When we think of love as a virtuous thing (and rightly so), it becomes easy to fall prey to the notion that its antithesis, hate, must be an evil thing. Granted, hatred is most frequently a sin. But any student of the Word, realizing that God hates specified things, must recognize that hatred is clearly the right moral response in some circumstances. To put it in broad terms, the corollary of loving righteousness is hating sin; more specifically, the corollary of loving truth is hating falsehood. Proverbs confirms that “There are six things which the Lord hates, yes, seven are an abomination to Him” (Pro. 6:16). The second on the list is “a lying tongue” (v. 17b).
God’s character demands hatred of lying. Although we might have been surprised that the first-named object of God’s hatred was “haughty eyes,” it should come as no surprise that lying is on the list. Truth is one of the foundation stones of God’s character. In one of the most succinct and powerful statements that Christ ever made concerning Himself, He declared: “I am the way, and the truth, and the life” (John 14:6). Notice that He did not say merely, “I speak the truth.” That in itself would be impressive. But He said “I am the truth.” All that is real, that is honest, and that is right find their source in Him. The apostle John had earlier testified to the same reality: “And the Word [Jesus Christ] became flesh, and dwelt among us, and we saw His glory, glory as of the only begotten from the Father, full of grace and truth” (John 1:14). Truth is a primary source of God’s glory. It is significant that Christ’s words from the cross quoting a Davidic psalm come in the context of God’s character of truthfulness: “Into your hand I commit my spirit; You have ransomed me, O Lord, God of truth” (Psa. 31:5). Truth is an absolute quality of God’s essence.
God’s commandments forbid lying. The fact that the ninth commandment is: “You shall not bear false witness against your neighbor” (Ex. 20:16) evinces His hatred of lying. When we consider that God gave only ten commandments, the reality that one forbade lying should be weighty. Of all the sins He proscribed, He chose to write in stone only five “Thou shalt nots,” one of which was lying. The weight of this evidence of God’s regard for truth and hatred of lying should be self-evident.
God’s conclusion regarding lying. Until we see lying as God sees it, until we stop calling it something other than the sin it is, and until we value the Lord’s honor more than our own, we will never escape this sin. But lying is an attack on the holy character of God. Lying is an act of rebellion against God. Lying expresses a disdain for the holy order God has established in the universe. Lying is deceitful; lying is dishonest. Lying shows a disregard for others. Lying is selfish and self-serving. Lying is hypocritical. Lying is weak and cowardly. Lying is arrogant and prideful. Lying is from Satan, who is “the father of lies” (John 8:44). “This is the message we have heard from Him and announce to you, that God is light, and in Him there is no darkness at all. If we say that we have fellowship with Him and yet walk in the darkness, we lie and do not practice the truth . . . If we say that we have no sin, we are deceiving ourselves and the truth is not in us. . . . If we say that we have not sinned, we make Him a liar and His word is not in us” (I John 1:5, 6, 8, 10). God is a God of absolute truth and truthfulness. There are no little white lies nor even exaggerations where the intent is not humor but deceit. Nor does God sanction half-truths or the omission of truth. Furthermore, silence, when confession should be made, is brother to a lie. The best of us have been guilty of lying on occasion—sins of which we must repent. But the person whose life is characterized by deceit and lying evidences his lost status. Notice the company that liars keep and the end of all such sinners. “But for the cowardly and unbelieving and abominable and murderers and immoral persons and sorcerers and idolaters and all liars, their part will be in the lake of fire that burns with fire and brimstone, which is the second death” (Rev. 21:9). Lying is not a little sin. God goes out of His way to make clear that lying is a great offense. Believers should and will walk in truth (see: I Ki. 6:4; Psa. 86:11).
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