Seven Sins (06) False Witnessing

Date: 2/17/2008
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Seven Sins (6): False Witnessing
Dr. Gregg Strawbridge * February 17, 2008 (Prov. 6:16-19)

There are six things that the LORD hates, seven that are an abomination to him:
[A] haughty eyes,
[B] a lying tongue,
[C] and hands that shed innocent blood,
[D] heart that devises wicked plans,
[C’] feet that make haste to run to evil,
[B’] a false witness who breathes out lies,
[A’] and one who sows discord among brothers.
The Pattern of Perjury - There is a sequential/cause-effect flow to these seven sins. [A] Pride leads to [B] misrepresenting the truth and to [C] despising others/hatred, even murder. [D] Wicked heart intentions lead to [C’] action plans of evil. When such wickedness is acted out, then there is [B’] the need to lie “officially” - as in “false witness”/perjury. Finally the result is summarized as [A’] the strife among “brothers” (e.g., those who by right and relation are to be close). Lying and deception are very much at the root of corrupt humanity.
The Principle of Perjury - In the sixth of these (B’ above) the focus is on perjury which is the public crime that requires the parallel, [B] “a lying tongue.” This is a direct violation of the Ninth Commandment (Exod 20:16). The Law reflects the way true and authentic humanity should live and the imago Dei. There is more liberty with God’s Law than the commandments of men (Col. 2:20-23/Rom. 13:9-10).
The Practice of Perjury - Westminster Larger Catechism (145): What are the sins forbidden in the ninth commandment? The sins forbidden in the ninth commandment are, all prejudicing the truth, and the good name of our neighbors, as well as our own, especially in public judicature; giving false evidence, suborning false witnesses, wittingly appearing and pleading for an evil cause, outfacing and overbearing the truth; passing unjust sentence, calling evil good, and good evil; rewarding the wicked according to the work of the righteous, and the righteous according to the work of the wicked; forgery, concealing the truth, undue silence in a just cause, and holding our peace when iniquity calleth for either a reproof from ourselves, or complaint to others; speaking the truth unseasonably, or maliciously to a wrong end, or perverting it to a wrong meaning, or in doubtful or equivocal expressions, to the prejudice of the truth or justice; speaking untruth, lying, slandering, backbiting, detracting, talebearing, whispering, scoffing, reviling, rash, harsh, and partial censuring; misconstructing intentions, words, and actions; flattering, vainglorious boasting, thinking or speaking too highly or too meanly of ourselves or others; denying the gifts and graces of God; aggravating smaller faults; hiding, excusing, or extenuating of sins, when called to a free confession; unnecessary discovering of infirmities; raising false rumors, receiving and countenancing evil reports, and stopping our ears against just defense; evil suspicion; envying or grieving at the deserved credit of any; endeavoring or desiring to impair it, rejoicing in their disgrace and infamy; scornful contempt, fond admiration; breach of lawful promises; neglecting such things as are of good report, and practicing, or not avoiding ourselves, or not hindering what we can in others, such things as procure an ill name.
Gregg Strawbridge Gregg Strawbridge, Ph.D., is the pastor of All Saints Church in Lancaster, PA. He became a committed follower of Jesus Christ at age 20, discipled in the context of a University Navigator Ministry. As a result of personal discipleship he went on to study at Columbia Biblical Seminary (M.A., Columbia, SC, 1990), as well as a Ph.D. in education and philosophy... read more