The integrity of the upright will guide them, but the perversity of the unfaithful will destroy them. (Proverbs 11:3, NKJV)
The contrast in this verse is between being blameless and being devious in attitude and action toward others. It is the difference between honesty and dishonesty. Every day, we face split-second decisions that reveal whether or not we are guided by integrity. For example, do you give back the extra ten dollars of change the cashier mistakenly gave you? (If not, why not? It is not yours.) Do you protest and pay the full amount that is due when that same cashier undercharges you? (If not, why not? Honesty demands you pay what you owe.) Do you lie to close a business transaction? (Are you okay with someone lying to you in a business deal?) Do you give an honest day’s work for an honest day’s pay? (Or, do you slack off when the boss is not around?) You see, straightforwardness and honesty must guide our values and our treatment of others. Integrity produces reliability, dependability, and trustworthiness. These qualities bring success to one’s life. But, the deceitful will be caught in their own net and destroyed (Psa. 35:7-8). When a person loses his sense of truth, fairness and justice, his integrity is ruined. Left unchanged, eternal ruin awaits (Rev. 21:8).
“And like their bow they have bent their tongues for lies. They are not valiant for the truth on the earth. For they proceed from evil to evil, and they do not know Me,” says the Lord. (Jeremiah 9:3, NKJV)
Among the sins in Judah that brought Jeremiah to tears were the lies that characterized their daily existence. Dishonesty had become their nature; deceit and lies prevailed in the land rather than truth. God is a God of truth and utter integrity, and He hates “a lying tongue” (Prov. 6:16-17). His people must be holy, as He is holy. But, Judah ran from sin to sin, conforming to the evil around them instead of the holiness of Jehovah. This stern warning of divine rebuke and judgment stirs our devotion to truth, to be trustworthy in word and deed. Since “every transgression and disobedience received a just reward” under the Law of Moses, we will not escape if we choose lies over truth (Heb. 2:2-3). Be noble and brave for the truth, even when those around you speak lies. “Refrain your tongue from evil” and your “lips from speaking deceit” (1 Pet. 3:10).
Lying lips are an abomination to the Lord, but those who deal truthfully are His delight.” (Proverbs 12:22, NKJV)
Honesty must be part of the defining character of every Christian. Deceit takes different forms, all of which are detestable to God. A lie is a deliberate falsehood (Gen. 27:19). It can take the form of an evasive answer, as when Cain answered God’s question about Abel (Gen. 4:9). The misrepresentation of facts is also lying, as when Gehazi lied to Naaman (2 Kgs. 5:20-27). Misrepresenting oneself to others is also lying, as when Ananias and his wife lied (Acts 5:1-4). God takes joy in those who are truthful in their dealing with others. On the other hand, dishonesty is hostile to God and to His truth. Lying originates from the devil, and all liars will join him in the eternal fire of hell (Jno. 8:44; Rev. 21:8, 27). Put away lying in all its forms and speak the truth (Eph. 4:24-25).
7 Therefore thus says the Lord of hosts: “Behold, I will refine them and try them; For how shall I deal with the daughter of My people? 8 Their tongue is an arrow shot out; It speaks deceit; One speaks peaceably to his neighbor with his mouth, but in his heart he lies in wait. 9 Shall I not punish them for these things?” says the Lord. “Shall I not avenge Myself on such a nation as this?” (Jeremiah 9:7–9, NKJV)
God’s ancient people needed refining; the dross had to be removed. Jerusalem and Judah was to be cleansed by God’s punishment (Babylonian destruction and exile, Jer. 25:1-14). One of their pervasive sins was speaking deceitful words. They spoke flattering lies with hearts full of malice. From this we learn that God takes note of our words and of our heart that prompts what we say. God saw their flattering, malicious lies as a personal affront to His holy character. He would avenge Himself on the unholy nation. This impresses us to realize that when we speak lies we sin against God Himself. Sins of the tongue do not escape His notice or His judgment. May we purify our hearts so that both our words and our hearts are acceptable to the Lord, the Holy One of Israel (Psa. 19:14).
Beware lest anyone cheat you through philosophy and empty deceit, according to the tradition of men, according to the basic principles of the world, and not according to Christ. (Colossians 2:8)
It makes a difference what Christians believe. If not, Paul wasted his time warning Christians of the “basic principles of the world” that display themselves as philosophy and religious and spiritual traditions. These are empty and deceitful, plundering faith by their attractive allurement. and False doctrines, worldly philosophies, religious and spiritual traditions – these all originate with the world, not God. Fill yourself with the word of Christ. The world’s philosophies and traditions, while promising knowledge and wisdom, bring eternal death. The gospel of Christ secures eternal life for the faithful. That’s enough; “You are complete in Him” (Col. 2:10).