Calling someone a liar is an accusation with serious implications. It is not a charge we deal with casually. Whether a child or an adult, liar borders upon being a dirty word in our society. It is not a term to be thrown around casually or lightly because of the light cast upon the character of one accused of lying. To accuse one of lying is to accuse of being knowingly misleading, confusing, and deceptive.
The concept of lying is addressed in the New Testament roughly thirty-five times. Titus 1 and John 8 refer to God and Satan lying. Titus 1:1 begins Paul’s letter to Titus, and he speaks of the truth in God and the inability of God to lie. He calls lying something impossible to God, inconsistent with His character – an important fact if we are to trust and believe in God’s promises. In contrast, John 8:31 records Jesus speaking of the freedom found in God’s truth, and, beginning in verse 43, Jesus typifies Satan through lying, calling him the father of falsehood.
Darkness and Light
John uses the expression lie several times in his books, and there are no gray areas in the context in which John uses the term. In I John 1:5, John discusses the nature of God’s light, accusing us of being liars if we claim to follow him while remaining in darkness. Returning to John 8:12, Jesus refers to Himself as the light of the world, preventing us from walking in darkness. He will repeat this sentence when healing a blind man.
When we follow Jesus, we walk in the light of life. In I John 2:9, however, points out that hatred sets us in darkness, again making us liars if we claim to follow Christ. In verse 5, we are liars if we claim to know CHrist without heeding His commandments. Chapter 1:6, 2:4, 2:9, 2:22, 4:20 – these verses and more define us as liars when we contradict ourselves and deny Christ in our lives.
Living a Lie
Returning to our opening, the accusation of liar is a strong one, but John lays out a case that we do so when we claim to be a Christian while practicing sin; when we say we love Jesus but ignore His commandments; when we say we love God but harbor hatred in our lives. When we do these things, we live in darkness, and we lie to ourselves when we convince ourselves we walk in light.
In Colossians 3:19 speaks of the treatment of wives by husbands. Similar sentiments are expressed in Ephesians 5. Colossians 3:18 and Titus 2 discuss the attitude wives should have toward husbands. Colossians 3:20 and Ephesians 6:1 speak to the relationship between children and parents. Are we practicing these things, or are we guilty of being liars?
Consider Ephesians 4:25 that tells us to put away all falsehoods, speaking only truth, keeping anger from leading us into sin. He encourages us not to steal from each other in any way or allow bitterness or corruption come forth from us. Paul is focusing on the goodness we should be practicing if we are truthful in our walking as Christians. What do our actions proclaim in comparison to the words we say.
Practicing More Than Theory
Christianity is more than a set of noble ideals. It should be bringing drastic changes in our lives as Romans 12:1-2 calls on us to be transformed. Ephesians 4:17-24, predicating the qualities we just examined, calls on us to avoid darkening of understanding, callousing our consciences, avoiding greed – we do not learn these things in Christ. These are things we should put away worldliness to assume a mantle of godliness. This is why we need to be concerned with our own honest assessment of who we are.
Christianity should be aspiring us to greater goals than those of this world. In Colossians 3:1, Paul encourages us to seek those things above, setting our mind on those promises. We have died to this world, and, staring in verse 12, we see qualities we should emulate – love, kindness, forgiveness, mercy. Being a CHristian gives us a new set of goals and new things to work on in our lives.
Finally, in Revelation 21:7, John sees the holy city, a dwelling place where there is no more pain and no more crying. He hears God say that he who overcomes will inherit all these things, but that even liars will have no part in His peace. Our actions should be consistent with the One we claim to follow. Are we lying to one another? Do we think we can lie to God? Are we lying to ourselves? James 1:22 warns us against deceiving ourselves in our service to God. If we are honest with ourselves, we will continually work harder to set our eyes on the things above, allowing His word to change us in everything we say and do.
lesson by Tim Smelser