These verses capture the disgust God has for hypocrisy. Jesus Himself spoke against hypocrisy multiple times. The name of God is blasphemed among the Gentiles because of the hypocrisy of Christians. How can we rail publicly about morality when we are ourselves so immoral in the public square? This was the point of Jesus when He said judge not. It was not that we are not to judge righteously because we are. It is that we first need to make sure we are not being a hypocrite in doing so. The truth matters to God. So much so that it is one of the ways that Jesus describes Himself. This is especially true for those who fancy themselves Christian leaders; who unfortunately are just as guilty of propagating untruths for their chosen political messiah. 1Timothy teaches us that such leaders are to be blameless. That means integrity and honor. That means the truth matters to them and they set an example of such for their followers. He must have a good testimony lest he fall into reproach. It is not enough to think your cause is righteous. It must actually be such. If it is, then there is no need to lie about it, deceive for it, or mislead others. Because once you are viewed that way you do indeed fall into reproach and it is awfully difficult to change that perception people hold of you once it has taken root.
The truth matters to God. Jesus in Revelation is called that faithful and true witness. He is the way the truth and the life. Truth is who God is. It is one of His immutable characteristics. He cannot deny Himself no matter how unfaithful we might be. His standard of honesty is perfect. He is in fact the God of truth:
So that he who blesses himself in the land shall bless himself by the God of truth, and he who takes an oath in the land shall swear by the God of truth; because the former troubles are forgotten and are hidden from my eyes. - Isaiah 65:16 (ESV)
His Holy Spirit is called the Spirit of Truth and will lead us into all truth as believers. Now many will correctly point out that the truth referenced here is the Word of God but that is entirely the point. We already know all truth. It is contained entirely in the Word. There is no ambiguity. There are no shades of grey. There is clear scriptural guidance that God does not need nor should we be engaged in the business of representing falsehood. Ephesians implores believers to put away lying and in another verse equates truth with love. The Book of Romans contrasts believers and unbelievers according to those who obey or reject the truth. 1Peter does the same. Jesus did not shrink from challenging His opposition to test the verity of His Words. Thessalonians implores us to test everything. The Bereans were of more noble character because they verified the truthfulness of what Paul was preaching. This goes as far back as the establishment of Israel and the law. Our key verses are very transparent in language. We shall not steal. We shall not deal falsely. We shall not lie to one another. These moral underpinnings are reaffirmed throughout Scripture as already highlighted. They did not cease to be important in our lives. What are the seven things the Lord hates?
There are six things that the Lord hates, seven that are an abomination to him:haughty eyes, a lying tongue, and hands that shed innocent blood,a heart that devises wicked plans, feet that make haste to run to evil,a false witness who breathes out lies, and one who sows discord among brothers. - Proverbs 6: 16-19 (ESV)
Beloved look closely at these. A lying tongue. A false witness breathing out lies. One who sows discord. A heart devising wicked schemes. Feet that run to evil. Nearly all of them are in defense of the truth and consider lying an abomination. Even haughty eyes are self-lies. Beloved, the truth is undeniably, unmistakably, extremely important to the God we claim to serve. Consider the avalanche of Scripture we are in violation of when we engage in willful deception.
While we are on the subject, this includes innuendo. The machinations of carnal lying are not lost on a perfect God. A half-truth is still a lie. As is repeating unfounded accusations, inferring guilt where none has been determined, making connections with nefarious purposes, or any of the other little truth twistings we always see during these election cycles. It is still a lie. It does not matter if you think the person is unrighteous. All of them are. It does not matter if you think the person is guilty. We have a responsibility as Christians at all times but even more so when the natural predilection is for increased falseness and that is to represent Christ. That is to represent the truth. Even if it pains us politically. Even if it pains us personally. I remember last year Brian Houston said in a sermon that Christians and Muslims serve the same God. I did not write about it because I wanted to give him time to respond to the onslaught of criticism. I did this because while Brian Houston is one of the most reprehensible false teachers on the planet, he had never support the notion of Chrislam. Sure enough he admitted he misspoke. Good enough for me because the truth is what has to matter. Still to this day I see Christians leveling the Chrislam charge at him and I cringe. The ends do not justify the means beloved. Whether it be Brian Houston or any presidential candidate there is enough to be righteously critical about without having to resort to distortion. There is no context that makes a lie true. Do not fall for the lies of the enemy beloved. Before you make that post or re-tweet that comment ask yourself if deep down you know it to be true. Picture yourself standing before Jesus explaining with that convoluted logic. It does not matter what your opinion is. It does not matter what your intention is. It only matters if it is true. In closing, consider the word of Jesus Himself:
"Either make the tree good and its fruit good, or make the tree bad and its fruit bad, for the tree is known by its fruit. You brood of vipers! How can you speak good, when you are evil? For out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks. The good person out of his good treasure brings forth good, and the evil person out of his evil treasure brings forth evil. I tell you, on the day of judgment people will give account for every careless word they speak, for by your words you will be justified, and by your words you will be condemned." - Matthew 12: 33-37 (ESV)
Beloved. What fruit are people seeing in us? The Bible says to avoid foolish arguments and nothing makes fools of us more than carnal politics. Perhaps that was why Jesus was so dismissive of it. Because it doesn't matter in the end. Only the Gospel does. We were not charged with saving our country. Only God saves people and that is only through the spoken Gospel of Jesus Christ. We will be held to account for every careless word we speak. The majesty of God should terrify us. Today's politicians are tomorrow's trivia answers. Even the greatest leaders by the standards of men are mere footnotes in history. Stepping stones in the grand plan of God. We have been so blessed to be given the privilege of representing Him to a dying lost world. Not through stands of faux morality. Not through political punditry. Only through the truth beloved. Only through the truth. If they do not hear it from us; where will they hear it? If they do not see it in us, where will they see it? If they do not believe we reverence it because it is God, they will not believe us on anything else and that is the truth.
Reverend Anthony Wade - March 3, 2016