AND YOU SHALL BE MY DISCIPLES – Lesson #8
Keep Your Word
“Let your communication be, Yea, yea; Nay, nay: for whatsoever is more than these cometh of evil” (Matthew 5:37).
WHAT DOES IT MEAN?
In order to get a grasp on the meaning of this teaching, we must get the context of what Jesus is saying.
First of all, Jesus told us in verse Matthew 5:17, “Do not think that I came to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I did not come to abolish but to fulfill.”
Jesus is teaching “the fulfillment of the law” by comparing what the “ancients were told” and what He now says to us.
This time, Jesus is referring to making of vows, all of which He calls “FALSE VOWS”, which in truth is any vow or prediction you make since you cannot predict or direct your own future. Matthew5:33 “Again, you have heard that the ancients were told, ‘YOU SHALL NOT MAKE FALSE VOWS, BUT SHALL FULFILL YOUR VOWS TO THE LORD.’ 34“But I say to you, make no oath at all, either by heaven, for it is the throne of God, 35or by the earth, for it is the footstool of His feet, or by Jerusalem, for it is THE CITY OF THE GREAT KING. 36“Nor shall you make an oath by your head, for you cannot make one hair white or black. 37“But let your statement be, ‘Yes, yes’ or ‘No, no’; anything beyond these is of evil.”
2. Secondly, Jesus is saying “let your actions do your talking” so you do not fail in your vows, which God considers as sin.
Besides, when you brag about what you can or will do and fail to do it, you look like a fool and a liar. This is not the representation a Christian can make as a follower of Jesus.
Read Deuteronomy23:21 to understand the gravity of an unfulfilled pledge or vow: “When you make a vow to the LORD your God, you shall not delay to pay it, for it would be sin in you, and the LORD your God will surely require it of you. 22“However, if you refrain from vowing, it would not be sin in you. 23“You shall be careful to perform what goes out from your lips, just as you have voluntarily vowed to the LORD your God, what you have promised.
James 4:13 picks up on Jesus teaching and reiterates, “Come now, you who say, “Today or tomorrow we will go to such and such a city, and spend a year there and engage in business and make a profit.” 14 Yet you do not know what your life will be like tomorrow. You are just a vapor that appears for a little while and then vanishes away. 15 Instead, you ought to say, “If the Lord wills, we will live and also do this or that.” 16 But as it is, you boast in your arrogance; all such boasting is evil. 17 Therefore, to one who knows the right thing to do and does not do it, to him it is sin.”
I have read many of the myriad commentaries on this matter and the great majority either lightly regard the context of this teaching or ignore the context all together and delve in to history, culture or the linguistics of the verse. We should take this teaching at its face value.
If you are required to take an OATH, then make your oath truthful and fulfill that oath. But, as for vows, just do what you need to do and let the results be your vow. In other words, if you are a Christian, do what you said you would do, otherwise you are compromised by sin. Keeping our word is what we do. Period.
Remembering that foul water and fresh water cannot come from the same spring, (James 3:11), neither should you expect the Living Water of God to flow from you if you harbor sin un-repented sin.
Now, it is your turn:
HOW MUST YOU DO IT? __________________________________________
HOW YOU MUST TEACH IT? _______________________________________
Your Brother and Friend,