Stand therefore, having your loins girt about with truth, and having on the breastplate of righteousness;…
i.e.,the truth of the gospel, the verities of redemption; but truth in the subject, i.e., that which we as commonly call truthfulness; a quality within the man himself. And this "truthfulness," or "being true," is predicated of him not in ordinary things only, but as he is a Christian - in those things which constitute him a Christian warrior. The girdle of the warrior's panoply would naturally be a girdle fitted for warfare; of the strength, and material, and pattern, of the rest of his armour. We should not perhaps be far wrong, were we to call the whole system of many men's thoughts, an elaborate and skilful concealment of truth. The saying of the cunning diplomatist, that "words were given us to conceal our thoughts," might be carried even further; we might add, "and thoughts to conceal ourselves." There is within many a man a deep gulf down which he dares not look steadily; a chasm between his present and his future, over which he too often weaves a web of self-flatteries and conventionalities, false, and known to be false; and this continues for days and years, till like him who repeats another's jest till he fancies it his own, the soul cheats itself into a kind of half-belief that the wretched fiction is true; he has firmly shut his eyes so long, that they refuse to open; and the man sits down self-deceived, with weaknesses ignored, sins forgotten, dangers unguarded against. And so time flits away, and the awful form of eternity grows nearer and larger, while the wretched man is playing with truth - priding himself on virtues he never possessed, congratulating himself on safety from faults into which he falls every day - an accomplished actor in a life, which at last God proves to him to be no stage, but a stern reality - no place for dressing up of images, but a discipline in the service of truth. O what shall such an one do, when first it is said to him by God, "The world is no longer for thee, nor thou for the world; hitherto thou hast veiled thyself admirably - now thou must see thyself, and be seen, as thou art"? Where shall he carry for propitiation the elaborate uselessness of a life - where the studied blindness of years of light - where the self-sought condemnation of misused providences and opportunities of amendment scorned? How shall he, racked with pain, or paralyzed with dread, or confused with the importunity of this world's matters, call back that sweet Spirit of truth, which it has been the effort of his life to drive away? O my friends, let us be true, let us be true to ourselves! And in the endeavour, let us not forget how subtle a thing is self-deceit. Let me conclude by reminding you of the great motive to truth, which should be ever before us as Christians. We serve Him who is "the Father of Lights, with whom is no variableness, neither shadow of turning." Before Him all things are naked and open. No falsehood, be it ever so elaborately and skilfully devised, can escape Him; all such are not only seen through by Him now, but will be one day unsparingly laid bare at His tribunal, and forever put to shame. And further, "Of His own will begat He us by the word of truth." It was the searching, probing Word of His truth which first laid open to us ourselves, and began our new life in the Spirit. In harmony with the word of that truth must our whole spiritual life be led. Our blessed Lord, whose we are by purchase of His blood, came into the world to bear witness to the truth; and every one of us is here for the same purpose.
Parallel VersesKJV: Stand therefore, having your loins girt about with truth, and having on the breastplate of righteousness;