When is the Truth a Lie?

We do not know about today, but in yesteryear, courtroom oaths were with your hand on the Bible. The oath was, "Do you swear to tell the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth?" This was followed by, "So help me God."

 In yesteryear, most all Americans were familiar with the Bible and accepted the stories recorded as true. Today, with Nihilism as contagious as the common cold, too many Americans are as agnostic as Pilate's reply to Jesus when he asked, "What is truth?" (John 18:38). It was this old time respect for God's Word, that caused the judicial system to add "or affirm" to the oath, as in "Do you swear or affirm..." This was based on Jesus condemnation of swearing found in the Sermon on the Mount (Matthew 5:37). This prohibition was echoed by James (James 5:12).

 It was Abraham that told the truth about Sarah being his sister; but not the whole truth, which was that she was also his wife (Genesis 12:10-20 and 20:1-18). When rebuked by king Abimelech for bringing the wrath of God on him for adding Sarah to his harem. Abraham had deceived him in telling him she was his sister and neglecting the fact she was also his wife. Abraham's rational was simple, as with Pharaoh, he stated, "I thought, Surely the fear of God is not in this place; and they will slay me for my wife's sake" (20:11).

 This brings to mind an instance in the life of Mark Twain's Tom Sawyer. Tom found himself in a bind and told a big fat lie. He then, for an instance, had the horrible feeling that God would strike him dead for lying. This perfectly illustrates that our culture understood what it meant to fear God in Tom's day. Today "God fearing" is defined as "to respect God," sort of, or kind of.  Now "God fearing" can mean a profound respect for God, such as in the qualifications for judges in Exodus 18:21. In the New Testament, however, the Greek word for fear is "phobia." Cutting to the chase, it means to be "grave yard scared" to go against God or His revealed Word. In other words, the fear of God means one is actually "afraid" of what He would do to us if we disobeyed Him.

 Today, judging by the widespread lying on every hand, there is no longer any fear of God in the land. One of the stated limitations of the almighty God of the Bible is that He cannot lie (Titus 1:2). On the other hand, those that find it easy to let lies fly from their lips, are of their father the Devil, according to Jesus (John 8:42-47). Those that are members of the Lord's church that deceive their brethren, as did Ananias and Sapphira, are guilty of lying to the Holy Spirit (Acts 5:1-3). The bottom line is that, according to the Word, "all liars, shall have their part in the lake which burneth with fire and brimstone: which is the second death" (Revelation 21:8). This is along with the fearful or cowardly, the unbelieving, the abominable, murderers, and whoremongers or sexually immoral, and sorcerers, and idolaters (same verse - Revelation 21:8). As preachers used to preach, "Repent or perish!"

 Dale I. Royal, Elk City, OK