Sermon 568. What God Cannot Do!
DELIVERED ON SUNDAY MORNING, MAY 8, 1864, BY THE REV. C. H. SPURGEON, AT THE METROPOLITAN TABERNACLE, NEWINGTON.
"God, that cannot lie." Titus 1:2.
TRUTH once reigned supreme upon our globe and then earth was Paradise. Man knew no sorrow while he was ignorant of falsehood.The Father of Lies invaded the garden of bliss and with one foul lie he blighted Eden into a wilderness and made man a traitorto his God. Cunningly he handled theglittering falsehood and made it dazzle in the woman's eyes-"God does know that in the day you eat thereof, then your eyesshall be opened and you shall be as gods, knowing good and evil."
Proud ambition rode upon that lie as a conqueror in his chariot and the city of Mansoul opened its gates to welcome the fascinatingenemy. As it was a lie which first subjugated the world to Satan's influences, so it is by lies that he secures his throne.Among the heathen his kingdom is quiet andsecure, because the minds of the people are deluded with a false mythology. The domains of Mahomet and the Pope are equallythe kingdom of Satan and his reign is undisturbed, for human merit, priestly efficacy, and a thousand other deceptions buttresshis throne. The darkness ofignorance, the dungeons of falsehood and the chains of superstition are the main reliance of that monster who oppressesall the nations with his infernal tyranny.
Since by the lie Satan now holds the world and maintains his power, he everywhere encourages lies and aids their propagation.Look about you and see what a prolific family falsehood has! The children of the untrue are as many as the frogs of Egypt,and like those plagues, they intrude into everychamber. The slime of falsehood may be seen upon most things, both in secular and religious life. You have lying news andgarbled reports in print. And as for the flying gossip of the tongue, if it touches the characters of good men, beware ofbelieving a word it utters. If youwould not have complicity with those who make the lie, be not hasty to entertain it.
From the high places of the earth falsehood is not excluded. The untruth glides right royally from the kingly tongue, butis as much a lie as if the ragged mendicant had blurted it forth with low-lived oaths and curses. What is diplomacy for themost part? Is it not "the art of lying"? Was not hethought to be the best politician who used language to conceal his thoughts? In how many a conference have the plenipotentiarieslabored which could overreach, dissimulate and intrigue to the greatest degree?
In the commerce of courts who knows not that flatteries and lies are the most abundant commodities? The art of king-craft,as practiced by the most high and mighty Prince James, whose name dishonors our English Bible, was only and simply the scienceof lying in the neatest possible manner. In thesemodern times, the difference between the promises of the politicians and the performances in the House of Commons provesthat the lie is still commonly patronized. Falsehood is everywhere. It is entertained both by the lowest and the highest.It permeates all society. It has ruinedthe whole of our race and so defiled the entire world that upright men exclaim, "Woe is me, that I sojourn in Mesech, thatI dwell in the tents of Kedar!"
In the so-called religious world, which should be as the Holy of Holies, here, too, the lie has insinuated itself. Of oldthere were prophets who prophesied lies and dreamers of false dreams. And there were others who spoke the Word of God withsuch bated breath and after such a fashion that it wasno longer the Truth as it came from God, but truth alloyed with human falsehood. It is so today. There are those wearingthe vestments of God's priests who do not hesitate to profess what they do not believe. Such men are the priests of Hell.To wear a bishop's miter and teachinfidelity-how shall I stigmatize it? It is nothing less than detestable hypocrisy and robbery.
And what shall I say of men of all creeds, all subscribing to the same articles and catechism when all the world knows theycannot all honestly believe the same thing and yet differ as much from one another as light from darkness? What shall I saybut that shame covers my face that there should beso many ministers of God who are untrue to their convictions and continue to do and say what they feel to be unscriptural?In other quarters philosophy is believed and Christianity professed-the traditions of men are put in the place of God's Truth.The prophets prophesy liesand the people love to have it so.
Brethren, we have everywhere to battle with falsehood and if we are to bless the world we must confront it with sturdy faceand zealous spirit. God's purpose is to drive the lie out of the world and let this be your purpose and mine. His Holy Spirithas undertaken to drive falsehood out of ourhearts-be this our determination, in His strength-that it shall be cut up root and branch and utterly consumed. Then letus walk in the Truth of God. "Buy the Truth and sell it not," hold fast the Truth, speak the Truth in love and act the Truthin all our deeds, for soshall we be known to be the children of that God of whom our text asserts that He is "God, that cannot lie."
After wandering over the sandy desert of deceit, how pleasant is it to reach our text and feel that one spot, at least, isverdant with eternal Truth! Blessed be You, O God, for You cannot lie!
We will use our text in the following manner this morning-first, while we do not attempt to prove it, we will remind you ofa few things which may confirm your confidence that God cannot lie so that our opening remarks shall be upon the truth ofthe text. Then secondly, we will speak upon thebreadth of the text, endeavoring to show that we must give no narrow interpretation to the words before us, but must receivethem with an extent of meaning not usual to the expression. And then, thirdly, we will try to use the text for our own improvement,arguing from it that ifGod cannot lie He ought to receive our loving confidence.
I. First, then, let us commune together awhile concerning THE TRUTH OF THE TEXT, not, as we have said, to prove it, becausewe all believe it, but to confirm our confidence of it. I think we shall feel assured that God cannot lie when we rememberthat He is not subject to those infirmities whichlead us into falsehood. Lord Bacon has said, "There are three parts in truth-first, the enquiry, which is the wooing ofit. Secondly, the knowledge of it, which is the presence of it. And thirdly, the belief, which is the enjoyment of it."
In each of these three points, by reason of infirmity, men fail to be perfectly true. In the search after truth, our moraleye is not altogether clear and therefore we fail to see what we love not. We do not follow truth in a straight line, butare very liable to turn aside to the right hand or tothe left, either to obey our prejudices or advance our profit. "Truth lies in a well," said the old philosopher. Many godown into that well to find Truth, but looking into the water they see their own faces and become so desperately enamoredof their own beauty that they forgetpoor Truth, or dream that she is the counterpart of themselves.
Now the great God cannot be liable to this error, because there is no discovery of truth with Him. He needs not to searchanything out, for "all things are naked and opened unto the eyes of Him with whom we have to do." When in Scripture that termis sometimes used-"Shall not God search thisout?"-when we hear Him spoken of as "searching the heart and trying the reins of the children of men," it is not becauseHe is not perfectly acquainted with all things, but only to set forth the certainty and accuracy of Divine knowledge.
God has no need to search, or if He had, having nothing in Him which should lead Him to make a dishonest search, He does notlie. When we have searched out the Truth of God there is the knowing of it. And here the falsehood gets a footing in the formof a sin of omission, for we often refuse toknow all that we might know. It would be inconvenient, perhaps, for us to be too well acquainted with certain arguments,for then our prejudices must be given up and therefore we close our eyes to them for fear of knowing the truth.
Do not many men leave passages of Scripture altogether unread because they have no wish to receive the doctrines which aretaught in them? Every time you refuse to give a hearing to God's Truth, you do in effect lie because you prefer not to knowthe Truth of God, which is really to prefer to holderror. Now nothing of this kind can ever happen with our only wise God. He knows all Truth, seeing it all at a glance andretaining it ever in His mind. In nothing is He ignorant, either willfully or otherwise.
He receives Truth as His own Beloved and when the world casts her out, she finds a happy shelter beneath His shield. We arequite clear that we frequently fall into the lie through a defect in our believing, for we sometimes know more than we careto believe. Truth is grasped by the understandingbut thrust out by the affections. We know her as Peter knew his
Lord and yet deny it after the same fashion as that disciple did his Master. Moreover, through weakness, we are led to doubtwhat we know to be God's Truth and even to speak unadvisedly with our lips.
Now this can never occur with God, since God is One and is not to be divided into parts and passions and His tongue can neverbe diverse from His heart. God's tongue is His heart and God's heart is His hand. God is One. You and I are such that we canknow in the heart, and yet with the tongue deny.But God is One and indivisible. God is Light, and in Him is no darkness at all. With Him is no variableness, neither shadowof turning.
Then again, the Scriptural idea of God forbids that He should lie. Just review your thoughts about God, if you can. What ideahave you formed of Him? If you have read Holy Scripture and have gotten the slightest shadow of an idea of God, I think youwill see that it is utterly inconsistent with thethrice Holy One, whose kingdom is over all, that He should lie. Admit the very possibility of His speaking an untruth andto the Christian there would be no God at all. The depraved mind of the heathen may imagine a monster to be a god who canlive in adultery and in theft and inlying, for such the gods of the Hindus are described as being. But the enlightened mind of the Christian can conceive nosuch thing. The very word "God" comprehends everything which is good and great. Admit the lie and to us at once there wouldbe nothing but the black darkness ofAtheism. I could neither love, worship, nor obey a lying God.
Again, we all know that God is too wise to lie. Falsehood is the expedient of a fool. It is only a short-sighted man who lies.For some present advantage the poor creature who cannot see the end as well as the beginning states that which is not. Butno wise man who can look far into the future everthinks a lie to be profitable. He knows that Truth may suffer loss at first but that in the long run she is always successful.He endorses that worldly-wise proverb, that, "Honesty is the best policy" after all. And the man, I say, who has anythinglike foresight, or judgment, orwisdom, prefers always the straight line to the curve and goes directly to the mark, believing that this is in the end thebest.
Do you suppose that God, who must know this, with an intensity of knowledge infinitely greater than ours, will choose thepolicy of the witless knave? Shall God, only wise, who sees the end from the beginning, act as only brainless fools will chooseto behave themselves? Oh, it cannot be, myBrethren! God, the All-Wise, must also be All-True. And the lie, again, is the method of the little and the mean. You knowthat a great man does not lie. A good man can never be false. Put goodness and greatness together and a lie is altogetherincongruous to the character.
Now God is too great to need the lie and too good to wish to do such a thing! Both His greatness and His goodness repel thethought. My dear Friends, what motive could God have for lying? When a man lies it is that he may gain something, but "thecattle on a thousand hills" are God's and all thebeasts of the forest and all the flocks of the meadows. He says, "if I were hungry I would not tell you." Mines of inexhaustibleriches are His and treasures of infinite power and wisdom. He cannot gain anything by untruth, for "the earth is the Lord'sand the fullness thereof."Why, then, should
Men are false, oftentimes, to win applause. See how the sycophant cringes to the tyrant's foot and spawns his villainy. ButGod needs no honor and no fame, especially from the wicked. To Him it were the greatest disgust of His righteous soul to beloved by unholy creatures. His Glory is greatenough even if there were no creatures! His own self-contained Glory is such that if there were no eyes to see it and noears to hear it, He would be infinitely glorious. He asks nothing-no respect and no honor of man-and therefore has He no needto stoop to the lie togain it. And of whom, again, could He be afraid? Men will sometimes, under the impulse of fear, keep back or even contradictthe truth, but can fear ever enter into the heart of the eternal God?
He looks down upon all nations who are in rebellion against Him and He does not even care to rise to put them down. "He thatsits in the heavens shall laugh: the Lord shall have them in derision!" Are not the chariots of the Lord twenty thousand,even thousands of angels? Even these are but as adrop in a bucket, when compared with the deep and infinite sea of His own power. Who, then, shall think that Jehovah needsto be afraid? "Fear," and "Jehovah," are two words which cannot meet together. Therefore, since there can be no motive whateverwhich should possibly lead Godto lie, we feel well assured that the declaration of Paul is most certainly true-"God, that cannot lie."
Moreover, dear Friends, we may add to all this the experience of men with regard to God. It has been evident enough in allages that God cannot lie. He did not lie when Adam fell. It seemed a strange thing, that after all the skill and labor whichhad been spent in making such a world as this, sofair and beautiful, God should resign it to the dominion of Satan and drive the man whom He had made in His own image, outof his home, his Eden, to labor in sweat and toil and suffer- ing until he came to his grave. But God did it and the fierysword at the gate of Eden was proofthat God could not and would not lie.
He might come to Adam and bemoan himself, crying, "Adam, where are you?" as if He pitied him and would, if it had been possible,have spared the stroke. But still it must be done and Eden is blasted and Adam becomes a wanderer upon the fruitless earth.Then afterwards, to quote a notable instanceof God's faithfulness, when the flood swept away the race of men and Noah came forth the heritor of a new Covenant, we haveclear proof that God cannot lie. No flood has ever destroyed the earth since then. Partial floods there have been and partsof provinces have been inundated,but no flood has ever come upon the earth of such a character as that which Noah saw-therefore the rainbow, every time itis painted upon the cloud-is an assurance to us that God cannot lie.
Then He made an oath with Abraham that he should have a son and that his seed should become possessors of all the land inwhich the Patriarch had sojourned. Did not that come true? They waited in Egypt two hundred years. They smarted under thetyrant's lash. They lay among the pots and yet, afterall, with a high hand and with an outstretched arm He brought forth His people, led them through the wilderness and dividedCanaan by lot to them, having driven out the inhabitants of the land before them. Since that time He made His Covenant withDavid and how fast has that stood!All the threats which He has uttered against the enemies of Israel-how surely have they been fulfilled!
Last of all and best of all, when the fullness of time was come, did not God send forth His own Son, born of a woman, madeunder the Law? Did He not, according to His ancient promise, lay upon Him the iniquity of us all? Were not the Incarnationand death of our Lord Jesus the grandest proof of thetruthfulness of God which could be afforded? His own Son must leave Heaven emptied of His Glory, must be given up to bedespised and rejected of men, must be nailed to the accursed wood and be forsaken in the hour of His bitterest grief-hereinis Truth, indeed! I say if thismust be according to the promise and if this was according to the fact, then we have the clearest and the surest evidencethat God cannot by any possibility be false to His own Word. Rightly has He earned the title which His Nature claims-"God,that cannot lie."
May I not add as another argument that you have found Him true? You have been to Him, dear Friends, in many times of trial.You have taken His promise and laid it before His Mercy Seat. What do you say-has He ever broken His promise? You have beenthrough the floods-did He leave you?You have passed through the fires-were you burned? You have cried to Him in trouble-did He fail to deliver you? O you poorand needy ones, you have been brought very low, but has He not been your Helper? You have passed hard by the gates of thegrave and Hell has openedits horrid jaws to swallow you up, but are you not today the living monuments of the fidelity of God to His promise andthe veracity of every Word of the Most High God? Let these things, then, refresh your memories that you may the more confidentlyknow that He is "God, that cannotlie."
II. Let us pass on to look at THE BREADTH OF MEANING IN THE TEXT. When we are told in Scripture that
God cannot lie there is usually associated with the idea the thought of immutability. As for instance-"He is not a man thatHe should lie, nor the son of man that He should repent." The word "lie," here includes beyond its ordinary meaning the thoughtof change, so that when we read that Godcannot lie, we understand by it not only that He cannot say what is untrue, but that having said something which is true,He never changes from it and does not by any possibility alter His purpose or retract His Word.
This is very consolatory to the Christian, that whatever God has said in the Divine purpose is never changed. The Decreesof God were not written upon sand, but upon the eternal brass of His unchangeable Nature. We may truly say of the sealed Bookof the Decrees, "Has He said and shall He not doit? Has He purposed and shall it not come to pass?" We read in Scripture of several instances where God apparently changed,but I think the observation of the old Puritan explains all these, He says, "God may will a change, but He cannot change Hiswill." Those changes of operationwhich we sometimes read of in Scripture did not involve any change in the Divine purpose!
God, for instance, sent to warn Hezekiah that according to the common course of nature he must die, and yet afterwards fifteenyears were added to his life-God's purpose having been all along that Hezekiah should live till the end of the fifteen years.But still His purpose equally includedthat Hezekiah should be brought so near to the gates of death that in the ordinary course of nature he must die. And thenthat the miracle should come in was still part of the purpose, that Hezekiah might be cured in a supernatural manner and bemade to live nearer to his God inconsequence. God wills a change, but He never changes His will.
And when the Last Great Day shall come, you and I shall see how everything happened according to that hidden roll whereinGod had written with His own wise finger every thought which man should think, every word which he should utter and everydeed which he should do. Just as it was in the Book ofDecree, so shall it transpire in the roll of human history. God never changes, then, as to His purpose and here is our comfort.If He has determined to save us and we know He has, for all who believe in Him are His elect, then we shall be saved. Heavenshall never by any possibilitybe defeated by Hell. Hell and earth may combine together to destroy a soul which rests upon Christ, but while God's Decreestands fast and firm, that chosen soul is safe! And since that Decree never can be removed, let us take confidence and rejoice.
No promise has ever been altered and no threat, either. Still is His promise sure. "I have not said unto the seed of Jacob,seek you My face in vain." No new decrees have been passed repealing the past. We can never say of God's Book, as we can ofold law books, that such-and-such an act isobsolete. There is no obsolete Statute in God's Book. There stand promises, as fresh, as new, as vigorous and as forcefultoday as when they first dropped from the mouth of God. The words, then, "God, that cannot lie," include the very graciousand precious doctrine that He cannotby any possibility change.
But we must not, while talking in this manner, forget the primary meaning, that He cannot be false in His thoughts, Words,or actions. There is no shadow of a lie upon anything which God thinks, or speaks, or does. He cannot lie in His prophecies.How solemnly true have they been! Ask the wastes ofNineveh! Turn to the mounds of Babylon! Let the traveler speak concerning Idumea and Petra. Turn even to the rock of Sidonand to Your land, O Immanuel! We may boldly ask the traveler, "Has He said and has He not done it? Have His words fallen tothe ground? Has God's curse been anidle Word?" No, not in one single case.
All the words of the Lord are sure. The prophecies will be as true as they have been and the Book of Revelation, though wemay not comprehend it today, will doubtless be fulfilled in every stroke and in every line and we shall marvel how it wasthat we did not know its meaning. But at present it isenough for us to know its Truth-its meaning shall only be learned as the events explain the prophesy. As God is true inHis prophecies, so is He faithful to His promises. Have you and I, dear Friends, a confidence in these? If so, let us trythem this morning.
Sinner, weeping and bemoaning yourself, God will forgive you your sin if you believe in Jesus! If you will confess that Heis faithful and just to forgive you, He has promised to do so and He cannot lie. Christian, if you have a promise today laidupon your heart, if you have been pleading it,perhaps for months and it has not been fulfilled, I pray you gather fresh courage this morning and again renew your wrestling.Go and say, "Lord, I know You cannot lie, therefore fulfill Your Word unto Your servant."
If the promises of God were not kept, God would lie. They must, therefore, be fulfilled. And let us believe that they willbe and go to God, not with a wavering spirit which half hopes that the Words may be true, but with the full assurance thatthey cannot fail! As certainly as we know that dayand night shall not cease and that summer will not fail, so surely let us be convinced that every Word of the Lord shallstand!
His threats are true, also. Ah, Sinner, you may go on in your ways for many a day, but your sin shall find you out at last.Seventy years God's long-suffering may wait over you, but when you shall come into another world you shall find every terribleWord of Scripture fulfilled. You shall then knowthat there is a place, "where their worm dies not and the fire is not quenched." You shall then experience the "wailingand gnashing of teeth" unless you repent. If you will believe in Jesus you shall find the promise true! But if you will not,equally sure shall be the threat.
This is a dreadful part of the subject to those who are out of Christ, who have never been partakers of the Holy Spirit. Itwill be in vain for you to cry to Him, then, and ask Him, then, to change His mind. No, though you should weep oceans of tears,Hell's flames cannot be quenched nor can yoursoul escape from the place to which it is finally doomed! Today, while mercy is preached to you, lay hold upon it! But remember,if you do not, as God cannot lie He cannot suffer you to escape-you must feel the weight and terror of His arm.
We might thus go through everything which concerns God, from prophesy to promises and threats and onwards and multiply observationsbut we choose to close this point by observing that every word of instruction from God is most certainly true. It is astoundinghow much sensation is caused in theChristian Church by the outbreak, every now and then, of fresh phases of infidelity. I do not think that these alarms areat all warranted. It is what we must expect to the very end of this dispensation.
If all carnal minds believed the Bible, I think the spiritual might almost begin to doubt it. But as there are always somewho will attack it, I shall feel none the less confident in it. Really, the Book of God has stood so many attacks from suchdifferent quarters that to be at all alarmed aboutit shows a very childish fear. When a rock has been standing all our lifetime and has been known to stand firmly throughoutall the ages of history, none but foolish people will think that the next wave will sweep it away.
Within our own short life-say some five-and-twenty years' recollection-have we not remembered, I was about to say almost asmany as five-and-twenty shapes of infidelity? You know it must change about every twenty years at least, for no system ofinfidelity can live longer than that!There was the witty system of objection which Voltaire introduced. And how short-lived was that! Then came the bullying,low-lived, blackguard system of Tom Paine. And how short-lived was its race! Then, in more modern times, unbelief took theshape of Secularism-whatparticular shapes it takes now we scarcely know-perhaps Colensoism is the most fashionable-but that is dying out and somethingelse will follow it.
These creations of an hour just live their little day and they are gone. But look at belief in Scripture and at Scriptureitself. The Bible is better understood, more prized, and I believe, on the whole, more practiced than ever it was since theday when its Author sent it abroad into the world. Itis still onward. And after all which has been done against it, no visible effect has been produced upon the granite wallof Scriptural Truth by all the pickaxes and boring rods which have been broken upon it.
Walking through our Museums nowadays, we smile at those who think that Scripture is not true. Every block of stone from Nineveh,every relic which has been brought from the Holy Land speaks with a tongue which must be heard even by the deaf adder of Secularismand which says, "Yes, the Bible istrue and the Word of God is no fiction." Beloved, we may rest assured that we have not a Word in the Book of God which isuntrue. There may be an interpolation or two of man's which ought to be revised and taken away, but the Book, as it comesfrom God, is Truth and nothing butTruth-not only containing God's Word, but being God's Word-being not like a lump of gold inside a mass of quartz, but allgold and nothing but gold!
And being Inspired to the highest degree-I will not say verbally inspired, but more than that-having a fullness more thanthat which the letter can convey! Having in it a profundity of meaning such as words never had when used by any other being,God having the power to speak amultitude of Truths at once. And when He means to teach us one thing according to our capability of receiving it, He oftenteaches us twenty other things which, for the time, we do not comprehend but which, by-and-by, as our senses are exercised,reveal themselves by the HolySpirit. Every time I open my Bible I will read it as the Word of "God, that cannot lie." And when I get a promise or a threat,I will either rejoice or tremble because I know that these stand fast.
Dear Friends, this leads us, in closing this point, to say that when we read that passage-"God, that cannot lie"- we understandthat His very Nature cannot lie, for He hates lies! Wherever there is a lie God is its Enemy. It was to overcome the lie ofsin that God sent His Son to bleed.And every day the thoughts of God are centered upon the extermination of evil and the extension of His own Truth. Nothingcan set forth in words to us the hatred and detestation which God has in His heart of anything which is untrue. O that weknew and felt this and would glow withthe same anger, seeking to exterminate the false, slaying it in our own hearts and giving it nothing to feed upon in ourtemper, our conversation, or our deeds!
III. But I shall now come to make a practical use of the text, in the third place, by observing HOW WE OUGHT TO ACT TOWARDSGOD IF IT IS TRUE THAT HE IS A "GOD THAT CANNOT LIE." Brethren, if it is so that God cannot lie, then it must be the naturalduty of all His creatures to believe Him. I cannotresist that conclusion. It seems to me to be as clear as noonday that it is every man's duty to believe the Truth of God,and that if God must speak and act Truth and Truth only, it is the duty of all intelligent creatures to believe Him.
Here is "Duty-faith" again, which some are railing at, but how they can get away from it and yet believe that God cannot lie,I cannot understand. If it is not my duty to believe in God, then it is no sin for me to call God a liar. Will anyone subscribeto that-that God is a liar? I thinknot. And if to think God to be a liar would be a most atrocious piece of blasphemy, then it can only be so on the groundthat it is the natural and incumbent duty of every creature understand- ing the truthfulness of God to believe in God! IfGod has set forth the Lord Jesus Christas the Propitiation for sin and has told me to trust Christ, it is my duty to trust Christ, because God cannot lie.
And though my sinful heart will never believe in Christ as a matter of duty but only through the work of the Holy Spirit,yet faith does not cease to be a duty. And whenever I am unbelieving and have doubts concerning God, however moral my outwardlife may be, I am living in daily sin! I amperpetrating a sin against the first principles of morality. If I doubt God, as far as I am able I rob Him of His honorand stab Him in the vital point of His Glory. I am, in fact, living an open traitor and a sworn rebel against God upon whomI heap the daily insult of daring todoubt Him.
my Hearers, there are some of you who do not believe in Christ! I wish you would look at your character and position in thislight. You are not trusting in Christ for your salvation. Remember, "He that believes not God, has made Him a liar." Thoseare John's own Inspired Words and you are, everyday that you are not a Believer in Christ, virtually writing upon your doorpost and saying with your mouth, "God is a liar.Christ is not able to save me. I will not trust Him. I do not believe God's promise. I do not think He is sincere in His invitationto me to come to Christ. Ido not believe what God says."
Remember that you are living in such a state as this and may God the Holy Spirit impress you with a sense of the sin of thatstate. And feeling this your sin and misery, I pray God to lead you to cry, "Lord, I believe, help You my unbelief!" This,then, is our first practical conclusion from thefact that God cannot lie. Other thoughts suggest themselves. If we were absolutely sure that there lived on earth a personwho could not lie, how would you treat him? You know there cannot be such a man! There may be a man who will not lie, butthere cannot be a man of whom it maybe said that he cannot lie, for alas, we have all the power of evil in us and we can lie and to a certain degree it is quitetrue that "all men are liars."
But if you could be certain that there was a man out of whose heart the black drop had been wrung and that he could not lie-howwould you act towards him? Well, I think you would cultivate his acquaintance. If you are true yourselves, you would desirehis friendship. You would say, "He is thefriend for me! I have trusted in such-and-such a man and he has played the Judas. I asked counsel of another, and he wasan Ahithophel. But if this man cannot lie, he shall be my bosom companion if he will accept me. And he shall be my counselorif he will but have the goodness todirect me."
1 should expect to see a levee of all the good in the world waiting at the man's door! You know how the world, with all itssinfulness, does reverence the man who is true! We had an instance in our streets the other day of the good man and the true,who received homage of all and yet that man couldlie. But inasmuch as we never have seen that he did, but his life has been straightforward, therefore have we paid him honorand deservedly so. Well now, if such is the case, should not all Christians seek more and more the friendship of God. "O Lord,be You my familiar Friend, myCounselor, my Guide. If You cannot lie I will lay bare my heart to You. I will tell You all my secrets. I will trust Youwith all the desires of my heart. I know You can never betray me, or be unfaithful. Let there be a union established betweenmy soul and Yours, and let it neverbe broken." Let communion with God be the desire of your hearts on the ground that He cannot lie.
If we knew a man who could not lie we should believe him, I think, without an oath. I cannot suppose that when he came intothe court of justice they would pass him the Bible. No, his word would be better than the oath of ordinary men if he couldnot lie. You would not need any sign or evidence toprove what he said. You would take his word at once. So should it be with God. Ah, dear Friends, God has given us more thanHis Word, He has given us His Oath. And yet, strange is it that we who profess to be His children are vile enough to distrustour own Father. And sometimes, ifHe does not give us signs and evidences, we begin to distrust Him so that, after all, I am afraid we rather trust the signsthan trust God and put more confidence in frames and evidences than we do in the naked promise, which is an atrocious sin,indeed!
Many Believers cannot be comfortable without signs and evidences. When they feel in a good frame of mind-ah, then God's promiseis true! When they can pray heartily, when they can feel the love of God shed abroad in their hearts, then they say, "HowGod has kept His promise." Ah, but, myBrothers and Sisters, that is a seeing faith. "Blessed are they that have not seen and yet have believed." Faith is to believein God when my heart is as hard as the nether millstone! When my frames are bad, when I cannot pray, when I cannot sing, whenI can do nothing good. To say,"He has promised and will perform. He has said that whoever believes in Christ is not condemned. I do believe in Christand therefore I am not condemned"-this is genuine faith.
Again, if we knew a man who could not lie we should believe him in the teeth of fifty witnesses the other way. Why, we shouldsay, "they may say what they will, but they can lie." You might have good evidence that they were usually honest men, butyou would say, "They can lie. They have the powerof lying. But here is a man who stands alone and cannot lie. Then his word must be true!"
This shows us, Beloved, that we ought to believe God in the teeth of every contradiction. Even if outward Providence shouldcome to you and say that God has forsaken you, that is only one. And even if another and another and another should come andfifty trials should all say that God has forsakenyou, yet, as God says, "I will never leave you, nor forsake you," which will you take-the one promise of God who cannotlie, or the fifty outward Providences which you cannot interpret? I know what the devil has been whispering in your ear-
"The Lord has quite forsaken you, Your God will be gracious no more."
But then, remember who has said, "Fear you not, for I am with you: be not dismayed, for I am your God." Which will you believe-thedevil's insinuation, or God's own testimony? My dear Sister, you have been praying for a certain thing for years? You pray,you pray, and you pray again, and nowdiscouragement arises! Unbelief says, "God will not hear that prayer! That prayer of yours does not come up before the Throneof God and there will be no answer." But the Lord has said, "Ask and it shall be given you. Seek and you shall find. Knockand it shall be opened unto you."Which will you believe-your unbelief-the long months of weariness and the anxieties which prompted you to discouragement?Or will you believe in the naked promise?
Why, if God cannot lie, let us give Him what we would give to a man if he were of the same character-our full confidence evenin the teeth of contradiction-for He is "God, that cannot lie." If a man were introduced to us and we were certain that hecould not lie, we should believeeverything he said, however incredible it might appear to us. I shall have an appeal to every soul here present. It doesseem very incredible at first sight that God should take a sinner, full of sin and forgive all his iniquities in one momentsimply and only upon the ground of thesinner believing in Christ! I remember the time when it seemed to me utterly impossible that I could ever have my sins forgiven.
I had a clear sense of the value of pardon and this thought would be always ringing in my ears-"It is too good to be truethat you should be pardoned. That you, an enemy, should be made into a child! That you who have gone on sinning against lightand against knowledge, should yet rejoice inunion to Christ. The thing is too good to be true!" But, beloved Friends, supposing it should seem too good to be true,yet, since you have it upon the testimony of One who "cannot lie," I pray you believe it.
"But, Sir." No! None of your "buts"! He cannot lie. "Ah, but." Away with your "ahs" and your "buts," for Jehovah cannot lie!He has said it, "He that believes and is baptized shall be saved." To believe is to trust Christ. If therefore you are trustingChrist, you must be saved. And whatever youmay be, or whatever you may have done, if you will now trust Jesus Christ you have God's Word for it-and He cannot lie-thatyou shall be saved! Come now, will you kick against the promise because of its greatness? Do not! Let your doubts and fearsbe hushed to sleep andnow, with the promise of God as your pillow and God's faithfulness as your support, lie down in peace and behold in faith'sopen vision the ladder, the top of which leads to Heaven!
Trust the promise of God in Christ and depend upon it that He will be as good to you, even to you, as His own Word, and inHeaven you shall have to sing of the "God, that cannot lie." I would that these weak words of mine, for I am very consciousof their feebleness this morning, may neverthelesshave comfort in them for any who have been doubting and fearing-that they may trust my Lord. And sure I am that if theybegin a life of faith, they will begin a life of happiness and of security! "The just shall live by faith," and well may theydo so, when they have trust ina "God, that cannot lie."
Adapted from The C.H. Spurgeon Collection, Version 1.0, Ages Software, 1.800.297.4307