“And Abraham said of Sarah his wife, She is my sister: and Abimelech king of Gerar sent, and took Sarah” (Gen. 20:2).

Abraham had a secret sin. Abimelech did not know about it. The people among whom Abraham moved and fellowshipped did not know it, but Abraham knew, and so did Sarah. The secret was that Abraham was a liar. The essence of lying is deception and Abraham was determined to deceive Abimelech by withholding from him the whole truth.

Technically, some have argued that Abraham did not lie in as far as he acknowledged Sarah to be his sister because she was indeed his half-sister. Her father was Terah, and Abraham’s father was Terah. The mother of Sarah was different. Study Genesis 20:10-14

It has been noted that a half truth is a whole lie. Abraham was not protecting Sarah when he passed her off as his sister. He had only his own self interest in mind.

Modern psychobabble would dismiss Abraham’s sin by noting it was a matter of expedience. There was a need for self-protection. It was nothing to be alarmed about. Lying is something everyone does. The deceptive half-truth was a matter of situational ethics.

Abraham’s position was that of United States Marine Corps Lieutenant Colonel Oliver North (b. Dec. 7, 1943) who famously said while testifying before the U. S. Congress, “I will trade lies for lives”, in order to get the release of American hostages then held in Lebanon in the 1980s.  The world stood up and applauded the wisdom and courage of Col. Oliver North. No one in heaven stood.

After Abraham lied about Sarah, and she was taken away, the Lord went to Abimelech and passed judgment. “God came to Abimelech in a dream by night, and said to him, Behold, thou art but a dead man, for the woman which thou hast taken; for she is a man’s wife” (Gen. 20:3).

God did not call Sarah the half sister of Abraham. God called Sarah his wife. It was the wife of Abraham that Abimelech was about to take into his harem for sexual pleasure, not a half sister of a tribal leader.

The seriousness of Abraham being exposed as a liar is that thousands of years later, individuals are still talking about a secret life that was rooted in a deception.

The seriousness of Abraham’s sin is that evil behavior is repetitive. Abraham did not just tell a lie; Abraham was lying again because he was intrinsically a liar. Study Genesis 12:10-13

Lying came to Abraham as naturally as breathing.  

Now, the objective here is not to continue to shame Abraham, nor is it to exonerate him with theological jargon and say he was a Carnal Christian, or acting in the flesh, when he lied. The objective is to learn from the life of Abraham for he is called the Father of the Faithful. The Bible says that his life is an example to learn from.

The question comes, “What is to be done after secret sin?” Consider taking the following action.

First, confess sin honestly. Do not say, “Lord, if I have sinned, if I have done wrong, forgive me.” No, be very specific and honest for, “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). What is your particular sin? Is it…

Proverbs 6:16-19

  • A lying tongue
  • Murder
  • Devising wicked plans
  • A pleasure in running towards wrongful behavior
  • Creating division among others

Romans 1:23-32

  • Exalting nature                                                                       
  • Homosexuality                                                                       
  • Fornication                                                                 
  • Wickedness
  • Covetousness
  • Maliciousness
  • Envy
  • Debate or strife
  • Deceit
  • Malignity
  • Whispers
  • Backbiters
  • Haters of God
  • Despiteful
  • Proud
  • Boasters
  • Inventors of evil
  • Disobedient to parents
  • Without understanding
  • Covenant breakers
  • Without natural affection
  • Implacable
  • Unmerciful
  • Have pleasure in others that sin

Galatians 5:19-21

Now the works of the flesh are manifest:

  • Adultery
  • Fornication
  • Uncleanness
  • Lasciviousness
  • Idolatry
  • Witchcraft
  • Hatred
  • Variance
  • Wrath
  • Seditions
  • Heresies
  • Envyings
  • Murders
  • Drunkenness
  • Revellings,

and such like: of the which I tell you before, as I have also told you in time past, that they which do such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God.

Know ye not that the unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom of God?

1 Corinthians 6:9-11

  • Fornicators,
  • Idolaters
  • Adulterers
  • Effeminate
  • Abusers of themselves with mankind
  • Thieves
  • Covetous
  • Drunkards
  • Revilers
  • Extortioners

shall inherit the kingdom of God. 11 And such were some of you: but ye are washed, but ye are sanctified, but ye are justified in the name of the Lord Jesus, and by the Spirit of our God.

Second, remember that God is faithful. God’s love is constant, and His forgiveness is steadfast. Though we sin 70 times 7, God is faithful and just to forgive, and to cleanse from all un-righteousness. He is the God of great mercy. “And his mercy is on them that fear him from generation to generation” (Luke 1:50).

Third, pray to the Father.

Pray for a new heart.

Pray to be kept from the Evil One.

Pray to be kept from presumptuous sinning.

Pray for the gift of repentance.

Pray for a clean heart.

Pray for the joy of salvation to be restored.

Pray, Christian, pray.

Fourth, consciously put away the opportunities that invites, enhances, and protects the evil that is practiced. It is possible to become sophisticated in evil so that no tracks are left, no tell-tale signs. Of course, heaven knows which is why Paul noted that some people’s sins go before them; others follow after. All sin shall be judged at the Great White Throne Judgment seat of Christ. “For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ; that every one may receive the things done in his body, according to that he hath done, whether it be good or bad” (2 Cor. 5:10).

Fifth, live by faith. Believe what the Word of God has to say about sin, righteousness, grace, mercy, and the judgment to come for the just shall live by faith (Rom. 1:17).

Pay particular attention to those verses which says something designed to arrest the sinful impulses.

Memorize the warning of Proverbs 29:1. “He, that being often reproved hardeneth his neck, shall suddenly be destroyed, and that without remedy.”

Obey the gospel command. “To day if ye will hear his voice, harden not your hearts, as in the provocation” (Heb. 3:15).

Meditate on 1 John 3:8 which says those who practice sin are of the devil because, “the devil sinneth from the beginning. For this purpose, the Son of God was manifested, that he might destroy the works of the devil.”

A person with some Bible knowledge will be tempted to dismiss many passages of Scriptures and say, “those verses do not apply to me.” But they do for “All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness” (2 Tim. 3:16).

If the heart is not guarded and kept clean, it will become like the heart of the devil himself. Peter discovered the truth of this concept when he tried to rebuke Christ. Jesus turned to Peter and said, “Get thee behind me Satan!” (Matt. 16:23; Luke 4:8).

Peter, the rock on whom Christ promised to build His church.

Peter, the leader of the apostolic band.

Peter, the outspoken was called Satan!

Before you engage in your own personal secret sin, remember, “whosoever practices sin is of the devil.”

But when the strength of temptation proves to be too strong, and sin washes over the battlements of your soul, after the transgression, humbly confess and say, “Father, I am of the devil in as far as I obey him. I need your grace and mercy.”

“The chimes of time ring out the news
Another day is through
Someone slipped and fell
Was that someone you?

You may have longed for added strength
Your courage to renew
Do not be disheartened
For I have news for you

It is no secret what God can do
What He’s done for others, He’ll do for you
With arms wide open, He’ll pardon you
It is no secret what God can do

There is no night for in His light
You never walk alone
Always feel at home
Wherever you may go

There is no power can conquer you
While God is on your side
Take Him at His promise
Don’t run away and hide

It is no secret what God can do
What He’s done for others, He’ll do for you
With arms wide open, He’ll pardon you
It is no secret what God can do.”

—Stuart Hamblin

Sixth, find someone who is trustworthy and ask to be held accountable. Confess your faults one to another (James 5:16). It is true that Christ alone is our High Priest. It is true that God alone can forgive sins. It is true that there is only one Mediator between God and man, Christ Jesus. It is also true that people need someone to help them. Are not two better than one? Study Ecclesiastes 4:9-12 Sometimes we all need someone to talk to as a friend who understands our struggles.

Seventh, accept the discipline that follows sin, if any. Whom the Lord loves He chastens (Heb. 12:6). Despite not the Lord’s correction (Prov. 3:11). It is the Good Shepherd’s rod and staff that will comfort, though it is painful to be under the rod (Psalm 23:4).

Eighth, read the Word of God. There is a cleansing facet to the Word in several ways.

The Word of God exposes our true thoughts and feelings. “For the word of God is quick, and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart” (Heb. 4:12). The Bible Knowledge Commentary notes the Word of God “it is able to discriminate successfully between what is spiritual in man and what is merely “soulish” or natural (it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit), and does so even when these often-contradictory inner elements are interwoven as closely as joints and marrow. The inner life of a Christian is often a strange mixture of motivations both genuinely spiritual and completely human. It takes a supernaturally discerning agent such as the Word of God to sort these out and to expose what is of the flesh” (Zane C. Hodges, “Hebrews,” in The Bible Knowledge Commentary: An Exposition of the Scriptures, pp 789 – 790).

The Word of God reveals whether we are obedient or disobedient. In the Law there was no sacrifice for a presumptuous sin. There is provision for sin, but willful sinning cheapens the grace of God. “What shall we say then? Shall we continue in sin, that grace may abound?” (Rom. 6:1).

The Word of God purifies the soul through an intake of Bible doctrine. The Lord has given to His church pastor-teachers to exegete the Bible “That he might sanctify and cleanse it with the washing of water by the word” (Eph. 5:26). The good thoughts of Scripture wash away the dark thoughts of the soul.

Read through the Psalms.

Read a Proverb daily.

Read the Gospels.

Read all the Bible, one book at a time.

Ninth, be assured of God’s love for you. God loves you, not as you are in sin, but as you are in Christ through the new birth. Christ died for sinners. The Lord has promised to be our sanctification.

When these steps are taken, when these actions are embraced, you will find peace with God, and the peace of God which will surpass all understanding.

“There’s a peace in my heart that the world never gave,
A peace it cannot take away;
Though the trials of life may surround like a cloud,
I’ve a peace that has come here to stay!

Constantly abiding, Jesus is mine;
Constantly abiding, rapture divine;
He never leaves me lonely, whispers, oh, so kind:
“I will never leave thee”—Jesus is mine.

All the world seemed to sing of a Savior and King,
When peace sweetly came to my heart;
Troubles all fled away and my night turned to day,
Blessed Jesus, how glorious Thou art!

This treasure I have in a temple of clay,
While here on His footstool I roam;
But He’s coming to take me some glorious day,
Over there to my heavenly home!”

—Anne S. Murphy

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