Liar and Truth-Teller

Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord and in the power of His might. Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. Ephesians 6:10-11

The acronym is LIAR. It is the Lexicon of Intentionally Ambiguous Recommendations. For someone who has proven himself to be a lazy employee, one might recommend him to another business by saying: “You would be very fortunate to get this person to work for you.” For an employee who has been habitually in trouble with the law, one could say: “He is a man of many convictions.” For an employee who is lacking in qualifications, one could write: “I most enthusiastically recommend this candidate with no qualifications whatsoever.” Or one might say: “All in all, I cannot say enough good things about this candidate or recommend him too highly.”

What about the employee who is so poor that the company would be better off to leave the position vacant? Here’s the “recommendation” for that: “I can assure you that no person would be better for the job.”

For a former employee who couldn’t get along with his fellow-employees, one might say: “I am pleased to say that this candidate is a former colleague of mine.”

And here is the “recommendation” for the person who deserves no consideration at all: “I would urge you to waste no time in making this person an offer of employment.”

In this lexicon, the term “intentionally ambiguous” is the delicate, sanitary name for deception, and while we might find these “recommendations” to be clever and funny, we wouldn’t enjoy being on the receiving end of them.

Deception has been going on for a very long time. It is almost as old as the human race itself. Satan was the original practitioner of it in the Garden of Eden, and he continues to use it with great success. He is the master deceiver.

One of Satan’s favorite ways to practice deception is by putting ministers into pulpits who distort the message of Christianity. The Apostle Paul put it in these words: “. . . Satan himself transforms himself into an angel of light. Therefore it is no great thing if his ministers also transform themselves into ministers of righteousness, whose end will be according to their works” (2 Cor. 11:14b-15).

Satan uses his false ministers to lull people to sleep in regard to spiritual matters. He uses them to say that we are basically good and that we need not worry about the matter of sin. He uses them to persuade us that if there is such a thing as sin, it isn’t serious because there is no judgment to come. He uses them to convince us that all are headed for heaven and, therefore, don’t need the Lord Jesus as our Savior.

The thing the Bible always stresses about the devil is his subtlety. He doesn’t come to us in a frightful way. Paul says he “transforms himself into an angel of light.” His ministers don’t come across as uncouth, crude clodhoppers. They are smooth, suave, sophisticated, clever, and funny. They are so personally appealing that naïve listeners assume that they couldn’t possibly be wrong. But wrong they are, as those who heed them will eventually learn.

On the other hand, the Lord Jesus is the supreme truth-teller. He told the truth about the devil when He said: “. . .he does not stand in the truth, be- cause there is no truth in him. When he speaks a lie, he speaks from his own resources, for he is a liar and the father of it” (John 8:44).

He also plainly warned about the devil’s ministers: “Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ravenous wolves” (Matt. 7:15).

He also tells us the truth about ourselves. He confronts us with the reality of our sinfulness (John 3:19-20) and with the certainty of divine judgment (Matt. 25:31-46).

Still further, He tells us the truth about Himself, affirming for us that He came from God (John 8:42) to provide salvation for sinners, and that we will have that salvation if we repent of our sins (Luke 13:5) and trust in Him (John 3:16,18).

The Bible is not “intentionally ambiguous” about Satan or the Lord Jesus. It is intentionally unambiguous about both, and it calls us to be intentionally unambiguous about them as well by rejecting the devil and his schemes and by receiving Christ and His salvation.

Excerpted from Coffeetime In Summer by Roger Ellsworth — daily devotionals for each day of the season. Coffeetime In Autumn, Coffeetime In Winter , and Coffeetime In Spring are also available.

Shepherd Press