Dan Popp
Lying
Written in stone: Thoughts on the Ten Commandments
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By Dan Popp
November 9, 2012

You shall not bear false witness against your neighbor. (Exodus 20:16, NASB)

If the recent political campaign hasn't given us an aversion to falsehoods, what could? What a mountain of "malarkey." But because many people selectively believed some of those lies, we all have to live with the consequences.

The Ninth Commandment is pretty important.

A lie — rather, the acceptance of a lie — is how the world got so messed up in the first place. Lying has both personal costs and social costs. Detailed contracts, lawyers, lawsuits, notaries public and escrow accounts are a few of the many prices we all pay for dishonesty.

Most of us accept the proposition that the liar is doing something he shouldn't do. But let's think about the (pardon me) liee. There could be no deception without reception. Josh Billings quipped, "As scarce as truth is, the supply has always been in excess of the demand."

Scripture talks about this "demand" side of lying: "For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but wanting to have their ears tickled, they will accumulate for themselves teachers in accordance to their own desires, and will turn away their ears from the truth and will turn aside to myths." (2 Timothy 4:3,4)

Paul elsewhere warns about the Antichrist, who will come...
    ...with all the deception of wickedness for those who perish because they did not receive the love of the truth so as to be saved. And for this reason God will send upon them a deluding influence so that they might believe what is false, in order that they all may be judged who did not believe the truth, but took pleasure in wickedness. (2 Thessalonians 2:10-12)
...with all the deception of wickedness... In its essence, sin is a lie, isn't it?

...for those who perish because they did not receive the love of the truth so as to be saved. There's no question as to what this word perish means; we see it contrasted to "eternal life" in John 3:16. It's eternal death. To whom? To those who did not receive the love of the truth. God is giving away truth-love; will you receive it? You'll probably have to let go of something first.

I hear people defending their heresy. When shown that their theology doesn't line up with Scripture, some will say, "Well, God doesn't care about doctrine; He cares about my heart." But God never separates doctrine and heart. Sure, there are some minor tenets of the faith. There's room for honest disagreement about some things. But someone infused with the Spirit of Truth will hate error. It's arrogance to think that God will accommodate our false fancies, when we should be submitting ourselves to the certainties He's revealed.

That you can believe in God and behave like the devil is a lie — that's why we're going through the Ten Commandments. That Jesus is someone other than true God and true man is a lie. That anyone can be justified by any way other than simple faith in Christ is a lie. That your religious tradition can trump the Word of God is a lie. You won't be able to carry your pet untruth through the gates of heaven — not because God can't tolerate a difference of opinion, but because truth and holiness are different expressions of the same quality.

And for this reason God will send upon them a deluding influence so that they might believe what is false, in order that they all may be judged who did not believe the truth, but took pleasure in wickedness. Jerome wrote, "Great is the anger of God when He does not correct sins, but punishes blindness with blindness." God will ultimately give us what we want. Do we want Him, and truth — no matter the cost to our ego, our relationships, and our earthly lives? Or do we want the flattery of our private error, the tickling of our ears with something newer and more exciting than His "old, old story"?

As Augustine observed, "They hate the truth for the sake of the thing which they love instead of the truth." That thing is Self, which will be the main thing they lose.

___

Previous articles in this series: God, Images, Name, Rest, Parents, Murder, Adultery, Theft.

Please follow me on Twitter: @FoundationsRad.

© Dan Popp

 

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