Honesty is so much more than the best policy. It is the only policy if you are a faithful Christian. Lying is not some little misdemeanor. It is a grievous sin that can prepare one for the lake that burns with fire and brimstone. All liars shall have their part in the lake, which burns with fire and brimstone, which is the second death. This is the seriousness of this matter (Rev 21:8).
Seemingly, no one can become president of the United States of America without lying to the American public to some degree. Donald Trump just this year alone was determined by Politifact.com to have lied more than 75% of the time. Hillary Clinton was not much better having lied 28% of the time. Only 3% of Trump’s statements were found to be perfectly true. Only 24% of Clinton’s statements were perfectly true. No one can become a billionaire in business without the ability to lie so well that they could pass a lie detector test. Lying has become the trademark of everyone who gets ahead in this world. Is it any wonder why there are no Christians in Washington? Is it any wonder why there are no Christians who are billionaires? Is it any wonder why Christians are the poorest people in the world? Honesty is the best policy, but as with all things, it comes with a price of losing this present world.
The apostle Paul said it clear, “That you put off concerning the former conversation the old man, which is corrupt according to the deceitful lusts; and be renewed in the spirit of your mind; and that ye put on the new man, which after God is created in righteousness and true holiness. Wherefore putting away lying, speak every man truth with his neighbor: for we are members one of another” (Eph 4:22-25). We would all be pleased if others would put away lying and speak truth. They, in turn, would like for all of us to always speak only the truth. If we want a great nation, absolute honesty would be the way to achieve it.
While honesty is an excellent trait, which we appreciate everywhere we find it, dishonesty often becomes something of a habit. Note the sad message of Titus 1:12, 13: “One of themselves, even a prophet of their own, said, the Cretians are always liars, evil beasts, slow bellies. This witness is true. Wherefore rebuke them sharply, that they may be sound in the faith.” Imagine the difficulty of trying to establish a faithful congregation among such people, and yet that is the very task at which Titus was to work so diligently. Souls were and are in danger. The sharp rebuke and all other efforts that the Lord recommends should be made to save people from the soul destroying evil.
Some speak things, which they ought not for filthy lucre’s sake (Titus 1:11). The love of money is a root of all kinds of evil. There are, and always have been religious racketeers. The most dangerous deceivers are the religious receivers. These false teachers subvert whole houses. They should be convicted by sound doctrine so that their mouths are fully stopped.
Liars must sear their conscience to have any rest. Those who depart from the faith, and sear their conscience as with a hot iron, may speak lies in hypocrisy. (1 Tim 4: 1, 2). Liars are among those who cast their fiery darts at the faithful soldiers of the Lord’s army (Eph 6:10- 17).
Some seem to think that a man who claims to preach could not be dishonest. He is a gospel preacher, they say. Could he be a false teacher? Have there been such in the past? Notice the words of Peter, “For the prophecy came not in old time by the will of man: But holy men of God spoke as they were moved by the Holy Spirit. But there were false prophets also among the people, even as there shall be false teachers among you, who privily shall bring in damnable heresies, even denying the Lord that bought them, and bring upon themselves swift destruction. And many shall follow their pernicious ways; by reason of whom the way of truth shall be evil spoken of. And through covetousness shall they with feigned words make merchandise of you: Whose judgment now of a long time lingers not, and their damnation sleeps not” ( 2 Pet 1:21-2:3)
Note the Lord’s commendation in Revelation 2:2. “I know your works, and your labor, and your patience, and how you cannot not bear them which are evil: and you have tried them which say they are apostles, and are not, and have found them liars.” It is wonderful that they discovered that they were liars. Their words would have been damnable heresies. Their words would “eat as cloth a canker” (2 Tim 2:17). It is easy to see that such men should be marked, avoided, and rejected (Tit 3:10, 11 f; Rom 16:17, 18).
False teachers or deceitful workers serve not our Lord Jesus Christ. “Brethren, be followers together of me, and mark them which walk so as ye have us for an ensample. (For many walk, of whom I have told you often, and now tell you even weeping, that they are the enemies of the cross of Christ: whose end is destruction, whose God is their belly and whose glory is in their shame, who mind earthly things)” (Philip 3:17-19). They are as wolves among sheep. The sheep should be warned.
Is there any difference in speaking perverse things and in speaking lies in hypocrisy? Paul was speaking of such deceitful workers when he warned the elders at Ephesus of the grievous wolves who would enter in among them, destroying the flock. He wept as he warned day and night. He commended them to the word as their great protection. By it they could test the teachers and recognize the perverted ones.
Could you be trusted to discover, mark, avoid, and reject a dishonest preacher today, or would you be among the number fighting those who speak the truth in love? Awaken to the fact that all are not Christians who preach. Let us consider 1 John 4:1. “Beloved, believe not every spirit, but try the spirits whether they are of God: because many false prophets are gone out into the world.”
Men are not always what they seem. They transform themselves into another image if they speak lies in hypocrisy (2 Cor 11:12-15). “But what I do, that I will do, that I may cut off occasion from them which desire occasion, that wherein they glory, they may be found even as we. For such are false apostles, deceitful workers, transforming themselves into the apostles of Christ. And no marvel, for Satan himself is transformed into an angel of light. Therefore it is no great thing if his ministers also be transformed as the ministers of righteousness; whose end shall be according to their works.”
From the first chapter of Galatians we can learn that teachers of a perverted gospel can remove many churches from Christ (Gal 1:6-9). Tremble at the danger. This is an ever-present danger. Beware! The man you hire to preach to you may be the one who is teaching you things you want to hear as opposed to the things you need to hear. Therefore, be as the Bereans and search the scriptures daily to make sure the things which are preached to you matches what Jesus and his apostles established as truth (Acts 17:11).