This is the most cynical age in all human history – an age of doubt, disillusionment, fear. The cause is revealed by the 9th commandment of God!
This is the age of “payola.” It is the age of the “sophisticated lie,” the double standard of morality. This is the age of respectable appearing industrial leaders and college professors, perjuring themselves on the witness stand and even before the United State Senate. This age also presents the peculiar spectacle of millions of people who believe in evolution attending churches which nominally, at least, believe in the Creator God of the Bible.
The Christ of the Bible thoroughly condemned the hypocrites of His day. What would He say about our generation?
In his book, Sex, Vice and Business, Monroe Fry tells of “the willingness of communities to accept vice when it brings an indirect profit to their respectable businessmen.” His book shows plainly what thousands of sophisticated adults already know: that “respectable” church and civic leaders are often ready and willing to support gambling, prostitution and narcotics if it is to their financial advantage to do so.
To the community at large, they appear as the pillars of virtue and respectability. To the procurers of prostitutes, narcotics, or big-time gambling czars, they are ready to make an “undercover deal.” They are ready to use their civic influences or position to let organized vice and crime flourish in their community – so long as they get a financial “cut.” In plain language, they are living a lie!
The revelation of how much our entire “Christian” society is based on the type of hypocrisy is absolutely astounding! But we are paying a stern penalty nevertheless – for we are breaking the 9th commandment of God.
In this continuing series of articles expounding the Ten Commandments, we have seen that the greatest sin of all is putting something else in place of the one true God. This, in turn, leads to idolatry, to blaspheming God’s name, to breaking His Sabbath, to dishonoring our human parents, to murder, adultery and stealing.
And the exact same principle applies to the 9th commandment of God. “They shalt not bear false witness against thy neighbor” (Ex. 20:16).
It is only by seeking for and bearing witness to the truth that man is associated with God. For, in literal fact, God is truth!
Jesus Christ said: “Thy word is truth” (John 17:17). And again: “I am the way, the truth, and the life” (John 14:6).
No matter what other faults and weaknesses a man may have, if he is willing to speak the truth, live openly and truthfully what he really is, and acknowledge the truth when it is shown to him, that man can be respected and helped to overcome his personal weaknesses.
The far-searching spiritual application of the 9th commandment is tremendous. Consider: (1) There is a personal living Almighty God of this universe whose ways and laws are intrinsically “right.” (2) Therefore, a man who is honest, who is willing to speak the truth and acknowledge the truth when it is revealed, must eventually be “converted” to the true God and His ways!
But a man whose word is no good, who is in the habit of lying to others and to himself – that man’s very character and mental processes are so twisted and perverted that he can never come to understand even the truth of God until his mind is literally “cleaned up!”
That is why it is so vitally important that – even though among humans there may be honest differences of opinion on many matters – we all learn to live and speak truthfully.
Yet, we are living in a society which is increasingly permeated by various forms of untruths, hypocrisy and self-deception. If we are ever to build the character of God – and inherit eternal life – we must consider the 9th commandment in all of its magnifications, and learn to obey it.
The 9th commandment protects every upright and decent man in that it helps guard his reputation. Perhaps there is no more despicable sin than that of slander, the lie invented and spread abroad with intent to harm one’s fellow man.
A thief takes only material goods, which may usually be replaced. But a false witness who slanders may rob one of esteem and reputation in the eyes of his fellow men – and the chances make it difficult for it ever to be fully regained.
The aggressive nature of man makes him the most guilty party in countless outward acts of sin. But one of the most common and degrading sins among men is that of spreading gossip and slander. How many lives, homes and careers are wrecked by this vile practice is known to God alone.
The apostle James was inspired to warn against this careless use of the tongue: “And the tongue is a fire, a world of iniquity: so is the tongue among our members, that it defiles the whole body and sets on fire the course of nature; and it is set on fire of hell” (James 3:6).
The first basic application of the command is against false testimony in the courts of justice. This we call perjury. It is a criminal offense and rightly so, for justice is based upon truth.
Yet even this most basic application of the command stands as an indictment against literally thousands of men and women in our society who have the audacity or boldness to witness, before God, their wretched lies and wholesale distortion of truth. The parade of witnesses openly doing this before the American congressional committees alone is a terrible parody on our nation’s morals – a tragic spectacle for our children to behold. For it reveals an entire society of businessmen, industrialists, government bureaucrats, labor leaders and even college professors all basing their lives on deception, lies, and hypocrisy.
More and more people fully grasp, this is a dangerous situation! For this means that we must not only distrust our avowed enemies, but also our professed “friends.” It means that millions of man-hours and dollars or pounds must be spent in order to “check-up” on the honesty of those in the government, in business, and so on down the line. And it breeds throughout our entire society an attitude of cynicism, despair and futility. For it is the result of breaking God’s law.
The immediate value of being able to rely on a man’s word would not only guard every decent man’s reputation, and eliminate millions of wasted hours from the burden of “investigation” every statement and report several times over, it would present unworthy men from ever being placed in high positions of responsibility. It would literally “clean up” our society!
How often today are entire nations guided by men who are in power only because of their ability to delude and deceive their own people!
Throughout the world, we see puppet dictators arising and promising their followers “something for nothing.” By means of clever propaganda, the leader makes the people believe what he himself knows to be a lie. Then follow many months or years of uncertainty, anguish, frustration until ultimate disaster strikes and the truth is finally made plain only by force of circumstance.
Even in our democratic nations, men are all too often recommended for high office – not because of integrity and ability – but because of what seems “expedient” at the moment in party politics. The political and governmental leaders who countenance this are certainly “bearing false witness” against their fellow countrymen. They are living a lie – as well as helping tell one.
In the field of industry and business, think of the tremendous benefit that would come to the public if each company would really tell the truth about its own product and honestly seek to serve the consumer’s real needs! The effect of this would be literally astounding!
Think of a society where each brand of toothpaste and breakfast cereal, for example, was not just an imitation or needles variation of another, but was the only and best of its particular type, honestly priced and truthfully advertised. Apply this to every phase of society and you get something near utopia.
But this is not a far-fetched or fantastic suggestion. It is simply the blessing that would come if the entire society really and literally obeyed the 9th commandment of God!
If you would live forever in the society of God, you are commanded by Him who gives you life and breath: “Wherefore putting away lying, speak every man truth with his neighbor: for we are members one of another” (Eph. 4:25).
The unbounded blessings that would result from obedience to this eternal law of God stagger the imagination. Every bit of propaganda, every bit of news in the papers, every advertisement of any and all products, every business dealing every personal conversation, all would be based on truth. Jesus Christ expressed how this living law would operate to bless those that obeyed Him completely: “And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free” (John 8:32).
The very root principle of all sin is vanity. “Vanity of vanities, saith the preacher, vanity of vanities, all is vanity” (Eccl 1:2). The real reason most men reject the true God is that they want to be “gods” in their own eyes and the eyes of their fellow men. It is vanity.
Men lie because they are more concerned with their own self-esteem and sense of importance than they are with the ultimate good of their fellow man. They speak and act falsely because they fear the opinions of men much more than that of God Himself! The daily actions and words of nearly all men bear eloquent testimony to the literal truth of this statement. Witness the tremendous influence of Social Media on people’s opinions and decisions.
As John said even of the religious leaders of his day: “For they loved the praise of men more than the praise of God” (John 12:43).
Men and women are often ashamed of what they call “failure” in a business or social sense. They will cheat, falsify and lie in order to avoid this “failure” – or to cover it up.
But from the point of view of what is intrinsically “right” – and of eternal values, the thing they should fear is sin. For, as the apostle Paul said: “If God be for us, who can be against us” (Rom. 8:31)?
Christ said: “Blessed are ye, when men shall revile you, and persecute you, and shall speak all manner of evil against you falsely, for my sake” (Matt. 5:11).
We had all better quit worrying so much about what puny, mortal men think – and become far more concerned about what God thinks! Then we will learn to cease from all hypocrisy in business, in social life, in politics – yes, in our religious and scientific endeavors.
Remember that many, whom this deceitful world condemned, have received God’s blessing and are heirs of eternal life. Never forget that it was through the sin of false testimony and lying that Jesus Christ was murdered! “For many bare false witness against him, but their witness agreed not together” (Mark 14:56). In other words, they lied.
Since, through vanity, men want to believe what is “popular” at the moment, they will “kid themselves” and their associates into believing even religious and scientific theories that have no basis whatsoever in actual fact!
God warns against all such hypocrites: “For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men who hold the truth in unrighteousness” (Rom. 1:18). Most Bible commentaries or lexicons show that the expression “hold”, as used above, should have been translated “hold down” or “suppress”. Men have suppressed the truth.
For God is condemning those who knowingly hold down or suppress the truth of God’s existence and His purpose on this earth! God says the vain philosophers and scientists of this world are “without excuse” for denying that God literally created this universe and is now ruling it through His power (vs 20).
Most scientists and theologians who believe in the Satan-inspired theory of evolution ought to know better. Some of them do know better! But they are going along with what pleases men, and they are living a lie! God says they are “without excuse.”
And in the same category are those ministers and Bible students who continue to teach and practice what they know are ancient heathen and pagan beliefs and customs condemned in the Word of God. In all too many cases, they know better! They are “without excuse.” Jeremiah was inspired to write, “Learn not the way of the heathen” (Jer. 10:2) and yet the churches of today continue to teach and support many of the holidays which have their origin in ancient paganism. (If you would like to know more about the traditions of men enroll today in our Traditional Christian Doctrine series).
The continued teaching of these basic scientific and spiritual lies is the very thing that is blinding most of this world from the real nature of God and of His true plan and purpose here below. This is the truly terrible result of bearing false witness, self-deception and lying.
For as long as supposedly “educated” teachers keep deceiving themselves and others about the very existence and power and plan of God, our civilization is doomed. (If you would like to know the truth about God’s Plan of Salvation for mankind, enroll in our series “God’s Master Plan”.)
In your own personal life, then, learn the importance of telling the truth, believing the truth, living the truth. Be careful not to base your whole life on a series of lies – whether they be personal, political, scientific or religious distortions of truth.
Remember, it is the real truth which will make you free (John 8:32).
In your personal speech, guard your words carefully. You need not always speak everything you know. But when you speak let it be truth. Remember: “Death and life are in the power of the tongue: and they that love it shall eat the fruit thereof” (Prov. 18:21).
Never forget that a man is only as good as his word. If a man become a habitual liar, it is almost impossible to help him – for anything he says or does may simply be another deception.
One of the basic qualities of God’s character is that He is truth. If we couldn’t rely on God’s Word, there could be no real assurance of forgiveness from past sins, of present help in our time of need, or of future reward and eternal life
Even though God had tremendous well-meaning love, and all wisdom and power, but you couldn’t rely on His Word or His promise – where would you be? Have you ever thought of it that way before?
The very diametric opposite of God’s character is that of Satan the Devil. As Jesus Christ revealed: “When he speaks a lie, he speaks of his own: for he is a liar, and the father of it” (John 8:44). Those who follow Satan in his refusal to live by truth have a terrible fate awaiting them: “But the fearful, and unbelieving and all liars, shall have their part in the lake which burns with fire and brimstone: which is the second death” (Rev. 21:8).
Remember, there are no “white” lies in God’s sight. They are all black. Half-truths, distortions and deceptions are condemned throughout God’s Word.
Jesus said: “Thy word is truth” (John 17;17). Let us live by that inspired Word that we may inherit eternal life in the kingdom that is based on what is literally truth and right. This is the message of the 9th commandment!