The kingdom of God is a kingdom of truth; true there are misfits in this kingdom, both by birth and by practice, but the principle in which God is honored is of truth. ‘He that honoreth me honors the Father,’ said the Lord who is the way, the truth, and the life.
From the beginning, the devil challenged this eternal principle, and found a weakness in the woman, so he could ultimately bring down the man. “Hath God said?” was the first question that eroded the foundation of the truth of God. ‘The woman was deceived,’ said the apostle to Timothy, and this deception was an all out assault on the word of God.
The word of God was Eve’s safe harbor, and Satan caused just enough doubt that she would reason to the point of destruction, for the apostle Paul said we are to ‘cast down imaginations, and every thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God, and bring into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ.’ (2 Cor. 10)
The great accuser made his mark, for the woman was made to think her deductions were worthy. Dead wrong! The word of God was made to be of no effect, and sin entered the world where it had never before. The liar had succeeded.
The question on the table is really no different today: should we as believers lie to protect whatever and whoever? A valid question at that and surely worthy of discussion, but I would remind the honest reader to consider the command for us to ‘bring into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ.’
None would disagree that much good can proceed from the lying of others, but what is the real value of this good? Examples can be cited from those who have lied, and good came forth, but why stop there?
Rehab lied, and James tells us she was justified by works. Abraham put the sword to his son, and James also tells us he was justified through works. Certainly a good thing to be justified through works, but in this instance we have two different points of view.
More importantly, Rehab was a harlot, an unsavory lifestyle to say the least, and why under God’s creation did the two spies find haven in her place? God’s promise was at stake here, and there is entirely too much emphasis on her falsehood to save a few lives.
If she desired to tell the truth, while at the same time utter a prayer to God to amend the situation, would God honour his word: “I will bless them that bless thee?” That is, is any thing too hard for the Lord? Could not he make the intruders either see a thousand men with swords drawn, or could not he cause them to be blind?
Of course, but we are reading of history as it happened, and there was nothing extraordinary about Rehab’s desire to save her own neck. Again, why pray tell, were the two spies found in a house of ill repute in the first place? Poor decisions lead to more poor decisions.
In the New testament we are reminded that grace and truth came by Jesus Christ, and such should characterize his own, for believers carry the same mark, a mark of truth. Paul said to follow me as I follow Christ, a command surely within reason.
‘I speak the truth in Christ I lie not…………’ ‘Let every man put away lying…………’ ‘Thou shalt not lie………’ ‘I have no greater joy than to hear that my children walk in truth…..’ ‘No lie….is of the truth………’ See this? No lie, no reasoning, no hypothetical examples needed to obey this command.
When the baptist was in prison, he was given ample opportunity to alter his testimony to save his life. But the truth was in the forefront of his mind, and for the truth his life came to screeching halt. Why are our lives more valuable than the greatest prophet born among women? Why should we expect a life of greater ease?
Are we not reminded that ALL they who live godly in Christ Jesus shall suffer persecution? This is an inclusive statement that is an indictment against our worldliness, for truth is the narrow path, and for this we will pay a price.
The Lord Jesus, who is the truth, was strangely silent before Pilate when asked ‘what is truth,’ yet readily offered the word to speak of a kingdom not from hence, another reference to the truth, yet Pilate did not have ears to hear. A time to speak, and a time to be mute was ever before the Lord.
But consequences should not be in our minds either, for we like Eve, can reason to the point of shame, and actually miss an opportunity to experience one of the most neglected ministries of the Lord, and that is: suffering. When we surmise from examples that have not, may not, or cannot happen, are we not reasoning?
Should we not rather focus on what is true, than on what may happen to others if we do not lie? Is there not a God in heaven? Perhaps we should also steal food so we can feed the homeless? Question after question may be asked to show the folly of ‘doing evil, that good may come. Is lying evil, yes or no?
A casual reading of the word ‘truth’ reveals both discomfort and comfort. It is the standard that should be president in our thinking, yet our actions make us uncomfortable, and this is ok, because we are not perfect, that is not yet.
Perfect in Christ yes, and this perfection should humble our behaviour to the point of our recognizing how quick we are to compromise truth. Here a little shading, there a little concession, and we are numb that we are not entirely truthful.
Thank God, he is Faithful, and true, and if I were judged for my complete honesty, I would be weighed in the balance and found wanting. But we see the ideal, we see Paul blameless in his devotion to the truth of God that cost him friends and family, a life of hardships, hunger, and torture.
We see Timothy the young man of God, as taught by Paul to be an example to believers, and to focus on the health of the church of God, the pillar and ground not of love, but of truth. Note this, the pillar of the truth, which by the way, had already been compromised by enemies within the ranks, they who would oppose the truth.
‘All Asia’ had forsaken the aging apostle of grace, but blessed be the promises of GOD, these souls were saved, so as by fire, barely, yet had testimonies full of blemishes, like spots on a resume, whose spiritual character was suspect.
Then we have John who lost a head because of truth, we see Peter who said ‘I know not this man,’ because he was afraid, then we see him speak with such eloquence ‘ye have purified your souls by obeying the truth…..’ then again we see the apostle John who was on the isle of Patmos, why? Because he hid some spies? No, but because of the testimony of Jesus Christ, because he carried the word of truth.
The Pharisees were not outwardly dishonest, but they were not entirely truthful with themselves. They pretended on one occasion to have an interest in the sinning adulterous woman, (for they knew this just man would not kill her) and the law that they supposedly upheld only incriminated each of them.
Sin was not the real issue here, but facing the truth, and from this they turned away. In every instance of life, during the most boring of affairs, we choose to be truthful, and we choose to lie. If the Pharisees knew ahead of time what truth they would deny, they would have chosen a different route, and this is precisely the point: God will always be there to defend us, if we are right with him.
But you may ask, where was he when the baptist died? Not far to be sure, but dying with character is far better than living with dishonour, and this is something we do not understand. God will never put us in a situation where he will ask us to lie.
We may put ourselves there, and we may lie as a result of continual poor choices, but we should not say we have God’s blessing to do so, for lying, adultery, stealing, covetousness, heresy, are all the same: sin.
All have sinned is true of mankind, and as believers, we still sin and come short of the glory of God. God’s throne is a pillar of truth, and even the sealed book requires that man look away in the company of the Lamb; we cannot tolerate the piercing truth of God’s holiness.
As to the idea that men will lie to protect the chosen people during times of trouble, how do we know this? There will be divine protection afforded, i.e., a mark not of the beast, but a mark of favour placed there by God himself.
I would be more concerned by giving them the word of God today, giving them a glass of water today, visiting the fatherless and widows today, things we can control.
We can read of the trials of David and his weaknesses, we can read of King Saul and his jealousy, we can read of Samson and his beguiling by a woman, we may speak of Thomas and his unbelief, yet if our lives were recorded, and the backbiting or gossip we are guilty of was written word for word, we would be more shamed, we must be truthful people, at whatever the cost.
What distinguishes us, or what should separate us from others is our love for the truth. People are damned not because they are not decent people, but because they received not the love of the truth. We justify God by agreeing with him as to his assessment of us; we are undone.
He asks us to be honest with ourselves, he pleads with us to consider our ways. A physician may examine us, but only we can examine ourselves in truth. He may find a clot but he cannot prescribe a diagnosis for a deceitful heart. Thank God the Great Physician stands ready to dispatch his very balm, and this ointment is truth.
Truth must always be higher than myself, as God is higher than the heavens, yet we see something even more marvelous, ‘thou hast magnified thy word above thy name.’
The word of God is all truth, the Lord Jesus is the truth, and it would be better to focus on what is true, for I think the Lord will honour our hearts desire to please him and keep us from things that will dishonour the truth. ‘Cast down reasonings, ‘saith the Lord.
Finally, if we say it is ok to lie under duress, is it possible we are admitting God cannot be trusted? Is it possible that we are saying there are circumstances in which we have more control than He?
When the two christians died because of lying, were they not doing so for a greater good, or so they thought? But what is always missing from this account, is the truth that in the church of God, the whole truth and holiness becomes his house.
This was a miraculous event which is not repeated today, but in this dispensation of grace, the principle is the same: truth must be reckoned with. Faith, hope, love, these three, and the greatest of these is love, only a fool would argue otherwise, but in the administration and display of spiritual gifts, love would rule the day.
Truth was not here addressed, for the context assumes that. The Holy Ghost is also known as the ‘spirit of truth,’ hence the immediate death of a man and his wife; they lied to God.
If we must hide Jews so be it. Lets have the faith to expect God will not deny himself, even if we remain unfaithful. But by all means, ‘Buy the truth and sell it not.’