Developing the character of a disciple: Chapter 9 - the love of the truth

What is 'the love of the truth' and why does truth matter so much to God?

“----For this I was born, and for this I have come into the world, to bear witness to the truth. Everyone who is of the truth hears my voice” John 18:37(b) (RSV)

47Jesus saw Nathanael coming to Him, and said of him, "Behold, an Israelite indeed, in whom there is no deceit!" John 1:47 (NASB)

Behold, you delight in truth in the inward being,.... Psalm 51:6(a) (ESV)

22Lying lips are an abomination to the LORD,
but those who deal faithfully are His delight. Proverbs 12:22 (NASB)

7 No man who practices deceit shall dwell in my house;
no man who utters lies shall continue in my presence Psalm 101:7 (RSV)

in hope of eternal life which God, who never lies, promised ages ago Titus 1:2 (RSV)

For all who do such things, all who act dishonestly, are an abomination to the LORD your God. Deuteronomy 25:16 (RSV)

Why does truthfulness matter?

Very few people are completely truthful, especially when it is costly. In fact, few people ever think about truthfulness as an issue at all. I cannot remember ever hearing it preached on in any church. Perhaps some preachers feel uncomfortable speaking about something that they know they do not always practice themselves? At any rate, it is a subject that is rarely ever taught about, but which ought to be. God feels very strongly about us being totally truthful at all times, even down to the smallest details. He condemns deceit and falsehood very firmly:

7He who practices deceit shall not dwell within my house;
He who speaks falsehood shall not maintain his position before me. Psalm 101:7 (NASB)

14 Justice is turned back,
and righteousness stands afar off;
for truth has fallen in the public squares,
and uprightness cannot enter.
15 Truth is lacking,
and he who departs from evil makes himself a prey.
The LORD saw it, and it displeased him
that there was no justice. Isaiah 59:14-15 (RSV)

Moreover, God is continually watching and taking note of everything we say and do. He is aware of all our ways, even those we keep secret. Every lie we ever tell is immediately known about by God:

21For the ways of a man
are before the eyes of the LORD,
and He watches all his paths Proverbs 5:21 (NASB)

God detests crookedness, but takes delight in those who are 'blameless'. That does not mean sinless. It means being sincere, faithful, honest and true.

20The perverse in heart are an abomination to the LORD,
but the blameless in their walk are His delight. Proverbs 11:20 (NASB)

Moreover, there will be blessings and rewards for those who are truthful and who live with integrity:

For the eyes of the LORD run to and fro throughout the whole earth, to show his might in behalf of those whose heart is blameless toward him……… 2 Chronicles 16:9 (a) (RSV)

Moreover, there will be blessings and rewards for those who are truthful and who live with integrity:

3 Who shall ascend the hill of the LORD?
And who shall stand in his holy place?
4 He who has clean hands and a pure heart,
who does not lift up his soul to what is false
and does not swear deceitfully.
5 He will receive blessing from the LORD
and righteousness from the God of his salvation.Psalm 24:3-5 (ESV)

God wants that truthfulness to go very deep inside us. He doesn't merely want us to be superficially honest on the outside, or by appearance, but to be truthful at our very core, i.e. all the way through to the innermost part of us:

Behold, you delight in truth in the inward being,
and you teach me wisdom in the secret heart. Psalm 51:6 (ESV)

Our natural inclination is to be dishonest. That is what our sinful flesh nature will instinctively choose to do.

The heart is deceitful above all things,
and desperately corrupt;
who can understand it? Jeremiah 17:9 (RSV)

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