Q. What is the aim of the ninth commandment?
A. That I never give false testimony against anyone, twist no one’s words, not gossip or slander, nor join in condemning anyone rashly or without a hearing (1). Rather, in court and everywhere else, I should avoid lying and deceit of every kind; these are the very devices the devil uses, and they would call down on me God’s intense wrath (2). I should love the truth, speak it candidly,and openly acknowledge it (3). And I should do what I can to guard and advance my neighbor’s good name (4).
Read: (1) Ps. 15; Prov. 19:5; Matt. 7:1; Luke 6:37; Rom. 1:28-32; (2) Lev. 19:11-12; Prov. 12:22; 13:5; John 8:44; Rev. 21:8; (3) 1 Cor. 13:6; Eph. 4:25; (4) 1 Pet. 3:8-9; 4:8.
Our societies are pushing to stand in a world of relativism that simply doesn’t work. If what you think is true is not true for me, then our world would be chaotic. An article in the Babylon Bee mockingly had an article pointing the obvious. It read: “Motorcyclist who identifies as bicyclist sets cycling world Record”. Crazy! Why would the government tax me at a certain bracket when I identify myself as a lower income bracket? Or what would prevent me from jumping off a building when I identify myself as superwoman? The world would be mayhem! Truth is extremely important. It guides our moral compass and it allows humanity to live in harmony and therefore flourish. This is why in God’s Law Truth is paramount. Truth allows us to talk with each other. Truth shows us moral limits. Truth allows us to know how to act. Truth allows us to flourish in freedom. Let’s learn why is the truth so important as we study question 111 of The Heidelberg Catechism.
If you read the Gospels, you will see that Jesus constantly said: “I tell you the truth”. Why did Jesus emphasized Truth so often? Because when you point to truth it implies that there are other things that are false. And this claim that there is truth and there are lies, is highly controversial in our day in age! But how are we to live if we stand on false claims? It would be impossible! And yet, we, sister, constantly forget what is truth.
Our society tells us that truth is whatever works, whatever makes you happy. But what if what makes me happy makes you sad? Who exactly says what truth is then? How could we live where there are competing and different truths?
Our society tells us that truth is whatever science can explain. And yet, there are so many scientific explanations that are simple theories, that is, thoughts that can’t fully be explained because they can’t have verifiable observation. So when many of science’s claims are based in non verifiable hypothesis, then how can we proclaim that science holds all truth? (Note: Science is extremely important. As Christians, we should be invested in science and it’s discoveries. Many amazing discoveries have been helpful. But we need to understand science as a way to explain God’s creation).
Our society tells us that truth is a social construct that needs to be resisted. Postmodern ideology wants nothing to do with the truth and therefore goes against anything perceived as truth. But when you resist truth, then how can a society and an individual know what right is?
Let’s face it, sister, even us, as Christians, hesitate to say what is truth because you and I often forget that truth is not a concept, it is a Person. We need to remember over and over again that “Jesus is the way and the Truth and the Life” (John 14:6). Because He is God, He is True. There is no falsehood in Him (John 7:18). “God is not a man that He should lie…” (Nm. 23:19). Because God is True, His Word is Truth (John 17:17) and we can stand firm in His Word and in what He says.
Jesus saved us so that we can imitate Him (1 Cor. 11:1) We are His ambassadors (2 Cor. 5:20), that is His representatives on Earth. And as so, He wants us to reflect His character so others can see that there is Truth and come meet the One who is Truth. When we love God, we obey God and when we obey God, we love our neighbor and we glorify God. See, sister, saying the truth and not giving false testimony against our neighbor is loving God and loving our neighbor and this protects our heart, our neighbor and our society.
So sister, as we finish this study, I want to ask you, do you fight against truth? Do you think that truth is a simple social construct that is needed but changing? Or is your understanding of Truth based on an intimate knowledge of Him who is Truth and in loving and obeying Him there is an overflow that glorifies God, loves neighbor and protects society? May Jesus be the one who roots us in Him who is Truth.