Keepers of the Truth|
"Buy truth, and do not sell it, get wisdom and instruction and understanding.” This is the wise instruction of Proverbs 23:23, and it directs us to acquire the truth (including wisdom, instruction, and understanding) and to keep it always. Notice that this proverb expresses its instruction in terms of buying and selling. It does not mention anything about prices, for the price of truth is irrelevant to the message. If we have the opportunity to buy (acquire) truth, then we are to do so regardless of the cost to us. On the other hand, once we have the truth, we must never sell it for any price. This is not saying that we should not share the truth with others, for truth is not a finite commodity to be hoarded. It is saying that we must never exchange the truth for lies and false ways (Rom. 1:25; 2Tim. 4:4). Like collectors of rare antiques, coins, or any other valuable items, God’s people are to be collectors and keepers of the truth, who always buy and never sell.
How do we buy the truth? Who is selling truth, and what is its price? We find the answers to these questions in God’s word. In fact, God’s word is the answer, for Jesus prayed to His Father, saying, "Thy word is truth” (John 17:17). We buy truth by receiving the word of God through Christ Jesus, and the price of this truth is the effort required for us to hear God’s word, believe it, and abide by it. Jesus said, "If you continue in My word, then you are truly disciples of Mine; and you will know the truth, and the truth will make you free” (John 8:31-32). Indeed, it does require effort to be disciples of Jesus who abide in the truth of God’s word, and that effort must be continually applied lest we sell the truth, i.e., exchange the truth for error. The apostle Paul wrote, "Be diligent to present yourself approved to God as a workman who does not need to be ashamed, accurately handling the word of truth” (2Tim. 2:15). The acquisition of truth is a diligent process in which we are never to relent. For as long as we live, we are to be obsessive collectors and protective keepers of the truth, longing "for the pure milk of the word, so that by it [we] may grow in respect to salvation” (1Pet. 2:2).
As keepers of the truth, followers of Christ are to preserve truth in word and in deed. The truth is to govern our speech, for we are to speak the truth in love to one another (Eph. 4:15) and to all men. Likewise, the truth is to govern our lives, for when we turn away from the old ways of sin, we "put on the new self, which in the likeness of God has been created in righteousness and holiness of the truth” (Eph. 4:24). Truly, our words and deeds are to be living testimonies to the truth of God in the gospel of Christ so that even if people in the world never read the Bible for themselves, they will be exposed to the truth through our efforts.
Collectively, Christians comprise the Lord’s church, which is assigned the task of upholding the truth in the world. By inspiration, Paul described Christ’s followers collectively as "the household of God, which is the church of the living God, the pillar and support of the truth” (1Tim. 3:15). As "the pillar and support of the truth,” it is the church that has the responsibility of preserving, defending, and promoting the truth. The church is a platform from which truth in God’s word sounds forth as exemplified by the local church at Thessalonica (1Thess. 1:8). It has always been the purpose of God in Christ for "the manifold wisdom of God [to] be made known through the church to the rulers and the authorities in the heavenly places” (Eph. 3:10). God has specifically ordained the church for these functions, and no college, magazine, missionary society, or other manmade institution may substitute. It is the church of Christ which is the pillar and support of the truth.
Therefore, let us be keepers of the truth as God would have us be. Proverbs 3:3 admonishes us, saying, "Do not let kindness and truth leave you; bind them around your neck, write them on the tablet of your heart.” Keep the truth close to you at all times, for, as we have already noted, "the truth will make you free,” and the truth of God’s word will enable you to "grow in respect to salvation.” Nothing that you can collect from this world can provide the blessings that can be obtained simply by keeping the truth. Indeed, truth is always a wise investment in any market. "Buy truth, and do not sell it, get wisdom and instruction and understanding.”
Stacey E. Durham
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