What Does the Bible Say About Denial?

Denial is when we refuse to accept or acknowledge something that is true. It can take many forms – denying our own sinfulness, denying Christ, denying the truth of God’s Word, and more. Denial and lying often go hand-in-hand in Scripture. What does the Bible have to say about denial and its dangers? Let’s explore.


Denial is a powerful and destructive force. When we are in denial, we are choosing to reject reality and believe a lie. This prevents us from dealing honestly with issues in our lives that demand repentance, healing and change.

Denial is essentially calling God a liar – and we know from Scripture the seriousness of lying and bearing false witness (Exodus 20:16, Proverbs 12:22). The Bible has strong warnings about the dangers of willful ignorance, speaking falsely, and living in denial of what God has declared to be true. Jesus Himself declared that He is “the way, the truth and the life” (John 14:6). So denying truth is denying Christ.

As Christians, we are called to humble ourselves, speak truthfully, turn from wickedness, and follow Christ alone. Denial leads us away from the light and into darkness. Here are some key truths we will cover about what Scripture says regarding denial:

  • Denial often leads to spiritual blindness and deafness
  • Denial can keep us trapped in sin and disobedience
  • God sees and knows the truth about us, despite our denial
  • Repentance and confession are the antidotes to denial
  • Warnings about denying Christ and eternal judgment
  • The dangers of listening to false teaching and lies

When we are living in denial, we are pridefully asserting our own version of reality rather than submitting to God’s Truth. This is foolishness and prevents us from receiving the freedom and healing that comes from speaking truthfully before God. As we seek to follow Christ, may we lay aside denial and approach God with humble and honest hearts.

What Does the Bible Say About Denial?

Denial Leads to Spiritual Blindness and Deafness

One of the most sobering aspects of denial is that it leads to spiritual blindness and deafness. When we refuse to acknowledge our own sin, we become unable to recognize it. A veil falls over our eyes, and our ears become deaf to correction and reproof.

Isaiah warns about this severe state saying, “For the Lord has poured over you a spirit of deep sleep. He has shut your eyes, you prophets; he has covered your heads, you seers” (Isaiah 29:10). When the prophets were speaking lies, claiming to see visions from God, they fell under deep spiritual blindness as judgment.

Jesus explained that the reason He spoke in parables was so that “‘Though seeing, they may not see; though hearing, they may not understand'” (Luke 8:10). There comes a point where the spiritually blind are confirmed in blindness if they persist in rebellion.

In the same way, Paul describes those who are perishing as “‘having their understanding darkened'” (Ephesians 4:18). When we are in denial, we lose discernment and perception of the truth. How dangerous this is, to let our hearts become desensitized to sin and deception!

The apostle John warned that “‘If we claim to be without sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us'” (1 John 1:8). Denial of our sin problem leads to walking in darkness, deceiving ourselves. But if we confess our sins, God “‘is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness'” (1 John 1:9). Turning from denial to honesty is the only path to restoration!

Denial Can Keep Us Trapped in Sin and Disobedience

In addition to the blindness it brings, denial also keeps us trapped in sinful patterns and prevents us from experiencing the freedom of repentance. When King David was confronted about his adultery and murder by the prophet Nathan, at first David was indignant. He was in total denial.

But as Nathan persisted, David’s heart was humbled. He responded, “‘I have sinned against the Lord'” (2 Samuel 12:13) and asked for God’s mercy. Imagine if David had persisted in denial – how different the story would have ended!

Judas serves as another tragic example of the damning power of denial. When he betrayed Jesus with a kiss, he likely didn’t think through the full ramifications of his actions. But afterwards, when the gravity of his sin dawned on him, Scripture says, “Then Judas, which had betrayed him, when he saw that he was condemned, repented himself, and brought again the thirty pieces of silver to the chief priests and elders” (Matthew 27:3).

Yet tragically, instead of appealing to Christ for mercy, Judas’s repentance led to suicide. He didn’t believe there was any hope of forgiveness for him. “‘What have I done?'” he said in agony of soul (Matthew 27:4). How differently it could have ended if Judas had humbled himself and confessed before Christ, receiving the blood-bought gift of grace!

Although we remember Judas for his spectacular sin, Scripture warns that unrepentant sin can harden anyone’s heart over time. We are told, “Encourage one another daily, as long as it is called ‘Today,’ so that none of you may be hardened by sin’s deceitfulness” (Hebrews 3:13). Deceitful sin leads to denial, but confessing our struggles helps guard our hearts. The “today” mentioned refers to the time we have now to repent!

God Sees and Knows the Truth About Us, Despite Our Denial

The uncomfortable truth about denial is that it does not fool God or prevent Him from seeing our true selves. No matter how adamantly we declare our own goodness, the Lord remains unconvinced.

The story of Cain illustrates this truth vividly. After Cain murdered his brother Abel, God came to him and asked, “‘Where is your brother Abel?’ ‘I don’t know,’ he replied. ‘Am I my brother’s keeper?’” (Genesis 4:9). Cain’s response was an outright lie, a pitiful attempt to cover-up his grievous sin before God. But God saw through the veil immediately, pronouncing a curse on unrepentant Cain.

Centuries later, the prophet Samuel rebuked King Saul for his disobedience in war, saying to him: “‘Why did you not obey the Lord? Why did you pounce on the plunder and do evil in the eyes of the Lord?’ Saul replied, ‘But I did obey the Lord.’ (1 Samuel 15:19-20). Saul denied his sin, trying to justify his actions, even under the stern gaze of the prophet.

Of course, no denial could change the facts – Saul had directly disobeyed God’s command through Samuel. This insistent denial of wrongdoing ultimately cost Saul the kingdom. Though we may deny or attempt to reframe our sin before others, we can never fool the Lord who sees and knows all.

It is futile to invest our effort in denial rather than seeking forgiveness from the only One with the power to acquit. David recognized this truth, pleading to God “‘Against you, you only, have I sinned and done what is evil in your sight'” (Psalm 51:4). Our sin is first and foremost against the Lord. Like David, acknowledging this humbly opens the way to restoration.

Repentance and Confession Are the Antidotes to Denial

If denial of sin leads to blindness, trapment, and alienation from God, the solution must be repentance and confession. Admitting we have sinned, agreeing with what God says about our wrongdoing, is the pathway to freedom. When denial is replaced by godly sorrow leading to repentance, we can experience the joy of undeserved mercy.

The apostle John urges, “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness” (1 John 1:9). As believers, we still struggle with sin and give in to temptation at times. But through confession, we maintain a relationship with Christ and continually receive cleansing. Denial leads to stagnation in sin, while confession provides ongoing freedom.

Repentance means a change of mind and direction – turning from sin to submit to God. Paul preached that “all people everywhere should repent” (Acts 17:30) as part of the gospel message. Without acknowledging our sins, we remain alienated from God. Repentance is an essential ingredient of saving faith.

When the tax collector prayed “‘God, have mercy on me, a sinner'” (Luke 18:13), Jesus said this man went home justified before God. He acknowledged his spiritual bankruptcy apart from grace. The antidote to spiritual pride is humility – agreeing with what God says about our condition and dependence on Him.

Even after conversion, Christians will struggle with denial and need to practice regular confession to stay spiritually healthy. We cannot live the Christian life in our own strength. Admitting this weakness destroys denial and deepens our trust in Christ’s forgiveness and empowerment.

Warnings About Denying Christ and Eternal Judgment

One of the most serious forms of denial is denying Christ Himself. Yet the reality of eternal judgment should compel us to declare our allegiance to Jesus exclusively. He said, “Whoever denies me before men, I also will deny before my Father who is in heaven” (Matthew 10:33). This should instill holy fear in our hearts!

Peter demonstrated the temptation to deny Christ when confronted. At Jesus’ trial, Peter was recognized and accused of being one of Christ’s disciples. Three times Peter denied even knowing Jesus, “‘calling down curses, and he swore to them, ‘I don’t know the man!'” (Matthew 26:74). Though Peter repented, his denials reveal the weakness of our flesh.

As Christ’s return nears, Scripture warns there will be an increase of those denying Him as Lord. For example, “In the presence of God and of Christ Jesus, who will judge the living and the dead, and in view of his appearing and his kingdom, I give you this charge: Preach the word; be prepared in season and out of season; correct, rebuke and encourage—with great patience and careful instruction. For the time will come when people will not put up with sound doctrine. Instead, to suit their own desires, they will gather around them a great number of teachers to say what their itching ears want to hear. They will turn their ears away from the truth and turn aside to myths” (2 Timothy 4:1-4). This apostasy reveals the deadly bent of human denial. Only judgment awaits this willful rebellion.

There will also be scoffers who mock the idea of judgment saying, “‘Where is this “coming” he promised? Ever since our ancestors died, everything goes on as it has since the beginning of creation’ … But do not forget this one thing, dear friends: With the Lord a day is like a thousand years, and a thousand years are like a day. The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness” (2 Peter 3:4, 8-9a). God’s apparent delay is actually merciful patience, but judgment will come on schedule.

Tragically, Scripture records that even when God’s wrath is poured out during the tribulation period, “The rest of mankind, who were not killed by these plagues, did not repent of the works of their hands nor give up worshiping demons and idols of gold and silver and bronze and stone and wood, which cannot see or hear or walk. Nor did they repent of their murders or their sorceries or their sexual immorality or their thefts” (Revelation 9:20-21). How frightening that denial and rebellion can become so entrenched that not even judgment leads to repentance! No wonder Scripture pleads, “Today if you hear His voice, do not harden your hearts” (Hebrews 3:15). The time is now to turn from denial to Christ!

The Dangers of Listening to False Teaching and Lies

One reason why denial becomes so prevalent is that many listen to false teaching and lies instead of embracing biblical truth. When itching ears dictate what we want to hear, deceitful doctrines easily lead us into denial. Paul warned Timothy, “Preach the word; be prepared in season and out of season; correct, rebuke and encourage—with great patience and careful instruction. For the time will come when people will not put up with sound doctrine. Instead, to suit their own desires, they will gather around them a great number of teachers to say what their itching ears want to hear. They will turn their ears away from the truth and turn aside to myths” (2 Timothy 4:2-4).

The temptation for pastors is to shy away from topics their congregation finds uncomfortable. Yet watering down difficult truths serves no one. Paul said he proclaimed “the whole will of God” (Acts 20:27) holding nothing back. Lying and denial flourish when sin is not confronted plainly. This responsibility falls heavily on Christian leaders.

Jesus rebuked the religious leaders of His day declaring, “Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You shut the door of the kingdom of heaven in people’s faces. You yourselves do not enter, nor will you let those enter who are trying to” (Matthew 23:13). By refusing to enter God’s kingdom themselves through repentance, and preventing others from doing so, they condemned themselves and others by their hard hearts.

When pastors, authors and speakers contradict or undermine the plain meaning of Scripture, they spread deception that leads to denial. Paul named false teachers among the list of those who ultimately face God’s judgment if they remain unrepentant (2 Timothy 3:1-9). The lies we listen to impact our eternal destiny!

Of course, people gladly embrace lies and false teaching because it is more appealing and less convicting than the truth. As Isaiah lamented, “These are rebellious people, deceitful children, children unwilling to listen to the Lord’s instruction. They say to the seers, ‘See no more visions!’ and to the prophets, ‘Give us no more visions of what is right! Tell us pleasant things, prophesy illusions’” (Isaiah 30:9-10). What a tragic description of willful denial.

In contrast, Jesus declared, “If you hold to my teaching, you are really my disciples. Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free” (John 8:31-32). His Word applied to our hearts by the Holy Spirit sets us free from denial and rebellion. Scripture alone is our trustworthy guide, not the empty lies and flattery of false teachers.


In closing, denial is a dangerous temptation for us all. It blinds us, traps us in sin, earns God’s discipline, and can lead to eternal destruction. But repentance, confession, belief in Christ alone, and submission to Scripture are the saving antidotes. May we lay aside pride and approach God with humility, honesty and longing for true freedom.

The way of denial is darkness leading to judgment, but God’s way leads to eternal life through Jesus Christ. He is “‘the way, the truth and the life'” (John 14:6). As His followers, may we “‘walk while you have the light, before darkness overtakes you. The one who walks in the darkness does not know where they are going'” (John 12:35). Let us choose His light and reject denial’s dark path.

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