Another movie title, this one by Jim Carey. (There was an old saying, “liar liar pants on fire” )
Truth is suppressed by untruth. The original lie in the Garden Of Eden was by the serpent to Adam and Eve. The serpent, AKA diabolos and false accuser, was representing the function, the action of, GUILE. Guile did not occur until “the commandment came”. Originally there was only truth, but when the capacity to deviate from truth, came along in the form of man, the element of warning also had to be present, otherwise “parental care” would not have been present. (love).
Today the warning would have been given in order to ward off the risk of litigation, in that unless due care had been shown by the responsible party, one could be sued. I don’t think this was the case with God! God in his love, warned them not to partake of the [fruit of the tree of the] knowledge of good and evil. That is, not to eat the forbidden fruit. It was inevitible that they would eat it. It was inevitable that the commandment would have this effect. So sin was inevitable, and inevitably a necessary part of man’s growth.
A local chiropractor has a sign up which reads, “A healthy person has a thousand wishes, a sick person only one”. And that is of course, to get well. Likewise there is one truth, and a thousand untruths. In this case it is the “unhealthy” person who has “a thousand untruths”, while the healthy person has only one truth.
The human race is dysfunctional within this “lie of the serpent”. The false accusation was that God himself, was untruthful, was devious (was using guile) and was therefore a liar. Man preferred to believe that God was untruthful, had no integrity, and the next step was that he was untrue. This was necessary for guile to hold sway, so that many forms of deviancy could develop out of it, so many forms of the lie could manifest. And the false promise is that each man will benefit by it.
So the “works of the devil” are widespread; deviation from truth has become reality in the form of pain, suffering, and death. (The reason Jesus came was “to destroy the works of the devil”). The LIE “runs the kingdom”, and TRUTH is suppressed by the evil that runs amok. [men suppress the truth].
We have then, the kingdom of the lie, in evidence today in the world. The kingdom of truth is what should be showing in the subjects of the kingdom of truth, IE in the church.
The truth may be singular, but, just like the lie, it can be manifest in men in various ways. Perhaps it can only be manifest in its full variant forms, in man, because of the various scenarios to be encountered within “the kingdom of the lie”. The kingdom of love is there to counter the kingdom of hate, which is the outcome of the lie. So all the qualities of the Spirit are called upon to repair the damage done by the kingdom of the lie, which is the kingdom of the world.
“Love is…. [Corinthians 13]
The question we have to ask is, are we of the kingdom of truth or of the lie? If we are not to be of the lie, we have to be of the truth, and only of the truth.
Does this guile represent pure evil? Can we not “explore” for truth legitimately? Jesus said of Nathanial, “Behold an Israelite in whom there is no guile”. Now were the Jews so “full of guile” (they are sharp business people) that to find one who did not typify deceit and trickery was so unusual as to cause Jesus to make his observation? But “the Spirit was not yet given”. Was this akin to “…for man is without excuse, since what is to be known about God is obvious from the creation…” – Romans. (His invisible power has been made known). We also have “when gentiles who are without the law do by nature what the law requires..” So there is a level of “natural” conscience by which man is held accountable, even “without the Spirit”. Now that the Spirit is here, accountability is increased.
Nevertheless, Jesus so observed this lack of guile in this man. The “wise as serpents, harmless as doves”, means that the wisdom of guile should be present without its normally harmful outcome. That guile can be appreciated for what it is, in order to understand its operation in the world, but ultimately that the normal operation of love should supplant the kind of guile with which “the serpent” is associated.
“He was a liar from the beginning, and is the father of lies”. Deviation from the truth leads into guile and lies. “You are of your father the devil”.
The truth is suppressed, by men, by the manifestation of the works of guile from within them. The Truth, which is the Spirit, is manifest by its fruit, the fruit of the good tree. The axe is already laid to the root of the bad tree, soon to be burnt. The fire of the Spirit should be manifested, in us, during this present age, to deliver the axe blow to the root of evil.
“..you are of your father, the devil, and the works of your father you do..”
[ later edit – Paul said “nevertheless, I caught you with guile….?” when talking to the Corinthians? about his gospel being free of charge.]