“But the fearful, and unbelieving, and the abominable, and murderers, and whoremongers, and sorcerers, and idolaters, and all liars, shall have their part in the lake which burneth with fire and brimstone: which is the second death.”
“..and all liars..”
Something more of us should ponder: “..the fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom.” Whenever I read these “list texts” in scripture — those passages where we are given an actual inventory of those who will be consigned to everlasting hellfire — the powerful clarity of the warnings seems at odds with both the easy-mercy, surfer-Jesus theology of our age and our own casual approach to sin itself.
This theme is repeated several times in the New Testament. In Romans: “Neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor homosexuals, nor sodomites, nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners.” In Galatians, a little more exhaustive list of hell-bound behavior: “adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lewdness, idolatry, sorcery, hatred, contentions, jealousies, outbursts of wrath, selfish ambitions, dissensions, heresies, envy, murders, drunkenness, revelries.” In 1 Timothy: “lawless,..disobedient, ..ungodly,.. unholy and profane, murderers of fathers and murderers of mothers, .. manslayers, .. whoremongers, …them that defile themselves with mankind, .. menstealers, …liars, ..perjured persons, ..any other thing that is contrary to sound doctrine..”
In Revelation, “all liars” seem to be called out with a special emphasis as though the identity itself — “liar” — encapsulates and summarizes all the other sins in itself. We’re not talking mere falsehood or ignorance here. We’re talking about knowing the truth and suppressing it — hiding it, changing it, ultimately denying it. It’s the gateway drug to denying God, reveling in sin, and taking up residence in hell.
If you’re like me, there’s a sense, reading these lists, knowing our own lies, knowing the lies that we daily wade through just to get to work, it seems reasonable to ask God, with a nervous twitch, “well, does that mean we are ALL thrown into the lake of fire?”
“We should be,” you answer, “except for the blood of Christ.”
And then I would respond, without false accusation or acrimony, “yes, but you still lie. You believe. You have saving faith, but you still lie.”
And you would nod sadly, along with the apostle Paul. “Yes, I do.”
The only distinction that gives us any comfort in all of this — we hope — is the matter of identity. Yes, you have been disobedient on occasion, but are you, as a matter of routine, a disobedient person? Yes, you committed sexual sin, but are you given over, wholly, to sexual sin? Are you a serial adulterer and fornicator? Is that how people would describe you? Have you become the sin itself? Yes, you’ve cut corners, on occasion, in business but would people describe you, generally, as a swindler?
Over the years, watching politicians like Bill and Hillary Clinton, I had the actual impression they no longer even knew if they were telling the truth, or if they did, they had become so calloused to lying, so willing to believe their lies served some greater good, that they could lie on demand without the slightest ripple in the waters of their conscience.
Such is even more fully the case with Joe Biden. Here’s a man who happily plagiarizes speeches, boldly lies about his academic record, shamelessly accepts credit for solutions he had nothing to do with. Here’s a man who gropes and sniffs and probes women (and girls) without, apparently, the slightest sense of remorse, much less penitence. Here’s a man who seems to brag about selling influence to the highest bidder, who has lived for decades off the public-trough, and has the audacity to call it all “hard work.”
Honestly, can you even imagine Joe Biden approaching one of his victims (women, Clarence Thomas, the American taxpayer), and saying, “you know, I’ve been thinking about what I did and I just feel awful about it.” It’s almost impossible to imagine Joe having even an ounce of self-reflection about his behavior. How else can you explain shouting you’re at the “top of your class” when even a little sleuthing would reveal the lie?
He has become a lie, a cheat, a fraud. That’s the very blood that runs in his veins and the DNA rebuilding his fingernails. If he were not the president of the United States but a potential associate, we would easily ban him from our various tribes. Someone would observe “he’s a liar and a pervert,” and everyone would nod their heads in agreement.
Our own salvation — worked out with fear and trembling — can’t simply be a product of concluding we’re not Joe Biden, but in our obligation to “judge righteous judgment,” Joe Biden represents a valuable lesson. Don’t go down that road, kids. It’s very hot at the end of the trail.