The Ninth Commandment
Bible Facts Newspaper Article (Ian C. Kurylyk)
“Thou shalt not bear false witness against thy neighbour” (Exodus 20:16).
Perhaps the best way to comment on this commandment is to itemize some clear Bible facts about the sin of lying.
Lying is another fundamental departure from the image of God. One of His perfections is that He is absolutely truthful. In fact, He is referred to as “God that cannot lie” (Titus 1:2). God in His infinite knowledge (omniscience) sees everything exactly as it is, and in His infinite truthfulness or veracity always tells it exactly as it is. If God says something, that is reality.
Lying originated with Satan. “When he speaketh a lie, he speaketh of his own: for he is a liar, and the father of it” (John 8:44c). He lied to himself when he rebelled against God and thought he could take God’s place. He lied to the fallen angels. He lied to man in the Garden of Eden when he contradicted God and said that sin would not bring death.
Lying is a common feature in this world because of the successful influence of Satan over man. This is not only true in the sense of people misrepresenting themselves to others in the countless lies told on every level of human life. It also applies to many popular ideals and philosophies that countless people live by. Any idea advocated (even a religious one) which denies the God of the Bible and His rightful place in His creation is defined in the Bible as a lie. A person may learn in this world that the highest goal of human life is money, or perhaps fame, or pleasure. In light of eternity and the reality of God, these ideals are lies.
All lying is confronted by a standard of truth given by God in a book called the Bible. The Book of God has the ability to set us apart (sanctify) from the lies and deceptions prevailing on every hand. “Sanctify them through thy truth: thy word is truth” (John 17:17). Our natural, inborn way is to be part of this world’s program of lies. But the Word of God can change us to people of light and truth. “Through thy precepts I get understanding: therefore I hate every false way” (Psalm 119:104).
Lies against God’s truth have a certain attraction to every one of us because they lend themselves to the support of self-will in our hearts and sin in our lives. However the truth of God’s Word can set us free from this self-destructive course which wars against God. This is because the Bible also tells us the truth about a way of salvation provided by a loving God. This way is the Lord Jesus Christ Who said, “I am the way, the truth, and the life; no man cometh unto the Father, but by me” (John 14:6).
Jesus Christ is the door to take us from the lie of sin to a right relationship with the God of all truth. He faced our sinfulness fully and took the punishment we deserved by His death on the terrible cross. This was being true to God’s holy person and laws, but it was also a way of saving grace to the sinner. “Grace and truth came by Jesus Christ” (John 1:17b). God calls to us to be truthful with Him right now and confess to Him our sin and need of His Son as our Saviour.