But now you yourselves are to put off all these: anger, wrath, malice, blasphemy, filthy language out of your mouth. Do not lie to one another, since you have put off the old man with his deeds, and have put on the new man who is renewed in knowledge according to the image of Him who created him. (Colossians 3:8–10—NKJV)

I am approaching my 49th birthday in the Lord which means it is time to review my newest additions in Christian thinking gleaned over the last year. My intent is to share what I have learned for the edification of the brethren. Three of my observations deal with the subject of lying (either to oneself or to another). Lying is a byproduct of the fall.

Believers, though we are surrounded by a fallen world, we have received a new nature and are released from the slavish habits of the old man. Ephesians 2:1–2 states, “You He made alive, who were dead in trespasses and sins, in which you once walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit who now works in the sons of disobedience.”

Our text in Colossians identifies the fact that authentic believers have a higher calling than to act according to the fallen, sinful nature. Lying is a behavior that is a “tell.” It betrays the liar’s love of fantasy and his complete disregard for you. At the very least the liar displays his disloyalty, at the worst his sheer hatred toward you. Lying is grievous when it is committed among the saints. Revelation 21:8 shows God’s plan for all liars: “But the cowardly, unbelieving, abominable, murderers, sexually immoral, sorcerers, idolaters, and all liars shall have their part in the lake which burns with fire and brimstone, which is the second death.” For this reason Proverbs 21:6 confidently states, “Getting treasures by a lying tongue is the fleeting fantasy of those who seek death.”

Truth is bound to reality while lying is pushing the boundaries of fantasy. Jesus Christ is “the Way, the Truth, and the Life.” Satan is the father of liars, as John 8:44 states, “You are of your father the devil, and the desires of your father you want to do. He was a murderer from the beginning, and does not stand [he stands not] in the truth, because there is no truth [truthfulness] in him. When he speaks [the] lie, he speaks from his own resources, for he is a liar and the father of lies [or, ‘of the liar’].” The Pulpit Commentary has some choice thoughts on this verse. Satan’s lack of “the truth” and fidelity leads him to have no truthfulness in himself, no inner harmony with reality or consistency with himself, the proof is seen in that lying is pure “Satan”—from the depths of his truthless, loveless, fatal, and godless nature. He “restlessly resists, throwing a hopeless, perilous glamour of falsehood round all he touches.” Satan is the father of all “lying wonders” (2 Thess. 2:9, Rev. 19:20). The greatest evidence of this is the fact that he believes he will prevail against God. The Great Deceiver is deceived by himself!

The older I get, the more I recognize that truth among men is rare, “the gift of truth is the possession of the truly rich, tellers of truth must be honored, and the gaining and sharing of truth is life’s top priority.” I have wondered why people gravitate to lying and are so easily hoodwinked by it. Isn’t truthfulness the greatest display of love and loyalty? The fallen nature prefers to avoid truth and embrace fantasy.

Truth is ignored because it cannot be divorced from bold and predictable consequences while fantasy is embraced because its consequences are subtle and unpredictable. Truth is also perceived to be as hard as granite and as attractive as air while fantasy offers the prospect of all that is glamorous and holds the promise of “power” to manipulate others. Truth is married to guarantees while fantasy is gift-wrapped in hope and promises—even better than reality.

In the “Man’s Psalm,” the godly man declares in Psalm 101:7, “He who works deceit shall not dwell within my house; he who tells lies shall not continue in my presence.” The godly man deports himself in keeping with God’s commands (Leviticus 19:11, Proverbs 12:22). If you mix a little fantasy into truth, truth becomes weak. But if you mix a little truth into fantasy, fantasy becomes dangerous. God desires truth with each other and especially truth in “the inward parts” (Psalm 51:6). Our Lord said to Pilate, in John 18:37–38, “I have come into the world to bear witness to the truth. Everyone who is of the truth hears my voice.” Unsaved Pilate was lost from the truth. Love the truth even though it is as unforgiving as granite and as attractive as air. Truth is life! Trust and obey.