What does it mean that Satan is the father of lies (John 8:44)?Question: "What does it mean that Satan is the father of lies (John 8:44)?"
Answer: Speaking to a group of Jews, Jesus says, “You belong to your father, the devil, and you want to carry out your father’s desires. He was a murderer from the beginning, not holding to the truth, for there is no truth in him. When he lies, he speaks his native language, for he is a liar and the father of lies” (John 8:44).
Satan is the “father of lies” in that he is the original liar. He is the “father” of lies in the same way that Martin Luther is the “father” of the Reformation and Robert Goddard is the “father” of modern rocketry. Satan told the first lie in recorded history to Eve, in the Garden of Eden. After planting seeds of doubt in Eve’s mind with a question (Genesis 3:1), he directly contradicts God’s Word by telling her, “You will not certainly die” (Genesis 3:4). With that lie, Satan led Eve to her death; Adam followed, and so have we all.
Lying is Satan’s primary weapon against God’s children. He uses the tactic of deceit to separate people from their heavenly Father. Some of his more common lies are “there is no God,” “God doesn’t care about you,” “the Bible cannot be trusted,” and “your good works will get you into heaven.” The apostle Paul tells us that Satan “masquerades as an angel of light” (2 Corinthians 11:14), so that what he says and does sounds good and seems reasonable. But it is nothing more than a false appearance.
Many of Satan’s lies tend to perpetuate themselves. This is what happened when Eve convinced Adam to also believe the devil’s lie. Today, Satan still uses people to spread his lies for him. Often, he uses charismatic but foolish people to further his falsehoods, as in the case of false religions and cults.
The Bible has many names for Satan to describe his true nature, including “ruler of this world” (John 12:31), “god of this age” (2 Corinthians 4:4), “tempter” (1 Thessalonians 3:5), “deceiver” (Revelation 12:9), “Beelzebub” (literally, “lord of the flies,” the ruler of demons, in Matthew 10:25), and “Belial,” meaning “wicked” (2 Corinthians 6:15).
Satan has told more lies to more people (and even angels) than any other being ever created. His success depends on people believing his lies. He has used everything from “little white lies” to huge, pants-on-fire whoppers to deceive folks. Adolph Hitler, a man who learned how to lie effectively, once said, “If you tell a big enough lie and tell it frequently enough, it will be believed.”
Whether a lie is small or large is not really the issue. Lies are of the devil. If you’ve lied even once, then, unless you repent, you will not enter heaven. The Bible teaches that all liars “will be consigned to the fiery lake of burning sulfur. This is the second death” (Revelation 21:8). Proverbs 19:9 also teaches that anyone who lies will be punished.
Avoid this fate by obeying Mark 1:15: “Repent and believe in the gospel.” Jesus is the truth (John 14:6), and He will never deceive you. Those who come to Jesus in faith will find that “you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free” (John 8:32).
Recommended Resource: God's Devil: The Incredible Story of How Satan's Rebellion Serves God's Purposes by Erwin Lutzer
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