reason for living

Living a lie

Devious dishonesty, deceit and the people of God.
A call to repentance

This is a warning that should never need to be written but a terrible thing is happening and must be stopped:  There are some people who claim that they know Jesus Christ ” the one who said “I am truth” — yet they tell lies like the devil himself.

They call themselves Christians but they seem to be utterly ignorant of what the word means.  Jesus Christ is the one who never told a lie.  He is the one who is truth itself.  The word Christian means “little Christ” but these people do not speak or act like little Christs.  Christians are supposed to be the living expression of Christ, they are supposed to be his ambassadors in an evil world, they are ordered to be light in the darkness.  But instead we find that these so-called Christians are obsessed with material possessions and their light is not just dim, but it is flickering and almost out.  They have become blind to their own evil, blind to the battle that they were called to fight, and blind to the consequences of their choices.

These people do not just tell lies but they live a lie.  Everything they say and do is tainted with dishonesty.  The roots of their deceit have gone so deep that now they can hardly recognise what is truth and what falsehood.  They are no longer able to know the difference between good and evil.  The devil, who is the father of lies, laughs at his prisoners and the angels weep.  In their blind, stupid, dishonesty, these people forget where they live, they are unable to remember their own birthdays and they become confused and need time to think when they are asked for their names.

But it is worse.  These people were called to glory but in their blindness they have stumbled into a pit.  They are not just evil as the world around them is evil but in their blindness they are stupidly evil.  They tell lies to those they call their friends.  They deceive those who have trusted them and they repay kindness with evil.  But then, in their blind, dishonest, foolishness they do not turn to apologise and ask forgiveness but instead they express surprise that friendships turn sour and relationships become troubled.  They tell lies to those who help them and then become upset when friendships lack warmth.  Even pagans know that you should not lie to your friends.  Even pagans do not expect friendship to flourish when trust has been betrayed.

In the celestial battle between good and evil, these people are traitors to their own side.  They claim to be following Christ but every with footstep they walk a few paces behind the devil.  The devil likes to operate with any sinner but, for the devil, a traitor is the most useful sinner of all.  A man who pretends to be god-fearing but lives a life of self-gratification is a hypocrite and it is through such people that the devil does his best work.  It was the hypocritical Pharisees that Jesus condemned most severely, and it was a traitor, not an enemy, who used a kiss (the sign of love) to betray the Lord Jesus Christ into the hands of those who killed him.

Yet it is still worse.  These people who call themselves Christians do all this evil for the lowest and most detestable cause of all:Ė  Like Judas before them, they do it for the love of money.  They live their dishonest lives in order to lay their hands on those coins that God described as the root of many evils.  It would be better for them if they stopped calling themselves Christians for then at least they would be condemned only as ordinary sinners and not as traitorous hypocrites.

In their greed for dishonest gain and “comfortable” living and an “easy” life they ignore all that God said about “living loose” to the world that is passing away.  When God tells them that they should not store-up treasure on earth or put their trust in worldly wealth they shut their ears and pretend they havenít heard.  When the apostle James tells them that the rich should weep and wail because of the misery that is coming upon them they turn-up the volume of the Hi-fi stereo music system and pretend that they are among the poor.

These so-called Christians despise authority and break any law that inconveniences them if they think they can avoid getting caught.  In doing this they disobey God who wrote that anyone who disobeys the ruling authority is disobeying God because those authorities were instigated by God to do his will.

What is the difference between these so-called Christians and a common thief?  It is simply this:  The thief at least acknowledges his sin because he thanks God that he didnít get caught.  But these so-called disciples of Christ thank God for the opportunity to do wrong and for the loot that they have gathered.  In this they prove themselves to be not only dishonest but also stupid because nobody can insult the living God and expect to go unpunished.  As their possessions increase they praise God for his goodness but in their blind ignorance they have forgotten that God, in his mercy sends, sunshine and rain to good people and to bad ones alike.  In the end those same possessions that they thanked God for will testify against them; those possessions will be the proof of their deceit and dishonesty and will be the evidence that secures their conviction in the heavenly court.

After they have told one lie these foolish and wicked people try to hide it by covering it with more lies.  Their mouths multiply falsity.  Every statement they make is either a lie or an attempt to hide a lie.  They make promises that they have no ability to keep.  The truth has departed from their lips.  Then, when they realise their error they become afraid.  They are afraid of being found-out by those they call friends, and they are afraid of the government authorities.  They are afraid of being embarrassed in front of the people that they wanted to impress.  Yet still they do not repent.  Instead they run to hide in far-off places and there they continue with the same dishonest ways.  They repay kindness with nastiness because they are too ashamed to admit to their lies, yet still they do not repent.  They are utterly untrustworthy because they speak lies even to those they call their friends — even to those whom they claim to love.  What fools!  Do they think that God cannot see them.  Even if man is deceived, will God pay no attention?  Do they think that they can hide from the Spirit of God that they claim is within them?  Such stupidity is beyond belief.

When they have told so many lies that they cannot even remember what they have said, then their own mouths trap them.  Because they fear men more than they fear God they become ensnared by evil men who blackmail them.  When you have walked the wrong road and got into trouble the only way out is to go back.  But these foolish liars refuse to go back, they refuse to repent.  In their stubborn and stupid pride they just keep mouthing falsity and they continue with their dishonesty.  They do not understand that God opposes the proud.  They do not understand that God is set against them because of their deceit.

When their consciences accuse them they claim that it must be because of the stress in their lives or because they are not eating properly.  Even when their sleep is disturbed, even when there is no peace in their hearts, even when their relationships are weak and useless and full of conflict they still do not repent.  Instead they count the possessions that they acquired through their dishonest ways and say “we are making good progress and tomorrow we shall be richer than we are today”.  Oh stupid liars!  They have not learned that wealth cannot save them in the day of Godís wrath.  They have not understood that when they acquire more goods through deceit they are only acquiring more witnesses that will testify against their dishonest character.  In the day of judgement even the bricks of their houses will speak-out to condemn them.

All dishonesty is sin.  It cannot be condoned; it cannot be justified; it cannot be excused:  It can only be repented of.  Dishonesty is not a “little” sin that God will overlook.  There are no “little” sins.  But more than this, God often ranks dishonesty as the first sin and honesty as the greatest virtue.

Listen then, if you have ears, and hear what God says:

When Jesus met Nathanael sitting under the fig tree he declared him to be a true Israelite in whom there was no guile.  There, in one sentence you see the priority of God.  Nathanael was the true Israelite because in him their was no dishonesty, no deceit, no deviousness.

One big mistake these so-called Christians make is that they think that God is only bothered by sin such as homosexuality and murder.  What they do not understand is first, that God is bothered about all sin, and second that it is dishonesty and deceit that lead to adultery, murder and other terrible actions.  More than this, adultery, murder and dishonesty and are “external” sins but dishonesty and deception are “internal” hidden sins.

In the scriptures there are more references to dishonesty and than to sexual sin.  Murder is rarely mentioned except in conjunction with dishonesty.  For example, look at the message from God through the prophet Hosea:

Hosea 4:1-2  Hear the word of the LORD, you Israelites, because the LORD has a charge to bring against you who live in the land: "There is no faithfulness, no love, no acknowledgement of God in the land.  There is only cursing, lying and murder, stealing and adultery; they break all bounds, and bloodshed follows bloodshed.

See!  In the list of Godís complaints, the first complaint is that there is “no faithfulness” and lying is mentioned before murder.  When the Psalmist wrote about the wicked people he did not describe them as adulterers and homosexuals, rather he describes the wicked as arrogant people who tell lies and are deceitful.  Look at what the Psalmist wrote:

Psalm 5:4-6  You are not a God who takes pleasure in evil; with you the wicked cannot dwell.  The arrogant cannot stand in your presence; you hate all who do wrong.  You destroy those who tell lies; bloodthirsty and deceitful men the LORD abhors.

And again, when the Psalmist cries to God for help, his complaint is that the people are deceitful:

Psalm 12:1-3  Help, LORD, for the godly are no more; the faithful have vanished from among men.  Everyone lies to his neighbour; their flattering lips speak with deception.  May the LORD cut off all flattering lips and every boastful tongue

And the judgement on dishonesty is severe and eternal for God said,

Psalm 101:7  No one who practices deceit will dwell in my house; no one who speaks falsely will stand in my presence.

In the book of proverbs we find that people who are deceitful and dishonest should expect to be punished:

Proverbs 19:5,9 A false witness will not go unpunished, and he who pours out lies will not go free.  ...  A false witness will not go unpunished, and he who pours out lies will perish.

When Isaiah is explaining what sins have caused the face of God to be turned away from the people, he mentions bloodshed only once but dishonesty three times.  From this we learn that dishonesty is a serious offence in the sight of God and that it separates people from God.  God does not pay attention to their prayers because their mouths are so full of sin.

Isaiah 59:1-4  Surely the arm of the LORD is not too short to save, nor his ear too dull to hear.  But your iniquities have separated you from your God; your sins have hidden his face from you, so that he will not hear.  For your hands are stained with blood, your fingers with guilt.  Your lips have spoken lies, and your tongue mutters wicked things.  No one calls for justice; no one pleads his case with integrity.  They rely on empty arguments and speak lies; they conceive trouble and give birth to evil.

When the prophet Zephanaiah is describing the people who will survive the judgement of God he doesnít mention murder, or sexual sin but honesty is at the forefront of his thoughts:

Zephanaiah 3:13 The remnant of Israel will do no wrong; they will speak no lies, nor will deceit be found in their mouths.  They will eat and lie down and no one will make them afraid."

When we arrive at the teaching of the Lord Jesus then we are reminded that the devil is the originator of all lies.  Those who are untruthful, deceitful and dishonest are speaking the language of the devil.  It is no surprise then that God should condemn them.

John 8:44 You belong to your father, the devil, and you want to carry out your father's desire.  He was a murderer from the beginning, not holding to the truth, for there is no truth in him.  When he lies, he speaks his native language, for he is a liar and the father of lies.

These so-called Christians break the laws of the land with impunity.  They plead poverty and pray for the blessing of God.  Is God a liar?  Is God a fool?  No, but these so-called Christians are ignorant of his power and his methods for God had it written that:

Romans 13:1-5  Everyone must submit himself to the governing authorities, for there is no authority except that which God has established.  The authorities that exist have been established by God.  Consequently, he who rebels against the authority is rebelling against what God has instituted, and those who do so will bring judgement on themselves.  For rulers hold no terror for those who do right, but for those who do wrong.  Do you want to be free from fear of the one in authority?  Then do what is right and he will commend you.  For he is God's servant to do you good.  But if you do wrong, be afraid, for he does not bear the sword for nothing.  He is God's servant, an agent of wrath to bring punishment on the wrongdoer.  Therefore, it is necessary to submit to the authorities, not only because of possible punishment but also because of conscience.

Has God changed or is he the one who changes not?  See what God spoke to the people of Jerusalem!  Look at how he warned them.  Be sure to understand why they were condemned!  Was it for murder or sexual immorality?  No, it was because they were dishonest.

Micah 6:9-14   Listen!  The LORD is calling to the city — and to fear your name is wisdom — “Heed the rod and the One who appointed it.  Am I still to forget, O wicked house, your ill-gotten treasures and the short ephah, which is accursed?  Shall I acquit a man with dishonest scales, with a bag of false weights?  Her rich men are violent; her people are liars and their tongues speak deceitfully.  Therefore, I have begun to destroy you, to ruin you because of your sins.  You will eat but not be satisfied; your stomach will still be empty.  You will store up but save nothing, because what you save I will give to the sword.  You will plant but not harvest; you will press olives but not use the oil on yourselves, you will crush grapes but not drink the wine.”

The Lord Jesus understood fully the implications of dishonesty.  He himself said that “out of the overflow of the heart, the mouth speaks”.  Therefore the mouth which is deceitful and tells lies is simply expressing the very nature of the person to whom that mouth belongs.

Luke 16:10-15  “Whoever can be trusted with very little can also be trusted with much, and whoever is dishonest with very little will also be dishonest with much.  So if you have not been trustworthy in handling worldly wealth, who will trust you with true riches?  And if you have not been trustworthy with someone else's property, who will give you property of your own?  No servant can serve two masters.  Either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other.  You cannot serve both God and Money.”  The Pharisees, who loved money, heard all this and were sneering at Jesus.  He said to them, “You are the ones who justify yourselves in the eyes of men, but God knows your hearts.  What is highly valued among men is detestable in God's sight.”

The apostle James wrote to warn Christians:

James 4:4-10  You adulterous people, don't you know that friendship with the world is hatred toward God?  Anyone who chooses to be a friend of the world becomes an enemy of God.  Or do you think Scripture says without reason that the spirit he caused to live in us envies intensely?  But he gives us more grace.  That is why Scripture says: “God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble.”  Submit yourselves, then, to God.  Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.  Come near to God and he will come near to you.  Wash your hands, you sinners, and purify your hearts, you double-minded.  Grieve, mourn and wail.  Change your laughter to mourning and your joy to gloom.  Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will lift you up.

In the book of wise sayings we find this warning:

Proverbs 10:16  The wages of the righteous bring them life, but the income of the wicked brings them punishment.

It is almost inconceivable that anyone should repay good with evil but there are some who have fallen so far down that they can, in fact, do something like this that is so disgraceful and base.  This however is the scripture that such people need to remember:

Proverbs 17:13  If a man pays back evil for good, evil will never leave his house.

And when the lives of these so-called Christians are filled with stress, trouble and woe they should recall to mind that:

Proverbs 19:22-23 What a man desires is unfailing love; better to be poor than a liar.  The fear of the LORD leads to life:  Then one rests content, untouched by trouble.

When John saw the revelation of the new Jerusalem he was moved to write:

Revelation 21:27 Nothing impure will ever enter it [the New Jerusalem], nor will anyone who does what is shameful or deceitful, but only those whose names are written in the Lamb's book of life.

Revelation 21:8  But the cowardly, the unbelieving, the vile, the murderers, the sexually immoral, those who practice magic arts, the idolaters and all liars Ė their place will be in the fiery lake of burning sulphur.  This is the second death."

1 John 2:3-4  We know that we have come to know him if we obey his commands.  The man who says, “I know him,” but does not do what he commands is a liar, and the truth is not in him.

So, you who call yourselves Christians, stop comparing yourselves with the world around you and instead measure yourself against the word of God.  Stop being foolish.  Stop thinking that God does not mind your lies.  The word of the God to the wicked is repent — turn back, flee from evil, hate immorality.  Speak the truth and do not be deceitful.  Obey God and stop being hypocrites.  Remember your names and your date of birth.  Stop pretending that you donít know where you live.

God is faithful.  A humble spirit and contrite heart he will not despise.  If we confess our sins he will forgive us.  If we turn back he will set our feet on solid ground.

The wrath of God is coming on the world and it will come first to those who call themselves Christians.  You can run but there will be nowhere to hide.  Nobody can make a fool out of God.

Copyright © 2000, 2001

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