Devoted to the Propagation and Defense of New Testament Christianity
January 25, 1962

God Cannot Lie, Christians Cannot Sin

Jerry F. Bassett, Antioch, California

In Titus 1:2 Paul refers to the fact that God cannot lie. Some who are perhaps honest skeptics and others who can lay claim to nothing nobler than arrogant smart sleekness have raised the point that the New Testament teaches also that all things are possible with God, and then ask how it is that God cannot lie. The answer to the question lies in a proper understanding of the use of the word "cannot" in Titus 1:2. "Cannot" is not used in the sense of incapability. Anyone who can formulate ideas, conceive plans, and express thoughts is capable of uttering a falsehood. Rather, "cannot" is used in the sense of consistency. God is a God of righteousness, justice, and truth, and he cannot lie and still be consistent with those basic characteristics of his divine nature. Hence, God cannot lie and still be Jehovah God who changes not.

In this same sense a Christian cannot sin. "Whosoever is born of God doth not commit sin; for his seed remaineth in him: and he cannot sin, because he is born of God." (1 John 3:9) Not that it is impossible for him to sin for anyone living in a fleshly body and possessing a mind willing to entertain the lustful desires of the flesh and/or direct the body in fulfilling the object of a lustful desire is capable of sin. (Rom. 7:23) Rather, a Christian cannot sin in the sense that to do so would be inconsistent with God's purpose and the bestowal of his blessings. One born of God cannot sin and at the same time abide in the gospel; consistency forbids it. Thus, a Christian cannot sin and still maintain fellowship with God or receive his blessings.

The fact that God cannot lie and that Christians cannot sin ought to stir every Christian to an awesome appreciation for God's faithfulness on the one hand, and a determination to be faithful to him on the other. God, who cannot lie, has promised to give to those who obey the gospel of Christ and continue in it eternal life; "And this is the promise that he hath promised us, even eternal life." (1 John 2:25) The Christian, who cannot sin and still remain consistent with this promise and the responsibilities upon which its reception is based, is commanded to "Let that therefore abide in you, which ye have heard from the beginning. If that which ye have heard from the beginning shall remain in you, ye also shall continue in the Son, and in the Father." (1 John 2:24)

There is yet one question which needs to be answered before concluding this brief study. What is the result when a Christian does lose consistency with God's will by sinning? Is he then forever without hope? Again, God has made a promise, and by his very nature man can be certain it will be kept, that "If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness." (1 John 1:9) Thus it is seen that the faithfulness of God bestows blessedness upon those who seek to be consistent with his will. To such as these God promises eternal life; and God is one who cannot lie.