Mt. Baker church of Christ
1860 Mt. Baker Hwy · Bellingham, WA 98226
Volume VI, Number 26 - October 13, 2002
"And take...the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God" (Eph. 6:17)
Editor..................Joe R. Price
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In this issue:
Joe R. Price
One writer observed of modern society, “A commentary on the times is that the word ‘honesty’ is now preceded by ‘old-fashioned.’” Over the past few years, we have all seen diminished respect for the virtue of telling the truth in various quarters. The adjudicated finding of guilt on perjury charges brought against our last president was surely a disgraceful evidence of the pervasive presence of dishonesty in our modern world. The widespread use of falsehood is not consistent with the values and character expected in the world of my upbringing. My earliest remembrance of character education is the teaching to always be honest. Whether at home or in school, in Bible classes or in the community, honesty was a mandatory virtue in each person and it was commonly accepted that lying was the worst thing one could do. While still a teenager, I came in contact with several people who made a practice out of falsehood and deceit. Since that time, I have witnessed the same proclivity in those who sought power for themselves in various realms. Is it merely being “old-fashioned” to seek a return to a world where honesty is again viewed with the highest respect?
It is an equally sad commentary on both the liar and the believer of a lie that they see misrepresentation as a way of gain. Lying is never a path to progress. It is an inevitable road to disaster, in this world and the one to come. When the principle of honesty is not honored, it will inevitably lead to trouble. The Bible records cases of people who lied. In each case, the lie led to another problem. On the other hand, when Bible characters told the truth, a blessing was always the end result.
Nothing has changed since Bible times to alter the effects of truth or falsehood. However, it seems that many in our society have not learned the value of honesty and the disgrace of falsehood. Some seem to think that lies and deception are acceptable tools to reach their desired goal. A recent study showed a sizable majority of Americans think lying is acceptable at times and sometimes a necessity. It is no wonder that such is the view of a society when even the “religious world” has moved towards the justification of falsehoods. Over the past generation, some in the denominational world have become heavily influenced by “situation ethics” which holds that lying is sometimes right. Even among some who call themselves brethren, there have been attempts to justify lying and deception under some circumstances as morally necessary. There is a present controversy among some brethren over what is beginning to be called the “divine deception” controversy.
Words of Wisdom on Honesty
The proverbs of Solomon present a contrast between the wisdom of truth and the folly of falsehood. In Proverbs 12:15-23, the wise man says the following:
The way of a fool is right in his own eyes, but he who heeds counsel is wise.... He who speaks truth declares righteousness, but a false witness, deceit.... The truthful lip shall be established forever, but a lying tongue is but for a moment. Deceit is in the heart of those who devise evil, but counselors of peace have joy. No grave trouble will overtake the righteous, but the wicked shall be filled with evil. Lying lips are an abomination to the Lord, but those who deal truthfully are His delight. A prudent man conceals knowledge, but the heart of fools proclaims foolishness.
Solomon says that the foolish person bears false witness, deceives others and is given to much speech. Throughout Proverbs and Ecclesiastes, Solomon comments upon the fact that those who are constantly talking are often given to lies. Experience teaches us that as well. Lying and deceit may be successful for a little while in helping one gain a desired place, but it will not help in the long run. The end of a liar is shame and disgrace, not success.
When the writer says that “a lying tongue is but for a moment,” he is declaring two facts about lying. First, a lie will be found out sooner or later. As God warned of old, “Be sure your sins will find you out” (Num. 32:23). Second, the nature of a liar is that of one trying to make it from one moment to the next. The liar has no firm foundation of fact upon which to stand if a lie is seen as necessary for preservation. The mind of a liar is interested only in present survival. Thus, the priorities of a liar center upon self and not upon principles of right that are greater than self which should guide all action.
Making Application in Our Own Lives
So, how do we deal with a liar? Solomon answered by saying, “The truthful lip shall be established forever” and “those who deal truthfully are His delight.” In other words, God will take care of those who tell and abide in truth. Thus, we are instructed, “Therefore, putting away lying, let each one of you speak truth with his neighbor” (Eph. 4:25). To do otherwise is to disobey God and to invite the disgrace that will come on one when the truth comes out.
A liar may get by with falsehood for a time before other people, but not in the sight of God. In Acts 5:1-11, we read of two people who lied in order to make themselves look better. The people to whom they lied could not know of their lie, but God did. They were struck dead when they persisted in the lie. In my lifetime, I have met a few people who should be happy that God has ceased such action today. However, His punishment of liars in eternity remains stern (Rev. 21:8).
As Christians, we are to be lights to a world in darkness (Matt. 5:14-16; Phil. 2:14-16). Surely that obligation includes the responsibility to exemplify the virtue of honesty in all of our conduct. Let us commit ourselves to speaking only that which is true. When tempted to lie in order to reach a goal, let us remember that God knows the truth and He will bring it out in time. The cost of lying is just too high. If we tell the truth, we build on a solid base for the present and for eternity. Our lives will ultimately be blessed if we speak the truth as God has done in His speaking to man through the Bible.
Larry Ray Hafley
We may diet and exercise sporadically, not being willing to discipline ourselves on a daily basis. Some people think they can live for Christ in the same manner. It will not work. Living the life of a Christian is a daily activity. Like diet and exercise, one cannot be a faithful Christian by working at it occasionally, or “on the weekend.”
(1) Daily prayer is essential (Cf Luke 18:1; Rom. 12:12; 1 Thess. 5:17). If one eats every day, he should pray every day–”Give us this day our daily bread” (Matt. 6:11). One should pray both early and late. “In the morning, O Lord, Thou wilt hear my voice; In the morning I will order my prayer to Thee and eagerly watch” (Psa. 5:3). “At midnight I shall rise to give thanks to Thee Because of Thy righteous ordinances” (Psa. 119:62).
(2) Daily study and meditation on the word of God is necessary. “O how I love Thy law! It is my meditation all the day” (Psa. 119:97). “... his delight is in the law of the Lord, And in His law he meditates day and night” (Psa. 1:2). Even if one cannot always read the Bible, he can meditate on it and consider the will of God as he chooses how he shall live and conduct himself in the world. “Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom” (Col. 3:16).
(3) Daily cross bearing is mandatory to follow Christ–”And he said to them all, If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow me” (Lk. 9:23). Jesus denied himself in order to take up his cross (2 Cor. 8:9; Phil. 2:5-8). Likewise, each of us must deny himself before he can take up his cross and follow the Savior. If Christ lives in us, he must live alone. He will not allow us to live there, too. We (our selfish lusts and desires) must be crucified, put to death. Of course, we continue to live in the flesh, but the life we live must be that of Christ (Gal. 2:20; 5:24; Eph. 4:22-24; Col. 3:1-10).
If I am too busy to do these things daily, I am too busy-- too busy to go to heaven! Therefore, let us “exhort one another daily...lest (we be) hardened through the deceitfulness of sin” (Heb. 3:13). ( http://biblework.com/)
Created by Chuck Sibbing. 10/14/2002
The Spirit's Sword is a free, weekly publication of the Mt. Baker church of Christ, Bellingham, WA
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