It is the temptation of every preacher, including this one, to make his messages cute in some fashion. Particularly after 25 years or more in one place, there is a felt need to make the next sermon unique and attention-grabbing. But not only is that unrealistic and impractical, it is a dereliction of the minister’s duty. Sometimes the message should be excruciatingly simple, and at other times the text is so obvious that it becomes almost unnecessary to expound upon it. And such is the verse I’ve chosen for this evening.
Do I need to remind any of us that we should hate, despise, abhor lying? Solomon makes a simple statement – “A righteous man hateth lying.” And the heart of every righteous person concurs. But that doesn’t mean we are always absolutely truthful, does it? Honesty demands that we admit – sometimes even the righteous are less than honest.
In an attempt to drive an obvious truth even deeper into our souls, let’s ask a simple question: WHY does the righteous man hate lying? We don’t have to turn to the seminary professor for an answer. And we certainly don’t need or want the opinion of the psycho-analyst. All we need is a concordance and a little Spirit-guided meditation. Why does the righteous man hate lying?
First, but without any specific order – the righteous man hates lying because he is righteous.
Solomon is not talking about the child who is still intrenched in his all consuming self-centeredness. This is not the criminal avoiding the law, or the spy trying to carry out his nefarious assignment. This is the person who has become a new creature in Christ. That lying part of his old nature should have been mortified and buried. He was born a liar, but he has been born again a saint of God – theoretically a holy person. “A righteous man hateth lying” because he is now a child of God. It is contrary to His new nature.
Obviously, his God and Saviour hates lying and deception.
Jehovah despises dissimulation and prevarication, fraud and hypocrisy – even exaggeration. “These things doeth the Lord hate; yea, these are an abomination unto him – a proud look, a lying tongue.” “Lying lips are abomination to the Lord, but they that deal truly are his delight.” A Biblical synonym for lying is “leasing” and God shall “destroy them that speak leasing.” We could multiply scriptures which say that God hates lies and liars, but more scriptures will not make the truth any more true.
However we can, and must, vary the thought just a bit. There are those scriptures which tell us that one of the attributes of God is truth. Jehovah not only requires truth and blesses truth, He is the embodiment of truth. Elohim “is the rock, his work is perfect; for all his ways are judgment; a God of truth and without iniquity, just and right is he.” The “God of Truth” is one of the titles which the Psalmists apply to the triune God. And of course, that means each person of the Trinity is equally true. “And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth…. grace and truth came by Jesus Christ” – John 1. As children of God it is a part of our character to bear the nature of our Heavenly Father.
The Bible reveals much more about the relationship between our God and deception. Since God hates lying He has made sure that fact has been revealed in His law. Solomon was taught to hate laying by his father, who said in Psalm 119, “I hate and abhor lying, but thy law do I love.” The way verse 163 is worded – the grammar – suggests that God’s law and lying are polls apart. Can it not be said that God’s law demands honesty and rthrightness? Dishonesty and deceit are opposed and contrary to God’s law – both moral and ceremonial.
We should all be familiar with the Ten Commandments – the Decalogue. Two of those commandments are – “Thou shalt not steal, and thou shalt not bear false witness against thy neighbour.” To bear false witness is one aspect of lying, and isn’t it also one way of stealing from our neighbor? To lie about someone may take any number of things from him – his good name, perhaps his office, his property and in some cases even his life. “A righteous man hateth lying.”
He should hate it because it is associated with his mortal enemy.
In John 8, the Lord Jesus was talking to a group of men who were not His disciples. “Ye seek to kill me, a man that hath told you the truth, which I have heard of God… Ye do the deeds of your father. Then said they to him, We be not born of fornication; we have one Father, even God. Jesus said unto them, If God were your Father, ye would love me: for I proceeded forth and came from God; neither came I of myself, but he sent me… 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. And because I tell you the truth, ye believe me not.”
From where did Ananias come up with the idea of lying to God about his income and tithe? “Satan filled thine heart to lie to the Holy Ghost?”
Following the translation of God’s saints, the world will become special battlefield between Satan & Christ. Among the Devil’s weapons will be deception. “The great dragon was cast out, that old serpent, called the Devil, and Satan, which deceiveth the whole world: he was cast out into the earth, and his angels were cast out with him.” And deceiveth them that dwell on the earth by the means of those miracles which he had power to do in the sight of the beast; saying to them that dwell on the earth, that they should make an image to the beast, which had the wound by a sword, and did live.” But after he has done his worst, without the success he intended – God will commission an angel to take Satan “And cast him into the bottomless pit, and shut him up, and set a seal upon him, that he should deceive the nations no more, till the thousand years should be fulfilled: and after that he must be loosed a little season.” At the close of the Millennium, after Satan has been bound and locked away for a thousand years, he will be released. And what will be among his first attacks upon creation? He will return to his old techniques – deception and outright lies. “And when the thousand years are expired, Satan shall be loosed out of his prison, And shall go out to deceive the nations which are in the four quarters of the earth…” But at the end of that short rebellion at the close of the Millennium, God will once again commission His angels and empower them against Satan. “And the devil that (once again) deceived (the unsaved) was cast into the lake of fire and brimstone, where the beast and the false prophet are, and shall be tormented day and night for ever and ever.”
Why do the righteous hate lying? Because it is so directly connected with Satan. And it is also firmly tied to Hell and the Lake of Fire. The Lord himself has said, “He that overcometh shall inherit all things, and I will be his God , and he shall be my son. But the fearful, and unbelieving, and the abominable, and murderers, and whoremongers, and sorcerers, and idolaters, and all liars, shall have their part in the lake which burneth with fire and brimstone: which is the second death.” Proverbs 19:5 – “A false witness shall not be unpunished, and he that speaketh lies shall not escape.” God shall “destroy them that speak leasing.”
And as a corollary to that point – liars belong outside the presence of God. The Lord has said, “He that worketh deceit shall not dwell within my house: he that telleth lies shall not tarry in my sight.” In Revelation 22 we have a description of a beautiful heavenly future. Verse 15 says, outside “are dogs, and sorcerers, and whoremongers, and murderers, and idolaters, and whosoever loveth and maketh a lie.” The future resident of glory….. the “righteous man hateth lying.”
Which of these few is the greatest reason for us to hate lying?
We might pointlessly argue the point. But let’s ask the question one more time – WHY should a righteous man FEAR lying? You and I should hate and fear lying because it is a part of our fallen nature. And Satan still has an ally, a worm in our soul, which he sometimes empowers to do us harm. So Solomon prays, “Lord, remove far from me vanity and lies.” I know that he could be speaking about liars and the lies of others, but there are other scriptures which shed light on this reminding us of ourselves.
We live in a society of lies and there remains in us a weakness to lie. If it were not so, Paul would not have had to exhort us to truthfulness. You saints in Ephesus – “put off concerning the former conversation the old man, which is corrupt according to the deceitful lusts; And be renewed in the spirit of your mind; And that ye put on the new man, which after God is created in righteousness and true holiness. Wherefore putting away lying, speak every man truth with his neighbour….”. And you believers in Colosse – “Put off all these; anger, wrath, malice, blasphemy, filthy communication out of your mouth. Lie not one to another, seeing that ye have put off the old man with his deeds; And have put on the new man, which is renewed in knowledge after the image of him that created him.”
Why should “A righteous man hate lying?” Because it is contrary to our Saviour and our salvation. Because it is at the heart and soul of Satan, our enemy and the enemy of God. And because we all have a propensity towards lying, and we will have throughout our earthly lives.