As God’s people, we are called to be salt and light, to make a difference in the community, city and nation in which we live. We are called to be the conscience of the culture.
The next series of posts will explore the type of culture that most glorifies God, the kind of culture that we as Christ-followers should pray for and work toward in our spheres of influence. And, these posts may help to guide you as you pray about the people to vote for in local, state and national elections.
In this post, we will discuss “A Culture of Truth.”
Key Verse — Proverbs 23:23
23 Buy—and do not sell—truth, wisdom, instruction, and understanding.
There is such a thing as the truth
In our culture today, people embrace the idea of relative truth, which says that truth is dependent on the situation and therefore can change from situation to situation. According to this way of reasoning, no truth is absolute. But the Bible affirms that there is absolute truth. Absolute truths emanate from the very nature of God.
14 Righteousness and justice are the foundation of Your throne; faithful love and truth go before You.
32 You will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.
Because there is such a thing as the truth, we should always seek truth in our actions. We should live by the truth. Things are either right or wrong. We should do the right thing. And so should those we elect to office.
2 The one who lives honestly, practices righteousness, and acknowledges the truth in his heart— …the one who does these things will never be moved.
We should have truth in our speech. Do you always speak the truth? Do you say what you mean and mean what you say? Or, is your speech mixed with lies, so that people can never really know whether they can believe you or not? Again, think about this for yourself and for those who will be representing you in government positions.
16 These are the things you must do: Speak truth to one another; make true and sound decisions within your gates.
We should have truth in our laws. The context of Zechariah 8:16 (above) is of a city gate, where the elders would gather to decide guilt or innocence regarding legal matters of the city. Zechariah implores the people to have truth as the foundation of their decision-making. In our land today, we need laws that are written truthfully and that uphold absolute truths, laws that clearly declare things to be right or wrong, in line with the Word of God.
The amazing thing is that truth is not just a concept or idea, but rather Truth is a Person — Jesus is the Truth. Through His personal example of truthfulness in speech and actions, Jesus showed us all the way to live. When a person becomes a follower of Jesus with with their life surrendered to Him, their eyes are opened to see the beauty of living life by the truth.
6 Jesus told him, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me.”
There is a cost to live by the truth
In Proverbs 23:23 (above), the Bible says to “buy” the truth. The language indicates the costly nature of living by the truth. Living by the truth will cost you something. To live by the truth, you will give up falsehood and deceit. So, if you were thinking about hanging on to those things, you must give them up to live by the truth.
17 Whoever speaks the truth declares what is right, but a false witness, deceit.
It will cost you time to learn the truth. In Proverbs 23:23, we are instructed to buy truth, wisdom, instruction and understanding. These things are not learned overnight. They are learned through consistent study, reflection and application of God’s Word. The experiences of life help us to learn the truth.
It may cost you relationally and financially to live by the truth. Some family and friends may abandon you if you live by the truth. And in the world system in which we live, there are some businesses that reward dishonesty, so an employee who lives by the truth may lose sales or get overlooked for promotions. Such a person should trust in the Lord to be their defender as they live by the truth. Isaiah described how this was occurring in his day, where those who were living by the truth (those who turned from evil) were plundered by dishonest people.
15 Truth is missing, and whoever turns from evil is plundered. The LORD saw that there was no justice, and He was offended.
There is a cost to forsaking the truth
Just as there is a cost to living by the truth, there is also a cost to forsaking the truth. If we do not live by the truth, there are severe consequences.
If we do not live by the truth, the result will be lies, deceit and destruction. Satan, our enemy, is a liar and the father of all lies. An atmosphere of lying and deceit is what he wants to bring to communities, cities and nations. He wants to bring destruction and he uses lying and dishonesty to accomplish his purposes. Jesus called out some people who were forsaking the truth:
44 You are of your father the Devil, and you want to carry out your father’s desires. He was a murderer from the beginning and has not stood in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he tells a lie, he speaks from his own nature, because he is a liar and the father of liars.
When a culture forsakes the truth, people do not know right from wrong. They ask the question made famous by Pilate when he was questioning Jesus, “What is truth?” (John 18:38).
Ultimately, a culture that forsakes the truth is in danger of experiencing judgment. Oh, how we pray for our nation and the nations of the world to turn to Jesus, to embrace the truth, and to avoid the judgment that our sin deserves.
1 Hear the word of the LORD, people of Israel, for the LORD has a case against the inhabitants of the land: There is no truth, no faithful love, and no knowledge of God in the land!
18 For God’s wrath is revealed from heaven against all godlessness and unrighteousness of people who by their unrighteousness suppress the truth.
Editor’s Note: This is post #1 of 7 in the series We God’s People are the Conscience of the Culture. Click the links below to view the other posts.