Sunday, October 18, 2020

Is It Ever Right for a Christian to Lie?

From time to time I have heard of or experienced in conversation situations where someone who claims to be a member of the Church of God asserts that it is sometimes ok, in the eyes of God, for a Christian to lie.  According to this view, perhaps, one can lie to "defend a greater truth", or to support or protect the work, etc.

In other words, some claim it is lawful, according to God's spiritual law, to lie for a good cause.

In one case, in conversation with a "member" of the Church of God, I or someone brought up the passage in Revelation that said that all liars will have their part in the lake of fire (Revelation 21:8, 22:15).  This person said that this only applies to those who tell lies habitually, all the time, not to those who occasionally lie, and that it is ok to lie once in a while.

Let me state right now that it is never ok with God for a Christian to knowingly tell a lie.

We can make mistakes, and accidentally say something that is wrong or repeat a lie someone else told without realizing it.  We have a responsibility to exercise caution and be careful not to do this.  A mistake is not necessarily a sin.  But it is always a sin to tell someone something we know is not true with intent to deceive.

We can make jokes, as long as the other person knows it's a joke.  But to make a false statement with intent to deceive is always a transgression of God's spiritual law, and therefore sin (1 John 3:4).

One may point out cases in the Old Testament where someone tells a lie and God does not call them to account for it.  But God uses the examples of men in the Bible to teach particular lessons, and God can choose to emphasize one thing or another, and in the accounts that describe the history of God's work in the Old Testament, God does not always make a point about lying - He chooses bigger fish to fry, bigger lessons to emphasize.  Nevertheless, God's word is clear - it is never right to lie.

Some of God's faithful servants in the Old Testament had multiple wives, but that does not mean it is right to have multiple wives today.  God doesn't point out every sin in the Old Testament.

I will give my strongest argument for this right now.

God is reproducing Himself in us.  And God cannot lie.  See Psalm 19:7, Titus 1:2, Hebrews 6:18, and John 10:35 for evidence God cannot lie.  See the following scriptures for evidence God is reproducing Himself in us:
Genesis 1:24-28
Matthew 5:9
Matthew 12:48-50
John 10:31-36
Romans 8:14-22
Romans 8:28-30
2 Corinthians 11:2-3
Galatians 3:26
Ephesians 5:22-32
Hebrews 2:5-12
1 John 3:2
Revelation 19:7-10.

Also, contrast Luke 4:6-8, Acts 10:25-26, and Revelation 22:8-9 with Revelation 3:9-12.

Though the Old Testament does not label the lies of Jacob to his father to obtain a blessing as sin, it is clear that it is sin.  And God taught Jacob a lesson about lying.  God says, "Do not be deceived, God is not mocked; for whatever a man sows, that he will also reap" (Galatians 6:7).  Jacob sowed lies and he reaped lies and suffered as a result.  He was deceived by Laban and he was deceived by his sons about Joseph being killed by beasts, and he suffered as a result.

GOD CANNOT LIE!  And that is why we can trust His word.  And we are to be like Him.

A wife is to obey her husband in the Lord, but she must obey God rather than man if he tells her to lie for him (Acts 5:29).  She must refuse to lie.

We can keep silent about something, but not lie.  We must avoid making false statements, period, no matter what the pressure, no matter what man tells us to lie.

Ministers and Church members should obey those in the Church who have authority over them, the top leadership and ministry, but not to lie on command.  In that case, our submission to God is direct, not through the leadership and government in the Church, and Christ leads each one of us individually, as head of the Church, through the Bible and through the Holy Spirit.  Recall my recent post in which I said Christ administers His office as head of the Church and exercises leadership over us through three separate chains-of-command - through the government in the Church over Church matters, through the husband in family matters, and through every man and woman individually, through the Bible and the Holy Spirit, in matters of obedience to God's spiritual law and in our direct relationship to God.  And it is that last chain-of-command that has precedence over the others, in the matter of God's law, such as not bearing false witness.

If we violate one point of God's law (the ninth commandment), we violate the whole law (Acts 5:22), and the violation of God's law is sin (James 2:10-11).

People in the Church have their stories to tell about how they had trouble in their jobs with their employers over the Sabbath.  But I tell you I have had more trouble with my employers over lying than the Sabbath.  I felt they had pressured me to tell lies, and I had to resist that pressure, more than I felt pressure to work on the Sabbath.

The example of Peter in Acts 5:1-11 shows the seriousness of lying to the Holy Spirit, to God.  Some ministers like to use this example to say that it is a serious thing to lie to a minister.  But they miss part of the point.  Yes it is a serious sin to lie to a minister, but it is just as serious for a minister to lie to a lay member of the Church of God.  Why?

Peter didn't accuse Ananias and Sapphira of lying to an apostle.  They lied to God because Peter had the Holy Spirit, and when they lied to Peter, they lied to the Holy Spirit.  But members have the Holy Spirit too.  When we lie to each other, or when a minister lies to a Church of God member, we are lying to God, that is, to someone in whom dwells the Holy Spirit, just as much as Ananias and Sapphira did when they lied to Peter who had the Holy Spirit.  And God killed them for it!

Ministers and leaders in the Church of God should be afraid of God's judgment if they lie to the membership.

God specifically emphasizes that we should not lie to each other (Colossians 3:9).

Before we tell a lie, we should recall who is the father of lies (John 8:44).

I mentioned the example of Jacob lying, and then God punishing him by causing him to himself be deceived, reaping what he sowed.  We need to be afraid to lie, lest God allow us to be deceived ourselves.

There is a great time of deception coming.  Satan deceives the whole world, and it is only by God's grace that we can escape Satan's deceptions.  For that reason, we should fear to tell lies to deceive others.  For we shall reap what we sow (Galatians 6:7).  If we sow deception by telling a lie, might not God punish us by letting Satan and others deceive us, maybe in something important, maybe causing us great suffering and heartache?

And if we deceive others, and then if God, as a result, allows Satan and the great false religious system to deceive us, might we lose our salvation because of our lie?

God tells us to keep ourselves far from a false matter (Exodus 23:7).

Lying is always a sin.  We should never lie because a man tells us to, whether that man is a husband or a minister or the leader of a Church of God fellowship.


Unknown said...

are you going to post your sermons on youtube??? said...


I do not have any sermons to post online. I am not a minister, just a lay member of the Church of God. Actually, I have never given a sermon or sermonette in my life. I have this blog, and I publish my articles as posts, but no speaking. I am not the leader of any Church of God organization.