Just before mid-night July 25th, a nine foot statue of Baphomet was unveiled in Detroit, to the cheers of hundreds of paying attendees shouting “Hail Satan.” Just a day earlier, a United States senator decried his senate leader’s lying to 54 members of his party three times, “like Peter,” referencing Simon’s three denials of Christ after his arrest.
In a sad kind of way, the two above stories are related. Satan is the “father of lies” and his followers are emboldened by the increased paganism of many pockets of American culture. But worse than that, lying is not seen as much of a negative among the general population anymore. Politicians seem to be able to lie with impunity. There is seldom a negative fallout to one who violates a campaign promise, or says he or she did something or other that was never really done. The reason for politicians getting away with lying is that it is almost expected. What is sad about that is, as it has been said, we get the leaders we deserve. If leaders in a republic are apt to tell lies and get away with it, it is because the people as a whole do the same. And who wins? The father of lies.
We have been desensitized to lying. In the past weeks, I have shopped for a vehicle. After seeing the advertisements, I would contact the sellers. It is interesting to find the discrepancies between the ads and the reality. One car was advertised to have been “Pre-Owned Certified” but when the salesman was asked on the phone to confirm the claim, he had to deny it. The trouble was, I was not even surprised. How often have we heard a newscast affirm a “fact” only to find later that the reporting was completely wrong? It is almost amusing to note how often there are news reports of how some “scientific discovery” will destroy the Biblical creation account, only to find out often weeks or months later that the claims were exaggerated, false, or misapplied.
The truth is that being desensitized to lying is devastating. With lying being almost expected in many situations, we lose sight of the serious consequences of the lie. One lie can destroy years of an honest reputation. If a person lies about one thing, how can you trust them about anything? But worse than loss of a good name, which is to be treasured above great riches, is the loss of the soul. “All liars,” we read in Revelation “shall have their part in the lake which burneth with fire and brimstone: which is the second death” (Rev.21:8). The tragedy of the lie is that it has eternal consequences for the future of the liar and also the futures of those who follow the blind guide and will fall into the ditch with him.
In contrast to the lie is the truth. Jesus said his purpose in coming to earth was directly related to truth. “To this end was I born, and for this cause came I into the world, that I should bear witness unto the truth. Every one that is of the truth heareth my voice” (John 18:37). Those who refuse to listen to the word of God will be subject to lies. So the farther people stray from Christ, the more they will be subject to the perversions of the father of lies.
It is not mere coincidence that Baphomet is being recognized and the unveiling of the devilish statue is given prominence as a national news story while politicians, media people, the entertainment industry, and large Wall Street businesses engage in lying as part of their mode of operation. In most of these cases they have long since abandoned any semblance of interest in Jesus. In fact these movers and shakers of American culture have for the most part indicated an unprecedented hostility to public expression of belief in the One who said, “I am the…truth.”
Most people who follow the lie of unbelief were not overtly part of the public ceremony unveiling the pagan statue. Likely, the majority were unaware of it or ignored it. Yet being subject to the father of lies does not depend on being part of a heathen event. All it takes is to ignore the truth. All it takes is to neglect Christ.
The writer of Hebrews, by a rhetorical question, warned of this danger. “How shall we escape, if we neglect so great salvation; which at the first began to be spoken by the Lord, and was confirmed unto us by them that heard him…?” Heb.2:3). When we become careless about Jesus and His salvation, we are subject to major compromises of the truth. It happened to me.
As a junior in high school, trying to fit in with the popular clique, I began to repeat some jokes that were less than appropriate. One of my classmates caught me in the hallway and observed, “What’s wrong with you? You are going to pot. You never used to say things like that.” I was shamed, but denied that anything was wrong with me. My denial was an untruth. I had neglected my relationship with Jesus. I had compromised. I had, spiritually, “gone to pot.” That was a wake-up call to me, not delivered by an evangelist, but by a friend who had seen the decline in my conversation. I cried out to God in the days that followed. I could not go on neglecting the Lord Jesus. It was not long until the Lord faithfully made it plain that I needed to yield control of everything in my life to Him. At a mission’s service during the call to become available to God for whatever He wanted, at about the fourth verse of the song of consecration, I went to the altar. I knelt, symbolically at the feet of Jesus, and presented myself to Him, as a living sacrifice.
I did not have an emotional experience of outward exuberance. What I did have was a sense that I no longer belonged to myself, but to Him who had died for me, so that I could be cleansed from my neglect, my compromise, my carelessness, and that I could follow the truth by His power.
Anyone who is careful to maintain his heart’s search for God will be careful about the truth. “Hear the word of the LORD, ye that tremble at his word… he shall appear to your joy” (Isa. 66:5). If we keep a proper reverential fear regarding the Word of God it will bring a life of blessing. “He will appear to your joy.” There is joy in serving Jesus. There is joy in following the truth. No lie.