What Does the Bible Say About Lying?
Just as you dislike when someone lies to you, so does the Lord. In fact, He is incapable of lying — “it is impossible for God to lie” (Hebrews 6:18).
The Book of John explains the history of lying. “You are of your father the devil, and the desires of your father you want to do…he is a liar and the father of it” (John 8:44).
Lying without repentance and forgiveness leads to “the second death” described in Revelation, which says, “all liars shall have their part in the lake which burns with fire and brimstone, which is the second death” (Revelation 21:8).
Be faithful to the Bible’s teachings and if you have lied, seek forgiveness from those to whom you have lied, and obey the Gospel, for “He is faithful and forgiving us our sins to cleanse us from all unrighteousness” (1 John 1:9; Matthew 5:23-25).
Even lying in life-or-death situations is opposed, as the Book of Matthew says, “do not fear those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. But rather fear Him who is able to destroy both soul and body in hell” (Matthew 10:28). Your soul and salvation matter more than your body for you, and should not be traded for anything in this physical life (Matthew 16:26).
What does the Bible say about lying?
“Have you ever told a lie?” Many would probably have to answer “yes” to that question at least once, maybe even many times. Lying is a subject that is almost universal in nature. And we have a tendency to classify lies. Some lies we think of as big lies, while we deem other lies as insignificant. In the first part of this topic, we will start with examining the question, “What does God really think about lying?” Is being truthful a daily challenge? Certainly we face challenges in our lives, but not always daily ones.
Some years ago there was a study indicating that the average person lies twenty-five times a day. How can this be? Think about the many situations in which people lie. Maybe a father comes home after a long day at work, and as the family is sitting down to relax and eat dinner, the telephone rings. Another family member answers, and finds the call is for the father…and it’s a telemarketer. It is so easy to say, “Tell them I’m not here!” Sometimes one might say it before they even stop to think about it. If you start adding up incidents like that, then yes, perhaps the average person does lie twenty-five times a day. Hopefully Christians do not, but the average person does.
According to one poll, the majority of people interviewed said they have lied and would do so again, either to protect themselves or to keep from hurting someone else’s feelings. But wouldn’t it hurt to know you had been lied to? This poll tells us that most people do not have a problem with lying. Or maybe we should say most people do have a problem with lying! People say they lie to protect themselves, to keep from hurting others and also to get out of trouble. This last one seems to be a common reason to lie. One writer has defined a lie as “a coward’s way of getting out of trouble.” This is a fitting definition because sometimes it takes some real courage and moral fiber to tell the truth.
Here’s a good question to consider: “At what age does lying become a problem for people?” This question was once asked of a group of people whose response was, “As soon as they learn to talk.” That seems quite accurate. Maybe even one of the first sins that young people commit in life is telling a lie, because it is so easy to do. They get caught doing something wrong and lie to avoid getting in trouble. And it certainly doesn’t stop with children. Probably all of us can call to mind images of government officials lying and committing perjury to keep themselves out of trouble.
Sadly, lying is one of those sins that people tend to think of as not a big deal. We think, “Ah, what’s it going to hurt?” With that thought in mind, let’s look at Proverbs 6:16-19: “These six things the Lord hates, yes, seven are an abomination to Him: A proud look, a lying tongue, hands that shed innocent blood, a heart that devises wicked plans, feet that are swift in running to evil, a false witness who speaks lies, and one who sows discord among brethren.” Notice that in this short list of seven things God hates, two of the things mentioned are “a lying tongue” and “a false witness that speaks lies.” Two of the seven things God despises involve lying. On our human scale, lying doesn’t rank high up there, but what about God’s scale? On the Sin-O-Meter (if there were such a thing), God is saying, “Here are seven things I despise, that are an abomination, that are particularly repulsive in my sight, and lying is one of them.” In fact, we might say that lying is two of them.
With that being the case, if we are going to be right, we need to change our perspective on how we look at things. We need to start looking at lying the way God looks at it. Let’s define “lying.” Webster’s Dictionary defines lying this way, “to utter falsehood with an intention to deceive…to cause an incorrect impression; to present a misleading appearance…” In light of this definition, think about this question, “Can a person lie without actually saying the words?” Sometimes people will bend over backwards to lead someone to believe something that is not true, but they will not actually say the words. Afterwards they will say, “Well, I didn’t lie.” Sometimes in court people play these little games. This is why people have to meet with their lawyers before they go to court to testify so they will know how to give a false impression without perjuring themselves.
Even though they may not state the lie outright, it is still a lie. Essentially, we mean this: causing someone to believe something that is not true, and doing it intentionally is lying. We aren’t talking about a mistake or a miscommunication which is beyond our control. What we’re discussing here is intentionally deceiving someone. As we think about this topic of lying, we need to consider the subject of God and Lying. The first point to notice is that God cannot lie. It is impossible for Him to do it. Titus 1:2 says of the Christian’s eternal life, “…God, that cannot lie, promised before the world began.” Now what does that mean? When God says something, we can absolutely count on it, because He will not and cannot lie.
When God promises eternal life to the faithful, we can believe it is going to happen. 2 Peter 3:8 says, “…beloved, do not forget this one thing, that with the Lord one day is as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day.” In the context of 2 Peter 3 it is prophesied that in the latter days some people would deny that there is going to be a Judgment Day. Their reasoning is, “It’s been thousands of years, and nothing has happened. It’s not going to happen.” But then as the text says, with the Lord “one day is as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day.” The point is that God’s promises are true whether He made them yesterday or thousands of years ago. How can we know for sure? Because God cannot lie. Every promise in the Bible will come to pass. When He promises eternal life to the faithful, it will come to pass. When He promises eternal punishment to the wicked, it too will come to pass.
Some might surmise that if an individual is simply a “good person” then maybe God will save them anyway, but that cannot happen. It is impossible, because God cannot lie, and 2 Thessalonians 1:8 says that on the Day of Judgment Christ will come in flaming fire “taking vengeance on those who do not know God, and on those who do not obey the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ.” If a person has not obeyed the gospel, he will not be saved. If he is saved, then God is a liar, but our first point has already been established that God cannot lie. Secondly, God hates lying. Not only can He not lie, He hates it. Proverbs 6:17 says lying is an abomination to the Lord. Proverbs 12:22 tells us, “Lying lips are an abomination to the Lord; but they that deal truly are His delight.” So it is clear how God feels about lying. He hates it. Thirdly, lying is contrary to the nature of God. Now what is the nature of God? The Bible says that God is truth.
When Christ walked upon this earth, He said, “I am the way, the truth, and the life; no man comes to the Father, but by me (John 14:6).” In addition, His word is truth. The Psalmist wrote, “For the Lord is right; and all His works are done in truth” (Psalm 33:4). John wrote, “Sanctify them through Thy truth; Thy word is truth” (John 17:17). Psalm 31:5 calls God the “God of truth.” God cannot lie; He hates lying; it is contrary to His nature; and God forbids His children to lie.
The Old Law said, “You shall not steal, nor deal falsely, nor lie to one another” (Leviticus 19:11). The Ten Commandments said, “You shall not bear false witness against your neighbor” (Exodus 20:16). In the New Testament included in the list with the cowardly, unbelieving, abominable, murderers, sexually immoral, sorcerers, and idolaters we find the words “all liars.” The text says that they “shall have their part in the lake which burns with fire and brimstone, which is the second death” (Rvelation 21:8).
As we think about God and lying, we also must remember who is just the opposite of God, Satan, of whom the Bible says is “the father of lies.” John 8:44 says that Satan “…was a murderer from the beginning, and does not stand in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he speaks a lie, he speaks from his own resources, for he is a liar and the father of it.” Let’s change gears and think about man and lying. Proverbs 13:5 says, “A righteous man hates lying.” As already mentioned, John 8:44 states that Satan is the father of lies.
Someone once said, “A man is never more like the Devil than when he’s telling a lie.” In John 8, Jesus said to the Jews who were lying, “You are just like your father. You are of the Devil.” Lying is perhaps one of the most common of all sins. Recall that the average person lies twenty-five times a day. Is there another sin that is committed so frequently? Now, lusting might be a recurring sin for some people, but lying would have to be near the top of the list for its frequency because lying is a sin that plagues everyone from the very young to the very old. It is a sin that probably every human who has ever lived any length of time on this earth has committed.
But lying seems to be a bigger problem for some than for others. Some have reached the point where lying is not a trap that they fall into sometimes, but rather it is a way of life. A habitual liar might tell a lie even when the truth would be easier, simply because he does it all the time. It has been said about some people that you know they are lying “when their lips are moving.” A question one might ask is, “Why do men lie?” Answers to this may vary. Someone says, “Well, people lie to gain something.” A person might lie on his taxes in order to keep more of his money. A salesman might lie to the customer about a product to make a sale. Some might say, “Oh, that’s just business. You can’t make a living in the car business if you don’t fudge the truth a little bit!” If that is true, then that person better get out of the car business, because he can’t go to Heaven if he continues to lie.
A man looking for a job might lie to the employer about his credentials in order to be hired. Someone else might lie to his employer by calling in and claiming to be sick when he actually just wants to take a day off. Worse yet, people will brag about this sort of thing! There was a country music song several years ago called “I Don’t Have To Be Me Til Monday” and in the song, the artist says, “I called in sick to work. No, my back don’t really hurt.” And then he plans to go party. In some ways, this is a very accepted sin in our society, but Proverbs 21:6 says, “Getting treasures by a lying tongue is the fleeting fantasy of those who seek death.” In other words, those who get gain by lying are seeking eternal death. They will spend eternity in Hell because they lied to obtain temporary treasure now. Another reason why people might lie is to keep themselves out of trouble.
We alluded to this already. We see this in children caught with their hand in the cookie jar. We see this with adults who might lie to the police. They are stopped for some traffic violation, and they may deny it altogether, or concoct some fabrication like, “I’m late picking up my child from school,” or “I’m on my way to the hospital.” There are a million reasons to think of for telling a lie, but people do lie to keep themselves out of trouble. And again, all the way up to high government officials, we see them lying before Congress to avoid punishment for their actions. They also play word games (semantics) to try to turn a lie into something other than a lie. It’s repulsive to God, and should be repulsive to man, too.
Sometimes people lie to avoid hurting somebody’s feelings. Did the Lord adhere to that practice? No, He did not. To many people, this type of lying just wouldn’t be that big of a deal. It is one of those sins we accept. In fact, we have come up with the term, “the little white lie.” It’s a small lie. It is white (pure, innocent) and it doesn’t hurt anybody and may actually spare some pain. The Andy Griffith show is a great show, but often in the show Barney Fife is messing something up, and then Andy frequently lies to spare his feelings. Our society has reached the point where we think this is admirable. It is honorable because, after all, you’re doing it because you care about people.
But we need to realize that lying is wrong, in any shape or form. It is a transgression of the law of God. We must not allow ourselves to measure sin by how much damage it does or does not do on this earth. Any sin can cause a man or woman to be lost and, in light of that, none of them are little. Also, if a person tells a lie, it grows and leads to another. Someone once said, “If you never tell a lie, you never have to remember what you said.” As we think about man and lying, it is imperative that we realize lying is very costly. Lying really hurts people.
There is an old story about a little boy who had a problem with telling lies, so his father wanted to teach him a lesson. The father got a brand-new piece of wood and he drove ten nails into the wood. He then called his son and said to him, “Son, you have recently told ten lies. I want you to go back and fix them. For each one you correct, we will remove a nail from the wood.” So the little boy set about to “fix” his lies. When he had finished and the tenth nail was pulled from the wood, the boy’s father said, “Well, how does it look?” The boy responded, “The nails are gone, but the scars are still in the wood.” His father said, “Now you have learned the lesson.” Lying does damage that is sometimes impossible to correct. It has hurt feelings and scarred reputations.
A young girl in a small town high school once made accusations of a sexual nature against one of the male teachers. In that small town, the teacher’s reputation was destroyed, and it caused tremendous damage to his family. Finally the man was forced to move away to find another job. After some time had passed, the girl came forward and said, “I lied. It never really happened.” Did that fix the problem? Did her confession undo the damage done? Not only can lying hurt other people, it can ruin the liar’s own reputation. Proverbs 22:1 says, “A good name is rather to be chosen than great riches…” The loss of one’s good name is a tremendous loss indeed, and a surefire way to lose a good name is to become a liar. Few people have respect for a liar, but a man who always tells the truth is esteemed almost everywhere.
There is an expression, “A man is only as good as his word.” Some people might say of an individual, “If this person gave you his word, you can count on it, because his word is as good as gold.” This is a great treasure when people think of a person his way. “A good name is rather to be chosen than great riches…” As Christians, our personal reputations and commitment to the Lord should mean more to us than a brief gain by way of lying. When you as a child of God have reached the point where people can come to you as a Christian and know that you will always tell them the truth, whether it is pleasant or not, you have an invaluable treasure.
Lying can hurt other people. It can destroy your reputation, and it can hurt the church. If a man lives a doctrinally correct life outwardly, but secretly he is also living an immoral life, he is living inconsistently. If a man will fight for the truth on baptism and the one church of the New Testament, but in his day-to-day life, he tells lies, what does that do to the church? Few things harm the Lord’s church more than a man who claims to be a Christian and then doesn’t live like one.
There have even been times in history when lying has cost a man his very life. In 1 Kings 13 is the account of the young prophet who was sent to prophesy against King Jeroboam. He faithfully carried out that duty, but God had told him to go straight home after he left the king, and not to eat anything or drink anything, or return to that place. An old prophet came to the young prophet and said, “Come home and eat with me.” He essentially said, “It will be alright. An angel said for me to tell you to do it.” But then 1 Kings 13:18 adds these words, “But he lied unto him.” Because the young prophet believed the older prophet, he dined with him, and on the way home the Lord punished him by a terrible death.
In Acts 5 the Lord showed His disdain for lying when a man named Ananias and his wife Sapphira lied about a piece of property they had sold. They claimed they were giving all of the profit to the church, but in reality they kept back part of the money for themselves. They may have thought, “It’s no big deal. We gave money to help the work of the Lord; we only lied about the percentage. It didn’t hurt anybody, right?” Is this not the way we think sometimes today? But God made a powerful statement about how He regards lying, and struck both of them dead.
Here is a very important point we must never forget. Lying can cost a man his soul. Proverbs 21:6 says that a lying tongue is a characteristic of them that seek death. Revelation 21:8 says that all liars shall have their part in the second death (in the lake that burns with fire and brimstone). 2 Thessalonians 2:12 teaches that believing a lie can cost men their souls. This sin of lying that so many consider insignificant, that they call “little” and “white” can cause them to lose their most valuable possession, their immortal soul, and burn eternally in a Devil’s Hell.
Concerning God and lying, God cannot lie. He hates lying, and He forbids His children to lie. Lying is contrary to His very nature, but the Devil is the father of it. Like one man said, “Perhaps a man is never more like the Devil than when he is telling a lie.” Concerning man and lying, lying can hurt other people. Lying destroys reputations, and does untold damage to the church. Lying has cost men their lives and more importantly, their souls. Proverbs 12:22 says, “Lying lips are an abomination to the Lord, but they that deal truly are His delight.” This is the truth about lying!
Lying is always wrong. Colossians 3:9 says, “Lie not to one another.” Proverbs 12:22 says, “Lying lips are an abomination to the Lord, but they that deal truly are His delight.” These verses and many others teach us that God hates lying. The Bible is very plain about this, so it is very sadly surprising when Christians try to defend lying. Unfortunately, it happens quite often. Their argument usually consists of some difficult situation with very serious consequences, and the person will suggest that in light of these very undesirable circumstances, lying is the better choice, and that God would even approve. Sometimes they will make appeals to events in the Bible that they believe imply that lying is permissible. The first part of this lesson covers three points. First, we will put forth some of the scenarios (dilemmas) that peoplebring up to try to defend lying. Second, we will go over some of the Bible passages people appeal to in order to attempt to justify lying. Finally, we will look at some of the situations to which people appeal to defend lying.
SCENARIOS IN DEFENSE OF LYING
In an effort to defend lying, one individual brought up a situation in the area where he lives. Someone had been breaking into houses and committing rape. A grandfather was home alone except for his two granddaughters. He heard something downstairs and knowing about the criminal in the neighborhood, told his granddaughters to hide while he went downstairs to investigate. When the grandfather got downstairs, a man knocked him to the ground and put a gun to his head, asking, “Is there anyone else in the house?” The individual telling the story wanted to know, “What would you say? If you tell the truth, it is going to be tragedy for your granddaughters.” This individual then went on to suggest than under these extreme circumstances, it would be acceptable to lie. What do you say to that? Admittedly, this is a terrible situation, one we hope never to encounter. But a wrong action does not turn into a right one just because the consequences are severe. Sin does not change to righteousness just because of circumstance. That would make this situational ethics, where the ends justify the means. It is true that many governments lie (shocking as that may seem) and sometimes convince themselves that it is necessary to do so. But the Bible still says, “Let your ‘Yes’ be ‘Yes,’ and your ‘No,’ ‘No.’ For whatever is more than these is from the evil one” (Matthew 5:37). Proverbs 14:34 says, “Righteousness exalts a nation, but sin is a reproach to any people.” If a government lies, it is not right just because it’s the government. Again, the consequences of a sin do not somehow transform it into a “non-sin.” One quote by an unknown author says, “Always tell the truth. If you can’t always tell the truth, don’t lie.” Sometimes in difficult situations, the best thing to do is say nothing. In the same context, someone even suggested that “the truth is so precious that sometimes it has to be protected by a bodyguard of lies.” This is absolute nonsense! That is the Devil’s handiwork. The Bible says, “Buy the truth and sell it not…” (Proverbs 23:23). Don’t ever be the one who gives up holding onto truth. There is nothing so precious upon this earth that one should cease to walk in the pathway of truth, and instead walk down the pathway of the Devil. Sometimes men will even argue that mercy overrides truth, that mercy is greater than truth, and that being the case, there are times when we must lie in order to uphold mercy. But that begs the question: if lying is justified by mercy, does mercy also justify other sins? Could adultery be justified by mercy? Could homosexuality? Could abortion? Could we indeed have such a thing as “mercy killings?” God is a God known for His mercy. Ephesians 2:4 says He is “rich in mercy” and yet Titus 1:2 says He “cannot lie.” The two are not mutually exclusive, and they do not contradict each other. Obviously, no one would ever question the wonderful mercy of Christ (Titus 1:4, Jude 21), and yet we never read about Jesus lying. Is it the case that we are faced with moral dilemmas which would demand that we choose the lesser of two evils, and yet the Lord never was? If He never was, what about Hebrews 4:15 which says, “He was tempted in all points like as we are…” When the Lord walked on this earth, He set the perfect example for us to emulate. We can fabricate all of the scenarios we want to, but let’s ask, “What would the Lord do if He werein these dilemmas?” Certainly He would not lie because if He did, at that moment, He would cease to be God. Titus 1:2 says God cannot lie. Jesus said, “I am the way, the truth, and the life” (John 14:6).
“BIBLICAL” ARGUMENTS IN DEFENSE OF LYING
Perhaps one of the most common arguments brought up to justify lying for a good cause is an appeal to the story of Rahab. One person posed it this way, “When the spies entered the Promised Land to spy out the land, what would have happened if Rahab had not lied and protected them? How would the children of Israel have received the Promised Land?” The answer is easy: “God would have done it some other way.” Romans 8:28 says, “All things work together for good to them that love God.” This passage is teaching us that, regardless of what men may do to us, or what may happen to us, God can use it to accomplish His will. God’s plan was not dependent upon Rahab. He would have accomplished what He wanted done whether or not she lied. Sometimes this same argument involving Rahab will be used this way, “When the spies came to Rahab, she lied to protect them. Later she was blessed for her actions; therefore we have a situation where a lie met with God’s approval. Thus, it was a justified lie.” Let’s read the passage and see. The story is in Joshua 2:1-7: “Now Joshua the son of Nun sent out two men from Acacia Grove to spy secretly, saying, ‘Go, view the land, especially Jericho.’ So they went, and came to the house of a harlot named Rahab, and lodged there. And it was told the king of Jericho, saying, ‘Behold, men have come here tonight from the children of Israel to search out the country.’ So the king of Jericho sent to Rahab, saying, ‘Bring out the men who have come to you, who have entered your house, for they have come to search out all the country.’ Then the woman took the two men and hid them. So she said, ‘Yes, the men came to me, but I did not know where they were from. And it happened as the gate was being shut, when it was dark, that the men went out. Where the men went I do not know; pursue them quickly, for you may over take them.’ (But she had brought them up to the roof and hidden them with the stalks of flax, which she had laid in order on the roof). Then the men pursued them by the road to the Jordan, to the fords. And as soon as those who pursued them had gone out, they shut the gate.” When reading this account, it is clear that Rahab did lie. She actually lied several times. In verse 4 she says, “I did not know where they were from.” She says in verse 5, “When it was dark, the men went out,” and also, “Where the men went, I do not now.” The problem seems to arise when we get to the New Testament and see that Rahab is actually complimented by God for her behavior. Some think this is a sanction for lying. Let’s look at the two passages in the New Testament that mention Rahab. Hebrews 11:31 says, “By faith the harlot Rahab did not perish with those who did not believe, when she received the spies with peace.” Where does this passage condone lying? It doesn’t. Rahab is simply complimented for receiving the spies peacefully. The second passage is James 2:25, which says, “Likewise, was not Rahab the harlot also justified by works when she
received the messengers and sent them out another way?” Again, this Scripture does not applaud her lying. One person tried to argue from this passage that lying was an inherent part of “sending them out another way.” But please appreciate that this passage can stand wholly and separately apart from the lie. Let’s assume that it took place this way: the king’s men came to the house, knocked on the door and said, “Can we come in and look around?” And Rahab said, “Sure,” so they came in, walked around, found nothing and left. Under these circumstances, could the Scriptures have complimented her for receiving them and sending them out another way? Yes! The statement is not dependent upon the lie. Rahab’s lies are never condoned in the Scriptures. The story about Rahab merely provides an example of where God honored a woman because of her obedient faith, in spite of many character flaws. At the time, she was a heathen, a harlot, and a liar. But she tried to help God’s people, so God blesses her in spite of character flaws, not because of them. Another passage people sometime appeal to in order to justify lying is Exodus 1:15-22. This is an account of the Hebrew midwives. It says, “Then the king of Egypt spoke to the Hebrew midwives, of whom the name of one was Shiphrah and the name of the other Puah; and he said, ‘When you do the duties of a midwife for the Hebrew women, and see them on the birthstools, if it is a son, then you shall kill him; but if it is a daughter, then she shall live.’ But the midwives feared God, and did not do as the king of Egypt commanded them, but saved the male children alive. So the king of Egypt called for the midwives and said to them, ‘Why have you done this thing, and saved the male children alive?’ And the midwives said to Pharaoh, ‘Because the Hebrew women are not like the Egyptian women; for they are lively and give birth before the midwives come to them.’ Therefore God dealt well with the midwives, and the people multiplied and grew very mighty. And so it was, because the midwives feared God, that He provided households for them. So Pharaoh commanded all his people, saying, ‘Every son who is born you shall cast into the river, and every daughter you shall save alive.’ ” The argument goes like this: Pharaoh commanded the midwives to kill the newborn male Hebrews. The midwives disobeyed the decree. The midwives lied when questioned concerning their actions. God blessed the midwives. Since God blessed the action of which a lie was a part, He must have sanctioned a lie. This is false, and not what the Bible says. The text tells us that God blessed the midwives because they feared Him, not because they lied. Verse 17 indicates that the way they exhibited their fear of God was by sparing the babies, and that was prior to the lie even taking place. The midwives spared the babies because they feared God. They lied because they feared Pharaoh. There is no justification for lying in this passage. Another Bible passage where people will sometimes seek justification for lying is 1 Samuel 16:1-2. In this chapter God has rejected Saul from being the king and has instructed the prophet Samuel to anoint a new king from among the sons of Jesse the Bethlehemite. Samuel is concerned about this, because he asks, “What if King Saul hears about this? He’ll kill me.” So in verse 2, the Bible says, “And the Lord said, ‘Take a heifer with you, and say, ‘I have come to sacrifice to the Lord.’” And so the argument suggests that God actually told Samuel to lie in order to protect himself from Saul. In reality it wasn’t a lie at all. As we continue on in the chapter, we see that God instructed Samuel to arrange a sacrifice in Bethlehem and to invite the family of Jesse to the sacrifice. At the occasion of that sacrifice, God would reveal to Samuel which one of the sons was to be the next king, and he would anoint him there. It was not a lie at all. Somebody even pressed the argument that the wise men in Matthew 2 lied by not returning to Herod after they saw the baby Jesus. Listen to what Matthew 2:7-8 says, “Then Herod, when he had privily called the wise men, inquired of them diligently what time the star appeared. And he sent them to Bethlehem, and said, ‘Go and search diligently for the young child; and when ye have found him, bring me word again, that I may come and worship him also.’ When they had heard the king, they departed.” The Scriptures say nothing about the wise men’s promising to return. Besides that, in verse 12 God told them to go a different way. There is certainly no justification for lying in these verses.
PROOF THAT SHOWS LYING IS ALWAYS WRONG
Proof #1: Right and Wrong are not determined by earthly consequences.
Some of these proofs have already been alluded to, but now we want to put them together here in a neat package. The first proof that shows lying is always wrong is this: right and wrong are not determined by earthly consequences. Sometimes doing right is very costly. Jesus told the rich young ruler that doing right would cost him all he had. Doing right cost the apostle Paul beatings and abuse. When we begin to determine right and wrong based on the earthly consequences, we are going to get really out of whack. First John 3:4 says, “Whosoever commits sin transgresses also the law: for sin is the transgression of the
law.” This is how we determine right and wrong.
Proof #2: Revelation 2:10 Revelation 2:10 says, “Be faithful unto death and I will give you a crown of life.”
This passage was written to Christians who ere suffering persecution. The beginning of verse 10 discusses
the fact that they were going to suffer. Some of them would be thrown into prison and undergo tribulation. It is in this context that the Lord says, “Be faithful unto death.” Homer Hailey, in his commentary on Revelation, phrased it this way, “even to the point of dying.” What is the Lord saying? “Be faithful and do right, even if it costs you your life.” What does this do to these scenarios where it is suggested that you have to lie to protect life? The truth is more precious than life itself. God is the God of truth (Psalm 31:5), and we as Christians want to be like Him. Remember what Jesus said in Matthew 10:28, “Fear not him who can destroy the body and not the soul, but rather fear Him Who is able to destroy both the body and soul in hell.” In essence, Jesus is saying, “Don’t be afraid of physical death; be afraid of sinning and losing your soul.”
Proof #3: Revelation 21:8 Revelation 21:8 says, “All liars shall have their part in the lake that burns with fire and brimstone, which is the second death.”
It does not say “some.” It does not say “All, except those who were put in really tough situations.” It does not say, “All, except those who lied to protect human life.” It just says, “All.” People can come up with all the hypothetical, extreme situations they want, but what they really need, if they want to win the argument that says lying is acceptable, is a passage of Scripture where God says it is all right to lie. There isn’t one.
Proof #4: Titus 1:2 Titus 1:2 clearly states God cannot lie.
If lying is really acceptable sometimes, why doesn’t God do it? Why did Jesus Christ never do it? If mercy justifies lying, why can’t the God of mercy lie? The answer is that lying is inherently evil. It is always wrong. That is why God never does it.
Proof #5: The true source of lying
When trying to justify telling a lie, people don’t remember who the real origin of lying is: Satan. John 8:44 says, “You are of your father the devil, and the desires of your father you want to do. He was a murderer from the beginning, and does not stand in the truth, because there is not truth in him. When he speaks
a lie, he speaks from his own resources, for he is a liar, and the father of it.” When the devil tells a lie, he speaks from his own resources. Again, Matthew 5:37 says, “Let your ‘Yes’ be ‘Yes,’ and your ‘No,’
‘No.’ For whatever is more than these is from the evil one.” When people lie, their father is the devil, the source of lies, and they are from the evil one. To suggest it is sometimes all right to lie is to say that it is sometimes all right to stop following God and to follow Satan instead. This conclusion should be rejected with every fiber of our being.
Proof #6: God will provide a way of escape.
It has been offered by someone who was trying to defend lying that sometimes you have to choose the lesser of two evils. This is when we need to remember 1 Corinthians 10:13, “God is faithful, Who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will also make the way of escape, that you may be able to bear it.” We can trust that God’s way of escape from sin is not
going to be another sin! There will always be a path we can choose which does not involve violating God’s will. A person may not always choose God’s way, but it is there nonetheless.
Thinking that it is all right to lie is a very serious error for a Christian to hold. It shows a misunderstanding of God Himself. Proverbs 6:17 says, “God hates the lying tongue.” Proverbs
12:22 says, “Lying lips are an abomination to the Lord, but they that deal truly are His delight.” Psalm 31:5 called God the God of truth. The psalmist wrote, “For the word of the Lord is right; and all His words are done in truth” (Psalm 33:4). We also read in Leviticus 19:11, “You shall not steal, neither deal falsely,
neither lie to one another.” Proverbs 13:5 says, “A righteous man hates lying.” Lying is and always will be wrong in the eyes of God!
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