Any system of religion that just puts on from the outside, and covers over the inner life by mere rite and ritual is false, it is not true. The work of God is to reconstitute human nature. And that, of course, involves two things. On the one side, it involves a breaking down. And if you know anything about God’s dealings with lives who come into His hands, there is undoubtedly a large place for that a progressive breaking down; a getting to the root of things, and undeceiving us. If we have any illusions about ourselves, they will all be gone when God has done with us. If we are governed by any kind of falsehood about ourselves, and our position, and our work, when God has done with us, that will all be gone. He is going to break us down until we see ourselves stark, as an unclean thing, with all our righteousnesses as filthy rags. So He will break us down, and He does.
But there is the other side, of course, all the time, for God is not only, and always negative; there is the constructing, bringing up to the place where anything that is false, anything that is not absolutely transparent and true, straight, clear, is hateful to us. More and more our inner man revolts against our own falsehood. Any exaggerations come back on us at once with conviction of wrong; any false statement hits us hard, and we know that we have not spoken the truth. It is a tremendous thing to get into the hands of the Holy Spirit, until, like God, the one thing that we hate is anything that is false. “I hate”, said David, “every false way.” We must come there. But we must be lovers of the truth. And this is going to pursue us everywhere; it will pursue us into our own life within ourselves, that we are not deceiving ourselves at all. Before God we know exactly what God thinks about us, and we know where we stand in the light…. And the nearer we come to the Lord, the more meticulous the Holy Spirit is over this matter of truth; the closer are His dealings with us. It is very true, you see, “perfecting holiness in the fear of the Lord” perfecting. The nearer we get to the end, the more stringent will be the Lord’s dealings with anything false in our lives. It is a time matter, but God is very faithful He is very faithful; He does not let things pass. Do we want Him to be faithful? Well, it is not comfortable to say, “Yes,” but it is good that He should be faithful with every inconsistency, every contradiction, every falsehood, in the inward parts.
15 But speaking the truth in love, may grow up into him in all things, which is the head, even Christ:
29 He, that being often reproved hardeneth his neck, shall suddenly be destroyed, and that without remedy.
2 When the righteous are in authority, the people rejoice: but when the wicked beareth rule, the people mourn.
3 Whoso loveth wisdom rejoiceth his father: but he that keepeth company with harlots spendeth his substance.
4 The king by judgment establisheth the land: but he that receiveth gifts overthroweth it.
5 A man that flattereth his neighbour spreadeth a net for his feet.
6 In the transgression of an evil man there is a snare: but the righteous doth sing and rejoice.
7 The righteous considereth the cause of the poor: but the wicked regardeth not to know it.
8 Scornful men bring a city into a snare: but wise men turn away wrath.
9 If a wise man contendeth with a foolish man, whether he rage or laugh, there is no rest.
10 The bloodthirsty hate the upright: but the just seek his soul.
11 A fool uttereth all his mind: but a wise man keepeth it in till afterwards.
12 If a ruler hearken to lies, all his servants are wicked.
13 The poor and the deceitful man meet together: the Lord lighteneth both their eyes.
14 The king that faithfully judgeth the poor, his throne shall be established for ever.
15 The rod and reproof give wisdom: but a child left to himself bringeth his mother to shame.
16 When the wicked are multiplied, transgression increaseth: but the righteous shall see their fall.
17 Correct thy son, and he shall give thee rest; yea, he shall give delight unto thy soul.
18 Where there is no vision, the people perish: but he that keepeth the law, happy is he.
19 A servant will not be corrected by words: for though he understand he will not answer.
20 Seest thou a man that is hasty in his words? there is more hope of a fool than of him.
21 He that delicately bringeth up his servant from a child shall have him become his son at the length.
22 An angry man stirreth up strife, and a furious man aboundeth in transgression.
23 A man’s pride shall bring him low: but honour shall uphold the humble in spirit.
24 Whoso is partner with a thief hateth his own soul: he heareth cursing, and bewrayeth it not.
25 The fear of man bringeth a snare: but whoso putteth his trust in the Lord shall be safe.
26 Many seek the ruler’s favour; but every man’s judgment cometh from the Lord.
27 An unjust man is an abomination to the just: and he that is upright in the way is abomination to the wicked.