Today we want to look at a characteristic of the human race, which is probably the most widespread and which causes such a lot of destruction and damage in relationships and something that without the help of God we can never overcome. But you can overcome it. Every human being falls into this sin. Only God can delver him.
In John 8:44, Jesus said to the Jews who believed in him, they believe intellectually. We read about that in verse 31, and he said to them, “You are of your father the devil,” verse 44. It’s really amazing if you think that Jesus could speak such words to people who had apparently believed in him, verse 31. There is a belief in Jesus, which is intellectual. It still leaves a man as a child of the devil. Of course nowadays people are not bold enough to tell others that they are children of the devil but Jesus said that, “You are of your father the devil, and you want to do the desires of your father.” He wasn’t insulting them or cursing them, he was just telling them a fact and showing them how can they be delivered from the situation to become children of God. But they never be delivered until they first faced up to the fact of what they were. Until we acknowledged what we are, God cannot deliver us. And Jesus said further in John 8:44, “The devil was a murderer from the beginning, and does not stand in the truth because there is no truth in him.” Here is one characteristic of Satan, there is no truth in him at all. And he does not stand in the truth. And then he went on to say, “Whatever Satan speaks a lie. He speaks from his own nature because he is a liar, and the father of lying.” So just like in an earlier study we saw that God is love and Satan is hatred in the same way we see that Jesus said I am the truth, and devil is a liar. The devil does not stand in the truth and there is no truth in him. And whenever he speaks a lie, he speaks from his nature. That is his nature, to tell a lie, for he is a liar, and the father of lies. All lies originate with Satan as the father. If you tell a lie, that lie is a child born through Satan being the father and you being the mother. You have given your heart and your tongue to Satan at that time to produce a child called a lie. God never fathers lies. That’s why it is so important to learn, once we have become Christians and believers, to always speak the truth.
Jesus said in Matthew 5 concerning this matter he said, “Let your statement,” verse 37, “Be yes. Yes. Or no. No. Anything beyond these is of evil.” He said, “You should not swear. Don’t make an oath at all.” He said in verse 34, “You don’t need to make an oath because when a man is making an oath, he puts his hand on the bible, or swears by God or heaven or something like that. What he is saying is, well most of the time I tell lies but right now I’m speaking the truth because I’m swearing.” But Jesus said, “You shouldn’t be like that. You should just speak the truth the whole time. That you don’t need to swear at all.” No statement made under oath should be more truthful than a statement made without oath, should be the same. Anything beyond this is of evil. What is the first thing God requires from us, when we come to him. It is not perfection. It’s not purity. It’s not goodness. It’s not love. It is none of these things. There’s only one thing that God requires from us when we come to him and that is honesty. In Jeremiah 3:13 we read, the Lord saying through his prophet, “Only acknowledge your inequity that you transgressed against the Lord your God and return and I’m a master to you and I will take you and bring you to Zion. I will bring you to the church if you will only acknowledged your inequity.” In other words be honest. What did the woman caught in adultery have? Honesty. She had no other virtue. What about the thief who hung on the cross? He said, “I deserve this.” He acknowledged that he was a criminal deserving death. The other thief, the unrepentant thief, he was not willing to acknowledge that. He told Jesus, “Get us down from this cross. We don’t deserve to die.” And so he went to hell not because he was a criminal but because he was dishonest. The other one on the other side was equally a criminal or perhaps a greater criminal than the one who went to hell but he was honest and he said I deserve this and he went to paradise.
Paradise is not made for perfect people; it’s made for honest people. It’s made for people who are willing to speak the truth. The first sin mentioned in the bible is lying. We read in Genesis 3 of the first sin mentioned in the bible and that’s not the sin that Eve committed when she ate of the tree, which God had forbidden. There is a sin mentioned in Genesis 3 even before that. Not committed by man but by Satan. When Satan came to Eve, and ask her, “Has God said you shouldn’t eat of any of these trees?” and the woman said, “Well God has said if you eat from this tree in the middle of the garden you will die.” The serpent said, Genesis 3:4, “You surely shall not die.” That was a lie. And that is the first lie and the first sin mentioned in scripture. You shall not die. You can disobey God but you will not be punished. You will not go to hell. Sin does not have a punishment. This is the lie with which Satan deceived Eve and has deceived the entire human race for thousands of years. Even today, there are preachers who comfort sinners in their sins. There are preachers who comfort believers in their sin, saying, “You’ve accepted the Lord. You go to heaven no matter how much you sin.”
The bible says in Ecclesiastes 8:11, “And because sentence against an evil work is not executed quickly, therefore the hearts of the sons of men are fully given to do evil.” It’s because God does not punish immediately that people keep on living in sin, and therefore the devil says, “You’re not going to be punished. Look at all these other people around you. Look at these sins they commit. Look at the believers who do so many wrong things and they get way with it.” They haven’t got away with it. God’s punishment, judgment has not yet come. That’s all. So there is a lie with which Satan is fooling people all over. You can sin and you will not suffer. The bible says that if you live according to the flesh, Romans 8:13, you will surely die. And Satan says, “No you will not die. God is merciful. God is gracious. You ask Jesus to come into your life, even if you live according to flesh you will not die.” That’s a deception. If you live according to the flesh you will die. There’s no doubt about it at all. And if Satan is a liar, he seeks to transmit that nature to his children. And it’s very easy for a believer to be infected with that too. Whenever you tell a lie you are offering yourself to Satan, to father one more child.
The last sin mentioned in the bible is in Revelation 22, and there it says about those who will be outside the city of God in the final day, Revelation 22:15, “Everyone who loves and practices a lie will be outside the kingdom.” Have you ever noticed this before that the first sin and the last sin mentioned in the bible is telling lie? Lying is a very serious thing. Lying to God, lying to people, and every lie is fathered by Satan. Peter told Ananias, “Why have you lied to the Holy Spirit?” That’s why he was killed. The first sin judged in the early church, lying. It’s extremely serious. And that’s why us parents, one of the most important things we must teach our children is to stop telling lies. Our children are born with our nature. They tell lies from birth. And unless we showed them how serious it is, unless they can see in our lives as parents, that we take speaking the truth very seriously, that if we say something we would do it. If we promised to do something for our children, we keep our word or explain to them if some other circumstances came up that prevented us from doing it. But telling the truth is a quality, a virtue that we have to battle whole-heartedly, if we want to acquire. The Holy Spirit is the spirit of truth and if you want to be truthful, you could ask the Holy Spirit to fill you, and to mortify this lying habit in all your speech. If we do that, we will find God gives us discernment on the lies with which Satan seeks to deceive us.
This is part of the Basic Christian Teachings Series, a set of 72 short messages presented by Zac Poonen. You can download the audio mp3 files or listen to Basic Christian Teachings by clicking here.