Let me ask you: Are you committed to the truth? Would your spouse say that you are a truthful person? What about your colleagues at work? Would your friends say you are totally trustworthy?
The sin of lying is strongly condemned in Scripture. Our enemy is described as “the father of lies” (John 8:44). Proverbs 12:22 states, “Lying lips are an abomination to the Lord.” Paul writes to Christ-followers: “Therefore, having put away falsehood, let each one of you speak the truth with his neighbor, for we are members one of another” (Ephesians 4:25). “Do not lie to one another” (Colossians 3:9). Why would an apostle have to write to Christians and remind them not to lie? Because it is very easy to fudge the truth or in a very subtle way leave someone with a false impression.
The Apostle John informs us that “all liars” are cast into the lake of fire (Revelation 21:8). We’re not surprised that people who commit gross sins are thrown into the lake of fire, but we tend to think that lying isn’t a particularly serious sin. But in God’s eyes, lying is very serious because God is a God of truth. In fact, the Holy Spirit is referred to as the Spirit of truth (John 14:17), and Jesus said, “I am the way and the truth” (Cf. John 14:6). The truth has tremendous power. “Jesus said to the Jews who had believed him, ‘If you abide in my word, you are truly my disciples, and you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free'” (John 8:31-32).
Most of us have been on the receiving end of some deception, perhaps even in our own homes or at work. We have all been in some situation where we have been victims of lies and distortion. Consider the terrible consequences in a family or business or church where there has been deception or lies. Jesus is reminding us that when we are committed to the truth we will be free!
When Jesus was giving this teaching, the people answered Him: “We are offspring of Abraham and have never been enslaved to anyone. How is it that you say, ‘You will become free?'” (John 8:33). They did not understand that sin makes us captives. Jesus answered them, “Truly, truly I say to you, everyone who commits sin is a slave to sin. The slave does not remain in the house forever; the son remains forever. So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed” (John 8:34-36). Lies bind and put us in the darkness of captivity. But the truth sets us free.
In dialogue with Jesus at the Roman trial, Pilate asked, “So you are a king?” Jesus answered, “You say that I am a king. For this purpose I was born and for this purpose I have come into the world—to bear witness to the truth. Everyone who is of the truth listens to my voice” (John 18:37). Truth is found in listening to Jesus! If we want to know the truth about any subject, we turn to the Word of God. Truth is not decided when people get together and build a consensus. Truth is not reached by looking within ourselves and saying, “Well, this is my truth.” Truth is revealed by the God of truth. That’s what Jesus was saying to Pilate. “Everyone who is of the truth listens to My voice.” Why listen to Jesus? Because He is the truth.
Sin, lies, illusions and deceptions ensnare us. They restrict us. They hold us captive. They break marriages. They affect relationships. They impact churches and organizations. Our Lord Jesus Christ comes into this world to free us from these deceptions. The truth sets us free. Sin binds us; our Lord Jesus Christ frees us. We are never freer than when we are doing God’s will. We are never freer than when we are doing what God created us to do. Freedom and fulfillment are found not in deception but in the truth of God’s Word.
Is there some deception in your life? Some cover-up? Perhaps you’ve been lying to a friend or spouse or to a colleague at work? You have created a web of deceit. What is the answer? Allow the truth of God’s Word to shine into your heart and life. The truth will set you free.
On June 22, 1772, a 31-year-old man, James Somerset, was involved in a court case in England. As a young boy in Africa, he had been captured and taken as a slave to the New World. His master, Charles Stewart, later took him from Boston to England. The famous case of Somerset (an African) v. Stewart (a Scot) was to decide—now that Somerset was in England—whether he was a free man or whether Charles Stewart would be allowed to take him to the West Indies to spend the rest of his short life harvesting sugarcane. The Lord Chief Justice, Lord Mansfield, ruled that in England the air is too pure for a slave, and every man is free who breathes it. James Somerset was not a piece of property, but free. The judge said that every man who comes into England is entitled to the protection of English law. No sooner does a slave touch English soil than his shackles fall from him. What a momentous legal decision, declaring that a slave was free the moment he or she stepped on English soil; that moment his shackles fell from him. That was freedom. That was the truth about all men and women on English soil.
The moment that you stand on Jesus Christ and His truth—the moment you encounter Him as Savior and Lord—these shackles that bind you will fall. Then you are free to be the person God created you to be and to fulfill His purposes in your life. Allow God’s Word through the Spirit of truth to shine on you. Know the truth. Live the truth. Speak the truth. “And the truth will set you free.” ©2012 John H. Munro
Taken from a message by Dr. John H. Munro at BGEA chapel on Nov. 8, 2012, two days after the U.S presidential election. Munro, senior pastor of Calvary Church, Charlotte, N.C., will lead a seminar titled “Back to the Future” at the cove on Aug. 2-4. for more information, visit thecove.org or call 1-800-950-2092.
Scripture quotations are taken from The Holy Bible, English Standard Version, ©2011 by Crossway Bibles, a division of Good News Publishers.