that words can bring either life or death, and we must be self-aware enough to know why we speak the words we speak. If we understand the truth and use it correctly, then our words will be loving and merciful, and our goal will be to speak life into every situation.
1 Cor. 13:6
It [love] does not rejoice at injustice, but rejoices with the truth.
The aim of truth is victory. Truth is here to win, and we all know the battle that is at hand. There are lies, wickedness and injustice that seek to destroy and bring death. A war has been waged for humanity, and one of our weapons of warfare is truth. Luckily for us, we know that at the end truth will indeed prevail. It cannot fall to a lie. The truth is unshakable and eternal. We only need stand on the truth to be victorious during this war. And if we carry the sincere love of God within us then we will rejoice in this victory. As truth and love partner with mercy to defeat wickedness and injustice, love feels joy at the victory brought by truth.
A good gauge of where our hearts are with God is whether we also rejoice at the victory that truth has over wickedness. It will require some introspection to determine whether we are still tied to some evil that perhaps we hope does not need to succumb to the power of truth. If any part of us loves any part of wickedness, then it may be difficult to watch the battle unfold. But if we relinquish all ties to that which is wicked, and we sincerely seek the truth of God along with the love and mercy that accompany it, then we will rejoice when the evils that once shackled us are defeated forever.
Truth is a very powerful thing. God’s truth, the only truth, serves the purpose of defeating wickedness and death by bringing love and mercy to a lost humankind that desperately needs it. If we are to operate in this truth, we must be sure that our words are spoken out of that same love and mercy. Although it may take work to pursue and gain this truth, the eternal return we receive in exchange for that work is more than worth it. We cannot place a value on gaining and holding on to God’s truth. It gives life abundantly and eternally, and it can be neither defeated nor destroyed.