God is not a man, that he should lie; neither the son of man, that he should repent: has he said, and shall he not do it?…
I. SOME MEN THINK THAT GOD WILL LIE. God has told us, with strong and repeated asseverations, that "we must be born again" (John 3:7); but this is totally disbelieved by —
1. The profane. They persuade themselves that such strictness in religion, as is implied in the new birth, is not necessary; and that they shall go to heaven in their own way.
2. The self-righteous. These consider regeneration as a dream of weak enthusiasts, and are satisfied with the "form of godliness, without" ever experiencing "the power" of it.
3. The hypocritical professors of religion. These, having changed their creed, together with their outward conduct, fancy themselves Christians, notwithstanding their faith n either "overcomes the world," nor "works by love," nor " purifies their hearts." That all these persons think God will lie, is evident beyond a doubt; for if they really believed that old things must pass away and all things become new (2 Corinthians 5:17), before they can enter into the kingdom of heaven, they would feel concerned to know whether any such change had taken place in them; nor would they be satisfied till they had a Scriptural evidence that they were indeed "new creatures in Christ Jesus."
II. OTHERS FEAR HE MAY LIE. This is common with persons —
1. Under conviction of sin. When men are deeply convinced of sin, they find it exceedingly difficult to rest simply on the promises of the Gospel; such as John 6:37; Isaiah 1:18; Isaiah 55:1.
2. Under temptation or desertion. God has declared that He will not suffer His people to be tempted above what they are able to bear (1 Corinthians 10:13). But when they come into temptation, they are apt to say, as David, "I shall one day perish," &c. (1 Samuel 27:1).
III. BUT GOD NEITHER WILL NOR CAN LIE.
1. He will not lie.
(1) Let us hear the testimonies of those who have tried Him. Moses (Deuteronomy 32:4); Joshua (Joshua 23:14); Samuel (1 Samuel 15:29).
(2) Let us attend to God's own assertions and appeals (Isaiah 5:4; Isaiah 49:19). Would He ever venture to speak thus strongly on His own behalf if His creatures could make good their accusations against Him?
(3) Let us look to matter of fact. Are not His past actions so many types and pledges of what He will hereafter perform? (2 Peter 2:4-9; Jude 1:7).
2. He cannot lie. Truth is as essential to the Divine nature as goodness, wisdom, power, or any other attribute; so that He can as easily cease to be good, or wise, or powerful, as He can suffer one jot or tittle of His word to fail.
(C. Simeon, M. A.)
Parallel VersesKJV: God is not a man, that he should lie; neither the son of man, that he should repent: hath he said, and shall he not do it? or hath he spoken, and shall he not make it good?