Wednesday, June 10, 2009

More on 'Re: Is it ever right to lie?'

Question: "More on 'Re: Is it ever right to lie?'"

By Abraham Israel

Some people who say it is okay to lie if the motives are right and result are not evil, but the Bible simply says that 'lying to people is a sin and trespass against the Lord' and a trespass offering is required to bring the lost fellowship of His presence back (Lev 6:1-7). In the new testament scenario, when we lie no matter for what reason we have done it, we lose the precious presence of God in our conscious mind. When we lose the presence of God and His peace because of lying and committing a trespass against the Lord, immediately we need to confess to God that we have sinned and then praise God in the name of Jesus for having forgiven all our sins because of His faithful and just character to always forgive our sins. Guilt, peace less mind and confusion are spiritual thermometer that indicates that something has gone wrong because of sin (Isaiah 26:3; Heb 9:14). The moment we confess and praise God for His forgiveness, peace will start to flood our soul and you will be full of joy as a sign of restored fellowship with God (1 John 1:3-4, 9; Heb 13:15). Walking in the light of God is to agree with God that we have sinned against Him and His word, whenever we commit sin. And God in His faithfulness automatically cleanses us from all sin through the blood of Jesus Christ(1 John 1:7). God also in the Book of Jeremiah compared the tongues of people to a bow and the lies that come out of it to an arrow which has the potential to kill people and slaughter them. These type of people were compared to coward who are not valiant enough to speak the truth on earth, as a result these people are predicted by God as those who will go from evil to evil (Jeremiah 9:3). In other words because of a lying tongue they will be hell bent to fulfill the plans of the evil one. So what do we learn from what God says, it is not okay to lie even when the motives are right and result are not evil. Sin practiced will pull us deeper in to its pit and will one day fully consume our vitality (Judges 16:28-30).

Some point to the life of Jacob and say that God blessed Jacob in spite of Him lying four time with the blessing of God. But the point is, God was making a salvation model out of his life. God told to Rebekah about the life and characteristics of both Jacob and Esau, even before they were born (Rom 9:10-13). This shows that God knows us and has chosen us even before we were born (Ps 139:13-16; Hag 2:23). God knew all the sins that we will ever do because of our own bad choices even before we were born, and when we do sin in the natural it does not surprise Him one bit (Acts 15:18; Ps 139:13-162; 2 Peter 3:15). In other words, God hates sin but he loves us and long suffers with us even though we sin now and then because of our sin nature. God acts as a long-suffering person in order to turn us away from all the bad choices of sin we make in our daily life (2 Peter 3:9). This is the reason God sent a Savior in to the world knowing that we need His blood to cleanse ourselves from the stained gutter of sin through our repentance and confession (Luke 13:3, 5; Mark 1:15; 1 John 1:9). God waits for every man to receive the Savior Jesus Christ by his own personal choice and waits, woos and draws people toward Him even up to every human's death, after which no matter what every has person have done or not, he will be judged [acquitted or condemned] based on whether he has received the Savior or have rejected Him (2 Peter 3:9; 1 Tim 2:4). The meaning of the name 'Jacob' means 'supplanter or deceitful [lit. One who takes the heel]'. This clearly shows that God has charged all humans as deceivers like Jacob inspite of what they do or not do in one's life (Rom 3:9-18, 23). We are sinners not because we sin, we sin because we are sinners. In other words we all are sinners by birth, not just by our sinful actions (Ps 51:5).

God did not bless Jacob until he repented and humbled himself by acknowledging that he was 'Jacob the liar'. After His repentance and confession of his indwelling sin nature, God then released the blessings over his life by giving a new name which conveys that he has been transformed from as a liar ['Jacob'] to be a prince with God ['Israel'] (Gen 32:22-30). Like Esau many people around the world want to earn their salvation and blessing without ever confessing about their sin nature to God and acknowledging their need for a Saviour to save them from sin. Like Esau they never see or experience the salvation of God because of their own wrong choice of rejecting God's offer of salvation through His Son Jesus Christ. The people who want to earn their salvation through their own good works, despise the riches of God’s goodness, forbearance, and longsuffering, not knowing that the goodness of God leads them to repentance (Rom 2:4). As a sinner by birth we are all the vessels of wrath and dishonor prepared for destruction, but because of a willing conscious choice we make, we become a vessels of mercy and honor through the riches of God's goodness, forbearance, and longsuffering shown to us in His Son Jesus Christ, who has been prepared and substituted as our substitute on behalf of us before God's eyes from the foundation of the world (Heb 4:3; 9:26; Rom 9:21-24). As a result we become as righteous as God is (2 Cor 5:21). The vessels of honor like Jacob are those who cleanse themselves by receiving in to their lives the cleansing power of the blood of Jesus in abundance and become useful for the Master, prepared for every good work (2 Tim 2:21; Heb 9:14).

The bottom line is, God did not justify Jacob's lies but he justified Jacob for His faith in humbling himself by turning toward God. God blessed Jacob because of his desire for transformation. The question that I ask is, can we see Jacob lying again after getting transformed in to Israel? The answer is a big NO. Why? Because a supernatural work of God had been wrought in him which gave him an overcoming new nature by the power of God(Rom 7:24-25). So also after we are born again as the Israel of God we have become new creation and overcomers through our faith in Jesus Christ (Gal 6:15-16; 1 John 5:4). We are not supposed to lie knowingly based on our old nature after we are born again, because the old nature has been crucified in Christ (Rom 6:6; Gal 6:14). This is the reason Apostle Paul said to the Ephesian believers, "So stop telling lies. Let us tell our neighbors the truth, for we are all parts of the same body." (Eph 4:25, NLT). Rebekah the mother of Jacob took a shortcut to support her younger son inherit the blessings. It was not the will of God for her to act this way, but because of her sin nature inside her and a carnal love toward her younger son, she orchestrated and supported this deceitful act (Gen 25:28). We must understand that God has used all things whether good or bad in the life of Jacob to work together for the good of Jacob because He sincerely loved God and his spiritual blessings, more than just materialistic instant fleshly gratification and satisfaction unlike Esau (Rom 8:28). Even though Jacob was a imperfect man, God honored his desire for God and the things of God which was just the opposite for Esau (Heb 12:16-17). This does not mean that God could not have brought the blessings which He had promised to Rebekah even before Jacob was born, except through Jacob's deceitful failures. It was not God's perfect will for Jacob to lie, but it was His permissive will which demonstrates the agency of the power of choice in every man's life. If we consider the lies of Jacob as the orchestration of God's plan, then there is unrighteousness with God (Rom 9:14). But because all unrighteousness is sin and sin is lawlessness, there is no sin in God (1 John 3:4; 5:17). God says in His word, "Be holy, for I am holy." ( 1 Peter 1:16). Because God is holy, he cannot promote unholy things of lies. God is not a perpetrator of unrighteousness by orchestrating lies.

God sent Deborah to help Barak accomplish the will of the Lord, which was to overthrow their present enemy, the Canaanites. Barak was afraid and told Deborah if she will accompany him he would go, if not he would not go. Sisera was the captain of the Kings army(Canaanites). Deborah told Barak that Sisera will be killed by the hand of a woman. Exactly according to her prophecy, Jael the Israelite woman lied to Sisera the Gentile king about the safety she offered and killed him by lying and hiding her malicious motives. Yet again we see that God never rebuked her for it because He knows that as a woman with a indwelling sin nature she had lied. And also just because she was honored in song from Deborah and Barak for having killed Sisera doesn't mean God is commending Jael's lies (Judges 4:9-21; 5:1, 24-27). God has never covered any deceit or lies that people have spoken. Instead by details He has exposed peoples weakness just for all of us to know about our own indwelling sin nature, but yet He has justified people for their faith in Him. This is the reason the Bible says, "25 God sent him [i.e. Jesus Christ] to die in our place to take away our sins. We receive forgiveness through faith in the blood of Jesus' death. This showed that God always does what is right and fair, as in the past when he was patient and did not punish people for their sins. (NCV)" "26 to demonstrate at the present time His righteousness, that He might be just and the justifier of the one who has faith in Jesus." (Rom 3:25-26, NKJV).

In 1 Samuel 16 God spoke to Samuel the prophet, instructing him to go to Bethlehem to anoint a son of Jesse to be king. Saul the presiding king of Israel at that time had a reputation of paranoia for his crown and would kill to keep it, as Saul tried to kill David in the later years, over and over again. God instructed Samuel to go to Bethlehem instructing people to tell only the secondary thing [which was to sacrifice for the Lord] that he is going to do so by anointing David. The primary things was to anoint David as king (1 Sam 16:2-5). Here spiritually we notice that when God says to Samuel, to tell people that he is going to sacrifice with Jesse, He was symbolically saying a spiritual principle of sacrificing is a offering of a broken heart to God (Rom 12:1). To anoint a broken hearted man with the oil is the kind of sacrifice that God is speaking about to Samuel the prophet in the above verses and that is not a lie (Ps 51:17; Acts 13:22). Samuel the prophet must have sacrificed along with Jesse to the Lord as a sign of thanksgiving to the Lord after anointing David. Just because the sacrifice is not specifically described doesn't mean that there was no sacrifice done after the anointing. If Samuel had no intent to sacrifice, he would not have told the people confidently to come with him to sacrifice, after which he consecrated Jesse and his sons, and invited them to sacrifice (1 Samuel 16:5). In other words, Samuel's secondary reason for going to Jesse was also to offer sacrifice to the Lord. God's instruction to Samuel the prophet had a pretence in it, but it was not a lie. In other words God's simple hidden instruction to Samuel is, 'Protect yourself carefully because Saul is on a rampage.'

In Judges 7, Gideon was instructed by God to blow a trumpet with a lamp. [A trumpet or lamp seen or heard in battle was considered to represent 1000 men behind each one. At the instruction of God, and not surely knowing how this would be perceived, Gideon’s 300 man army by faith may have appeared to be 300,000 men. Not to mention a lamp also was thought to have a 1000 men behind each one.] But it was not pretence or lie that confused the gentile army. The enemy camp because of allowing fear and confusion by their own choice, self destroyed themselves even to the last man. Here we see that God did not project a false image through Gideon, but it was fear in the mind of enemy that did the trick. When the spirit of fear attacked them, the Lord set every man's sword against his companion throughout the whole camp (Judges 7:22). It was not a lie that gave Gideon the victory, but the direct intervention of the Lord that gave Gideon and his micro 300 people army the victory. The Lord intervened because of Gideon's obedience and faith. Praise the Lord!

Even in 2 Samuel 17:19-23, a woman lied in order to protect David's spies from the evil rule of Absalom. This was not at all commended by God in the scripture. This clearly shows that God will never instruct a person to lie or will ever commend it. This whole chaos happened as a divine retribution for lies, murder and adultery that king David committed. But king David humbled himself to God saying that it was the Lord who has allowed and ordered such a situation in his family for his past disobedience to the Lord (2 Samuel 10-14). This incident and the episode that followed in David’s life was a part of the fulfillment of the prophecy of Nathan the prophet. This prophecy had a strong statement of divine retribution in all the generations that will follow David in his house for his adultery and murder committed previously (2 Samuel 12:9-12). This shows that God never instructs or inspires anybody to tell a lie, but it is a result of their own doings due to sinful nature inside them.

In 2 Kings 6:18 after the Lord had struck the Syrians with blindness according to Elisha's prayer, Elisha then went to them and said to them that he will lead them to the man whom they have come to seek. But he knew that they have come to capture him. It was a lie (2 Kings 6:19-23). What can we learn from this, God uses imperfect vessels to fulfill his perfect purposes. Elisha too had a sin nature that dwelt in him that made him to sin. That doesn't mean that God is commending what the prophet had done. God through His perfect sacrifice will cover the prophets mistakes and lies (Prov 10:12; Ps 65:3). Even though Elisha was a great prophet yet he was still justified only by his faith. So only the word of God says that those who believe on God even though ungodly, is justified by God based on their faith and their faith is accounted for righteousness (Rom 4:5-8). Elisha was one of the man with like nature as any one of us and his master Elijah, who walked with God and did great things for God purely by his faith (James 5:17).

My conclusion is that all lies are sinful no matter for what reason or motives we say it. A good cause cannot justify a wrong action. The end cannot justify the means (Rom 3:8). In other words just because a good cause is the motive, we cannot fulfill it through morally bad, evil and wrong actions of lies which God prohibits. The only thing that the word of God says is that, God works all things [the good and the bad] together for the good of those who love God, and those who are inline with God's purpose by faith to fulfill it through their lives (Rom 8:28). Praise the Lord!


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