"Buy the truth, and sell it not; also wisdom, and instruction, and understanding."
Proverbs 23:23
God Does Not Justify Lies
Author:
Christopher J. E. Johnson
Published: June 15, 2012
Updated: Feb 3, 2015

I started working on this topic when I had a friend attempt to tell me that God justified certain lies to be told in the Bible. We will cover some examples of this later because God certainly does NOT justify lies, but I was prompted to write about this when it occured to me how few Christians understand that lying is an almost daily routine for many church-goers.

In hope of eternal life, which God, that cannot lie, promised before the world began;
-Titus 1:2

These six things doth the LORD hate: yea, seven are an abomination unto him: A proud look, a lying tongue, and hands that shed innocent blood, An heart that deviseth wicked imaginations, feet that be swift in running to mischief, A false witness that speaketh lies, and he that soweth discord among brethren.
-Proverbs 6:16-19

Lies/liars are mentioned twice in this list, which means the Lord God hates lies, and those who tell them. He also shows mercy to those who are humble, but he still hates the lie. The Lord Jesus Christ takes very seriously the things that come out of our mouths.

But I say unto you, That every idle word that men shall speak, they shall give account thereof in the day of judgment. For by thy words thou shalt be justified, and by thy words thou shalt be condemned.
-Matthew 12:6-7

Death and life are in the power of the tongue: and they that love it shall eat the fruit thereof.
-Proverbs 18:21

Not that which goeth into the mouth defileth a man; but that which cometh out of the mouth, this defileth a man.
-Matthew 15:11

Thus, we too should be very careful what we say.

Potential Lies:
I'll do it.
I'll pick you up.
I'll bring it over.
You can have it.
You're like family to us.
I'll meet you there.
I'm going to help you.
I'll be there.
I'm going to give you this.
The Holy Spirit told me...

Many times I've watched a Christian say they would be somewhere, and they never show up, but when it's brought up to to that person, he/she simply makes an excuse. "Oh, we had something come up." "Some family showed up at the door." "Work called me in." "My child had a thing at school." Whatever the excuse, the fact of the matter is that he/she LIED.

The problem is not that something comes up; as we all have things that suddenly happen that we have to prioritize, but the problem is that this person gave their word and broke it, and that's called LYING, which makes them LIARS. This is why they instinctively make excuses for themselves, so other people will overlook their lie, and worse still, it seems to be a social custom to write off the lie as acceptable as long as someone has an excuse for it.

Lie not one to another, seeing that ye have put off the old man with his deeds; And have put on the new man, which is renewed in knowledge after the image of him that created him:
-Colossians 3:9-10

Set a watch, O LORD, before my mouth; keep the door of my lips.
-Psalm 141:3

The Lord Jesus Christ takes lying extremely seriously; this is no light matter, but church-goers all the time take lying with a grain of salt, acting like it's just a normal thing for people to do. When we give our word we will do something, we have given a vow to someone; God listens to those words, and expects us to do the things we promised we would do.

Keep thy foot when thou goest to the house of God, and be more ready to hear, than to give the sacrifice of fools: for they consider not that they do evil. Be not rash with thy mouth, and let not thine heart be hasty to utter any thing before God: for God is in heaven, and thou upon earth: therefore let thy words be few. For a dream cometh through the multitude of business; and a fool's voice is known by multitude of words. When thou vowest a vow unto God, defer not to pay it; for he hath no pleasure in fools: pay that which thou hast vowed. Better is it that thou shouldest not vow, than that thou shouldest vow and not pay. Suffer not thy mouth to cause thy flesh to sin; neither say thou before the angel, that it was an error: wherefore should God be angry at thy voice, and destroy the work of thine hands?
-Ecclesiastes 5:1-6

The problem we have is a lack of repentance in our hearts in recognizing when we've told a lie. We are quick to make an excuse, but slow to sorrow that we have done wrong.

I've seen some very arrogant people say, "But I didn't promise them I'd do it!" I don't care who it is, the Bible says these are evil words coming out of their mouths.

...for they consider not that they do evil.
-Ecclesiastes 5:1

But let your communication be, Yea, yea; Nay, nay: for whatsoever is more than these cometh of evil.
-Matthew 5:37

The reason someone says they didn't "promise" they would do it is because they know with certainty that they aren't trust-worthy. The liar only says "I promise I'll do it" as a quick, convenient phrase to help convince someone else to trust in the liar, because he's can't be trusted in the first place. His word means nothing to him. Honest men should not have to say some magic incantation before or after their words in order to make their words true.

Did you know that God never once said "I give you my word I'll do it," or "I promise I'll get it done" anywhere in the Bible? Yet, God's Words are still called "the promises of God."

For the Son of God, Jesus Christ, who was preached among you by us, even by me and Silvanus and Timotheus, was not yea and nay, but in him was yea. For all the promises of God in him are yea, and in him Amen, unto the glory of God by us.
-2 Corinthians 1:19-20

God says it, and it's done. Should we not also be like our Father in Heaven?

Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect.
-Matthew 5:48

Let your 'yes', be yes; let your 'no', be no. If your 'yes' to someone turns out to be a no, when you already told them 'yes', that is EVIL. If your 'no' to someone turns out to be a yes, when you already told them 'no', that is EVIL. If you tell someone, "I am going to do this," and you don't do it, you LIED, and that makes you a LIAR.

"I forgot about it..." -- Did you give your word?
"But I had something come up..." -- Did you give your word?
"They took care of it without me..." -- Did you give your word?
"Circumstances changed..." -- Did you give your word?
"We just didn't have time..." -- Did you give your word?

Does God makes these excuses with us?

501c3 Corporate Ministries Teaching Young Christians to Lie

In our article on 501c3 contracts, we demonstrated that self-proclaimed Christians are signing contracts, giving their word to the IRS to comply with all federal rules and regulations for their church buildings. But many of these 501c3 church building leaders are teaching their members to lie and cheat.

For example, Michael Houdmann at GotQuestions.org writes the following about 501c3:
"Certainly, if the state tries to control the ministries of any individual or church, we are obligated to answer as the apostles did in Acts 5:29, 'We must obey God rather than men!'"
-Michael Houdmann, "Is it biblical for a church to seek 501(c)(3) incorporation?" GotQuestions, retrieved Jan 31, 2015, [gotquestions.org/501c3-church-incorporation.html]

GotQuestions is a 501c3 corporation, and they signed a contract giving their word that they would follow all state and federal regulations, but Mr. Houdmann is teaching Christians to LIE (i.e. sin) and not keep their word. This is very common among 501c3 preachers. I challenge anyone who attends a 501c3 church to go to your pastor and ask him what he would do if the government starts silencing him, and watch him tell you that he is a liar, that he would lie against what he told the IRS he would do.

Mr. Houdmann also contradicts himself in what he writes previously to the quote above:
"Also, [1 Corinthians 7] verse 24 states that we are to abide in whatever state God calls us, even if that is slavery."
-Michael Houdmann, "Is it biblical for a church to seek 501(c)(3) incorporation?" GotQuestions, retrieved Jan 31, 2015, [gotquestions.org/501c3-church-incorporation.html]

So on the one hand, GotQuestions tells everyone that we should accept whatever the government tells us to do, but then turns around and tells Christians who have a 501c3 contract to lie and cheat against was the government tells them to do. I contacted GotQuestions to ask them about this further, and here's what they wrote back:
"We may be incorrect in our understanding of 501(c)(3), but we are not lying, nor are we encouraging anyone to lie."
-Signed as "Shea," Letter to Chris Johnson from GotQuestions.org, Jan 31, 2015

Not only does GotQuestions admit openly that they don't know if they have the right information about 501c3 or not, they are also unwilling to study the matter, which they proved to me after I sent them our information about it and asked them if they would respond to it, but they refused to read it. They're trying to claim (willful) ignorance on the issue and walk around with their blindfold on, thinking that the Lord God won't hold them accountable for their actions and words.

GotQuestions claims they aren't lying, but what they're teaching tells a completely different story, and even in the email I received back from them, they lied:
"The government very well may someday require ungodly/unbiblical things of 501(c)(3) organization. Should that time come, we would immediately revoke our 501(c)(3) status and encourage other organizations to do the same."
-Signed as "Shea," Letter to Chris Johnson from GotQuestions.org, Jan 31, 2015

What this letter just said is that GotQuestions is not only willing to lie, but also encourages other organizations to lie and break their word about the things they agreed to do in their contract. Further still, GotQuestions knows they are silenced on certain matters, but refuses to revoke their contract:
"Currently, the only thing the government requires of 501(c)(3) organizations is that they do not endorse political parties or candidates, and even that requirement is questionable and unenforced."
-Signed as "Shea," Letter to Chris Johnson from GotQuestions.org, Jan 31, 2015

First of all, that's not the only thing the government requires, which we demonstrate in our article on 501c3. Second, it IS being enforced, and we also demonstrated that in the article. Third, it's not questionable when you signed a contract agreeing to it in the first place. And finally, worst of all, they lied to me to tell me they would "revoke" (lie and cheat to get out of) their 501c3 contract if the government unbiblically silenced them, however, GotQuestions KNOWS about the silencing of their "ministry," but still haven't made any effort to revoke their status.

It's lie on top of lie on top of another lie, etc. It's complete hypocrisy coming from a leavened organization (part of the Devil's church) preaching that Christians should sin, and I encourage Christians to be careful about the things you're reading, and stick with the Bible in all matters of faith and practice.

For they that are such serve not our Lord Jesus Christ, but their own belly; and by good words and fair speeches deceive the hearts of the simple.
-Romans 16:18


I have many stories I could tell about Christian evangelists and preachers lying to us and lying about us since I started ministry. I've seen more deception since I started ministry than any other time in my life. For example, I had a pastor from Maine write me and ask if I would come to do a creation and evangelism week in their area, and I was happy to do so, but I would need to purchase a round trip ticket. For Lorraine and I, this was very expensive, many hundreds of dollars, and we would have been broke afterwards. He gave us his word he'd be ready for us and have a place for us to stay at that particular time in the upcoming fall, and just before we were about to purchase the tickets, I stopped and said to her that I didn't trust people so much as I used to, and I wanted to check with him one more time. That was years ago, and we still have never heard back from this man again -- meaning that he lied to us when he gave us his word he'd be ready for us, and never bothered once to contact us to let us know otherwise.

Another example, we had a pastor ask me to lunch to tell me that the Holy Spirit told him to help our ministry in any way he could. Keep in mind, I didn't say the Holy Spirit said this to him, he said this. To make a long story short, he caused us a lot of problems through lying and gossiping, and never did help us in ministry once, which means either he lied that the Holy Spirit said this to him, or he ignored the instructions of the Holy Spirit.

Sadly, what I just wrote is only a couple of many instances in which things like this have happened. I could give story after story after story of supposedly "men of God" lying to us and about us, and they have no conscience of it whatsoever.

Now the Spirit speaketh expressly, that in the latter times some shall depart from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits, and doctrines of devils; Speaking lies in hypocrisy; having their conscience seared with a hot iron;
-1 Timothy 4:1-2

Some folks will look to make excuses for themselves in this by saying "shouldn't we forgive people?" Keep in mind, in this context, that question is not there as a reminder of forgiveness, because that's easy to do, but rather, it's an excuse to justify themselves. Of course, if they repent, we ought to forgive them; that's the milk of the word.

And if he trespass against thee seven times in a day, and seven times in a day turn again to thee, saying, I repent; thou shalt forgive him.
-Luke 17:4

But most of them don't repent of it; instead, they give an excuse. The "forgiveness" speech is used as a defense mechanism to protect themselves; trying to turn the innocent man into the guilty party by going on the offensive and claiming the innocent man isn't right with God unless he ignores the liar's lies. They don't consider the evil they do, in that they hurt others by their lies.

A lying tongue hateth those that are afflicted by it; and a flattering mouth worketh ruin.
-Proverbs 26:28

I don't care what someone wants to say about how they feel; the Bible says if you lie to someone, you hate that person.

Whosoever hateth his brother is a murderer: and ye know that no murderer hath eternal life abiding in him.
-1 John 3:15

If someone was shot dead in the middle of a church building during one of their new-age sing-a-longs, the entire group of church-goers would be horrified, but they lie to each other all the time, and no one bats an eyelash.

The average Christian reading this article will say they don't lie, or can't recall doing so, but let's look at a common scenario to see if that's true. For many years, I always wondered why I have despised the phrase, "How are you?" I just couldn't figure out why I have always cringed at that phrase, even back with I was a teenager. Today, I understand it, and know why I always thought it to be superficial and fake. Most Christians will walk up to someone and say, "Hi, how are you?" or "How's your family? or "How's work?" and the other Christian will respond "I'm fine," or "The family's fine," or "Work's fine." This is common practice, even though, in most cases, it's not true! The person being asked the question, in their hearts, may be worried about their job, or their children, or their siblings, or something they have to face at school the next day, or problems in their marriage, or personal issues of faith, but instead lie about it and say, "I'm fine," and on the other side, most people who ask "How are you?" don't really want an answer anyway because they just wanted to put forth the false impression that they are genuinely concerned!


I understand we don't always have time, and I understand there is a necessity to be discreet in certain circumstances, but if we are going to ask the question, we should be genuine, and if we're going to answer the question, we should be honest. There's no reaons to lie on either end. When one Christian asks another how they are, the Christian can respond honestly with, "I'm worried about the choices my children are making," or "I'm concerned about some issues in my marriage." We may have very personal issues that are grieving us, and we may not feel comfortable to talk with the Christian asking us about it, but we could schedule a time to sit and talk about it with that Christian, or we can be honest with them by saying, "I have some stuff weighing on my mind, and I don't really know you well enough to share it with you yet," and that puts the honesty responsibility on the other person to show if their concern is genuine. However, what Christians typically do when they're asked these questions is say, "I'm fine," or "My wife and I are fine," and they will repeat this over and over without even realizing it is a lie, and will never be honest until they're getting a divorce, a child commits suicide, or they fall ill and end up in the hospital.

Wherefore putting away lying, speak every man truth with his neighbour: for we are members one of another.
-Ephesians 4:25

Let the lying lips be put to silence; which speak grievous things proudly and contemptuously against the righteous.
-Psalm 31:18

You might be able to hide these things from men, but you won't hide them from God.

...for the LORD searcheth all hearts, and understandeth all the imaginations of the thoughts: if thou seek him, he will be found of thee; but if thou forsake him, he will cast thee off for ever.
-1 Chronicles 28:9

Hear; for I will speak of excellent things; and the opening of my lips shall be right things. For my mouth shall speak truth; and wickedness is an abomination to my lips. All the words of my mouth are in righteousness; there is nothing froward or perverse in them.
-Proverbs 8:6-8


The ability to produce speech through thought is a unique gift given by God to mankind. It's something animals do not have, and that gives us a great responsibility to be cautious of what comes out of our mouths.

O generation of vipers, how can ye, being evil, speak good things? for out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaketh.
-Matthew 12:34

And he said unto them, Ye are they which justify yourselves before men; but God knoweth your hearts: for that which is highly esteemed among men is abomination in the sight of God.
-Luke 16:15

They speak vanity every one with his neighbour: with flattering lips and with a double heart do they speak.
-Psalm 12:2

A double heart means a man will say one thing, but he thinks and feels completely different. It's called a lie.

Ye are of your father the devil, and the lusts of your father ye will do. He was a murderer from the beginning, and abode not in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he speaketh a lie, he speaketh of his own: for he is a liar, and the father of it.
-John 8:44

I've had some Christians write me with some concerns about certain sections of the Bible where lies were told, for example, Rahab the Cannanite takes in two Israeli visitors to give them a place to stay for the night in Joshua 2. The King of Jericho finds out about this, and orders Rahab to bring the men forward to be captured, but Rahab, instead of obeying orders, hides the men on her roof and tells the guards they had already fled out of the gates of the city.

And the woman took the two men, and hid them, and said thus, There came men unto me, but I wist not whence they were: And it came to pass about the time of shutting of the gate, when it was dark, that the men went out: whither the men went I wot not: pursue after them quickly; for ye shall overtake them.
-Joshua 2:4-5

Rahab lied to the king's guards to keep the men of Israel safe, and she and her family were saved from the incoming attack.

And the city shall be accursed, even it, and all that are therein, to the LORD: only Rahab the harlot shall live, she and all that are with her in the house, because she hid the messengers that we sent.
-Joshua 6:15

There are some Christians out there who claim that God rewarded her for lying to the guards, but let's read carefully some more verses about Rahab:

By faith the harlot Rahab perished not with them that believed not, when she had received the spies with peace.
-Hebrews 11:31

Notice that it was by her faith, not her lies, that she didn't perish with the others that day. Rahab feared the Lord God, and this was demonstrated by her own words:

And before they were laid down, she came up unto them upon the roof; And she said unto the men, I know that the LORD hath given you the land, and that your terror is fallen upon us, and that all the inhabitants of the land faint because of you. For we have heard how the LORD dried up the water of the Red sea for you, when ye came out of Egypt; and what ye did unto the two kings of the Amorites, that were on the other side Jordan, Sihon and Og, whom ye utterly destroyed. And as soon as we had heard these things, our hearts did melt, neither did there remain any more courage in any man, because of you: for the LORD your God, he is God in heaven above, and in earth beneath.
-Joshua 2:8-11

She had faith in the Lord God, that He is the one true living God.

Likewise also was not Rahab the harlot justified by works, when she had received the messengers, and had sent them out another way?
-James 2:25

God didn't justify Rahab's lies; He justified Rahab's faith and that she received and protected His messengers. Ultimately, it was her faith in the Lord God of Israel that saved her.

Now let's take a look at 1 Samuel:

And the LORD said unto Samuel, How long wilt thou mourn for Saul, seeing I have rejected him from reigning over Israel? fill thine horn with oil, and go, I will send thee to Jesse the Bethlehemite: for I have provided me a king among his sons. And Samuel said, How can I go? if Saul hear it, he will kill me. And the LORD said, Take an heifer with thee, and say, I am come to sacrifice to the LORD. And call Jesse to the sacrifice, and I will shew thee what thou shalt do: and thou shalt anoint unto me him whom I name unto thee.
-1 Samuel 16:1-3

I've heard some Christians claim that God instructed Samuel to lie, but that's not true. He did take a sacrifice, and did go to the sacrifice.

And Samuel did that which the LORD spake, and came to Bethlehem. And the elders of the town trembled at his coming, and said, Comest thou peaceably? And he said, Peaceably: I am come to sacrifice unto the LORD: sanctify yourselves, and come with me to the sacrifice. And he sanctified Jesse and his sons, and called them to the sacrifice.
-1 Samuel 16:4-5

God did not want him to share specific information with them yet, and even Jesus Christ told others not to share certain information with others.

And he charged them that they should tell no man: but the more he charged them, so much the more a great deal they published it;
-Mark 7:36

But Christ never told them to lie, nor did He ever lie. Under no circumstances are lies justified in the eyes of God.

I had a concerned Christian write and ask me about Jacob tricking Isaac.

And Jacob said to Rebekah his mother, Behold, Esau my brother is a hairy man, and I am a smooth man... And Rebekah took goodly raiment of her eldest son Esau, which were with her in the house, and put them upon Jacob her younger son: And she put the skins of the kids of the goats upon his hands, and upon the smooth of his neck... And he came unto his father, and said, My father: and he said, Here am I; who art thou, my son? And Jacob said unto his father, I am Esau thy firstborn; I have done according as thou badest me: arise, I pray thee, sit and eat of my venison, that thy soul may bless me.
-Genesis 27:11-19

The concern of this is that Jacob received God's blessing on a lie. This is also not true, and we need to back up a couple of chapters to get more information.

And Jacob sod pottage: and Esau came from the field, and he was faint: And Esau said to Jacob, Feed me, I pray thee, with that same red pottage; for I am faint: therefore was his name called Edom. And Jacob said, Sell me this day thy birthright. And Esau said, Behold, I am at the point to die: and what profit shall this birthright do to me? And Jacob said, Swear to me this day; and he sware unto him: and he sold his birthright unto Jacob. Then Jacob gave Esau bread and pottage of lentiles; and he did eat and drink, and rose up, and went his way: thus Esau despised his birthright.
-Genesis 25:29-34

So before any of the events of Genesis 27, Esau had already sold his birthright to Jacob for some stew. This was a fair and honest exchange. When we read through the whole story, we'll notice that Esau never once honestly mentioned that he sold his birthright, and thus, if everyone would have been honest from the beginning, Jacob still would have had the blessing; no lies necessary.

Jacob later suffered punishment by reaping what he sowed; since he tricked his father for a blessing, Jacob's father-in-law tricked him into the wrong wife. Jacob's children also later tricked him into thinking his youngest son was dead.

Be not deceived; God is not mocked: for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap.
-Galatians 6:7

Just as Jacob paid the price in his earthly life for his lies, so too we will reap what we sow if we're sowing lies. It doesn't matter how we might personally feel, we need to do what's right in honesty.

Fear them not therefore: for there is nothing covered, that shall not be revealed; and hid, that shall not be known.
-Matthew 10:26

I read a story once about a Nigerian woman who told the truth instead of lying when a rough group came around asking if people were Muslim or Christian. She followed the will of our Lord and told the truth, even though I'm sure she was afraid, she chose not to offend the Lord Jesus Christ with a lie. This group was actually working in secret, disguised as terrorists, to move Christians out of that area as soon as possible, and if she had lied, she would likely have been caught and killed by real terrorist groups.

The Lord protects His own, and if He wants us to be captured and/or tortured, that is not for us to decide. It's for Him to decide. The Christians who seek to justify lies are the ones who live in fear, seeking to protect themselves, instead of allowing the Lord Jesus Christ to have His will.

If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land.
-2 Chronicles 7:14

As Christians, we are trained in the Gospel to do what's right instead of what's convenient for us. Turn from lies, keep your word, tell the truth, and you might be surprised how the Lord blesses you and your family.

Therefore take no thought, saying, What shall we eat? or, What shall we drink? or, Wherewithal shall we be clothed? (For after all these things do the Gentiles seek:) for your heavenly Father knoweth that ye have need of all these things. But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.
-Matthew 6:31-33


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