We all know that moment when we are in the middle of a conversation and someone asks you a question and in less than half a second you respond with a simple, straight-faced lie.
We lie for a myriad of reasons and this short article will not seek to unpack all of those various reasons, although they can range from very simple reasons to extremely complex ones. The human heart is a mess and telling the truth can be incredibly hard to do and a very painful experience in guilt and how it hurts others and especially the people closest to you. Why is the truth so important and why will the truth set you free and what does that even mean?
Why do we cover up?
When Adam and Eve fell, the first thing they did was cover up, they hid themselves away. (Gen 3:7) Separation from God caused shame and it created massive relationship problems between us and God, as well as a breakdown in relationships between husband and wife, parents and children, people and communities.
A good place to start is to understand the origin of lying. Jesus declared that the Devil is the father of lies, he is the serpent that spoke lies to Adam and Eve in order to deceive them and cause them to doubt God's goodness.
"Jesus rebuking the pharisees, said:
You are of your father the devil, and your will is to do your father's desires. He was a murderer from the beginning, and does not stand in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he lies, he speaks out of his own character, for he is a liar and the father of lies." (John 8:44)
As fallen children of Adam, we are now separated from God and slaves to sin, the flesh, and the Devil. The entire bible documents the fall and fallout after Eden, the Bible is essentially a complete account of the fallen state of mankind and our rebellion against God. Thankfully though, the Bible is also a unified story of God actively saving His people, with a unified emphasis on the Saviour that God would send and that Saviour is Jesus (his name means, God with us).
Can we blame the Devil then?
Although the Devil is the father of lies and we are now in bondage to sin and the flesh, he alone cannot take blame. Adam and Eve are 100% responsible for their decision and actions, we too are also 100% responsible for our decisions and actions. The key to, why, is based on how God made us, we are made in the image of God. Which is a deep topic but one key element of this truth is that we have the ability to love. In order to truly be able to love, one must have complete autonomy, you need to have the true and real dignity of a real choice. Not an illusion of a choice but a real true ability to choose, without this there can be no true love.
Love then is risky business but the risk is worth it, especially because God is Holy and true, He is righteous and loving. In fact, God’s attributes are vast and eternal and the joy of discovering them for all eternity will be our endless pursuit and unending source of happiness and pleasure. To love God is the only path to true joy, true happiness, and true contentment.
We, therefore, cannot blame the devil, he, of course, is guilty of great evil and hurt, pain, suffering and wickedness. However, we cannot blame him for our choices and our sin and our lies. So, in short, the Bible teaches us that we are all individually responsible and will be held accountable to God on the day of judgment for every deed and careless word and every lie.
"Lying lips are an abomination to the LORD, but those who act faithfully are his delight."
There are six things that the LORD hates, seven that are an abomination to him: (Notice how lying makes the list twice and in fact could be argued is at the heart, or apart of the other five too)
- haughty eyes,
- a lying tongue,
- and hands that shed innocent blood,
- a heart that devises wicked plans,
- feet that make haste to run to evil,
- a false witness who breathes out lies,
- and one who sows discord among brothers.
What is truth?
One of the most famous bible quotes from an unbeliever in the bible is when Pilate says to Jesus, “What is truth?” Jesus is about to be put to death based on lies, ironically (see Matt 26:59-68), this moment is the very moment the whole sacrificial system of the Old Testament points too. Just look at the scene below and notice what Jesus says (which he had been saying all through his earthly ministry):
"Then Pilate said to him, “So you are a king?” Jesus answered, “You say that I am a king. For this purpose I was born and for this purpose I have come into the world—to bear witness to the truth. Everyone who is of the truth listens to my voice.” Pilate said to him, “What is truth?” After he had said this, he went back outside to the Jews and told them, “I find no guilt in him."
Jesus is the way the truth and the life, his purpose and mission was to rescue broken lost sinners. Those who will listen to him, hear the voice of truth and the very One who is truth. Praise God that on the cross Jesus cried out, "It is finished." (John 19:30) If you are wondering where Jesus is right now, he is seated at the right hand of the Father, Luke 22:69 "But from now on the Son of Man shall be seated at the right hand of the power of God.” A powerful statement about the equality within the Godhead.
The truth will set you free!
The new testament is so full, to bursting, with this core teaching that I think it best we just let a small handful of scriptures speak for themselves:
"But the hour is coming, and is now here when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth, for the Father is seeking such people to worship him."
"God is spirit, and those who worship him must worship in spirit and truth.”
"So Jesus said to the Jews who had believed him, “If you abide in my word, you are truly my disciples, and you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.”
"Jesus said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me."
"Remove far from me falsehood and lying; give me neither poverty nor riches; feed me with the food that is needful for me…"
Walking in the truth is walking in true obedience and total surrender to Jesus as your Lord and Master. He has bought you at a great price to rescue you from your slave masters, sin, the flesh, and the Devil. If you are truly devoted to God and continue to grow and are committed to allowing the Spirit to heal you and transform you then you will walk in truth and be someone who tells the truth. A true child of God.
If you have not prayed the following prayer, then I would seriously encourage you to pray a prayer like this, which would sound something like this:
Dear Lord God and heavenly Father, please make me more like you and like your Son the Lord Jesus Christ. Please, Lord, help me to be changed by your Holy Spirit, that your Spirit would dwell in me and transform me.
This prayer needs to be prayed earnestly and truthfully, I would suggest that you spend a long time truly repenting of all your sin and ensure that you are truly sorry for your sin and trusting in the finished work of Christ on the cross. Then conclude with the above prayer and pray it regularly.
What you will discover as you pray this prayer is that the Spirit of truth will point out to you hidden sin and hidden lies, lies that you need to confess to God and then confess to those you have sinned against. Pray too, that the Lord will lead you in this, as you become a follower of Jesus and walk in the light and walk in the Spirit of truth.
Telling the truth means that your relationship with your spouse, your children, your friends, your street, your workplace, your church and your whole community becomes truly blessed, wholesome with genuine care and Christ-centered love and compassion, in a word, healed and rich and meaningful. This kind of life brings God glory because you will see he has done it all. Remember Jesus paid the ultimate price, a very costly price of your victory over sin, the flesh, death, and the Devil.
The eternal impact can probably not be weighed up or measured as the impact is of eternal weight which our finite minds cannot grasp right now. However, we can know that through the truth of Christ and the Gospel being declared by a people who now tell the truth and live the truth, our choices and actions can bring many to true salvation. The world who are still lost and in darkness can then see by Christ shining in us, the truth and light of the Gospel which transforms lives by the Spirit of truth will bring many to salvation in Christ.
"For this light momentary affliction is preparing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison."
2 Corinthians 4:17
Your honest and truthful choices right now can and will have real eternal consequences for good, through God-inflamed devotion and commitment to Christ. Your life can then impact others and lead many lost sinners to salvation, by the grace and mercy of God.
Ephesians 2:8–10 says:
"For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast. For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them."
So you can clearly see that God has prepared good works for us to do and we must choose and ensure we are devoted to our calling. If the Lord is calling you then obey his voice and tell the truth so that you may truly declare the truth.
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