Is Lying To Get A COVID Passport Sin?

Category: Ask Pastor Jeff

This question is an emotional one as we live here in 2022. It will be interesting to see how this issue plays out over time as the Lord tarries in His return. The question? “Is lying to get a COVID passport sin?” Is lying to get a COVID passport sin? Six months ago, we published a video with our stand on the COVID vaccine, and I still stand by what I said in that video. We are now two years into the whole reality of COVID, and our question today is addressing a real issue Christians have to deal with.

As I said, I stand by what was said six months ago. In that video, I stated that there may well be consequences for not taking the vaccine and we have seen that proven to be true. We have seen governments place restrictions on people who have not received the vaccine. Employers have fired employees. Things are not what they were three years ago, to be sure. I’ll be Honest is located in San Antonio, Texas, known as “Military City, USA.” The United States military has placed standards upon men and women in the military and those men and women have had to make some hard decisions. We have people in our church serving in the military. We get it. As a pastor, I and my fellow pastors have to counsel, when asked, how to deal with this or that situation involving COVID and vaccines and mandates for people whether they’re in the military or not. Yes, I know… this involves real people having to make decisions which can become serious matters of conscience as they try to obey the Lord and the word of God. Today’s question is real-life. Not just real-life here, but around the world. Missionaries. What about crossing international borders? Crossing borders to spread the gospel. To do ministries of mercy. Two of my fellow elders are missionaries. We have several members of our church who have been sent to other parts of the world. They either have already, or will at some point, have to deal with the subject matter of today’s question. COVID passports.

It doesn’t matter, for purposes of discussion here, whether the COVID passport is one that will get you across a border and into another country, or one that will let you in the door at a workplace, or one that will let you attend a sporting event… and I could go on. It’s the passport in all its forms that we’ll cover here and now. Is it OK for the Christian to lie to obtain one? First, let’s examine why a Christian would consider one – it’s quite plain and simple, but let’s just set the stage.

Many have chosen to not receive any vaccine, much less the COVID vaccine. Many have strongly held view of this dictated by their conscience or their understanding of certain aspects of medicine and science. We have people in our church who are very much anti-vaccine and that was the case before COVID. At the same time, we have some in our church who are pro-vaccine. Some are in the middle somewhere, maybe not always pro-vaccine, but not always anti-vaccine, either. We leave it up to each person’s conscience, as we said in the video six months ago.

In the last six months since we did that video, governments and others have made the vaccine mandatory and are requiring proof of having received the vaccine in order to permit people to do this or that – cross borders, retain employment, enter this building or that building. Yes, things in 2022 are not like they were in 2019, to be sure.

Given that, though, we’re discussing here the Christian who for whatever reason has chosen to not receive the COVID vaccine – and now needs a COVID passport of some sort to do something they desire to do – cross a border, retain employment and so on. Is that Christian given license in Scripture to obtain a passport under false pretenses – to lie, to be more frank, because of the place their conscience is at with regard to the vaccine – perhaps they see it as unjust, or a draconian measure not permitted by a Constitution, or they have a medical condition which would make it unwise for them to receive the vaccine. Whatever the reason is, the Christian has chosen to not get the COVID vaccine and now needs documentation stating they DID get the vaccine. Time to answer the question: Is lying to get a COVID passport sin?

Yes. Yes, it is. I think you knew I was going to say that. Why would I say that? Lying is, whenever spoken of in Scripture where a moral judgment is made upon it, said to be sin. Even in the last two chapters of our Bibles it is spoken of as that which is wicked and the basis for people being sent to Hell – Revelation 21 verse eight tells us that one category of people who whose portion will be the second death in the lake of fire are “all liars.” Chapter 22, verse 15 tells us that those people outside the city of the New Jerusalem will include “everyone who loves and practices falsehood.”

I know you may already be getting ready to put something in the comments about Rabah and the Hebrew midwives and I’m well aware of their stories. But I ask you this: are they in either case commended for lying? Scripture is silent on that. They’re commended for their faith and for fearing God, but not for lying. Read the passages. Read what is said about Rahab in Hebrews and James… lying is not said to be a virtue of hers. We never see an exception given – Scripture never says, don’t lie, EXCEPT in this situation over here. No. Scripture doesn’t speak like that. People of truth – whose Yes is Yes – is an absolute for you and I as Christians.

Think about the life of Christ. Would He lie? I know you’ll say, “No.” Well, Paul says to imitate him – Paul – as he imitates who? Christ. Paul was willing to be a man of integrity and tell the truth even if it cost him his life – Acts 25:11, as he’s still in custody, having done nothing to deserve the imprisonment and he’s in the custody of Rome, knowing Rome does in indeed kill men unjustly – they did it with Jesus Christ, right? Paul says this in Acts 25:11: “If then I am a wrongdoer and have committed anything for which I deserve to die, I do not seek to escape death. But if there is nothing to their charges against me, no one can give me to them. I appeal to Caesar.” Paul was maintaining his integrity – his imitation of Christ, even if would cost him his life.

I think of the statement of Job’s wife: “Do you still hold fast your integrity- curse God and die” – Job 2, verse 9. Job did hold fast – and he did not curse God. Aren’t we supposed to be people of integrity? I know the response might be, “But jeff, this is just WRONG.” I’m not arguing that. I’m not a fan of the guidelines myself. But my personal view isn’t the issue here and neither is yours because we all as Christians have the word of God which commands us to be people of the truth because our Savior is truth Himself. Yes, I do hold that your choice to get or not get the vaccine is a matter of conscience and please know I agree with it being a matter of conscience. But as you obey your conscience there, your bible and my Bible don’t grant us the freedom and license to deal with that which chafes at our conscience by becoming liars. It just doesn’t. Even if it involves missionary activity.

Missionaries are trying to cross this border or that in order to call people out of the darkness and into the marvelous light. Christians aren’t to be like the world… even if you think the end justifies the means. One thing people kept saying in the comments in our earlier video was “Trust the Lord.” Amen. Trust the Lord HERE, as well. You and I do not have biblical warrant to lie to achieve what we think may be a greater end, or because we think the Christian faith might be somehow endangered, or we ourselves might be endangered because we’re Christians. Thinking you can lie for any of those reasons turns you into a functional Muslim obeying the Islamic doctrine of taqiyya, which grants a Muslim license to lie if he feels Islam is threatened or if he or she himself is threatened for being a Muslim. We’re not Muslims and we don’t obey Allah, the Qur’an or the Hadith. We obey the word of the living God as we have in it our Bibles and that word says, “Don’t lie.” “Don’t practice falsehood.” If you’ve told people to trust the Lord in counseling people to not get the vaccine, I have a challenge for you: trust the Lord that he will work things out if you do NOT lie to get a COVID passport. Maybe you can’t cross this border or that. This door or that door in employment.

Let’s talk about something Paul said – 2 Corinthians 4, and it involves conscience, since conscience is such a big factor in all of this. Verse one: Therefore, having this ministry by the mercy of God, we do not lose heart. But we have renounced disgraceful, underhanded ways. We refuse to practice cunning or to tamper with God’s word, but by open statement of the truth we would commend ourselves to everyone’s conscience in the sight of God. Think about it. I know this is in the context of proclaiming the truth, but there’s application beyond that – don’t we, as people of the truth, want to commend ourselves to the consciences of the lost? That we’re people who don’t practice cunning and underhanded ways?

I also want you to think about the slippery slope you’d start sliding down by lying. Where else are you going to lie because something grates at your conscience? How about in your family life? Your marriage? Raising your kids? What if your kids start lying because Dad did, and Dad rationalized it? What if your wife starts with this one lie and then lies about something else and uses this conscience issue as justification and now you don’t trust her with anything because she’s playing the conscience card as she lies? Do you see the problem? Sin, unchecked, rationalized, justified as situational… will just be like a snowball rolling downhill and it’ll keep growing and growing and please, it could end up making shipwreck of your faith, of your marriage, of your family, of all manner of things. Hold fast to your integrity… isn’t that what we’re supposed to do in all things, even when it’s really really hard? Yes, it is. Our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ never budged on matters of integrity, and neither should we.

So that’s my answer. “No.” Don’t lie to get a COVID passport. It’s sin to do that. Don’t do it. I’ll even say this: if you’ve been thinking about how you can lie to get one, recall what Jesus said about lust and adultery – you’ve already lied in your heart, and you need to repent and ask for forgiveness from the Lord. Amen.