Is lying a sin? What does the Bible say about lying?
Lying is listed as a sin in the Ten Commandments: "You shall not bear false witness against your neighbor" (Exodus 20:16). From the earliest of times, lying was seen as sinful. This was made evident in the condemnation of the serpent's lie in the Garden of Eden (Genesis 3) and God's judgment upon him. When Abraham lied about Sarah being his sister instead of his wife, he almost lost her as a result. Instead, God intervened and rescued them from this situation, though it was clearly seen as wrong (Genesis 12:18-20). Scripture provides many other ways in which lying is sinful.
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First, lying shows hate toward others. Proverbs 26:28 teaches, "A lying tongue hates its victims, and a flattering mouth works ruin."
Second, lying is ultimately the work of the devil. Jesus taught, "You are of your father the devil, and your will is to do your father's desires. He was a murderer from the beginning, and does not stand in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he lies, he speaks out of his own character, for he is a liar and the father of lies" (John 8:44).
Third, lying can bring the judgment of God. Acts 5:3 records Peter questioning two believers in the early church who had lied about an offering they made: "Ananias, why has Satan filled your heart to lie to the Holy Spirit and to keep back for yourself part of the proceeds of the land?" Both Ananias and his wife died that day due to their lie.
Fourth, lying is part of the "old self." Christians are called to stop lying. Paul wrote, "Do not lie to one another, seeing that you have put off the old self with its practices" (Colossians 3:9).
Fifth, speaking truth shows love to neighbor; lying does not. Ephesians 4:25 shares, "Therefore, having put away falsehood, let each one of you speak the truth with his neighbor, for we are members one of another."
Sixth, lying is the opposite of God's truth. First John 2:21 instructs, "I write to you, not because you do not know the truth, but because you know it, and because no lie is of the truth."
Lying, whether a small lie or a big lie, is sin before God. He calls us to turn to Him for forgiveness (1 John 1:9), to speak the truth in love (Ephesians 4:15), and to walk in His truth. Only then will others see our good deeds and give glory to our Father in heaven (Matthew 5:16).
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