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Every once in a while I see a discussion pop up where someone asks if it is ever okay for a Christian to lie. And the justification and rationalization for lying comes out of the wood works, so to speak. Too many fall for a situational ethic, looking for the “right” situation to do the wrong thing. So let’s examine the Scriptures briefly and see if we can answer the question. 

Before we get started, never mind about Rahab or the Hebrew midwives. Yes, Rahab Lied. The midwives may have or not, it doesn’t say. But neither of these is ever commended for lying. If we were to say that they were right to lie, then by that hermeneutic we can take any situation where someone in the Bible sinned and we can use that to justify our sin. After all, if _________ did it, we can also. 

Here are the facts from Scripture I’d like to enter into evidence as we ponder the question: 

1. God the Father does not lie. In fact, God cannot lie (Titus 1:2). He is the “Lord God of truth” (Psa. 31:5) and we are commanded to “Be imitators of God, as dear children” (Eph. 5:1). In the list of the top seven things God hates, He mentions lying twice. “These six things the LORD hates, yes, seven are an  abomination to Him: A proud look, A lying tongue, Hands that shed innocent blood,  A heart that devises wicked plans, Feet that are swift in running to evil,  A false witness who speaks lies, And one who sows discord among brethren.” (Prov. 6:16-19). “God is not a man, that He should lie” (Num. 23:19). “He who works deceit shall not dwell within my house; He who tells lies shall not continue in my presence.” (Psa. 101:7). 

2. Jesus the Son tells us, “I am…the Truth (John 14:6). He said, “But let your ‘Yes’ be ‘Yes,’ and your ‘No,’ ‘No.’ For whatever is more than these is from the evil one.” (Matt. 5:37). He told the Pharisees, “You are of your father the devil, and the desires of your father you want to do. He was a murderer from the beginning, and does not stand in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he speaks a lie, he speaks from his own resources, for he is a liar and the father of it.” (John 8:44). 

3. The Holy Spirit is called by Jesus, “the Spirit of truth” Who will “guide you into all truth.” (John 16:13).  “And it is the Spirit who bears witness, because the Spirit is truth” (1 John 5:6). It is the Spirit who has inspired the Scriptures, and through the Apostles has told us, “Therefore, putting away lying, ‘Let each one of you speak truth with his neighbor’” (Eph. 4:25), and “ Now I pray to God that you do no evil, not that we should appear approved, but that you should do what is honorable, though we may seem disqualified. For we can do nothing against the truth, but for the truth.” (2 Cor. 13:7-8). We also read, “the fruit of the Spirit is in all goodness, righteousness, and truth” (Eph. 5:9). ‘Do not lie to one another, since you have put off the old man with his deeds.” (Col. 3:9). “Therefore, laying aside all malice, all deceit, hypocrisy, envy, and all evil speaking, as newborn babes, desire the pure milk of the word, that you may grow thereby, if indeed you have tasted that the Lord is gracious.” (1 Peter 2:1-3). “He who speaks lies will not escape.” (Prov. 19:5, 9). 

Romans 1 puts deceit in the list of sins of those with a debased mind who “exchange the truth of God for the lie” (Rom. 1:25), “And even as they did not like to retain God in their knowledge, God gave them over to a debased mind, to do those things which are not fitting; being filled with all unrighteousness, sexual immorality, wickedness, covetousness, maliciousness; full of envy, murder, strife, deceit, evil-mindedness; they are whisperers, backbiters, haters of God, violent, proud, boasters, inventors of evil things, disobedient to parents, undiscerning, untrustworthy, unloving, unforgiving, unmerciful; who, knowing the righteous judgment of God, that those who practice such things are deserving of death, not only do the same but also approve of those who practice them.” (Rom. 1:28-32).

Is it really that serious? “But the cowardly, unbelieving, abominable, murderers, sexually immoral, sorcerers, idolaters, and all liars shall have their part in the lake which burns with fire and brimstone, which is the second death.”  (Rev. 21:8). 

So, the next time you are tempted to excuse lying, at least be honest and phrase the question correctly. Ask it this way, “Has God indeed said, ‘You shall not lie to one another?’” (Gen. 3:1; Lev. 19:11).




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Unless otherwise indicated, all Scripture taken from the New King James Version. Copyright
© 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved.


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