[Papercut Press] 2004-06-29 - Lying

Romans 14:23, "Whatever is not from faith is sin."

The Summer Question Series, 2004 #5

"There are many instances in the Bible where people had to make a deliberate lie so as to get something or otherwise. Examples include among others Abraham, King David, Esther, Jacob, etc. ''what is the trade of between wisdom and compromise and the truth""

It could be in the wording of your question, but I think that the premise that the Bible says that they had to lie is incorrect. I'm not sure where the Bible records that David lied, but maybe I am forgetting a passage. I know he sinned in the case of Bathsheba, and at the end of his life by numbering the people. I don't recall where he lied. While Esther did not offer the fact that she was a Jew to the King, I also don't recall that she lied about it. Again, the passage could be slipping my mind. However, it is very true that we do find in Scripture that Abraham and Jacob lied. Abraham did it twice. Abraham asked his wife to lie for him and say she was his sister in Genesis 12:11-13, and again in Genesis 20. Jacob lied to his father Isaac and stole the blessing meant for his brother Esau in Genesis 27.

I would say that I don't think that there are "many instances" of servants of the most high God lying because it was expedient, but there are a couple, to be sure. I would also say that Scripture nowhere says that they "had to lie." They did lie, but they were not in any way forced to lie. God is never the author of sin. I think it clearly shows that, even in these great men of faith, we see that their faith was not yet perfected. They still struggled to trust that God was bigger than the events before them. They took matters into their own hands and trusted themselves rather than God. However, isn't it interesting that in the passage we typically call the "Hall of Faith," (Hebrews 11), both are mentioned, and Abraham gets more coverage than anyone else mentioned there.

I don't recall Scripture ever saying that anyone was ever put into a position where they had to lie. If God was known to place people into situations where the only option was for them to lie, it would change my perception of God and who He is. What I do see in Scripture and life is that people make choices to sin. Abraham sinned when he told his wife to say she was his sister. He already knew the goodness of God by experience, and yet it is as if he felt that this one was just too big for God to handle Himself, so Abraham took matters into his own hands. We do this ourselves, and if our view of Scripture is that God has put people into positions where there was no other option but to sin, then we have an easy out for ourselves when faced with our own struggles.

We started with Romans 14:23 and the examples of Abraham and Jacob are great witnesses to the truth of this verse. They lacked faith in God in these particular situations, and therefore fell into sin. We, like them, fall into sin. We cannot, however, blame God for this. "For out of the heart come evil thoughts, murders, adulteries, fornication, thefts, false witness, slanders," Matthew 15:19. Even after regeneration, our sinful nature still struggles against our new nature. Sometimes we fall into sin, but never let us say that we had no other choice but to sin. When we do sin, we have no one to blame but ourselves. God never places us into a situation where we must sin, no matter what we do. To do what is right might be painful, or might even cost us our lives, but that is not the issue. We are to have the attitude found in 2 Corinthians 5:9. "Therefore, also we have as our ambition, whether at home or absent, to be pleasing to Him."

Soli Deo Gloria,

[email tim] godrulestb@aol.com