Image courtesy Stuart Miles @ FreeDigitalPhotos.net
Well, it appears I had time to finish my thought today, so I’m just going to briefly refer back to my earlier consideration, as it lays necessary groundwork for what I’m about to suggest regarding a biblical understanding of what it means to be a liar.
- The Bible pronounces a pretty harsh judgment upon liars. See Revelation 21:8. Also, 1 Timothy 1:8-10 speaks of the law in relation to the “unjust”, and lists liars among them.
- However, the Bible also declares that we are all liars (Psalm 116:11). I’ll try to remember to come back to this in a bit.
- The act of telling a lie indicates a degree of separation from the fellowship with God..whether due to open rebellion (pride), fear, ignorance or hidden malicious intent.
- Some people appear to either not know how to tell the truth or they just do not care that their words are unreliable or deceptive. This can create serious trust issues.
Introducing a few more angles
- There are several incidences of lying in Scripture which actually appear to be blessed by God (ie. Abram told his wife to tell a half-truth about their relationship in order to protect his own life…see Genesis 12:10-20 and 20:2-18; midwives lied to Pharaoh in Exodus 1:15-20; Rahab the prostitute lied to protect Israelite spies in Joshua 2, 6:17-25 etc. Link to cited passages is HERE. While I do not believe it honors God to make a practice of deceiving others, I must acknowledge what the biblical record actually says. There is a possible explanation for this, but that is a different discussion for a different time.
- At least two people in the NT are said to have been struck dead for lying to the Holy Spirit (God) rather than to another human being. (Acts 5:1-11) Lying to God is a serious offense. And we can’t fool Him anyway, so why bother trying?
- Lying in general is discouraged in scripture, since it is identified with the “old”, unregenerate nature (Leviticus 19:11; Colossians 3:9).
- Lying to other people can create some serious interpersonal conflict, in spite of the fact that God has the ability to work things out in the end. The Rebekah, Isaac, Esau, Jacob, Laban, Leah, Rachel fiasco of Genesis 25-33 comes to mind, here.
Two more verses that help me to better grasp the definition of “liar”:
God is not man, that he should lie, or a son of man, that he should change his mind. Has he said, and will he not do it? Or has he spoken, and will he not fulfill it? Numbers 23:19
Who is the liar but he who denies that Jesus is the Christ? This is the antichrist, he who denies the Father and the Son. 1 John 2:22 (ESV)
Circling back to point 2 of my review, regarding the fact that we all are counted as liars: It is not even in God’s nature to lie (see related verse, above). But everyone who has been cut off from Him has this tendency.
There is a solution, but only one solution, by which we may remedy our inherently wrong state of being.
The liar that scripture condemns to the lake of fire/hell is the one who adheres tenaciously to the Romans 1:21 perspective that God is not actually good and/or that there is a better way to attain knowledge and wisdom than to gratefully submit to His beneficial claim to authority in our lives.
According to scripture, a liar is one who internally denies that Jesus of Nazareth is the Anointed Savior of creation and thus remains cut off from a relationship with God as their source of life. At this level, it does not matter whether my mouth makes truthful statements all day long if my heart rejects Christ Jesus as God’s perfectly righteous and merciful mediator. And this lack of relationship can take the form of a non- or pseudo- Christian religion or secularism, so long as the individual remains primarily dependent upon his/her own ability to direct the course of their own life.
The Bible instructs us to be reconciled with our Maker through belief in the One He sent expressly for that purpose. We refer to this phenomenon as repentance and receiving of forgiveness for our sin of unbelief/rebellion. It is a simultaneous turning from an attitude of self-reliance and toward one of dependence on God’s provision.
This restoration will not only give us hope for something better beyond this mess we now know as “life”, but it will also release us from the deadly side-effect of that separation (compulsion to habitually sin), today.
I’m not asking anyone to take my word for this. I linked to most of the passages I cited and strongly encourage you read them and do your own additional research regarding this topic.