"Peace if possible, but truth at any cost."
When I read this catchy little statement some time ago I wondered if there was any real truth in it, even though I found it to be thought provoking and soul stirring. However the more I thought about it the more I began to understand that this is indeed a Biblical principle.
“Recompense to no man evil for evil. Provide things honest in the sight of all men.
If it be possible, as much as lieth in you, live peaceably with all men.”
Romans 12: 18
"Buy the truth, and sell it not; also wisdom, and instruction, and understanding."
Proverbs 23: 23
When we read a statement like that we cannot help but come to the conclusion that our world is governed by very much the opposite set of principles: “Truth if possible, but peace, at any cost!”
Although it is desirable to live peaceably with people around us and should be pursued sadly it is not always possible. Almost all of the time the reason for this is pride! Whether it is a matter between Nations or individuals, pride usually causes the barrier that prevents peaceable conditions. However when we arrive at the subject of truth; this is to be strived for no matter how great the cost. This tells us just how valuable the truth is. Truth, you see comes with a heavy price tag!
Now, we’re not thinking in monetary terms; for one must give something that far exceeds monetary value in order to acquire truth! Some have to part with friends for the truth. Some have to leave a lifestyle behind for the truth. Others, in extreme circumstances have had to offer their very lives in exchange for the truth.
Why is it in God’s estimation that the truth is more costly than peace? After all, peace is something that all can instantly benefit from because of its obvious presence. Perhaps the Scripture will enlighten us when the Lord Jesus tells us that He is the truth:
“I am the way, the truth, and the life, no man cometh unto the Father but by me."
John 14: 6
Pilate displayed his ignorance for all the world to see when he asked the blessed Man standing before him: “What is truth?” when right in front of his eyes was the very truth in a human body! (See John 18: 28-38)
The truth reveals what type of people we really are. The truth reveals our sin in all its degradation but praise be to Almighty God, the truth will set us free! The Lord Jesus said: “... Ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.” John 8: 32.
So, is this something that just is given to us when we merely come to a knowledge of the fact that the Lord Jesus has the ability to change our lives if we ask Him? No, it is much more precious than that. This is a commodity that must not or indeed cannot be lightly accepted and possessed. Remember, our verse says: “Buy the truth and sell it not.”
Because what God wants in exchange for His precious Son and all that comes with Him is you – lock, stock, and barrel! Therefore you must be prepared to lay yourself down on the alter as it were before the living God, because ‘self’ cannot be improved, cleansed or saved. ‘Self’ has to die with Christ at the cross so that He can have the liberty to live His life through you. When the truth reigns in the centre of our lives as a result of that surrender everything else falls into place and: “peace with God, which passeth all understanding” is the believer’s priceless portion.
But what about when troubles come into our lives as they certainly will do? Don’t we just long for peace? Peace with those around us, peace even among our fellow believers? Wouldn’t we just about give anything for that peace? Well, though we might feel like it, peace should not be acquired ‘at any price,' because if we were to give anything in exchange for peace we will end up with anarchy! Compromises are made in the name of peace, but the desired effects are not permanent and ultimately end in ruin. This is a far cry from the ‘pure gold’ that is acquired when we are prepared to pay what it takes for the truth. And this precious gold is something that we can take home to glory and present to Him who paid the very highest price for souls to be saved.
Listen to what the Lord Jesus says to the church of the last days – The church of the Laodacians:
“I counsel thee to buy of me gold tried in the fire, that thou mayest be rich;
and white raiment, that thou mayest be clothed,
and that the shame of thy nakedness do not appear;
and anoint thine eyes with eyesalve, that thou mayest see.”
Revelation 3: 18
He is not counselling the people to buy for Him 'gold tried in the fire' but to buy from Him that precious commodity that endures while the wood, the hay and the stubble are all burned up.
May the Lord forbid that anyone of us should go to Him empty handed when He is the source of everything that He approves of.
Are we then prepared to pay the price that God requires in exchange for the truth – the pure gold which delights His heart?