Sunday, August 04, 2013

White Lies and the Regenerate Man

In today's reading from Colossians 3:1-11, the Apostle Paul writes about the regenerate man,

"So if you have been raised with Christ, seek the things that are above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. Set your minds on things that are above, not on things that are on earth, for you have died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God. When Christ who is your life is revealed, then you also will be revealed with him in glory."

"Put to death, therefore, whatever in you is earthly: fornication, impurity, passion, evil desire, and greed (which is idolatry). On account of these the wrath of God is coming on those who are disobedient. These are the ways you also once followed, when you were living that life. But now you must get rid of all such things—anger, wrath, malice, slander, and abusive language from your mouth. Do not lie to one another, seeing that you have stripped off the old self with its practices and have clothed yourselves with the new self, which is being renewed in knowledge according to the image of its creator. In that renewal there is no longer Greek and Jew, circumcised and uncircumcised, barbarian, Scythian, slave and free; but Christ is all and in all!" Colossians 3:1-11

That new self sounds great, but one must remember that there are drawbacks. I wonder if a little anger every now might not be a bad thing.

And what about lying? Does anyone remember the classic problem of whether or not it is right to tell a "white lie"? How many times are we tempted to "say the right (politically correct) thing" instead of saying the RIGHT thing? All too often today, truthfulness in speech is often interpreted as abusive language. The next time you, the regenerate man, are accused of hate speech, discrimination, or of using denigrating or abusive language when in fact you are speaking to the truth, understand that the new self is showing forth. The new self comes in conflict with the old self every time you are faced with the desire to tell a lie to stay within the bounds of modern-day political correctness.

"The deceitful desires that lead us to lie must be replaced by the truth of Jesus that leads us to truthfulness. This is what it means 'to be renewed in the spirit of your minds' (Ephesians 4:23). The mind has to be filled with falsehood-fighting truth. And out of that truth will come righteousness and holiness, and part of this holiness is that we will "speak the truth to our neighbors' (Ephesians 4:25)."

"Telling the truth is evidence that we know God and have faith in Him, because faith in the goodness and sovereignty of God conquers the deceitful craving for esteem and safety and possessions that causes us to distort the truth in order to gain a worldly advantage. With faith in a God like ours, there is no need to be deceitful. He knows what is best for us, and He will always give it." John Piper "Is Lying Ever Okay for Christians?" 2010, Relevant Magazine

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