Jesus in the command not to bear false testimony (Exodus 20:16)

The scriptures are full of teachings related to truth.  The truth is of utmost importance in the Bible. Exodus 23:7 tells us,

Have nothing to do with a false charge and do not put an innocent or honest person to death, for I will not acquit the guilty.  

God hates the perversion of justice so much that he declared in the Proverbs,

There are six things the Lord hates, seven that are detestable to him: haughty eyes, a lying tongue, hands that shed innocent blood, a heart that devises wicked schemes, feet that are quick to rush into evil, a false witness who pours out lies and a man who stirs up dissension among brothers. (Proverbs 6:16-19)

 

He goes on to say,

A false witness will perish, and whoever listens to him will be destroyed forever. (Proverbs 21:28)

In fact, bearing false witness in a court was such a serious event that God commanded

The judges must make a thorough investigation, and if the witness proves to be a liar, giving false testimony against his brother, then do to him as he intended to do to his brother. You must purge the evil from among you. (Deuteronomy 19:18-19)

But this commandment is not strictly relegated to the realm of legal proceedings.  At the core of the ninth commandment is a call to the people of God to be people of truth.  All lies originate in Satan, who is the father or lies (John 8:44), and since God’s people are a free people who don’t belong any longer to this world but to God, our speech is to be a sign of our new identity.

So how does all of this relate to Jesus Christ?  It was Jesus who stepped into this world of lies and deception.  It was Jesus who was wrongfully convicted on the testimony of false evidence.  It was Jesus who was crucified because this commandment was violated.

The chief priests and the whole Sanhedrin were looking for false evidence against Jesus so that they could put him to death. (Matthew 26:59)

Many testified falsely against him, but their statements did not agree. (Mark 14:56) 

But it was also Jesus who died for our sins and cleanses us from unrighteousness.  It was Jesus who is the very image of God, the one whose words are faithful and true.  It was Christ who purchased men from every tribe, nation and language and made them into a royal priesthood and he cannot lie or change his mind.  It is Jesus who declared to us the truth about sin, salvation and redemption.

He who is the Glory of Israel does not lie or change his mind, for he is not a man, that he should change his mind. (1Samuel 15:29).

He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation. (Colossians 1:15)

Christ died for sins once for all, the righteous for the unrighteous, to bring you to God… (1Peter 3:18) 

Because Jesus is the way, the truth and the life, we as his followers must avoid godless talking, unjust accusations, false declarations and anything else that is not reflective of our Lord and savior.  We are his people, recreated in his image in order to declare his word to the nations.  Let us praise God that truth resides in Christ.

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About Scott Roberts

pastor of Hope in Christ Church, Bellingham, WA
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