In this study we shall look at a certain characteristic of the human race, which probably is the most widespread and which causes such a lot of destruction and damage in relationships. It is something we can never overcome without the help of God. But you can overcome it. Every human being falls into this sin. Only God can deliver him.
In John 8:44, Jesus said to the Jews who believed in Him, "You are of your father - the devil." It is really amazing to see Jesus speak such words to people who had apparently believed in Him (Jn. 8:30, 31). There is a belief in Jesus, which is intellectual. It still leaves a man as a child of the devil. Of course nowadays people are not bold enough to tell others that they are children of the devil, but not Jesus. He said, "You are of your father, the devil and you want to do the desires of your father." He wasn't insulting them or cursing them. He was just telling them a fact, and showing them, how they could be delivered from that situation and become children of God. But they will never be delivered until they first faced up to the fact of what they were. Until we acknowledge what we are, God cannot deliver us.
Jesus said, further in John 8:44, "The devil was a murderer from the beginning and does not stand in the truth because there is no truth in him." Here is one characteristic of Satan: there is no truth in him at all and he does not stand in the truth. Then Jesus went on to say, "Whenever Satan speaks a lie, he speaks from his own nature, because he is a liar and the father of lies." So just like, in an earlier study, we saw that God is love and Satan is hatred, in the same way, we see that Jesus said, 'I am the truth' and devil is a liar. The devil does not stand in the truth and there is no truth in him. Whenever he speaks a lie, he speaks from his own nature. That is, his nature is to tell a lie, for he is a liar and the father of lies. All lies originate with Satan as the father. If you tell a lie, that lie is a child born through Satan being the father and you being the mother. You have given your heart and your tongue to Satan, at that time, to produce a child called a lie. God never fathers lies. That is why it is so important to learn, once we become Christians (believers), to always speak the truth.
Jesus said, concerning this matter, "Let your statement be, 'Yes, Yes' or 'No, No'; anything beyond these is of evil" (Mt. 5:37) He also said, "You should not swear. Don't make an oath at all" (Mt. 5:34). You don't need to make an oath because, when a man is making an oath, he puts his hand on the Bible or swears by God or heaven or something like that. What he is really saying? 'Well most of the time I tell lies, but right now, I am speaking the truth because I am swearing.' But Jesus said, "You shouldn't be like that. You should just speak the truth the whole time, that, you don't need to swear at all." No statement made under oath should be more truthful than a statement made without oath. It should be the same. Anything beyond this is of evil.
What is the first thing God requires from us when we come to Him? It is not perfection, it is not purity, it is not goodness, it is not love, and it is none of these things. There is only one thing God requires from us when we come to Him, and that is honesty. In Jeremiah 3:13, 14 we read what the Lord is saying through His prophet, "Only acknowledge your iniquity, that you have transgressed against the Lord your God and return and I am a master to you and I will take you and bring you to Zion." That is, I will bring you to the church if you will only acknowledge your iniquity. In other words, be honest. What did the woman caught in adultery have? Honesty! She had no other virtue. What about the thief who hung on the cross? He said, 'I deserve this.' He acknowledged that he was a criminal deserving death. The other thief, the unrepentant thief, was not willing to acknowledge that. He told Jesus, 'Get us down from this cross. We don't deserve to die.' He went to hell, not because he was a criminal, but because he was dishonest. The other one, on the other side, was equally a criminal or perhaps a greater criminal than the one who went to hell, but he was honest. He said, 'I deserve this' and he went to paradise.
Paradise is not made for perfect people. It is made for honest people . It is made for people who are willing to speak the truth. The first sin mentioned in the Bible is lying. We get to read, in Genesis 3, about the first sin mentioned in the Bible, and that is not the sin Eve committed when she ate of the tree that God had forbidden. There is a sin mentioned in Genesis 3 even before that, not committed by man but by Satan. When Satan came to Eve and asked her, 'Has God said, 'You shouldn't eat of any of these trees?' And the woman said, 'Well, God has said, 'If you eat from this tree, which is in the middle of the garden, you will die." The serpent said in Genesis 3:4, 'You surely shall not die.' That was a lie. That is the first lie and the first sin mentioned in the scriptures; you shall not die, you can disobey God but you will not be punished for it, you will not go to hell. Sin does not have a punishment. That was the lie with which Satan deceived Eve, and ever since, he has deceived the entire human race for thousands of years, even until today. There are preachers who comfort sinners in their sins. There are preachers who comfort believers in their sin, saying, 'You have accepted the Lord. You will go to heaven, no matter how much you sin.'
The Bible says in Ecclesiastes 8:11, "Because the sentence against an evil work is not executed quickly, therefore the hearts of the sons of men are fully given to do evil." It is because God does not punish immediately, people keep on living in sin. Therefore the devil says, 'You're not going to be punished. Look at all these other people around you. Look at these sins they commit. Look at the believers who do so many wrong things and they get away with it.' They haven't got away with it. God's punishment, His judgment has not yet come. That is all. So there is a lie with which Satan is fooling people all over: you can sin and you will not suffer. The Bible says that, "If you live according to the flesh, you will surely die" (Rom. 8:13). But Satan says, 'No, you will not die. God is merciful. God is gracious. You have asked Jesus to come into your life. So, even if you live according to flesh, you will not die.' That is a deception. If you live according to the flesh you will die. There is no doubt about it at all. If Satan is a liar, he seeks to transmit that nature to his children. And it is very easy for a believer to be infected with that too. Whenever you tell a lie, you are offering yourself to Satan to father one more child.
The last sin mentioned in the Bible is in Revelation 22:15. There it says about those who will be outside the city of God in the final day: "Everyone who loves and practices a lie will be outside the kingdom." Have you ever noticed this before, that, the first sin and the last sin mentioned in the Bible is telling a lie? Lying is a very serious thing. Lying to God, lying to people and every lie is fathered by Satan. Peter said to Ananias, "Why have you lied to the Holy Spirit?" That is why he was killed. The first sin judged in the early church was lying. It is extremely serious. And that is why, as parents, one of the most important things we must teach our children is to stop telling lies. Our children are born with our nature. They tell lies from birth. Unless we show them how serious it is, unless they can see it in our lives they won't learn. They need to see, as parents, we take speaking the truth very seriously, that, if we say something we will do it. If we promised to do something for our children, we need to keep our word or explain to them if some other circumstances came up that prevented us from doing it.
Telling the truth is a quality, a virtue. We have to battle whole-heartedly, if we want to acquire it. The Holy Spirit is the spirit of truth. If you want to be truthful, you have to ask the Holy Spirit to fill you and to mortify this lying habit in all your speech. If we do that, we will find that God gives us discernment on the lies which Satan seeks to deceive us with.