Tell The Truth


Dr. John Hoole – August 14 & 21, 2016





This past week (August 2016), I was sitting at Starbucks drinking my coffee and studying my notes for this lesson.  The people that work there, as well as most of the regular customer know I am a Christian.  They also know I come there to study my future lessons.  On this day, one of the daily regulars came and sat at the table adjacent to mine.  He asked me what I was studying that day.  I told him I was putting my notes together about how we should all tell the truth.  He responded with, “I hope you aren’t going into politics.  Politicians don’t often tell the truth.”


There really is a credibility gap about telling the truth among many of our politicians.  But this credibility gap is not a creation of modern times.  Mankind has had a problem with telling the truth since the Fall.  Unfortunately, it is a major mark of the world system.


Satan is the prince of this world, and since he not only is a liar himself, but the “father of lies” (John 8:44), it should not be surprising that the system he heads is characterized by lying.  Because all men are born in sin, all men are born liars.


Psalms 58:3 NKJV


3       The wicked are estranged from the womb; They go astray as soon as they are born, speaking lies.


There probably has never been a period of history in which the best men and women of the time have not recognized the need for telling the truth.


         The great Roman orator Cicero once said:        “Nothing is sweeter than the light of truth.”


         Chaucer, the English poet, wrote:       “Truth is the highest thing that man may keep.”


At the same time wise men and women have also recognized that the truth is not always so attainable.  Thus, the English literary critic John C. Collins wrote with some wit:  “Truth is the object of philosophy, but not always of philosophers.”  And Daniel Webster once mused, “There is nothing so powerful as truth – and often nothing so strange.”


I believe the Lord Jesus Christ captured both the need for the truth and the difficulty of attaining it in the fifth chapter of Matthew’s gospel, when He instructed His disciples:


Matthew 5:33-37  (NIV)


33       "Again, you have heard that it was said to the people long ago, 'Do not break your oath, but keep the oaths you have made to the Lord.'

34       But I tell you, Do not swear at all: either by heaven, for it is God's throne;

35       or by the earth, for it is his footstool; or by Jerusalem, for it is the city of the Great King.

36       And do not swear by your head, for you cannot make even one hair white or black.

37       Simply let your 'Yes' be 'Yes,' and your 'No,' 'No'; anything beyond this comes from the evil one.


This is the fourth of six great illustrations of true discipleship which Christ gives in Matthew 5.  Victory over anger, purity in sexual matters, faithfulness in marriage, truth, retaliation (or selflessness), and love.


If the rabbis during the time of Christ tended to be permissive in their attitude toward divorce, they were permissive also in their teaching about making and keeping oaths (their word).  It is another example of their treatment of Old Testament Scriptures, in a way that made obedience more amenable.


Matthew 5:33  (NIV)


33       "Again, you have heard that it was said to the people long ago, 'Do not break your oath, but keep the oaths you have made to the Lord.'


This is not a direct quotation of any one law of Moses, or any Old Testament Passage.  At the same time, it is not an inaccurate summary of several Old Testament precepts which require people who make vows to keep them.


Leviticus 19:12   (NIV)


12       "'Do not swear falsely by my name and so profane the name of your God. I am the LORD.


Numbers 30:2   (NIV)


2        When a man makes a vow to the LORD or takes an oath to obligate himself by a pledge, he must not break his word but must do everything he said.


Deuteronomy 23:21-23       (NIV)


21       If you make a vow to the LORD your God, do not be slow to pay it, for the LORD your God will certainly demand it of you and you will be guilty of sin.

22       But if you refrain from making a vow, you will not be guilty.

23       Whatever your lips utter you must be sure to do, because you made your vow freely to the LORD your God with your own mouth.


I would also include Exodus 20:7  (NAS)


            7        You shall not take the name of the Lord your God in vain.




To help us more fully understand what is meant by the prohibition against using God’s name in vain we will look at four related words that are sometimes used interchangeably.  The words are:

         1.      Profanity

         2.      Blasphemy

         3.      Cursing

         4.      Swearing


People often simply lump all these four thoughts into one, indicating they are covered by the Third Commandment.  The fact of the matter is, all four of these words are used often in the Bible and only parts of the meaning of some of these words are covered by the prohibition of this commandment.


                   Profane, Profaned, Profaneness, Profaneth, Profaning                                               48

                   Blaspheme, Blasphemed, Blasphemer, Blasphemers, Blasphemest, Blasphemeth       54

                   Curse, Cursed, Cursedst, Curses, Cursest, Curseth, Cursing, Cursings                      169

                   Swear, Swearers, Sweareth and Swearing:                                                               68 times


We will look at each of these words because the Bible doesn’t lump them together as all referring to the same thing.  Each word has its precise meaning.






It might help if we understood the opposite of profane.




                   Sacred, Holy


To be sacred is to set apart for use in holy activities.  To profane literally means to make common - for use in any trivial manner.  To profane is to take something out of the sacred sphere into normal life.  Profanity is that tendency to treat something that is sacred with abuse, irreverence, or contempt.  Profanity is the desecration or violation of that which is sacred.


While many sacred objects can be profaned, the most common object of profanity is the Lord’s name.






The content of the meaning of this word overlaps with “profanity.”  But there are some other things that are added.  It means to:

                   -- be contemptuous of God or sacred things.

                   -- bring defamation to God

                   -- speak evil of

                   -- be slanderous


It is speaking, not only of using the name of God in an irreverent manner, as is the case with “profanity,”  but to bring harm or a reproach to God’s character or His name.






         Literally, it means to call down evil on someone or something.




         Blessing        -- to invoke favor or benefit on someone or something.


On the human level, to curse is to wish harm or catastrophe.  On the divine level, to curse is to impose judgment upon.  To curse one’s parents is sternly prohibited by Mosaic regulations.  Christ commanded those who would be His disciples to bless and curse not. (Luke 6:28).  We are commanded not to curse.


That brings us to SWEARING.


Do you know what it means to swear?


First, it should be understood that “swearing,” as used currently in our society, has two uses.  One, it is used as an equivalent to “profanity,” which, of course, no Christian should use.  The term may also refer to a “legal oath.”


This is what Jesus is making reference to in Matthew. 5.  To swear is to call upon a higher power to give testimony or credibility to what you said.



Hebrews 6:16  (NIV)


         16 Men swear by someone greater than themselves, and the oath confirms what is said and puts an end to all argument.


As we stated earlier, swearing is almost always linked to another word -- another word that is also found in this verse - an OATH!  When one swears, or takes an oath, he is making a solemn declaration or statement with an appeal to God to bear witness to the truth of what he is affirming, denying, or promising.  He is calling upon God to be witness, judge, and revenger if he is not speaking truthfully, and by taking an oath, he is guaranteeing the truth of his affirmation, denial, or promise.


To swear by, or take an oath, is mentioned often in the Bible -- and usually it is mentioned in a positive manner.  By that, I mean that swearing is not discouraged.


The Bible records dozens of people swearing by an oath.  For example, here are but a few:


         1.      Esau confirms the sale of his birthright to Jacob                     Gen. 25:33

         2.      Jacob confirms the covenant between him and Laban            Gen. 31:53

         3.      Jacob requires Joseph to swear that he would bury him with his fathers.      Gen. 47:28-31

         4.      Joseph requires a similar oath                                               Gen. 50:25

         5.      Rahab requires an oath from the spies                                   Joshua 2:12-14; 6:22

         6.      Moses covenants with Caleb by swearing an oath                 Joshua 14:9

         7.      The elders of Gilead confirm their pledge to Jephthah            Judges 11:10

         8.      Ruth swears to Naomi                                                          Ruth 1:17

         9.      Boaz swears to Ruth                                                             Ruth 3:13

         10.    Saul swears to Jonathan                                                       1 Sam. 19:6

         11.    Jonathan and David confirm a covenant                                1 Sam. 20:3, 13-17

         12.    Elisha swears by oath to follow Elijah                                    2 Kings 2:2


In each case, the swearer was involving God as witness to the truthfulness of their promise.


The Old Testament actually encourages people to take oaths, even oaths in God’s name.  For instance, as far back as in the book of Deuteronomy we hear Moses commanding the people,  “You shall fear the Lord thy God; you shall serve Him, and to Him you shall hold fast, and take oaths in his name.” (Deuteronomy 10:20).


God also tells us that a sign that Israel has gone into apostasy is by take oaths in the name of false gods.


Joshua 23:6-7 NKJV


6       Therefore be very courageous to keep and to do all that is written in the Book of the Law of Moses, lest you turn aside from it to the right hand or to the left,

7       and lest you go among these nations, these who remain among you. You shall not make mention of the name of their gods, nor cause anyone to swear by them; you shall not serve them nor bow down to them,


The prophet Jeremiah also brings up this topic.


Jeremiah 5:7 NKJV


7       How shall I pardon you for this? Your children have forsaken Me And sworn by those that are not gods. When I had fed them to the full, Then they committed adultery And assembled themselves by troops in the harlots' houses.


Jeremiah speaks on behalf of the Lord in commanding not only the nation of Israel but also the Gentile nations to swear by Jehovah.


Jeremiah 12:16-17   (NIV)


16       And if they learn well the ways of my people and swear by my name, saying, 'As surely as the LORD lives'-- even as they once taught my people to swear by Baal-- then they will be established among my people.

17       But if any nation does not listen, I will completely uproot and destroy it," declares the LORD.


But now in Matthew 5, we find Jesus saying “Do not swear at all.”  So, several questions naturally arise from what we have seen thus far.




Does this mean that we should not submit to practices such as swearing an oath of honesty in a court of law?  Does it mean we should not give allegiance to the American flag?




Some people think that Jesus’ teaching prohibits them from taking oaths, even in a courtroom, or from taking an oath of allegiance.  I admire the desire of these people to obey the Word of God.  But I am not sure that is prohibited here.


At least 3 things need to be kept in mind as we consider the absoluteness of these statements by Jesus.


         1.      God Himself swore by an oath on many occasions.

         2.      The apostle Paul swore on at least 6 occasions.

         3.      In Matthew 5, Jesus was speaking antithetical to the teachings and practices of the Scribes and Pharisees.


1.      God Swore


Not only do we find, in the Bible, many references of people swearing by an oath, but we also find God swearing.  Let me give you some examples of swearing by God.


1.     To give the promised land to Abraham


Genesis 24:7 (NIV)


7 "The LORD, the God of heaven, who brought me out of my father's household and my native land and who spoke to me and sware to me on oath, saying, `To your offspring I will give this land' -- he will send his angel before you so that you can get a wife for my son from there.


Genesis 26:3 NKJV


3       Dwell in this land, and I will be with you and bless you; for to you and your descendants I give all these lands, and I will perform the oath which I swore to Abraham your father.


Since “to swear” means to call upon a higher power to give credence to what you say, WHO DOES GOD CALL ON WHEN HE SWEARS?


Hebrews 6:13 NKJV


13     For when God made a promise to Abraham, because He could swear by no one greater, He swore by Himself,


2.     God swore with an oath that none of the old generation coming out of Egypt should enter the Promised Land except for Joshua and Caleb.


Numbers 32:10-13 NKJV


10     So the Lord's anger was aroused on that day, and He swore an oath, saying,

11     Surely none of the men who came up from Egypt, from twenty years old and above, shall see the land of which I swore to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, because they have not wholly followed Me,

12     except Caleb the son of Jephunneh, the Kenizzite, and Joshua the son of Nun, for they have wholly followed the Lord.'

13     So the Lord's anger was aroused against Israel, and He made them wander in the wilderness forty years, until all the generation that had done evil in the sight of the Lord was gone.


3.     God swore that Moses would not enter the Promised Land because of his sin.


Numbers 20:12 NKJV


12     Then the Lord spoke to Moses and Aaron, "Because you did not believe Me, to hallow Me in the eyes of the children of Israel, therefore you shall not bring this assembly into the land which I have given them."


Deuteronomy 4:21 NKJV


21 Furthermore the Lord was angry with me for your sakes, and swore that I would not cross over the Jordan, and that I would not enter the good land which the Lord your God is giving you as an inheritance.


4.     God swore that He would not forget the covenant made with Israel.


Deuteronomy 4:31 (NIV)


         31 For the LORD your God is a merciful God; he will not abandon or destroy you or forget the covenant with your forefathers, which he confirmed to them by oath.


These are but a few of the Old Testament examples of swearing on the part of God.  Jesus was also asked by the high priest to swear “by the Living God”  to the truth of what he was teaching of himself.


Jesus Himself agreed to be put under an oath.


Matthew 26:62-64 NKJV


62     And the high priest arose and said to Him, "Do You answer nothing? What is it these men testify against You?"

63     But Jesus kept silent. And the high priest answered and said to Him, "I put You under oath by the living God: Tell us if You are the Christ, the Son of God!"

64     Jesus said to him, "It is as you said. …


The phrase here, “I put you under oath by the Living God,” is translated in the KJV and NAS as, “I adjure you by the living God.”  The Greek word, exorkizo, is used here, meaning “To extract an oath from.”  The High Priest, Caiaphas, put the Lord under oath, hoping Christ would incriminate Himself.


I want to take a short, but very important, detour here.  The response of Jesus is to very important.  Some liberal theologians try to make a case that Jesus never said He was God’s Son.  But the reply of Christ here should put that argument to rest as false.


The honest reply of Jesus was “you have said” (Su Eipas), which, as language authorities note, “is a Greek affirmative reply,” according to Robertson’s Greek Grammar of the New Testament (Robertson 1930, p218).  The gospel of Mark’s parallel passage makes it even plainer: Jesus replied, “I am.”  This is the same expression used by Jesus when Judas asked the Lord, “Is it I?” Matthew 26:25


The question now must be raised:




And a corollary question to that would be:




As we proceed through the Bible we find God swearing never to destroy the world again by flood (Genesis 9:9-10).  He swears to send a redeemer (Luke 1:68, 73), and to raise His Son from the dead  (compare Psalm 16:10 with Acts 2:27-31) and to preserve and eventually bless Israel,  (Isaiah 49:15-18), and many other things.




Hebrews 6:17-19   (NIV)


17       Because God wanted to make the unchanging nature of his purpose very clear to the heirs of what was promised, he confirmed it with an oath.

18       God did this so that, by two unchangeable things in which it is impossible for God to lie, we who have fled to take hold of the hope offered to us may be greatly encouraged.

19       We have this hope as an anchor for the soul, firm and secure…………


So, we see that God Himself swore by use of an oath on many occasions.


2.      Paul Swore


Even in the New Testament, we have people swearing by use of an oath.  Paul regularly swears by God’s name.  In particular, he calls God as his witness.


For instance:


Galatians 1:18-20 NKJV


18     Then after three years I went up to Jerusalem to see Peter, and remained with him fifteen days.

19     But I saw none of the other apostles except James, the Lord's brother.

20     (Now concerning the things which I write to you, indeed, before God, I do not lie.)


What was Paul doing?  He was calling upon God to be his witness to this statement.


2 Corinthians 1:21-23 NKJV


21     Now He who establishes us with you in Christ and has anointed us is God,

22     who also has sealed us and given us the Spirit in our hearts as a guarantee.

23     Moreover I call God as witness against my soul, that to spare you I came no more to Corinth.


What he writes here, he writes under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit.  Observe the apostle’s strong statement in this passage:


1 Thessalonians 2:4-5 NKJV


4       But as we have been approved by God to be entrusted with the gospel, even so we speak, not as pleasing men, but God who tests our hearts.

5       For neither at any time did we use flattering words, as you know, nor a cloak for covetousness — God is witness.


If Paul regularly swears by God’s name, knowing the teaching of Jesus, he certainly didn’t interpret this prohibition as absolute.


Earlier I asked you a question as to how Christ’s teaching in Matthew 5 related to the 3rd Commandment.  How does all this relate to the Third Commandment?  If you or I use God’s name in a frivolous way, that empties it of its content, that is taking it in vain.  It makes His name irrelevant.


We read earlier, in Leviticus 19:12, that to swear by God’s name and not keep it is to profane the name of God.


Folks in the Old Testament understood this concept of using God’s name in vain.  Today, before you can borrow money from someone, they’ll check on your credit rating -- he wants empirical evidence that you will repay.  The Israelites didn’t have credit ratings.  How did a man know if you would repay his loan?  The Israelites took oaths, calling on the name of the Lord.  They’d say, “The Lord do so-and-so to me, if I don’t do as I agree.”  That is where the phrase “as the Lord liveth” became so popular.  They were attesting that as long as the LORD is alive, they would keep what they promised.


In the Old Testament, to swear by an oath carried with it a solemn duty to carry it out.  The standard of righteousness was to fulfill such oaths even when they resulted in harm to the talker.


According to Psalms 15:1-4 (NKJV), we find the qualities of those who dwell in the tabernacle of the Lord.


1       Lord, who may abide in Your tabernacle? Who may dwell in Your holy hill?

2       He who walks uprightly, And works righteousness, And speaks the truth in his heart;

3       He who does not backbite with his tongue, Nor does evil to his neighbor, Nor does he take up a reproach against his friend;

4       In whose eyes a vile person is despised, But he honors those who fear the Lord; He who swears to his own hurt and does not change;


We read Jeremiah earlier, where God was commanding the gentile nations to swear by Him, by using this phrase - “as the Lord liveth” - the Israelites also used this expression to show their dependence on God to control the results of the promise.  That expression - “as the Lord liveth” - occurs 37 times in the Bible (All  OT)


What they originally meant was “I’m making this promise knowing that the Lord God knows everything, including this promise.”  I’m taking this oath knowing that God is my judge.  God knows I’m making this promise, and he will judge me if I don’t keep it.  That kind of oath had profound significance.


But people get casual.  After a while the Israelites would call on the name of the Lord when they didn’t mean it.  They would say,, “As the Lord liveth,” but they were just empty words.  Although they spoke God’s name, they didn’t really think of his oversight.  It got to the place that when they used his name in their oaths, they no longer considered their accountability to Him.  And, as a consequence, they emptied God’s name of significance.


The people of God identified with him in many ways, but they no longer lived as his people should.  God says, in this 3rd Commandment, “I won’t hold anyone guiltless who empties my name of its meaning who calls on my name but shows deep in his heart he could care less about me.”  Acting as if you cared about his oversight when you really don’t insults God.


That brings us to the third thing we must remember when considering the absoluteness of Christ’s prohibition on swearing in Matthew 5.  His instruction was antithetical to the teachings of the Scribes and Pharisees.  He is instructing his followers to be different - to have a righteousness that exceeds them.


In Matthew 5, the vows in question, strictly speaking, are “oaths” in which the speaker (the one making a promise) calls upon God to witness his vow and to punish him if he breaks it.  If it is true that the taking of oaths is approved throughout the Bible, why is it that our Lord Jesus commands us:  “Swear not at all”?


By the time of Jesus, the Jews had built up an entire legalistic system around the Old Testament teachings.  In the Jewish code of law, called the Mishnah, there is one whole section given over to the question of oaths, including detailed consideration of when they are binding and when they’re not.  The fact that there were any case where a person’s word by oath was not binding already shows there is a real problem.


For example, one rabbi says that if you swear by Jerusalem you are not bound by your vow; but if you swear toward Jerusalem, then you are bound by your vow.  The swearing of oaths thus degenerates into terrible rules which let you know when you can get away with lying and deception, and when you cannot.  When this happens, these oaths no longer foster truthfulness, but weaken the cause of truth and promote deceit.  Swearing evasively become justification for lying.


The Pharisees had shifted the people’s attention away from the vow itself and the need to keep it, to the formula used in making it.  “False swearing,” they concluded, meant profanity (a profane use of the divine name), but it wasn’t perjury (or lying) (a dishonest pledging of one’s word).


So they developed elaborate rules for the taking of vows.     They listed which formulae were permissible, and they added that only those formulae which included the divine name made the vow binding.  One need not be so particular, they said, about keeping vows in which the divine name had not been used.


So they swore by the temple, or Jerusalem, or their head, or by the temple altar, or by heaven -- by just about anything.


Jesus expresses His contempt for this kind of foolishness in one of the “woes” against the Pharisees (‘blind guides’ he called them) which Matthew records later.


Matthew 23:16-22   (NIV)


16       "Woe to you, blind guides! You say, 'If anyone swears by the temple, it means nothing; but if anyone swears by the gold of the temple, he is bound by his oath.'

17       You blind fools! Which is greater: the gold, or the temple that makes the gold sacred?

18       You also say, 'If anyone swears by the altar, it means nothing; but if anyone swears by the gift on it, he is bound by his oath.'

19       You blind men! Which is greater: the gift, or the altar that makes the gift sacred?

20       Therefore, he who swears by the altar swears by it and by everything on it.

21       And he who swears by the temple swears by it and by the one who dwells in it.

22       And he who swears by heaven swears by God's throne and by the one who sits on it.


This is similar to what we saw our Lord teaching In Matthew 5.


Matthew 5:34-37  (NIV)


34       But I tell you, Do not swear at all: either by heaven, for it is God's throne;

35       or by the earth, for it is his footstool; or by Jerusalem, for it is the city of the Great King.

36       And do not swear by your head, for you cannot make even one hair white or black.

37       Simply let your 'Yes' be 'Yes,' and your 'No,' 'No'; anything beyond this comes from the evil one.


Jesus begins by arguing that the question of the formula used in making vows is totally irrelevant.  And in particular, the Pharisees’ distinction between formulas which mention God and those which do not is entirely artificial.


Jesus says that however hard you try, you cannot avoid some reference to God, for the whole world is God’s world and you cannot eliminate him from any part of it.


If you vow by ‘heaven,’ it is God throne; if by ‘earth,’ it is his footstool;  if by ‘Jerusalem,’ it is his city, the city of the great King.  If you swear by your head, it is indeed yours in the sense that it is nobody else’s, and yet it is God’s creation and under God’s control.  You cannot even change the natural color of a single hair, black in youth and white in old age.


So if the precise wording of a vow-formula is irrelevant, then a preoccupation with formulas was not the point of the law at all.


With what we have seen thus far, I don’t believe Jesus is intending that Christians should not take oaths in an absolute sense.  What Jesus was opposing in these verses was the practice of the scribes and Pharisees of taking frivolous, evasive and deceptive oaths.  He is instructing us not to make legalistic, surreptitious, manipulative and evasive vows.  He was reinforcing his statement in Matthew 5:20 that our righteousness must exceed the legalistic righteousness of the scribes and Pharisees that approved of such oath-taking.


Jesus is pointing out that since anybody who makes a vow must keep it (regardless of the formula used to make it) strictly speaking then, all formulas are superfluous.  The formula does not add anything to the vow.


A vow should be, and, in God’s eyes is, binding irrespective of any formula accompanying it.  That being so, the real implication of the law is that we must keep our promises and be people of our word.


The modern application of all this is not far to seek, for the teaching of Jesus is timeless.  Swearing (i.e., oath-taking) is really a confession of our propensity to be dishonest.  Why do we find it necessary to introduce our promises by some oath, like:


                   “I swear on a stack of Bibles.”

                   “I swear by my mother’s grave.”

                   “I swear by the host of heaven.”
                   “Cross my heart, hope to die, stick a needle in my eye.”


The only reason this is ever needed is that we know our simple word is not likely to be trusted.  Oaths arise because men are so often liars.


And Jesus says we should say what we mean and mean what we say.  Our unadorned word should be enough, ‘yes’ or ‘no.’


At the age of 24, Abraham Lincoln served as postmaster of New Salem, Illinois, for which he was paid an annual salary of $55.70.  Even then, 24 years before he entered the White House, the rail splitter was showing the character that earned him the title of “Honest Abe.”  The New Salem post office was closed in 1836, but it was several years before an agent arrived from Washington to settle accounts with Lincoln.


After going through the accounts and ledgers, he informed Lincoln that $17 dollars was due the government.  Lincoln crossed the room, opened an old trunk and took out a yellow cotton rag, bound with a string.  Untying it, he spread out the cloth and there was exactly $17.  He had been holding it untouched for all those years, even though he was a struggling lawyer at the time.  He said, “I never use any man’s money but my own.”


But truth telling has fallen on hard times in our generation.  Our culture has shifted to the ethics of expediency and self-advancement, and as such, falsehood is actually commonly seen as a virtue.  And as a result, many of us have come to feel better about lying.


In sales, a lie to sell a product or service is justifiable for the company’s good.  Even in some religious philosophy, lying is not always considered wrong.  Some of you will remember back in the 1960s, a clergyman by the name of Joseph Fletcher, who developed a system of what he called “Situation Ethics.”  Situation ethics has so permeated our thinking that it is not totally uncommon to hear some religious leaders say that in certain situations lying would be virtuous.


People are taught today that everything is relative, and that what may be wrong and even evil in one situation may not be in another.  There has been a transforming of non-truth from a vice to a virtue.  That is not totally unlike what was being taught by the Pharisees in Jesus’ day.  But Jesus says, “it doesn’t matter whether you use an oath or not, everything you say should be truthful.”


Situation Ethics certainly is not what Jesus taught, nor it such a philosophy recorded in God’s Word.  When describing those whose lives will be judged in the Lake of Fire, God includes liars (Rev. 21:8).  The Psalmist, in aligning his life with truth, affirms, “I hate every wrong path” (Ps. 119:104).  Scripture shows that God desires that truth would dwell within us (Psalm 51:6).


In Proverbs 6:16-19, the writer lists 7 things that God hates - they are an abomination to Him.  Three of them have to do with our words, and two of those have to do with speaking lies.


 God’s intense concern for truthfulness centers in His very nature.  We are told that He is a “God of Truth” (Psalm 31:5).  “God cannot lie” (Titus 1:2).  Jesus Christ is “full of grace and truth”  (John 1:14)..  The Holy Spirit is the “Spirit of truth” and His mission is to guide us into all truth.  (John 14:17; 16:13)


God’s Word commands us to speak the truth.  Proverbs 13:5 says that if you are righteous, you will hate what is false.  Paul wrote, in Col. 3:9, “do not lie to each other.”


Nowhere does God grant exemption from these commands.  They are absolute.  Our consciences cannot be clear before God and our joy cannot be full, if we get involved with that which is false.  Truth-telling is a matter of submission to the will of God.