We can neither stand in awe of God's word, nor rejoice at it, unless we abhor all contrary ways. And here lies the spiritual conflict. For so opposed are our natural affections to the character and will of God, that we love what God hates, and we hate what God loves. Our new principle and bias, however, as directly falls in with the dictates of God's law, as before we have revolted from it. Lying is now hated and abhorred as contrary to "a God of truth;" and the law is now loved, as the reflection of His image, and the manifestation of His will. David had before prayed to have "lying ways removed from him," and a love for the law of God imparted. His utter detestation shows, that these ways had been removed, and a renewed inclination to the law granted to him.
To have avoided lying, and to have practiced the law, might have been sufficient for the regulation of his outward conduct. But his was the religion of the heart—not meant only to control his actions; but to renew his habits, motions, tempers, and taste. He would not therefore only refrain from lying, or manifest a disinclination to it—he must hate and abhor it as hell itself. Nor was external conformity, or approval of the law, his standard: he must love it. If sin was counted common, fashionable, venial, profitable, or pleasant; if contempt was cast upon the law of God—this stopped him not. Every sin, though only a hair's breadth deviation from the rule, was in his eyes hateful, defiling, damning. He would "resist unto blood, striving against it." Every act, desire, and habit of conformity, with whatever shame it might be attended, was his delight. Such, Christian, should be our standard. Lord! humble us in the daily sense of deviation and defect. Give to us larger desires, growing conformity to Your perfect rule.
Well had it been for Eve and for her children, had she turned from the tempter's lie with this strong determination. But, "You shall not surely die"—has from that fatal moment been a most effectual instrument in captivating unwary souls. So plausible is it in itself, so agreeable to our natural inclinations, that it is readily cherished, even where the first contact with temptation assures the wretched victims, that its "deceit is falsehood." But they do not hate and abhor it: they do not flee from it, as a concern for the honor of God and their own safety would lead them; and therefore justly are they "given up to believe it" as the fruit of their delusion, and the punishment of their unfaithfulness. Oh! if we are ever tempted by the flattery and allurements of the world, let us only mark the opposition of their standard, taste, maxims, and pursuits to the truth of God, and we shall turn away with hatred and abhorrence.
The "overseers of the purchased flock" of Christ—yes, all "who earnestly contend for the faith which was once delivered unto the saints" will anxiously watch any deterioration of doctrine or principle—any deviation from the simplicity of the Gospel, and brand it as a lie. "I have not written unto you"—said the venerable Apostle, "because you know not the truth; but because you know it, and that no lie is of the truth. Who is a liar, but he who denies that Jesus is the Christ?" How does the great Apostle teach us to look at the adulteration of the doctrine of grace before referred to—a system not of faith, but of fear—not of joy, but of slavish awe—not of confidence, but of doubt—palsying the springs of life: withering, blighting, chilling the glow of love; "entangling again the free-born children of God in a yoke of bondage!" The champion of the faith would not tolerate it for a moment. And he bids his people hate and abhor it, even though from an angel's mouth, as the beguiling lie of the great "corrupter" of the church. Equally would he have us abhor the licentious abuse of the gospel flowing from the same source, "Shall we continue in sin, that grace may abound? God forbid!"
After all, however, this verse must include an abhorrence of the literal sin of lying in all its forms. A lie is so gross a sin, that we might be disposed to spiritualize this expression, rather than to analyze some of the plausible shapes, in which the sin may be detected in our own profession. Exaggeration, a false gloss, a slight deviation (hardly perceptible) from the straight line, excuses made to one another, which we dare not make to God, want of accuracy in relating what we hear—all these are forms of lying to be shunned, hated and abhorred by the man, who is really "walking in the light, and having fellowship with God," as much as the more palpable falsehoods, with which the world abounds, which it excuses, and even boasts of.
Believer! would you have your hatred and abhorrence of every kind of lying yet further deepened? Would you summon every passion of the soul, "indignation, vehement desire, zeal, revenge"—against it? Then learn to abhor it, not only as your enemy, but as God's. Pray that the arrow of conviction may be dipped in the blood of Christ; and then, however deep and painful be the wound, it cannot be mortal. Mortal indeed it will be to the sin, but healing to the soul. Pray that your hatred of sin may flow from a sense of reconciliation; for never will it be so perfect, as when you feel yourself sheltered from its everlasting curse. To lie before your Savior as His redeemed sinner, and to wash His feet with your tears of contrition, will be your highest and happiest privilege on this side heaven. In this spirit and daily posture you will most clearly manifest the inseparable connection of hatred of lying ways with a love for the law of God.
"I hate and abhor lying." A double expression for an inexpressible loathing. Falsehood in doctrine, in life, or in speech, falsehood in any form or shape, had become utterly detestable to the Psalmist. This was a remarkable statement for an Oriental to make; for, generally, lying is the delight of Easterns, and the only wrong they see in it is when their skill is at fault, so that the lie is found out. David himself had made much progress when he had come to this; for he, too, had practiced deceit in his day. He does not, however, alone refer to falsehood in conversation; he evidently intends perversity in faith and teaching. He wrote down all opposition to the God of truth as lying, and then he turned his whole soul against it with the intensest form of indignation. Godly men should detest false doctrine even as they abhor any other lie. "But your law do I love." He did not merely yield to it, but he had great pleasure in it. A sullen obedience is essentially rebellion: only a hearty love will secure sincere loyalty to law. David loved the law of God because it is the foe of falsehood and the guardian of truth. His love was as ardent as his hate: he intensely loved the word of God, which is in itself pure truth. True men love truth, and hate lying. It is well for us to know which way our hates and loves run; and we may do essential service to others by declaring what are the objects of our admiration and detestation. Both love and hate are contagious, and when they are sanctified the wider their influence the better.