“If you do not make the dream known to me, there is but one sentence for you. You have agreed to speak lying and corrupt words before me till the times change. Therefore tell me the dream, and I shall know that you can show me its interpretation.” The Chaldeans answered the king and said, “There is not a man on earth who can meet the king’s demand, for no great and powerful king has asked such a thing of any magician or enchanter or Chaldean.” Daniel 2:9–10
I said in my alarm, “All mankind are liars.” Psalm 116:11
Let the buyer beware! Our study of false witness has uncovered some unsettling truths about ourselves and the society we live in. This sin gleams with promises of glamour and glory, tempting our hearts to put our trust in its riches. Nevertheless, an awful curse lies upon this dragon’s hoard, impoverishing any who claim its wealth and debasing all who rely on it for influence. Yet, fleeing the monster’s lair is no simple task—for who can find a way through the crowd of people thronging the entrance and striving for mastery of the terrible treasure?
Reason Three: False Witness Is Normal
I am not sure who first claimed that “love makes the world go round,” but they were wrong. Perhaps they were deluded or too young to know better, but false witness has a far bigger role in making this world operate day in and day out. This shouldn’t surprise us, for Scripture tells us that the first and chief target of false witness is the One who could never be false (Gen. 3:1; 4:13–16). This present, evil age—what the Bible calls “the world” (Gal. 1:4; Col. 2:8)—relies upon false witness to further its values of idolatry and independence. A steady production and promotion of falsehoods provides an alternative to the truth of God: an alternate reality where we can enjoy life without God, justification without repentance, acceptance without honesty, and wholeness without healing. False witness is a chief source of the counterfeit authority that lends credence to sin, respectability to error, and sanctity to the worst of traditions.
It isn’t hard to see why this sin is so appealing. Through it, we have the power to avoid God, numb guilt, deflect blame, garner undue praise, obtain unearned possessions, marginalize the weak, malign the righteous, and destroy any who oppose us. In summary, it grants an illusion of strength when we are weak, and it provides an escape from the needs that might have otherwise brought us to the healing hand of God. False witness gives such sustainability to unbelief that it is little wonder that it is not merely common but normal.
A Horrific Normalcy
The normalcy of sin is far more disturbing than we are prepared to handle. Open-eyed assessment of the world as it is leads to a feeling of dismay that would destroy us, were we not upheld by God’s righteous right hand (Isa. 41:10). Our awareness of the innumerable, unstoppable, and unbelievable evils at work all around us naturally propels our hearts towards hopelessness. On its own, the human condition is one of unredeemable devastation (Ecc. 1:14). This recognition, without the benefit of faith in God, could only result in the fantasy world that Scripture implores us to reject (1 Jn. 2:15–17). The Christian is armed with all the benefits of Christ’s perfect atonement, giving them the unique capability to not merely see the human condition clearly but also engage it with all the courage and compassion of Christ (Eph. 6:10–11; 1 Jn. 5:4–5). Thus, through faith in the almighty Savior, the Christian overcomes the world, living beyond the realm of normal.
Escape from Error
Our Lord has far more good in store for us than do the hopes and ways of unregenerate men. He is not constrained by what is normal but delights to break forth, bringing life where only death could be expected, light where there was only darkness (Gen. 38:29; 2 Sam. 5:20; Jn. 11:40). Over the next three posts, we will turn our attention to three commands Scripture provides to pursue truth and prevent falsehood in our minds and mouths.
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