Paul reminds us of the need to “speak every man truth with his neighbor.” Lying is the norm in society, but not for the people of God.
The issue of lying is taken quite lightly by many today. Many of us think of little statements that are slightly wrong as “white lies.” In the sight of God, however, statements that are one-half true but are meant to deceive are outright lies (Gen 20). All of us, including Abraham, have been involved in such deception. The following outline underscores the very serious nature of lying in the sight of God.
Lying is an Abomination to the Lord
“Lying lips are abomination to the Lord: but they that deal truly are His delight” (Prov 12:22). This is the same way God describes deviant sins (see Lev 18:22). In Revelation 21:8 lying is included with other vile sins that will be eternally condemned by God.
Lying is Hated by God
“These six things doth the Lord hate: Yea, seven are abomination unto him. A proud look, a lying tongue, and hands that shed innocent blood, a heart that deviseth wicked imaginations, feet that be swift in running to mischief, a false witness that speaketh lies, and he that soweth discord among brethren” (Prov 6: 16 – 19). The Psalmist added, “I hate and abhor lying: but thy law do I love” (Psalm 119:163). “I have hated them that regard lying vanities: but I trust in the Lord” (Psalm 31:6).
Lying had its Origin with Satan
“Ye are of your father the devil, and the lusts of your father ye will do. He was a murderer from the beginning and abode not in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he speaketh a lie, he speaketh of his own: for he is a liar and the father of it” (John 8:44). “And the serpent said unto the woman, ye shall not surely die” (Gen 3:4).
But Peter said, “Ananias, why hath Satan filled thine heart to lie to the Holy Ghost, to keep back part of the price of the land?” (Acts 5:3).
Lying Grieves the Holy Spirit
“Wherefore putting away lying, speak every man truth to his neighbor: for we are members one of another … And grieve not the Holy Spirit of God whereby we are sealed unto the day of redemption” (Eph 4:25, 30).
Lying Restrains God in Salvation
“Behold the Lord’s hand is not shortened that it cannot save; neither His ear heavy, that it cannot hear; but your iniquities have separated between you and your God, and your sins have hid His face from you that He will not hear” (Isa 59:1, 2). What were those sins and iniquities? “Your lips have spoken lies” (v 3). They had sinned “in transgressing and lying against the Lord … conceiving and uttering from the heart words of falsehood” (v 13).
Lying can Ruin a Testimony
Perjury, in criminal law, is the act of willfully and knowingly stating a falsehood under oath or under affirmation in judicial or administrative proceedings. In U.S. federal law, and in most states, a false statement must be material to a point of inquiry in order to constitute perjury. Perjury is a crime and may be punished by fine or imprisonment.
Lying can lead to Divine Discipline
“And Ananias, hearing these words, fell down and gave up the ghost” (Acts 5:5). “Then she fell down straightway at this feet, and yielded up the ghost” (Acts 5:10).
How should the above truth affect us? First of all, it should sober us and correct us in relation to any lax thinking we’ve had about lying. Secondly it should make us exercised to speak only those things that are absolutely and totally correct and truthful. We should pray like David, “Set a watch, O Lord, before my mouth, keep the door of my lips” (Psalm 141:3).