Tuesday, June 18, 2002

Little White Lie

First an Admission

I ventured into politics yesterday and, as usual when I do that, I got my head chewed off. I try to avoid politics because I really don’t have anything to add. However it appears that every two weeks or so the urge returns like a bad itch, and I just can resist jumping into the fray.

Back to my preferred subject, the Holy Scriptures. Today I want to talk about lying. Is it:

  1. always a sin and never acceptable
  2. always a sin, but sometimes acceptable
  3. sometimes not a sin, and therefore sometimes acceptable

Hmm. Option 2 seems out of the question, to me-- how can a sin be acceptable? That leaves option 1 or option 3. I choose 3. I think that in some circumstances it is acceptable to lie. Here is my reasoning.

In THE Book of Joshua, as opposed the The Book of Joshua (both excellent reads, but I must admit the former is postively inspired) we read of Rahab the harlot. Rahab lied to protect Joshua’s spies. It was unabashedly bold-faced. She hid the two men, then sent the representatives of the King of Jericho on a wild goose chase:

But the woman had taken the two men and hidden them, and she said, "Yes, the men came to me, but I did not know where they were from. "It came about when it was time to shut the gate at dark, that the men went out; I do not know where the men went. Pursue them quickly, for you will overtake them." (Joshua 2:4-5, NASB )

How was Rahab dealt with for her lie? Well, later she (and her father’s household) were spared by Joshua:

"The city shall be under the ban, it and all that is in it belongs to the LORD; only Rahab the harlot and all who are with her in the house shall live, because she hid the messengers whom we sent. (Joshua 6:17, NASB)

We also read in the New Testament:

By faith Rahab the harlot did not perish along with those who were disobedient, after she had welcomed the spies in peace. (Hebrews 11:31, NASB)

In the same way, was not Rahab the harlot also justified by works when she received the messengers and sent them out by another way? (James 2:25, NASB)

(Note: It is not easy for me to let James' verse with the phrase “justified by works” slip by without further comment. But I’ll defer that for another day.)

It would seem that Rahab is held in high esteem, and that her lie was not regarded as sinful. I could not argue that point conclusively, but that is how I read it.

Here is another way to look at it. Let us call what Rahab did an "untruth". I am not looking for a PC euphemism-- I want a different word so that I can make this analogy: Rahab's untruth is to lying as killing is to murder. We know that justified taking of a life (killing) is not the same as murder. In the same way, a justified untruth is not the same as a self-serving lie.

More Messianic Prophesy

Here another Messianic prophesy to ponder. This one is about the inconceivable insult of spitting in our Lord’s face.

I gave My back to those who strike Me, And My cheeks to those who pluck out the beard; I did not cover My face from humiliation and spitting. (Isaiah 50:6, NASB)

Which is fulfilled as described in the book of Matthew (See also Mark 14:65).

Then they spat in His face and beat Him with their fists; and others slapped Him, (Matthew 26:67, NASB)

(If you missed my previous post on this subject, it is here.)

Follow up on Perseverance of the Saints

In discussing what puts the ’P’ in TULIP I really should of included this verse:

And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose. (Rom. 8:28, NASB)

God causes all things to work together for the good of those who are saved. Clearly anything that would ultimately cause you to lose your salvation could not be acting for your good. Recall also that the Spirit is interceding on our behalf. Backing up a couple of verses:

In the same way the Spirit also helps our weakness; for we do not know how to pray as we should, but the Spirit Himself intercedes for us with groanings too deep for words; and He who searches the hearts knows what the mind of the Spirit is, because He intercedes for the saints according to the will of God.(Rom. 8:26-27, NASB)

[UPDATE: The Joyful Christian hoped my post would be more comprehensive -- his request is granted by Oliver Tseng.]

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