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"Top Shelf Christianity" -
A handbook to becoming a Christian

"but these are written that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ,
the Son of God, and that believing you may have life in His name." Jn.20:31

Chapter Six
The Ninth Commandment
…………................................................................ by ric justiss

Proverbs 6:   
16  These six things doth the LORD hate: yea,  seven are an abomination unto him:       
17  A proud look,
a  lying tongue, and hands that shed innocent blood,    
18  An  heart that deviseth wicked imaginations, feet that be swift in  running to
19    A false witness that
speaketh lies, and he that soweth discord among brethren.

God must really not like lying.  In this list of things God hates, he mentions it twice.  If
you were to make a list of the worst possible sins, this verse provides plenty of
justification for putting lying at the top of the list.  Why?  Why is it so bad?  Because it
is the opposite of God's nature.  God cannot lie.  Because God cannot lie, it must be
intolerable to God, for us, his handiwork, those created in His image, to lie.   And if God
hates lying so much, we should too.              

Revelation 21:8        But the fearful, and unbelieving, and the abominable, and
murderers, and whoremongers, and sorcerers, and idolaters, and all liars, shall have
their part in the lake which burneth with fire and brimstone: which is the second death.

Colossians 3:9  Lie not one to another, seeing that ye have put off the old man with his

Ephesians 4:25    Wherefore putting away lying, speak every man truth with his
neighbour: for we are members one of another.

Proverbs 12:22    Lying lips are abomination to the LORD: but they that deal truly are
his delight.

John 8:44    Ye are of your father the devil, and the lusts of your father ye will do. He
was a murderer from the beginning, and abode not in the truth, because there is no
truth in him. When he speaketh  a lie, he speaketh of his own: for he is a liar, and the
father of it.

There is not much sin warned against in the Word of God more serious than lying. I
believe that there is not much that is more offensive to God than a liar.

There are very few cases in the New Testament of individuals being actually struck
down dead by God on the spot. Consider this study and the sin that was committed.

Acts 5:1  But a certain man named Ananias, with Sapphira his wife,
sold a possession,
2 And kept back part of the price, his wife also being privy to it,
and brought a certain part, and laid it at the apostles' feet.
3 But Peter said, Ananias, why hath Satan filled thine heart to lie
to the Holy Ghost, and to keep back part of the price of the land?
4 Whiles it remained, was it not thine own? and after it was sold,
was it not in thine own power? why hast thou conceived this thing in
thine heart? thou hast not lied unto men, but unto God.
5 And Ananias hearing these words fell down, and gave up the ghost:
and great fear came on all them that heard these things.
6 And the young men arose, wound him up, and carried him out, and
buried him.
7 And it was about the space of three hours after, when his wife,
not knowing what was done, came in.
8 And Peter answered unto her, Tell me whether ye sold the land for
so much? And she said, Yea, for so much.
9 Then Peter said unto her, How is it that ye have agreed together
to tempt the Spirit of the Lord? behold, the feet of them which have
buried thy husband are at the door, and shall carry thee out.
10 Then fell she down straightway at his feet, and yielded up the
ghost: and the young men came in, and found her dead, and, carrying
her forth, buried her by her husband.
11 And great fear came upon all the church, and upon as many as
heard these things.

Notice when Peter spoke to Ananias in verse 4. Why did they lie if not just so people
would feel a certain way about them? Did they not lie and die for fellowship,
popularity? Think about that point. What a shame! They were under no obligation or
anything; this was a voluntary giving situation. They lied just for popularity!

We need to consider how God feels about lying.

Psalms 101:7 He that worketh deceit shall not dwell within my house:  he that telleth
lies shall not tarry in my sight.

Try to imagine just for a moment what a different place this world would be if just one
of the Ten Commandments was kept by all of mankind-just one kept perfectly out of
the ten. Perhaps we could imagine what a different place this would be if there was no
murder in our society. What if everyone truly honored his father and mother? Wouldn't
it be nice if no one ever stole from his or her neighbor?  Well, what if everyone honored
the ninth commandment,
"You shall not bear false witness against your neighbor." In
other words, don't lie.

Deut. 5:20 - You shall not bear false witness against your neighbor.

I understand we no longer live under the old law.  God's people of Old Testament times
were bound to the law of that time, but with the coming of Jesus, he brought a new
law.  But it is clear to see that God's expectations regarding our speech, being truthful
or being untruthful, is something that has carried over from the old law to the new law,
and for which he will hold the christians of today accountable for in the judgment day.

In its widest application, the ninth commandment had to do with the regulation of  
speech.  Scripture tells us that
"death and life are in the power of the tongue" (Prov. 18:
, that "a wholesome tongue is a tree of life" (Prov. 15:4), and that an unbridled one
"an unruly evil, full of deadly poison" (James. 3:8). That our words are not to be
uttered lightly or thoughtlessly is made clear by that unspeakably solemn utterance of
our Lord’s:
"But I say unto you, That every idle word that men shall speak, they shall
give account thereof in the day of judgment. For by thy words thou shalt be justified,
and by thy words thou shalt be condemned" (Matthew 12: 36, 37).
O how we need to
"Set a watch, O Lord, before my mouth; keep the door of my lips" (Ps. 141:3). The
duties concerning our tongues may be summed up in two words: our speech must
always be
true and spoken in love (Eph. 4:15).

"Speak ye every man the truth to his neighbour" (Zech. 8:16).   How vile and
abominable this lying appears  to be.   It is a sin which makes a person most like the
"He is a liar and the father of it" (John 8:44)  It is therefore a sin most contrary to
the nature and character of God, for He is
"the Lord God of truth" (Ps. 31:5), and
therefore we are told that
"lying lips are an abomination unto the Lord" (Prov. 12:22).
As Satan is a liar and the father of lies, God is the Lord God of Truth.

What if we could rely on everyone to tell the truth?  OJ, did you kill your wife?  Yes or

Our legal system would be just a fraction of what it is now. Even lawyers would have to
tell the truth. No one would be taken advantage of by another person in this way.
"Were you speeding? Yes or no?" "Did you hit your wife? Yes or no?" "Did you steal
your brother's toy? Yes or no?" "Did you steal a cookie out of the jar?" "Did you finish
your homework?" "Did you pay your taxes honestly?" You see, if everyone would just
tell the truth, things would be a whole lot simpler in our society today.

We need to be this kind of a person, one that can be relied upon to always tell the
truth.  You need to know, that if you have any dealings with me, that you can trust what
I say, that I at least believe to the best of my ability, that what I say is the truth and
nothing but the truth.

Proverbs, chapter 21, let's go back to Proverbs for a moment.

Prov. 21:23, 28 - Whoever guards his mouth and tongue keeps his soul from troubles.
But notice verse 28 here.
A false witness shall perish...

You see, somebody who is always misleading people doesn't have a big future, if you
could look at the overall scheme of things. However, the opposite is something most
wonderful. The Proverbs also paint a beautiful picture of how wonderful nicely chosen
words without deceit can be. If you go over to Proverbs 25, and you read verse 11:
Prov. 25:11 - A word fitly spoken is like apples of gold in settings of silver.

And so, a false witness shall perish; but if you do what is right in what you say, it's like
something very precious. In our society today, it really is something very precious. It's
hard to find.

Now, in Proverbs, chapter 15, verse 23:

Prov 15:23 - A man has joy by the answer of his mouth, and a word spoken in due
season, how good it is!

Just imagine how it could be. Young people today are learning to steal and lie in an
immensely organized fashion. Not only are they stealing articles by the thousands
from stores and shops, but they think nothing of cheating on tests at school.  It is a
very big problem in our society today: cheating. Because it is generally looked on
without too much alarm, this practice is really growing at an unprecedented rate. What
the young people may not have been told is that cheating is taking a score or grade
illegally. It's stealing or lying about one's base of knowledge being covered in a test or
an exam. But students do it all the time. They find a way around tests, cheat, and then
lie about what they really know.

Grown-ups do the same thing, only in more grown-up ways.  Taking credit for the work
of others.  Cheating the government.  Who cares, right?  Maybe I don't honestly
deserve this, but I manipulate this and that to get what I want.  It is cheating and it is

The store owner or the executive in the big corporation who uses false weights and
measures or a poor quality of material or workmanship to deceive the public is just as
guilty of breaking the commandment as a common thief. He's trying to get something
more than a legitimate return for his product. Viewing illegal profits he hopes to receive
is trying to get that extra something for nothing, and only God knows how many cases
of people stretching the truth or lying about their product there is on this planet today.

One of the great commercial sins of our age is the common practice of false
advertising. The consumer is led to believe that a certain pill, for instance, will cause
him to lose weight or gain weight, increase his attractiveness, restore his thinning hair,
or whatever the case may be. And in many cases, the statement that is advertised is a
direct, willful lie, without any doubt. The manufacturers know it {the product} is going
to have little or no effect on the person; and, in many cases, the victims of these
gigantic frauds are not only robbed of money, but they're robbed of health, happiness,
and peace of mind. You see, many a respectable businessman and community leader
has only attained his position largely through mass deception. He got where he was or
where he is by not telling the truth. Look at the scandal that invaded the White House.
The President and Mrs. Clinton were engaged in a fight to protect themselves from jail
time because of deceit and lying through their business dealings over the decades. It
went way back, lying and cheating. This is the age of the sophisticated lie, the double-
standard of morality, the Watergate syndrome. This is the age of respectable-
appearing lawyers, industrial leaders, union leaders, governmental officials, and
professionals from all walks of life, perjuring themselves on the witness stand, and
even before the United States Senate, as the tobacco industry lied to the face of the
government questioners, outright lies, just a couple years back.

The hypocrisy, the lying, the mis-truths. The ninth commandment protects every
upright and decent man in guarding his reputation; and perhaps there is no more
despicable lie than that of slander, the lie invented and spread abroad with intent to
harm one's fellow man and his reputation. A thief may take some material goods which
can be replaced, but a false witness who slanders may rob a person of esteem and
reputation in the eyes of his fellow man, and chances are slim that when you have
been slandered that your reputation will ever be fully regained.

Lying and deceit in all of its forms has become so common that few indeed have any
conscience about it.

How deeply important it is, then, that a sacred regard for the truth should be constantly
pressed upon the young and that they should be taught that lying is the inlet of all vice
and corruption. Equally important is it that those who have charge of the young,
particularly their parents, should set before the little ones a personal example of what
they teach, and not neutralize the same by making promises to them that they fail to
fulfill or by uttering threats that they never carry out.

It is the part of wisdom and prudence that each of us should be very slow in making an
unconditional promise; but once it is made it must be kept at all costs, unless the
keeping of it compels us to sin against God.

The prohibition of bearing false witness against my neighbor equally teaches me to
not bear false witness about myself, which is done when I pose as being holier than I
am or when I pretend to be more humble or more anything else than is actually the
case.  The clergy are notorious for this.

Imagine if the truth was told completely in our day and age. 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 hours wasted investigating every situation, but
would also prevent unworthy men from ever being placed in high positions of
responsibility. It would literally clean up our society. In the field of industry and
business, think of the tremendous benefit that would come to the public if each
company would honestly tell the truth about their product and honestly seek to serve
the consumer's real needs. The effect of this would be literally astounding.

I seem to recall a recent movie about the lawyer that could not lie. Sometimes I dream
of meeting a lawyer like that.  

Think of a society where each brand of toothpaste and breakfast cereal, for example,
was not just an imitation or a needless variation of another cereal but was truly the
best of its particular type, honestly priced and truthfully advertised. Even when they
advertise all the vitamins and minerals they put in cereal, you find out that they just go
right through your body and don't do anything. That's just a gimmick. Apply this to
every phase of our society and you get something near utopia just from this one
commandment being kept. Imagine the blessings that would come if our entire
population obeyed just the ninth commandment

Eph. 4:25 - Therefore, putting away lying, let each one of you speak truth with his
here it is being written to the Church. I guess they had a problem with lying,
...let each one of you speak truth with his neighbor, for we are members of one

Some people think just telling a lie or two once in awhile is no big deal. God hates lying
because it's the opposite of what He is. Satan is a liar, the father of it, a murderer from
the beginning. God cannot lie. He just cannot stretch the truth, even just a little bit.

Often we excuse the little white lie.  I am opposed to the white lie. I will admit that the
white lie does have advantages. It does spare feelings. It does promote harmony. It
does protect secrets. But only in the short run. In the long run, telling white lies erodes
trust. It damages credibility. It increases suspicion. Most physicians now insist on
divulging to the terminal patient his or her actual grim prognosis rather than
camouflaging or disguising the distressing facts, as was the case years ago. In this
way, those who are near death can realistically decide how best to spend their few
remaining days on earth.  In giving eulogies, I try to give as precise a picture of the
deceased as possible, without being unkind. To do otherwise would call into question
my trustworthiness and reliability.  

White lies are ultimately destructive. One can tell the truth without being brutal, callous
or insensitive. We should strive to tell the truth, as it is, directly, but kindly. We can
dress up the truth but we should not misrepresent the truth. To engender trust in
others and to aspire to a more Godly life, we need to maintain our credibility.

Lying is much more prevalent than any of us realize. It has infected many parts of our
lives, and the thought and possibility that everyone in the whole world would always
tell the truth is almost unimaginable; but one day, they will. You and I are in training at
this very moment. We should be setting the right example now, as God's people being
led by His Holy Spirit; and so we bring every thought into line and be careful what we
say to one another. The whole world is not rid of lying yet, no matter how hard we'd
like to imagine it; but we can start to make a difference in our personal lives now.

In our own personal lives, we need to learn the importance of telling the truth, believing
the truth, and living the truth. The very character of our Father in heaven can be
imparted to us through the power of His Spirit. The Holy Spirit gives to us His nature
by which He cannot lie. This nature begins to replace our nature as we overcome
ourselves and our sins and become more like Him. Remember, there are no little white
lies in God's sight. He doesn't tell white lies. Half-truths, distortions and deceptions are
condemned throughout God's word. Jesus said,
"Thy word is truth," in John 17. Let
us live by that inspired word that we may inherit life in the kingdom that is based on
what is literally true and right. This is the message of the ninth commandment.

Psalms 120:2   Deliver my soul, O Lord, from lying lips and from a deceitful tongue.



Chapter 1 - Once we understand the grandeur of heaven, nothing will be more important to us
than being sure we have a home in heaven awaiting us at the end of this life.

Chapter 2 - If we want to go to heaven, we will have to change.  We have to change, or convert,
from living one way to living another way.

Chapter 3 - Once we do change, we will find out that we are much happier.

Chapter 4 - The Christian life is more than a set of rules that must be followed, but rather is a
process of  slowly  building and developing certain attitudes and character qualities which
prepare you and mold you into a person pleasing in the eyes of God.

Chapter 5 - Jesus had a way of expressing great truths simply.  Seek and ye shall find. An
enormous amount of truth is crammed into those few words.  Seeking and finding go together
according to Christ.  The implication is that we find what we seek, and nothing else

Chapter 6 - In our own personal lives, we need to learn the importance of telling the truth,
believing the truth, and living the truth.  If you want to be a Christian...if you want to be righteous
in the eyes of God, you cannot lie and deceive.