The Scriptures are filled with commandments not to lie and warnings about lying’s bitter consequences. God has enshrined the prohibition against lying in His eternal moral law, the Ten Commandments. The ninth commandment states: “You shall not bear false witness against your neighbor” (Ex. 20:16). The heart of the ninth commandment is restated in Leviticus 19: “You shall not steal; you shall not deal falsely; you shall not lie to one another. You shall not swear by my name falsely, and so profane the name of your God: I am the LORD” (vv. 11–12). By lying, we profane the name of God.
It should not surprise us, then, that lying is named among the things that God hates:
There are six things that the LORDhates,
seven that are an abomination to him:
haughty eyes, a lying tongue,
and hands that shed innocent blood,
a heart that devises wicked plans,
feet that make haste to run to evil,
a false witness who breathes out lies,
and one who sows discord among brothers. (Prov. 6:16–19)
The Lord hates all sin, of course, but we are certainly meant to learn something of the wickedness of lying and the preciousness of honesty here, since lying is named twice in this wretched list: “a lying tongue” and “a false witness who breathes out lies.” Elsewhere we are told that “lying lips are an abomination to the LORD, but those who act faithfully are his delight” (Prov. 12:22). The Scriptures reserve the term “abomination” for the worst of sins, such as idolatry and homosexuality. What moral gravity there is to lying and honesty.
our trustworthy god
“God is not man, that he should lie” (Num. 23:19), we are told. The prophet Samuel states, “And also the Glory of Israel will not lie” (1 Sam. 15:29). God reveals Himself in Scripture as One who is perfectly and eternally trustworthy, the supreme Truth-Teller. Honesty is not merely something God does; it is who He is. He cannot ever be acted on in such a way that would cause His perfect truthfulness to be diminished. And since trustworthiness belongs to God’s nature, we can be assured that every single word God speaks is true. Our confidence in Scripture’s authority and inerrancy is rooted in the perfect truthfulness of God.